Fresh, Edgy & Influential are just a few words that describe the innovative site theHotness.com. Founded by Nicole Moore, theHotness officially launched in 2000. The former entertainment publicist and marketing consultant originally created this media platform as a way to gain exposure for the artists she was promoting at the time—namely Amel Larrieux, Jill Scott and Cree Summer.
theHotness.com celebrates the individual style, culture, vision and wit of young urban women. The site also hits vital topics such as women’s health, motherhood, racism, body image and global activism.
Nicole graduated from Williams College and went on to work in-house for a number of publications including Essence, The Village Voice, Uptown and The Source. She has interviewed and written about a number of high profile artists including Naomi Campbell, Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, D’Angelo and OutKast.
Let’s get to know Nicole a little better…
What first sparked your interest in PR / Marketing?
I got a gig interning at The Terrie Williams Agency after graduating from college. I worked during the day at Smith Barney, which I hated, and after work I’d walk over four blocks and intern at The TWA assisting them mostly with their HBO & Russell Simmons accounts. Russell interviewed a lot at night and they were filming HBO’s Def Comedy Jam in the evenings so there was plenty of work to be done after 5pm. I immediately fell in love with the quick pace of entertainment pr. I enjoyed pitching story ideas to editors and writers and the biggest thrill for me was when Terrie and one of her account managers, Audrey Addison, put me in charge of getting music talent to attend the Def Comedy tapings. From my few contacts I was able to pull in so many cool heads. Everyone from Digable Planets to Heavy D. wanted to be at a Def Comedy taping. It really put in the industry loop in a big way.
theHotness.com covers a wide variety of topics from music and culture to women’s health, motherhood, racism & body image, Why was it important to create a platform for women to gain knowledge on these topics?
I just felt like, from a media point of view, whether I was reading a magazine or watching tv most of the content directed at me was about fashion, sex, & hair. I think all of these subjects are important. I love shoes, sex and a good hair day is a great day, but I also felt like there was something missing. When it came to talk around racism, it was usually regarding Black men and when body image was discussed it was directed more to white women and anorexia or bulimia. I rarely read about the celebration of curvy bodies or more importantly how women’s bodies whether in hiphop or in Hollywood were being objectified and attacked. I strongly believe that right a long with covering the latest fashion trends, women could and should also have these conversations and talk about our bodies in ways that are smart, empowering and nuanced. Unlike Steve Harvey, I’m all for thinking like woman.
You promoted and featured a variety of artists such as Amel Larrieux, Jill Scott and Cree Summer, what did you learn from working with such talented and creative individuals?
Oh so much! From these three women I learned specifically that authenticity is paramount. The music industry in particular has very little respect for artists who are individuals, especially women, and working with these artists I got a birds-eye view on how marketing and promotion budgets can instantly shrink when you are not the “It Girl” on the label. But Amel, Cree & Jill all showed me that being an individual and remaining true to who you really are is sustaining. All three of these women have very successful careers today without having had to compromise or booty-bounce in their careers. I am in awe of artists like them– Esthero, Imani Uzuri, Meshell NdegeOcello, Santigold and Janelle Monae. They are all groundbreakers who’ve showed me how powerful life can be when you start learning how to live comfortably in your own skin.
Sometimes women rarely receive all the shine we deserve, What motivated you to highlight women impacting the world?
Like Beyonce said, Women run this mutha! So why not highlight them? Seriously though, when it came to women of color, and I started theHotness in 2000 long before Michelle Obama became our First Lady, there just wasn’t a lot of media attention given to young women of color making big, independent, intellectual moves. Girls need role models and grown women like me need role models too. We need to know what other women that look like us that may not be on MTV, BET or Bravo are doing in music, publishing, art, fashion, technology, politics, and media.
Where do you see Nicole Moore and theHotness in the next 5 years?
In 5 years? Yikes, I’m just trying to get through the next 5 months! I hope to have published a book and a magazine based on theHotness in the next two years. I would love to be on television with my own talk show five years from now. Also, I highlight a lot of visual artists and musicians on theHotness.com and would like to create some type of annual event— a concert or an exhibition that promotes these Hot Grrrls.
What piece of advice would you give to young writers?
Read! To be a better writer you must read. Also write often. Create a blog or some form of online journal. Not only is it good practice, but it will become a great portfolio that you can share with editors. Know your value as a writer, but don’t let the dollar rule your writing. Keep a notebook and write in that too. .Be imaginative and unrestricted with the pen and your thoughts. Keep that writing for yourself.
Maybe the fact that I like what I like and could care less what the Fashion Police think. My style is rooted in my sense of self and my love for self. I don’t have a problem wearing the seams out of something if I love it. I have a fly pair of Kenneth Cole shoes I bought 11 years ago and I still wear them because I love them. They may be out of fashion, but that’s just trend and commerce. Style is something you are born with and isn’t determined by some magazine editor. My shoes still make me happy every time I wear them and that’s good enough for me! That’s stylin’.
Check out more Nicole here…