Notes from a South Asian publicist: Embrace your culture to build a career in Hollywood PR

Public Relations (PR) is the backbone of the entertainment industry, perhaps nowhere more so than in Hollywood. As the industry continues to evolve, it has become more important now than ever to understand the nuances of PR to navigate the changing landscape successfully.

Hollywood publicist Sruthi Dhulipala at a film event. Photo courtesy: Sruthi Dhulipala

As an entertainment publicist, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of some incredible projects, such as the BTL (below the line, e.g. VFX and animation) publicity for several popular films, including Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio; Jordan Peele’s Nope; the live-action/animated adventure comedy Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers, and more.

A poster of the 2022 cinema version of Pinocchio, yet another retelling of the classic story of a wooden boy brought to life by a wish. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Pinocchio Movie

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your career to the next level, understanding the nuances and trends of entertainment PR can be the key to success.

Going by my experience, one of the critical challenges that South Asian publicists face in Hollywood is breaking through the barriers that can make it difficult to establish a foothold in the industry.

Many South Asians interested in pursuing a career in PR in Hollywood do not have the same network or connections as others in the industry. I had a similar experience when I started out, and I still feel like I’m navigating rough waters, carving my own narrative in this competitive industry.

It’s not a fair game

When you’re starting a career in the entertainment industry as a South Asian, it’s essential to be aware of the challenges that South Asian publicists face in Hollywood. It’s also essential to be persistent and tenacious in pursuing opportunities and building relationships.

Remember, Hollywood PR is a high-pressure, fast-paced industry. It’s not for the faint of heart, and success requires a willingness to work hard and put in long hours. However, it can be a gratifying career for those passionate about the entertainment industry, if they’re willing to put in the effort.

Bring your authentic self

Authenticity is critical in entertainment PR. Clients can tell when you’re genuine, and they appreciate it when you bring your true self to the table. By embracing your unique perspective and staying true to yourself, you can differentiate yourself in a crowded industry and build a successful career.

A poster of the 2022 film Nope, by the acclaimed director Jordan Peele. Photo courtesy:

As a South Asian publicist, my cultural background has been critical to my professional identity. Growing up, I was always aware of the impact of cultural differences on communication and relationships. I realised early on that my ability to navigate these differences and build bridges between cultures could be a valuable asset in the entertainment industry.

In my initial days in Hollywood PR, I had been hesitant about embracing my cultural identity, seeing it as a possible obstacle to building relationships with clients and industry professionals. After some time, as I gained experience and confidence, I realised that my unique perspective and cultural background was a competitive advantage.

I started incorporating more of my cultural identity into my work, whether through the types of events I planned or how I approached client messaging. I found that clients appreciated my ability to bring a fresh perspective to their campaigns and to help them stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Now, my cultural identity is a central part of my professional brand. It’s something that I embrace and celebrate, and it has helped me to build stronger relationships.

Breaking barriers and making connections – one relationship at a time!

In the world of entertainment PR, building relationships is at the heart of everything we do. My cultural background has been a tremendous asset in forging those meaningful connections.

Building relationships is just the beginning. In today’s ever-changing media landscape, staying on top of industry trends and understanding the latest digital marketing strategies is essential to success.

As a publicist, it’s crucial to be well-versed in the latest social media platforms, digital advertising techniques, and other cutting-edge tools that can help clients make a unique impression.

Of course, building a successful career in Hollywood takes hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn and grow. But by leveraging your cultural identity, networking with the right people, and keeping pace with industry trends, you can thrive.

So go ahead and break those barriers — success is within your reach!

(The views expressed by the author in the article are personal and do not reflect those of Connected to India.)