I think success is being able to objectively look back at your work and be critical of yourself, without being harmful to yourself and making sure you want to improve.– Dr. Sean Paul
On this episode of OWC’s Leaders & GameChangers, Setorii Pond speaks with two great guests. Dr. Sean Paul is the go-to plastic surgeon in Texas and Barry Roger is a celebrity publicist who shares a little insight into what it is like to be a publicist.
In a world that has perfection on the cover of every magazine, no flaws, only beauty…vivacious happy people always working out and age is just a number that cannot be matched to what one looks like today. In this quest to want to create the perfect canvas of ourselves, plastic surgery is no longer taboo and has become normalized thanks to technologies and procedures advancing so quickly. In our first half of the show, Dr. Sean Paul shares details about his specialty, plastic surgery insights, how plastic surgery has helped to save people, and much more.
John Schneider, I call him the Renaissance Man because he plays music, he writes, he directs, he acts… his career is so incredibly diverse, and I am always inspired by his talent and his work ethic. You have to work extra hard to keep up with him. I always tell people… he runs circles around people half his age. His career is so diverse. Early in his career, he did Dukes of Hazzard, then Smallville, there was Dr. Quin Medicine Woman, there is the Haves and the Have Nots.– Barry Rogers
In the second half of the show, my next guest Barry Rogers is a publicist who knows the tireless hours it takes to be on call twenty-four seven to ensure his clients always have solutions and results swiftly.
Whether it is a celebrity doing a press tour for our favorite new film or them showcasing products we all want to go buy, celebrity star power and branding are hard to ignore. Celebrities naturally command attention but what it takes to get a new celebrity in the making to be noticed, is all thanks to a hard-working team behind the scenes. Publicists, agents, makeup and hair artisans, stylists, and more all come together with one unifying goal… to help make this person shine and capture people’s attention. Hope you enjoy this informative and interesting episode.
If you are looking to learn more about our guests:
Dr Sean Paul
In This Episode
- 00:31 – Setorii introduces her first guest, Dr. Sean Paul, a master at the art of plastic surgery in Austin, Texas.
- 04:37 – Dr. Sean talks about how the COVID-19 pandemic made the year very successful for a lot of plastic surgeons.
- 09:11 – Dr. Sean talks about his friendship and his experience in working with Dr. Nassif.
- 12:15 – Dr. Sean shares how reconstructive surgery can help patients mentally and physically.
- 18:24 – Setorii and Dr. Sean encourage listeners to check out his clinic, Austin Face & Body, and his Instragam and Tiktok pages.
- 20:27 – Setorii introduces her second guest, Barry Rogers, a celebrity publicist for 12 years.
- 26:11 – Barry talks about the day-to-day responsibilities of a publicist.
- 31:52 – Barry shares some tips for aspiring actors and musicians on how to properly put themselves out there and get their big break to move forward.
- 35:17 – Barry reminisces about a fun experience with Peter Mayhew, Star Wars’ Chewbacca
- 43:41 – Setorii asks Barry about his favorite quote that helps him in his life.
Many have done some form of plastic surgery. There are countless success stories due to the results. Even ones we admire and others that had built a career through these updates. There have also been some disappointing stories, which led to the success of a hit TV show like Botched. It is imperative that if you so choose to want an upgrade, you need to find a doctor that specializes in what you are seeking.
My guest on today’s episode of OWC’s Leaders & Game Changers is a master at the art of plastic surgery in Austin, Texas. Please welcome to the show, Dr. Sean Paul.
I want to thank you and thank everybody for tuning in for this episode of Dr. Sean Paul who is here to tell us about all of the benefits—in my opinion, I’m going to say benefits—of plastic surgery and how it really helps people. I’d love to start the conversation by sharing with people how these surgeries can be truly helpful to one’s psyche as well as going through maybe some traumatic events like a mastectomy.
SP: Thank you so much for having me. It’s so good to share a little bit of the history of aesthetics, reconstruction, and plastic surgery, as well as my particular specialty which is eyelids in the face. I can integrate a little bit about what I know and also just been speaking at meetings, teaching physicians across the world, sharing thoughts. It’s nice to take a step back and look at why I’m doing this.
Obviously, like many of us, when you wake up in the morning and you put your scrubs on, you want to make sure you’re enjoying what you do. The history of plastic surgery really came from the World Wars when we had soldiers that were injured and through, essentially, “plastic,” and the Greek “plastikos” is how plastic surgery came to be known as plastic surgery today. But truly, it was reconstructing, whether it was wounds to the torso, to the limb, or to other areas to reconstruct in and sculpt a more natural-appearing part of the body that had been injured.
A lot of the foundation that we have as aesthetic or plastic surgeons is the reconstructive aspect. I did two years of fellowship particularly focused on cancer, trauma, dog bites, as well as cosmetic eyelid and facial aesthetics. A lot of those fundamental reconstructive principles are what I use in my aesthetic care every day.
When you introduce new technology, skin tightening, injections, or trying to help patients reach their aesthetic goal, you still have to maintain those principles. Otherwise, there are just ways the body is meant to look and meant to work, and the unnatural appearance is what you get when you choose things that are unconventional.
Part of what we do in our practice is blend the surgical and the non-surgical treatments in order to give our patients the best options possible for their customized or bespoke treatment plans.
A lot of people have said that plastic surgeons never had a more successful year than during COVID.
SP: I could not agree more. In a time period, mid-March, we knew something serious was happening in the country and people were starting to get sick. Then, we realized how contagious COVID was that we knew we’re going to have to potentially shut down in an effort to conserve personal protective equipment for our hospitals.
Some of us were siphoned off in the hospitals to cover emergencies and even around patients during COVID. We were there just to help one another, and we really became physicians again truly at heart.
As soon as things stabilized, once masks were mandated and once people were on Zoom meetings regularly, all the conferences went virtual just like we’re talking about now. People became really in tune with what they look like on camera.
Obviously, what we see is not always reality, but whether it was wearing a mask and realizing that your eye bags or dark circles were really noticeable, being able to hide a double chin, loose skin on the neck, or a turkey neck with your mask, that became a beneficial thing.
Once we were cleared to go back to do elective surgery and elective procedures, a lot of patients were like, “Well, I can’t really socialize. I have the downtime now. I’m not in front of people at meetings. I’m not traveling. I’m not using some of my disposable income on other things, so why not invest in myself?”
I think there was a nice psychological rebound whenever there’s such mental and physical trauma from the way COVID hits abruptly. Everybody was flying high, they were feeling great, they were traveling the world, and felt good about everything. Everyone was sailing really high and then all of a sudden it brought you back to reality.
I think a lot of people invested in themselves. For some people, they’d always wanted to get a nose job. They always wanted to get an eyelid lift. They always wanted to get a facelift. They wanted to have something to treat themselves, and they had the financial means to do so. A lot of us started to get more and more phone calls on these particular treatments.
I think there’s nothing wrong with investing in yourself because you want to feel your best self. If you can’t love yourself, you really can’t love other people. I really firmly believe that. I think it’s important to know your options and go to doctors who can provide options for you. It’s been really intriguing, but I agree with you. A lot of surgeons and non-surgeons have felt that these treatments, when done safely, under protocols that are safe for each office, there’s been a lot of interest.There's nothing wrong with investing in yourself because you want to feel like your best self. – Dr. Sean Paul Click To Tweet
It’s really interesting to see how technology has advanced so quickly. What could you say that you have in your office that is really just mind-blowing to think of what it does to the human body?
SP: There are a few different treatment areas. I think traditional surgery always involved an operating suite, general anesthesia, a scalpel. You have to plan out 3–4 weeks of downtime. Even during COVID, you just don’t want 3–4 weeks of downtime. There became this thing called the “gap patient,” the patient who didn’t want surgical downtime, wanted some results, but also just really felt that they weren’t ready necessarily for a full facelift or full-body lift.
What we’ve integrated into our practice is radiofrequency technology. We worked with a company called InMode. I do train for them. I teach other physicians across the world on their innovative platforms. But essentially, they take radio frequency which is heat and they create neocollagenesis or tighter skin in certain areas on the face, arms, thighs, tummy. You get these minimally invasive skin-tightening procedures.
You can adjust the settings on the devices to even melt fat in certain areas. You can melt fat underneath the chin, around the tummy, around the arms, or areas you have stubborn fat.
That’s been something we brought into our practice that’s really taking off from the standpoint of interest of people not willing to have formal surgery, plus not having to go into a formal hospital or formal surgery center to do this procedure. You can come into an office, safely do them in a sterile environment in an office suite, be able to go about your business, and have less downtime, which is really important to people.
Do you work with Dr. Nassif? He does some mind-blowing reconstructive surgeries. What is it like working with him? What have you learned from some of his techniques or just being around him and being his friend?
SP: We have a personal relationship. We’re friends. We’ve known each other for years. We both speak at national and international meetings. We actually met in Sydney, Australia. Both of us were at the same meetings, speaking on the same platform. I was speaking about social media and about building your practice. He was speaking about his experience on Botched TV, which is a very well-known TV show. Then we just became friends.
He had started his own practice as well. I started my own practice. He’s been in practice longer than I have, so it’s nice to see the evolution of aesthetics and how that’s changed. I think that he is one of the most intelligent, down-to-earth people. He cares about his patients so much. He really wants the best outcomes for his patients. He takes on cases no one else is willing to take on. That’s really where the TV show came about.
It’s always humbling to be in a position because we always see different cases every day. There are no two patients who are exactly the same, so every patient is a customized approach. Him bringing that philosophy of trying to innovate and trying to bring new and safe technology into the forefront is where we both got along really well. We want to make sure we give our patients as many options as possible because no two patients are alike.
Also, we both just have a passion for medicine. We love how it’s changed. We love how it can heal people. We love how we can mentally and physically improve someone’s demeanor, how they feel about themselves, and get them to a place where they’re happier.
You think of doctors and here you are, you’re saving lives. You stopped your normal focus in your practice and what you’re doing. You put everything on pause, you go out there, and you help people with COVID. Thank you for your service and what you’re doing. Thank you for what you did with COVID in helping patients. Also, it’s pretty amazing what you do every day when you think about it.
SP: I try not to think about it too much because it can be overwhelming some days. But every day, especially when COVID hit, I reverted back to covering the hospital more to help out because we really don’t have a full-fledged academic center in our area. The private practice doctors in Austin do help out quite a bit when it comes to an emergency call.
We all were just on deck willing to help if need be. Whenever kids were at home, people were cutting themselves, and falling down from things, so we were trying to help have emergency laceration clinics to help patients who didn’t want to go into the hospital at the height of COVID when COVID started back in April in Texas.
People, when they think of plastic surgery, think of all of the pretty things that you see on TV—everybody looking perfect. But what is so moving is because you do save lives in many ways, people can get hurt and people have been hurt. Whether they’re burn victims or they’ve had certain instances of things that have happened to them.
I would love it if you could maybe explain the process, share an example of somebody that had reconstructive surgery, or maybe you helped somebody resurface their skin, maybe they were burned or something. How has that helped patients mentally and physically?
SP: When I was in medical school and kind of my inspiration to become an eyelid specialist, I was taking care of active-duty soldiers who were burned with IEDs during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were formed directly from the military forefront in Iraq and Afghanistan to Germany. And then right to San Antonio, I was in medical school. They would have severe burns.
Just like you would picture a burned patient, fully burned with no skin at all. You can barely see their eyes only and no eyelids. That really stuck with me on how that looked, but I was able to help work with them directly. We would actually use an amniotic membrane, which is tissue from amniotic sacs which is what the babies inside the belly use. Basically, that’s a cool, youthful, beautiful cell that heals. We used that to line the eyelids and the eye to help restore their vision.
I thought that was really amazing that we could use something so natural and so pure to help rebuild that area. That got me thinking about how I want to build my practice and why I wanted to have that reconstructive core. I took on some of the hardest fellowship training in the country. I went to Wisconsin for two years, one of the world’s experts in eyelid reconstruction and overall reconstruction. Those are the cases that stick with me even to this day.
Eyelid surgery is such a niche. It’s not something that people normally discuss. It could be breast augmentation, it could be a butt lift. What was it? Was it what you learned in school that set you down that path where you really wanted to fine-tune and focus on that?
SP: I thought that it was the most visible area that someone would see surgically if you were to hide scars very meticulously. I really felt like it was a more intimate relationship with the patients and I’m understanding what their cosmetic and reconstructive goals were in that area.
You actually can’t hide your results, so it puts a lot of pressure on the surgeons. I like the pressure of trying to get a really good result. That was just my cup of tea. If you do breast, body, or other areas in the body, you can hide them under clothes, but with the eyes, your margin for error is very low. I thrive on it. I love that ability to improve that area.
Isn’t it amazing to see how far technology has come in such a short time?
SP: Absolutely. I was teaching about 500 doctors in Australia last month, doing a live surgery from Austin. I was supposed to be in Melbourne, but COVID was happening. It was supposed to be during the Australian Open. They had this whole thing planned, but instead, I was in Austin doing a live case, did my case, and had a Q&A with two doctors in Los Angeles.
At the same time, right after my talk, I did a live case, doctors were able to ask me questions around the surgery in Austin with our film team here. The patient had a great treatment done. Then, right after, there’s more Q&A with the doctors in LA, and the moderators are in Melbourne. It was just quite remarkable how we can continue to advance medicine by sharing our experiences and doing live surgery to help one another learn.
You’re based in Austin, Texas. Can you tell people a little bit about your practice in general?
SP: Yes. Our practice is named Austin Face & Body. You can go to austinfaceandbody.com or to our Instagram page @austinfaceandbody. If you also enjoy TikTok, we have a TikTok page called thetiktokfacedoc. We post a lot of things about our practice.
It’s been really intriguing to see the way Austin’s changed. As you’re aware, Austin’s grown tremendously and continues to grow. We used to be a bunch of locals in town. I went to college at the University of Texas. I moved back here and started my practice about six years ago. I’ve collaborated with six surgeons who work with our practice. Then, we provide a full scope of aesthetic treatments.
We have super specialists in each area when it comes to eyelids, when it comes to noses, when it comes to breast and body. That involves both cosmetics and reconstructive which we really pride ourselves on because we don’t want to just do cosmetics only. We want to make sure we take care of all patients. It’s been really nice to have that collegial, collaborative approach to aesthetics. You get the best expert for each area.
I would love to just ask one last question for you. What does success mean to you?
SP: That’s a great question. Success for me is making sure you’re happy within. You can get into the rat race of trying to build your practice, do more surgeries, or be an expert in everything, but I think it’s being able to understand your shortcomings. Be humble, be kind to your staff, be kind to your family.
You obviously have stressful situations. I do, like anyone else, whether it’s a tough surgical case or having to rearrange your schedule because the town shut down because of an ice storm, whatever it may be.
Which we just experienced, by the way.
SP: Yeah. But I think success is being able to objectively look back at your work and being critical of yourself without being harmful to yourself, and making sure you want to improve. Again, just trying to stay humble because the patients love you, but you’re also going to have cases that humble you as well. I think success is just riding it out.
Life is a roller coaster. It’s not like the highs get too high or the lows get too low. Just like we’ve talked about in the very beginning of this discussion, it’s just waking up every morning and resuming your purpose. I hope I get to that point of understanding my purpose, but I think that’s critical to at least have some idea of why you’re on the path. That’s a life-long journey. That’s why I’m passionate about what I do, but being a physician doesn’t define me—trying to figure out that our internal happiness is something to look on for the rest of my life.My job is to constantly figure out what the best opportunities are for my client that they might not see. – Barry Rogers Click To Tweet
Your passion shows and I think everybody listening can hear that. It’s wonderful and refreshing to hear when you’re going to a doctor that truly cares about making a difference, even if it is just as simple as doing chemical peel. The fact that you’re going to honestly say not what the most expensive thing is, but what really is best for you. It’s wonderful to hear that you live that way, mind, body, and soul.
I want to thank you so much for your time, Dr. Sean Paul.
SP: Thank you.
Can you please tell people where they can learn more about you?
SP: You can go to our website, which is austinfaceandbody.com. If you have questions, you can message me directly on Instagram. I’m @drseanpaul. Just feel free to contact me or contact my staff if you want to get to know us or if you have any questions about anything we talked about today.
I’d like to thank you, Setorii, for the invite. This is awesome. Hopefully, everybody learned a little bit of something new and about the inner workings or what physicians think about on the inside and the cosmetic world. I know we didn’t dive too much into the celebrities, but just remember, what you see on TV is not always real.
Thank you again. We’ll do another episode moving forward. Bye-bye.
My next guest knows the tireless hours it takes to be on call 24/7 to ensure his clients always have solutions and results swiftly. His name is Barry Rogers. He’s been a celebrity publicist for over 12 years.
Please welcome my friend, Barry. Hi, Barry. Thank you so much for joining.
BR: Yeah. I’m honored that you asked me to do this. This is a lot of fun. I have to tell you, as a publicist, this is actually the first interview I’ve ever given.
I feel like every time we talk, you have so many amazing stories. I sit there watching you as if I’m watching some awesome, engaging TV show. You’re just being you living your life, sharing some of the facets of your life.
I just thought, thank you so much for taking some time to come over here.
BR: What’s wild is that for 17, 18 years, I’ve been booking interviews for people, but it never occurred to me—until you asked me to do this—what it must be like. I was a little nervous. I had to think to myself. I’m like, this must be what my clients go through.
Being a publicist is actually really stressful. The things that I hear, the stories, all the stuff you have to take care of. I don’t know how you actually sleep at night because you have so much going on all the time. You’re always working.
Where did this work ethic come from? Because you were always working and you were happy to be working.
BR: For some reason, I’ve just always been in love with the media. I started out on the radio when I was 15 and really loved that. I was a country music DJ. I did that until I was 24. From there, I went into television and worked my way up to producer on a talk show, The Show. Then my friend invited me to do PR for a firm that he was a part of. I thought, oh, I’m not sure about this. I got in there and realized I kind of have an act for it.
You have so much talent in so many other areas and we’ll get into that later, but what made you want to say that this is the industry I want to stick with?
Once people learn more about you, I think they’re just going to see it. It’s not that you’re just a publicist but you do so many things. What was it about publicity in general that attracted you to keep with this?
BR: I’m a sucker for narrative. I love narrative. I love helping people figure out what their narrative is for their brand or what they’re trying to put out to the public, and articulate that in a way that is compelling and intriguing. I never get tired of that challenge. Whether it’s doing PR or freelance writing, which I did for a long time, I just really enjoy helping people tell their stories.
People don’t realize that publicity is not just for people in the public eye. It’s from brands, it’s the companies, it’s CEOs. You really have had such a wide range of different talents of all different professional levels. What makes you choose the clients that you work with?
BR: I really have to believe in the client. It has to be something that I get excited about.
I heard you actually tell me so many people and opportunities that you thought were great, but you said it just didn’t align with you. That’s something to be said about who you are as a person. You really truly care and you make sure that every single thing that you do is in the best interest of your clients.
That’s why you don’t just take people on because it’s money. It really explains who you are as a person. I really respect that about you because I’ve spoken to a lot of different publicists. They just take it because it’s a paycheck. That’s certainly not you.
BR: No. It needs to be the kind of thing. If you have enthusiasm for a client or a project, it needs to be the kind of thing you’re thinking about all the time. Not because you’re getting paid, but just because you’re so excited about them. I want to be a fan of what they’re doing and what they’re about. It’s not going to do me any good or them any good if I take it just because I need the business.
What are some of the day-to-day responsibilities that encompass being a publicist? People have no idea how much goes into it. Can you share with some of the listeners?
BR: Yeah. I always say nobody is ever just one thing. We all wear a lot of hats regardless of what our profession is. PR is certainly no different. Sometimes, you find yourself in the role of a personal assistant. You jump in and do more menial tasks to get the job done.
But a day-to-day thing for me is that I wake up, I start making phone calls, and creating opportunities. I’m a connector. My job is to constantly figure out what the best opportunities are for my client out there that they might not see. I bring those two worlds together. Then, I step back and I hope that some kind of magic happens once I introduce party A to party B.
There are so many questions I honestly want to ask you. If you could share with us may be an exciting project that you had with one of your clients, is there something that stands out? I know there must be so many, but what would be a really exciting project that you worked on that you’re really proud of?
BR: Hollywood legend Ruta Lee. We had started off a number of years ago with the idea of doing a documentary.
Sorry to interrupt, Barry. Can you tell people who Ruta is because people may not have had the pleasure of knowing her history?
BR: Ruta, as many of you may know, is a film and television actress from the Golden Days of Hollywood. She was in a film called Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. That was one of the projects that really put her on the map.
I came to know Ruta once in my early 20s. She was a guest co-host on a TV show that I was a production assistant on. Fate brought us together years later. I suddenly found myself in the position and the opportunity to assist her with her autobiography.
Ruta is so good with the spoken word. I have basically just been able to serve as a wonderful muse and type while she spoke for the past six or seven years. We’ve taken a lot of breaks because she’s got a very busy life, but she’s to the point now, we are almost to the finish line.
You have this book that’s about to launch, that’s so exciting.
BR: Yes. I’m super stoked about the book which should come out if not this year, early next year. Of course, everything has changed up due to the COVID situation, so we’ll see what happens with that. I’ve had the best seat in the house. She’s been an incredible teacher just by virtue of the fact of how she’s lived her life. She and Debbie Reynolds.
This is even outside of her acting work, but Ruta and Debbie have been steering The Thalians. It’s a non-profit organization that’s been devoted to mental health in Hollywood for over 50 years now.
Debbie has passed on, but these days, the organization devotes a lot of its time, effort, and energy to our veterans and the mental health of veterans.
Wow. I actually was very good friends with Debbie Reynolds because I used to live in the desert.
BR: I didn’t know that.
Debbie was sweet and funny. I had the pleasure of being able to know people like Loretta Young and Donald O’Connor who are Hollywood icons because of the desert. I love Hollywood from back in the day.
BR: There’s something really amazing. Nowadays, you could say that it isn’t that hard for somebody to become famous. In those days, there were fewer platforms or gates for people to go through.Being famous now is a lot different than being famous before the Internet. – Barry Roger Click To Tweet
You really had to have some kind of talent or something that got you through the door. I feel like the stars of yesterday shined a lot brighter than a lot of what we see today. You’re always going to have your megastars and so forth, but there was something really amazing about the Golden Age of Hollywood.
I agree. You have so many opportunities. The opportunities today are endless. When you think of Hollywood when it first started, you didn’t have that many options. To become a star, so much went into it. I’m not to say that it doesn’t require so much work today. It’s just a different type of effort that needs to go into it because they had all the productions. They had all these people.
I remember I talked to Leo Jaffe who told me the entire process of what it took to make a celebrity a celebrity back in Hollywood. He was the head of a major studio. Today, it’s just that people need you, basically. Yes, there are more people involved, but you really help shape and mold celebrities, help get them out there, and help people discover them. That’s really exciting.
BR: It’s the internet age so it’s very noisy. There’s a lot of noise—I always argue—but not always a lot of substance. You want to be a part of creating substance in your brand. You want your client to be the brand behind the glass and not on the discount table. There’s a certain way of doing that.
There are just so many tips you can tell people. I would love it if you could share some tips with aspiring actors and musicians that are trying to get out there and make their magic happen. Can you share from your own insights and wisdom how they can actually make sure they put themselves out there properly or get their break to move forward?
BR: Depending on what you go to. If you’re an actor, obviously, you got to have a connector. You can never discount the connectors, the people that work on your behalf. You need to go find an agent, somebody who can get you out there on the auditions, so you’re not trying to go through the door yourself because it’s not going to get you very far.
If you’re a musician, obviously, just make good products and find people to help you sell the music. Just find the experts—people who know what they’re doing, who have a track record, know the formula, and so forth, and go from there.
Because I know that you have worked with so many people, can you share with us an inspiring talent that you’ve worked with? Maybe one or two that you really just admired?
BR: I have such an admiration for so many of the people that I’ve worked with. I’m a big fan of older Hollywood. That would be the people like Ruta Lee, Ruth Buzzi, Barry Corbin, John Schneider, all of those people. I’m just so in awe.
Can you give people a little bit of backstory into these new people that you’re sharing with us? Barry Corbin—if they don’t know—John Schneider. Can you tell people a little bit about what they’ve done?
BR: That’s a big question because I learn a lot from all of my clients, I really do. But John Schneider, for over six years, off and on the time that I’ve worked with him, I’ve learned so much. His work ethic is impeccable. I call him the marathon man because he works non-stop. John and his wife, Alicia, even when they’re on vacation, are working. If they’re not writing a script, they’re planning for their next event.
I also call him the renaissance man because he plays music, he writes, he directs, he acts. His career is so incredibly diverse. I’m just always inspired by his talent and in awe of his work ethic. You do have to work extra hard to keep up with him. I always tell people he runs circles around people half his age.
John, his career, of course, is so diverse. The Dukes of Hazzard early on, but he’s done so many more things. There was Smallville. There was Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. There is The Haves and the Have Nots, a fantastic program that is a Tyler Perry show on the OWN Network. It’s been a big hit. John gets to play the villain on the show, makes J.R. Ewing looks like a nice guy.
When John’s not acting, he’s on a stage somewhere. Not so much recently due to the pandemic, but he’s always in motion—whether it’s with his music, acting, or writing.
That’s so impressive. He’s done so many things. Of all these exciting people that you’ve worked with, can you share a fun story with us?
Wow, that’s so exciting.
BR: Peter has passed, but in my role as a freelance writer, I was lucky enough to know his agent at the time. His agent set it up so that I can interview Peter. We’re going to put him on the front page of a publication called The Senior Voice.
I went out to Peter’s house and I was able to interview him on the front porch of his house. For a Gen Xer like myself, like all Star Wars fans, believes that that galaxy exists somewhere, to be sitting there looking across at him as he drank Dr. Pepper—it was a fantastic memory.
His agent had asked me to set up a live shot. They knew I was also a publicist. They asked me to set up an interview for Peter from the Chewie room, which was there at the property. The Chewie room was basically all of this memorabilia that Peter had.
What type of memorabilia?
BR: Star Wars, like the MTV award that he had won once. Fan art that people had sent in from around the world for all these years. We were going to show off the Chewie room, so I had contacted an ABC affiliate and we were going to do the live shot. Part of their agreement with me was that I could bring my nephews. I think they were both eight or nine years old at that time.
That’s like a Christmas morning for them.
BR: They were super excited. I remember them being there. We did this early in the morning. My two nephews sat and watched the morning news with Peter Mayhew and his wife while Peter’s agent and myself were setting up the Chewie room, getting it ready for the live shot in the back. Now, my nephews are practically grown. I wonder how much of that fun morning that they remember. That was really a cool experience because I got to share that with family.
Did he have the outfit? His costume, did he have that?
BR: I did not see that. I believed that was probably kept on display or somehow kept with Lucasfilm and so forth. I didn’t see that. He was a very kind man. He really was very much a gentle giant. He had written two kids’ books. This was very synchronistic.
We didn’t plan for this. My nephews were just going to go and watch the interview, but because there were two books and there were two nephews, I said, “Why don’t we put them behind Peter while he’s doing his interview and they can read the books?”
That’s so great.
BR: They were actually behind. There’s footage of them behind Chewbacca during his interview, reading his books. That was a really amazing experience.
He was pretty much covered with the filming. Is there anything of him that was shown? Probably his eyes?
BR: Peter had very piercing blue eyes. There was that part of him when you were talking to him that you remember the way Chewbacca’s eyes looked in the movies. You could see that. You could literally feel that you were looking into the eyes of Chewbacca.
That’s a great story.
BR: An incredible guy. I feel so very humbled that that story is a part of my life.
Do you ever get afraid of anything? Because you have so much coming at you, you have so much expectation. People are so reliant on you for so much. Do you ever get afraid of anything?
BR: It’s never happened, and I don’t intend for it to happen. But the idea that I would miss an interview or something, forget an interview that a client had, or let something fall through the cracks. But that’s why we have a calendar. We have Google Calendar. I’m always being punctual, not only punctual, but I want to be five minutes ahead of time.
I know you’re not a braggadocious person at all, but can you share one of something that happened for one of your clients that you just were so excited that actually happened or came through?
It’s so good. If you guys love cars, you have to tune into that. They actually just got a new season, right?
BR: Yes. They’re going into their fifth season. His hometown is Fort Worth, so I had the idea. I said, “You know, you should go back to some of the hometown publications. Let’s talk to them.” Fort Worth Weekly was super excited to talk to Shag. They surprised us with a cover. For as long as I’ve been doing this, I never ever get tired of the rush. There’s always a rush that goes when you find out that your client’s going to get the cover of something.
So many people, so many fans just love to have that one second with their idol. You must see so much of that. That in itself must be really fulfilling to know that you can help clients connect with their fans.
BR: Yeah. Mostly everyone that I’ve worked with is always really good with their fans, gracious, and so forth. But being famous now is a lot different than being famous before the internet, before the iPhone. In the old days, people wanted autographs. Now, everybody comes up and they want a selfie. It could be slightly intrusive. As a public person, you are kind of always having to negotiate those boundaries. It comes with the turf. You can’t really turn fame off.
In the old days, people didn’t carry cameras around. There was no documenting that you went to the grocery store. Could you imagine going to the grocery store, having a bad hair day, somebody coming up wanting a selfie, and then being upset at you if you didn’t take the selfie? I’ve always said there’s a real beauty to anonymity. It’s highly underrated. I love that I can go to the grocery store, leave, and no one notices.
That’s the beauty of what you do. You can really help make sure that the people that you represent—and it’s not just celebrities, although there are many of them, but people from all different types of walks of life. You make sure that they always look their best. You make sure that they know what to expect.
I wanted to ask you probably one more notable person that we all must know. I’d love to ask you about Dionne Warwick. Can you share a little memory from your time with Dionne?
BR: It was, again, just for a project. She was not a client, but she was a part of a charity event that we were doing in Georgia. I helped with her press leading up to the event. We did a radio tour and got to know each other. Somewhat to that, I was setting in on her tour, listening to her, knowing what a pro she was, knowing that that came from being so many years in the business, and how gracious she could be.
Morning radio was what she was doing. She was doing one morning radio show after the other. Morning radio can be tough. You’ll never know what you’re going to get. Every show can be completely different. She just rolled with the punches. She was just incredible. I was so grateful for that exchange, to be able to work with her even in such a short amount of time.
Do you have a favorite quote or one that stands out to you that helps you knead your day or something that we can close with?
BR: Every day, I go to my desk—gratitude and humility. There is a certain element of when you’re trying to put good things together, you got to surrender some of that to God and ask for some help in making good things happen for people. I’m there to serve my client. I’m all about return on investment. They’ve taken the chance to invest in me and I always want that to be really a good experience for them.
Thank you, Barry. This has been a lot of fun. I would love to have you back on if you would let us.
BR: Absolutely. It’s an honor to be here and contribute to your wonderful program. I’m so proud of you, what you’re doing, and so forth. It really has given me an opportunity to know what my clients go through. It’s nice to put a different hat on.
Thank you so much, Barry.
BR: I really enjoyed being here.
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