By: Ijeoma S. Nwatu
Alicia Minter is a forced to be reckoned with in television and marketing. As the founder of Biggs Creative she is an award-winning Creative Director with over 15 years of experience leading creative teams and creating 360 marketing campaigns from concept to completion. She’s created content for various platforms such as ABC, USA, HGTV, Food Network, AMC, National Geographic, TLC, Nickelodeon, Sundance TV, and more. Check out our interview with her below:
Describe yourself in elevator pitch.
I am biracial, half black, half white. Morgan State University undergrad. I secured an internship with The Learning Channel (TLC) and turned into a television marketing job. I earned my Master’s from John Hopkins while working full-time. I’ve worked at Discovery Channel, TV One, and Natl Geographic Channel. After being in corporate America for 10+ years, I took the leap to agency side with a move to New York City. I loved the experience and worked there was four years doing marketing and production for big budget networks like Nickelodeon and ABC.
How do you manage your personal and professional lives?
Hardest two years of my life was getting my Master’s in Communications & Marketing and working full-time. I don’t remember them well.
The program catered to people working. Classes were at night. I spent my weekends writing papers. I love to learn. I was in my element. By far, it’s the best thing I’ve done. I could tangibly connect my day-to-day work with my studies.
At that time, I was in a romantic relationship. I still managed to hang out with my friends.
I remember going to conferences and doing homework in the early morning, being on planes and writing papers. It was madness; it was totally worth it.
I have the best work-life balance now because of freelancing. Laundry, cooking, working out, multitasking even while on on a conference call is paramount. The ability to work from home is phenomenal.
Describe your business (Biggs Creative, Inc.) in five words.
Marketing, Production, Branded Entertainment, Creativity.
Running your own company in the world of television and movies is challenging. How did you get started and how to secure (new) business?
I’ve been freelancing for over two years. It was always something I wanted to do. I worked myself up the corporate ladder–salary, benefits, and all. I was very comfortable in that structure. I attribute my leap of faith to my previous partner, who gave me confidence to take that leap. He asked me about why I’m not using my 15 years of experience for myself. Eventually, I saved up and had jobs lined up before I left my full-time corporate job.
It’s a lot about contacts and relationships. When I knew I was going to freelance, I put out feelers to agency and network people. I reached out to people and was open to recommendations from people I don’t know. There are times I take people out to lunch. There is a lot of planting seeds and watching them grow. It’s a mix now (new business versus referrals). You have your down moments for two to three weeks but it’s been mostly good.
What is it like being a biracial woman in this line of work? What about unconscious bias in your workplace/industry?
I notice it much more now. I am more cognizant of it when I look around in a meeting. As a woman, it’s never been a contention. I’ve been a minority in many situations as a biracial woman. To be honest, I consider myself a Black woman, since that is how society sees me until I explain my background. Without going into detail, I am used to being the only Black woman on set and I have been on hundreds of sets. Once I reached a position where I had the power to hire my own crew, I made it my mission to make sure there is more diversity on all my sets. I will keep that mission going until it is the industry standard to have diverse sets.
What does do think about the state of television? Will streaming dominate the industry over in the next few years?
TV is changing so much. If you look at the history of broadcast, we are the youngest industry but have changed aggressively over time. Television is gone, bingeing is the way to go. Ultimately, content is king. We have to get out of the network structure because they are all changing. It’s an exciting time and I look forward to where it goes.
Can you trace your initial interest in this career field?
I liked to rewrite commercials when I was younger. 1995. Waiting to Exhale. I was intrigued that Whitney Houston was a producer. She quit her day job and took a pay cut. I was inspired by that. I want to be a producer even though I had no idea what a producer does. In high school, I interned at a government access channel covering county council meetings and local news. It was probably my least exciting internship but I was still hooked. Also, everyone who worked there was Caucasian except the on-air talent, Pia Jordan, a Black woman–that was really inspiring to me. I later studied TV production in college.
What inspires you? What keeps you motivated?
Family. Husband. Friends. Clients. Definitely, Shonda Rhimes and Issa Rae, these incredibly talented women (and men like Kenya Barris of blackish and my husband) of color in television, they inspire me hugely.