SKII: Where were you born and raised?
Tonya: I was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Lynwood, California.
SKII: Tell me a little bit about yourself?
Tonya: I am a high vibrational, positive spirit who love seeing success come to fruition in myself as well as in other people. I’m a natural giver and I love helping other’s projects come to life. I am an outgoing person and a hard worker.
SKII: What schools have you attended?
Tonya: Lynwood High, Cerritos Community College, and then Ashford Grad School.
SKII: After grad school, what jobs did you have?
Tonya: After grad school…I left grad school with the degree of Organization in Healthcare Management and I worked at the hospital (which had nothing to do with public relations). Although the job was fulfilling, because I was able to assist providers daily, I wasn’t happy with that job, I didn’t feel like that was my destiny. I remembered the times that I would leave and cry – for no reason. I wish I had known that my destiny was PR while I was in grad school. I changed majors a few times not knowing what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted [a full rolodex] to help people; and I wanted to be that person that they’d need to help them.
SKII: You raised a child on your own…your daughter?
Tonya: Yes, Charity and she’s twenty-two years of age. I got married when I was twenty and I had her when I was twenty-one.
SKII: Tell me about your current job as a Celebrity Publicist.
Tonya: My job right now is busy, which I’m happy for. My clients have exciting things going on. Everyday is a new day, no day is the same because you never know when someone will book a role, receive an award, etc. My daily mission is to seek ways to keep my clients in the forefront of people minds. There are some days, I have to wear my Olivia Pope hat and clean up a mess that someone has somehow gotten involved in. (Not too often). I have an awesome team..
SKII: So, tell me – how do you help your clients?
Tonya: I help them find the best way to reach their dreams. Rather it be getting in front of a casting director, producer, investor, etc. I position my clients in the right place at the right time. I am constantly seeking for ways to keep them in the limelight. My clients have hosted many events, made guest appearances at various events, participated in charity games, fundraisers. I think it is wonderful when my clients have a passion for a cause and we reach out to support an organization about that cause, or when my clients have an organization of their own that edifies their passion. I also help by giving suggestions on how to manage their money. They get paid, yet I must explain that they shouldn’t spend all of their money at once. Invest, invest in yourself, ROI, life insurance, let your money grow. Of course, spend some and save some. I want them to keep their future in mind as well.
SKII: So, tell me about your company, “TCPR”
Tonya: TCPR is a company that offers top notch, hands on, public relation services. The company is ran by me and my Junior Publicist (my daughter) who helps me with my social media. My Jr.PR is also my go to person when I have younger clients that wish to attend “younger events” or when I have more than one client booked for an appearance, I will go to one and she to the other. My team loves her. I keep my roster small because I want everyone to feel as if they are my only client. Each person is important to me and I never want them to feel neglected or alone. I believe in respect, courage, honesty, and truth.
SKII: Do you plan on writing a book about yourself, or have you already?
Tonya: No, I do not plan on writing a book about myself, but who knows what the future holds…
SKII: Tell me how did you get involved with the magazine called, “Hooked Credit”?
Tonya: I’m not involved in Hooked Credit. I am the in-house publicist for – Sir Jones Magazine.
SKII: Please, tell me about Sir Jones Magazine.
Tonya: Mister Jones (that’s his real name, Mister) was based in New York, the magazine started there. It is still a publications there. He ran a modeling agency in New York as well. Things were going so great, he decided to come to L.A.. to be bi-coastal. The magazine is really good. He calls it “keeping up with the Joneses”. He often highlights celebrity friends on the red carpets, give updates on what celebs are doing, and he always has great eye candy for men and women. My job is to share different and new ideas, as well as keep him in the know of where certain events will be held.
SKII: Are your parents still alive?
Tonya: Yes they are and they still live in California. They’re about to celebrate fifty-four years together.
SKII: How was it growing up in California?
Tonya: Growing up in California was a lot of fun. A lot of being outside and playing; riding a bike; playing softball, basketball, and other things. My best friend moved away when I was around 10 or 11 and for some reason after that, my parents sheltered me, (lol). There was no more riding bikes up and down the streets. I was allowed to attend sleep overs at friends houses while growing up. When I reached high school, I wasn’t allowed to attend many high school football games, dances, etc.. So, I developed a love for music and books. The radio and the books have been one of my best friends every since.
SKII: Can you tell me some of the people you’ve worked with?
Tonya: Currently, I am working with Ernest Thomas from, “What’s Happening?”; Steven Russell Harts from Troop; Tony Grant from Tyler Perry’s “Love Thy Neighbor”; Tyrone Du-Bose from TV One Network, “UnSung”; along with his own Timeless Traxx radio show; Brandon Larkins, “The Wire”; “Cougar Town”, Desreta Jackson from “The Color Purple”. She is the founder and CEO of Black Silk Hair Care products, as well as a movie producer’ DeMonica Santiago – who was 1/3 of the Motown recording group, “The Good Girls”. She now runs a successful music licensing company; Melvin Jackson Jr. – who also played on, “The Wire”; Juaquin Hawkins whose a former NBA player. He is also the CEO/founder of Hawk Hoops Sports and the author of his autobiography, “The Stroke Of Grace”; Hairnamics, the best hair, skin and nails vitamin around and Aalure, a super talented young lady with a voice that will blow your mind! I’m blessed with a super fantastic list of clients!
SKII: What would you say to someone , whose trying to do what you’ve done?
Tonya: Do a lot of networking, Have a lot of patience, Study your craft, Surround yourself with other publicists who enjoy their work and are not just about the money. Money is good, but it could inspire you to handle your clients differently. Always work with integrity. Have thick skin because there are a lot of “No’s” that will come your way. Keep the focus on your client – this is not about you.
SKII: What will you tell a younger you?
Tonya: I would tell the younger me, “We Made It!”. I would keep everything the same as it was while growing-up, because it made me who I am today!
SKII: Your daughter is your Junior Publicist; how often does she work for you?
Tonya: She works for me maybe four times out the year. Other than that, she’s doing her own thing.
SKII: Who inspired you the most?
Tonya: My parents and daughter. My father is a hard worker. He’s the bread winner who made sure his wife and 5 children always had shelter, food, clothes and a radio (lol). He is my encouragment to keep going. My mom is a homemaker. She makes sure the home is a home, not just a place…it is home! Anyone who enters my parents home feel the love. My mom is my cheerleader and role model. My work habits came in my DNA, I inherited that from my dad,. My mom on the other hand is unbelievable! She is brilliant and she is the type of woman who makes sure Christmas was always Christmas, with or without a budget. I have to constantly study her because when she was created, I believe she broke the mold. Her heart is unmatched. If I am half the woman she is, I’m winning. Then there is my daughter, the love of my life! As I stated earlier, I had her at the age of 21 so I had to grow up quick. She is my biggest inspiration, my breath of fresh air, my motivation, my life. These three inspire me to be my best everyday. I am stronger because of them.
SKII: Who was the coolest person you’ve interviewed or clicked-with the most?
Tonya: There are several cool people I have clicked with. As a matter of fact, there’s just too many to name. Of course all of my clients, outside of them are the absolute coolest? I would give that to Kenny Lattimore. He is a humble, consistent, talented, intelligent, inspirational, God fearing, respectable super cool guy. We used to attend the same church but I did not really speak to him until years had gone by. when I reached out to both him and his then wife Chante Moore. (She was his wife up to 2011). I had asked him to participate in a celebrity basketball game my client Juaquin Hawkins was hosting. I was going through his ex-wife’s team as my contact. But, I never received any response from them. I later bumped into him years later and jokingly asked – why didn’t he attend to any of my charity events? He said, he never knew about the event. But if I ever needed him again, to contact him directly. If he was available at that time, he would be there. Kenny is truly a man of his words, I have called on him. Because of his availability, he was there. Outside of that, he is just a joy to be around.
SKII: Who was the worst? No names, please.
Tonya: The worst was sadly, a Gospel artist. She was nothing like I imagined her to be. She was rude to a fan. This fan was asking for a picture and she yelled, “Are you kidding me?” You just saw me singing for an hour. After that, they rudely walked away. She lost me as a fan. Maybe she was having a bad night but, in the limelight you have to stay in character. A simple, oh I am sorry, not right now would have been sufficient. It would not have hurt her to take one picture. I think all the celebs who are rude or think they are too good for a fan are the worst.
SKII: What’s your motto about?
Tonya: It’s in the name! And, God is God for a reason. A name is very important to stay in a good light. Your name is a big part of who you are that makes you unique. People remember a person by their name and their action