Feature: Montarna McDonald, The Audience Agency
Many of us will look back at our early twenties as a time in our life when the idea of a career path eluded us and the most important decisions we made revolved around where we would be having pre-drinks on a Saturday night. For Montarna McDonald, however, her early twenties were anything but. On the contrary, her days were spent juggling a university degree with multiple jobs, internships and late nights at the office... and geez has it paid off for this #girlboss.
At the age of 24, when many are starting out their careers, Montarna McDonald is running the show. In a cutthroat PR industry, in which merely getting your foot in the door is a feat, Montarna is paving her own way. How you may ask. Well it’s simple… as the boss! Starting her PR career early, while still studying at university, this ambitious beauty hit the ground running.
“I juggled exams and coursework with work experience and part-time PR roles – it was hectic but it gave me such a head start in the industry – I had five years’ experience by the age of 23!”
After graduating from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Media and Communications, Montarna took on a marketing role with Belinda International (a global, multi-brand designer boutique.). Not only did this job opportunity provide her with experience in retail and sales, she was lucky enough to work with some world-renowned (and understandably her favourite) brands such as Isabel Marant and Stella McCartney.
Easily finding her feet in the industry and making a name for herself, McDonald began to reap the rewards of her hard work. Rather than seeking out job opportunities, the requests came her way as she began being approached by various brands and contacts to assist with their communications. It was at this point that Montarna ‘saw the light’, and knew it was time to start a new chapter.
And that is when THE AUDIENCE AGENCY was born.
Run by Montarna, the agency consists of a small focused team of talented individuals and selected partners, who are involved with certain projects when required. Despite being in its early days, it seems as though in the lucrative world of PR, the emerging company stands as a force to be reckoned with. Current clients range from bloggers such as ‘Styled by Phillips’ to the coveted Australian labels such as Aje` and health product, Lucky You Cleanse. The agencies client base is growing organically, month-by-month, in a well-orchestrated manner.
“We only take on brands that we love, and that we have the manpower to manage perfectly. I am so proud of our client list. It is a mix of established labels, up and coming brands, and creative talent”.
What sets THE AUDIENCE AGENCY apart from many other PR companies is the injection of youth and Montarna’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing industry. Wanting her agency to be ‘all-encompassing’, Montarna set out to offer a diverse portfolio of services to her clientele.
“A straight PR agency isn’t going to cut it in today’s industry. Everything we do involves engaging an audience – whether that’s consumers, partners, influencers, celebrities, the media – and the way we communicate with audiences has changed massively over the last five years. The agency element of the name makes us flexible; we don’t just do PR, we execute events, run talent management and create digital strategies”.
Like with any job, even a PR queen in the making can concede to some downfalls – even when working a dream job in the media. For Montarna the most intimidating element of being the boss is having everything fall back on her and in turn having to take full responsibility for all outcomes. “But that keeps me focused” she adds.
“I love the sense of achievement and pride when an event or concept has an amazing result – I know that it’s down to my team and that’s a fantastic feeling. It’s also great to have creative freedom and be able to stamp your brand identity on everything you do.”
As for her ambitious nature, well she puts this down to her parents. As the daughter of two hardworking entrepreneurs who ensured they raised a hardworking and well-travelled daughter – Montarna was always destined to become her own boss.
Her advice for all the dreamers who want to branch out and become their own #girlboss …
“Don’t expect success to happen overnight. You have to get experience and make mistakes before you can be completely confident in your own abilities. And it’s never too early to start pursuing your goals – I dashed from Uni to PR jobs for nearly five years and barely had a life outside of work, but it was all worth it to start my own agency at 24”.
If I wasn’t running my own PR agency I would be… an interior designer. Before I studied Communications I was enrolled in Interior Architecture at University
My favourite holiday destination is… Zermatt, Switzerland
On my wish list this winter is… The classic black leather Balenciaga biker jacket. I am swooning over it. I say it every winter and for some reason never end up buying it. This year is the year!
The top 5 labels I am loving at the moment are… Isabel Marant, Aje, Scanlan & Theodore, Stella McCartney and Givenchy
To wind down I… have a cocktail with a friend at the Kings Cross Hotel Rooftop Bar. It always does the job!
Blazer or leather jacket? Blazer until I own that Balenciaga leather jacket!
Skinny jeans or boyfriend jeans? Skinny is far more flattering but boyfriend for comfort
Sneakers or loafers? Neither I’m all about a heel
Mini or midi skirt? Depends on the occasion
Red lippy or nude lippy? Red all the way!