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Society 18 Founder Pamela Zapata on Supporting Influencers of Color and Knowing Your Worth

from the public relations firm MSL U.S. and The Influencer League, which found a 29% pay gap between white influencers and influencers of color. The gap between white and Black influencers, specifically? A whopping 35%.That disparity comes as no surprise to Pamela Zapata, who saw firsthand the inequities in the industry during her decade-plus in marketing, production and influencer strategy—and set out to fix it.

In 2019, she launched , an influencer management and digital marketing firm that focuses on multicultural and multiethnic content creators.Zapata wants to show influencers of color that their skills and talent have value, and these days, she has a roster of creators who trust her team to and . We sat down with Zapata to talk about setting out on your own, supporting creators of all kinds, and the beauty of standing up for yourself.This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.Pamela Zapata: I had been working in marketing, production, talent and casting for about 10 years when I started the agency. I started at Ryan Seacrest Productions; then, I went to E! and was there for four years.

I went to a startup and essentially created their entire influencer network. Then, I moved to New York and worked at a couple of marketing agencies, where I was overseeing the Estée Lauder and Unilever portfolios—everything from influencer strategy to casting to execution to reporting.What I noticed across the board, especially in the later years, was that influencers—a lot of them didn’t understand their value. They didn’t understand how to negotiate contracts.

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Try Again: How to Restore the Faith You Once Had in Yourself
nodded again.Sara started off as a shot put competitor, but spent every single afternoon running and training with the rest of the track team.  She was very competitive, and by the end of our freshman year she was down to 219 pounds.  She also won 2nd place in the countywide shot put tournament that year.  Three years later, during our senior year, she won 3rd place in the 10K run.  Her competitive weight at the time was 132 pounds.There was a time when Sara was convinced that it was impossible to lose weight because, in her past experience, it had never worked out the way she had hoped.  She had completely lost faith in herself.  But, with consistency—with a daily ritual of trying again and again—she restored her faith and achieved the “impossible.”  And when Sara showed up to my 37th birthday (pool) party and BBQ recently, I smiled when I overheard another guest she just met compliment her on her bathing suit and physique.Of course, Sara still works really hard—she tries again—every single day to maintain what she has achieved.And, so do I…Some people get this idea about me, because I’m a New York Times bestselling author who has spent the past decade writing and teaching people how to create more success and happiness in their lives, that I don’t ever fall short and fail miserably in these areas.  But of course, I’m human, so that’s not true at all.  I fall short and fail at things much more than you might imagine, and certainly far more than I’d often like to admit.  And, it feels just as horrible for me as it does for you or anyone else—I absolutely lose faith in myself sometimes.Deep down, of course, I know these negative reactions aren’t helpful.  So I own up to what happened, learn a lesson or two, and then get
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