When I started putting together ideas for the first interview articles launching this magazine, one person immediately came to mind. I met Josh Sabarra online via Twitter. Josh and I shared common interests, most notably that of a fondness for a television program called Dancing with the Stars. Josh’s connection to the show was more than just fondness; as it turned out he had a much deeper connection to the program. I’ll get to that, but first let’s meet Josh.
Josh Sabarra, by trade, is a Marketing and Public Relations Executive. He has worked for the better part of 15 years for major studios and networks including Disney, Warner Bros., Miramax Films and New Line Cinema. Deciding to break out on his own, Josh proceeded to launch his personal firm, Breaking News PR. Josh describes his firm as “bi-coastal and services celebrity clients, as well as film and television projects.”
When contemplating interviews to conduct for the magazine, I knew Josh would be a perfect fit. His experience and current work in the entertainment field is interesting and not something we often hear about firsthand. Josh is charismatic and charming; a quick, dry wit and it’s easy to see how he could navigate the sometimes exciting, sometimes dicey world of entertainment. So I was curious as to how it all began for him and the road he has traveled. Josh was gracious and agreed to visit with us.
Sharing that he has “always been interested in entertainment” Josh stated that he “began as a high school intern, writing a column and feature stories for The Palm Beach Post.” From there, he “interned at the PR firms that handled the film studios, as well as at CBS News and the long-running daytime soap opera Guiding Light.” All of this while still in college.
Upon college graduation, Josh entered the workforce with a dual degree in Motion Pictures/Communications and Psychology. Ready to begin his career, he landed a job at Disney, where he worked on publicity campaigns for movies such as Armageddon, The Horse Whisperer, Hercules, Toy Story 2, Mulan, Tarzan and The Sixth Sense.
Other studios followed allowing creative participation in publicity for such projects as Harry Potter, Kill Bill, The Notebook, The Lord of the Rings, Wedding Crashers, Hairspray and the hit TV series Project Runway.
Josh’s career has taken a number of turns along the way, still staying true to the entertainment field. Along with Breaking News PR, he shares “I always wanted to try my hand at producing as well. So, this past year, I executive produced the Lifetime movie, Nancy Grace’s The Eleventh Victim (starring Jennie Garth and Metta World Peace), and am a producer of The Ricki Lake Show. Interestingly, I started doing a little on-camera work and may surprise you with a couple of upcoming projects. I am also developing a scripted television series for cable and a second Lifetime movie is in the works for 2013! You’ll have to stay tuned!”
As busy as all of this implies, Josh admits he has another project in the works. “My dream is to write a book, which I am currently working on with my agent. It’s an observational memoir, non-linear in the telling. I am very open about my life when I appear on programs such as The Ricki Lake Show – but there are quite a few interesting twists that I hope will be interesting and appealing to a wider audience.” Personally, I can’t wait to read what he has in store for us!
Balancing the process of all of this workload, I asked Josh what an average day would be like for him. He replied that “there is no average day; that’s why I find it all so exciting! I might be on a set overseeing production, at a photo shoot, accompanying a client to an interview, advising on marketing strategy for a project, helping to cast a TV movie – it all depends on the day. When I worked for the studios, it was a much more structured, corporate experience. I love the ‘anything can happen’ style of my current situation!”
Josh goes on to share that “I love working with such interesting and talented people, and I also like that every experience is a new adventure. I love what I am doing because I am exploring so many interesting avenues – the marketing and PR world, producing, writing and on-camera work. I am just curious to see where it all takes me!”
After this time of reflection, I wondered if Josh had any influences in his life that he could attribute positive aspects of his journey to… “If I am being completely honest, my parents are my role models. They are the brightest and most honorable people I know, and I believe that they instilled the right values in both my sister and me. I also have to give some points to Nancy Grace from CNN HLN. She is the definition of smart, kind and loyal – and she has been a strong influence in my life since I graduated from college in 1997.”
Since Josh acknowledged this positive support I asked him if he had any words of advice for others who may be looking to start a career…”I always tell people who are starting out that they cannot listen to those who tell them they won’t be able to accomplish something. At every career turn, someone told me that the next step would be impossible. If I listened to those folks, I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.”
While juggling all of these hats, I asked Josh if there was something about him that might surprise us. Apparently he does have one downfall…” I can’t do math to save my life. Can 2+2 have multiple answers? I don’t like anything that I can’t talk or write my way out of!”
As for the Dancing with the Stars connection I referred to earlier…two of the Stars (celebrity constants) that have appeared on the program are close friends with Josh, as well as clients. Ricki Lake and Nancy Grace both danced their way into our hearts, and I became acquainted with Josh during Nancy’s time on the show!
Thanks Josh, for taking the time to share your journey with us. We will keep an eye out and look forward to all of the exciting things the future brings!
Fast Five – Questions for Fun!!
Last Song You Listened to on Your MP3 Player? “Sara Ramirez’s cover of Brandi Carlile’s song The Story. It’s one of my favorite songs.”
Favorite Food Indulgence? “Who can pass up red velvet anything?”
Favorite Guilty Pleasure? “I don’t ever feel guilty for having pleasure! But, I do like to steal time to cozy up in bed for an 80’s movie marathon – About Last Night, St. Elmo’s Fire, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink. You get the idea.”
Celebrity Crush? “Do you even have to ask? Channing Tatum, of course.”
What’s on Your Nightstand? “A copy of Cheryl Strayed’s amazing book Tiny Beautiful Things. I read one small section at a time because I don’t want it to end!”
You can find Josh on Twitter at @joshsabarra and @breakingnewspr