Karleen Roy knows that with great hustle comes great reward. After graduating from Howard University, Karleen packed up to move to New York to begin her career in the entertainment industry. From interning at Def Jam to getting her dream job working with Sean “Diddy” Combs,” all of her experiences and hard work set her up to open up her own luxury lifestyle managment company, The Vanity Group. Through throwing events and setting up concierge services for high profile clients such as Trey Songz, Ne-Yo, and Idris Elba, Karleen and her team want to provide the “flyest” experiences possible. We recently spoke with Karleen about her journey from interning to running her own company, here’s what she had to say:
StyleBlazer: What made you want to get into entertainment? Have you always been interested in that industry?
Karleen Roy: Absolutely. In school everyone is like I’m going to business school, or I’m going to be a doctor or a lawyer, or go to Teach For America and I didn’t have those ideas. I was watching “Sex & The City” one day when it was still on the air and I saw Samantha and I thought wow, she’s powerful, she’s talented, she has a cool job, she’s organizing these events for high-profile people. That’s a cool job, what is that? I never knew what an entertainment publicist did so that next day I went and changed my major to public relations. I was like whatever that is, where it’s fly, and it’s fun and it’s powerful, I want to do that. I was coming to New York and I would intern at Def Jam and Violator, so I had a little tease of the industry and what it was all about so that sparked my interest as well.
SB: Speaking of Def Jam, how did that come about?
KR: It started off as an internship, and the publicity department eventually hired me to be a PR assistant there. It was an amazing learning experience. I always think interns make the best employees eventually because they have the hardest job, they’re doing all the work that no one likes to do so they’re actually getting to know what’s going on on the ground level.
SB: After you paid your dues at Def Jam, how did you put yourself in a position to succeed there and eventually move on to your next venture?
KR:I learned early on that it’s about keeping your relationships with people and making sure that you follow through with those relationships. Keep them fresh, keep staying in touch with people. So at Def Jam that’s exactly what I did. A lot of the people that I was getting coffee for or press clips, they are business associates and people that I partner with now. I learned the importance of relationships.
After she left Def Jam, Karleen Roy held a number of positions including working with Ne-Yo, who was a new artist at the time, and his management company, Compound Entertainment who she still works with today and cites as her number one clients. Although the life was glamorous, she says that its all a part of the job and there is a fine line between “working and just chillin’.” Later on, an opportunity to interview with Bad Boy opened up and she took it right away.