Because Celebrities

THE PANDEMIC PIVOT: SIX STUDENT STORIES

Name: Anthony Uribe 

Major: Advertising and Marketing Communications ’21

The Pivot: Uribe, the entertainment chair of FIT’s Student Activities Board, noticed a decline in attendance of student events. His solution: Bring in boldface names.

Seeing FIT’s legendary drag pageant your first year was important for you. Why?

I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I remember being in the audience thinking, I need to be the one running this next year. 

So you became the entertainment chair for the Student Activities Board (SAB). What happened when the pandemic hit?

In March, we were gearing up for the pageant. I thought FIT would be closed for two weeks at most. So much work went into that project and it ultimately got canceled. We pivoted to virtual events, but at first students weren’t really into it.

What changed?

At the end of spring semester I brought in Monique Heart from RuPaul’s Drag Race for a virtual drag bingo event. That was the first time I booked a celebrity, and it was fun getting to negotiate back and forth. The event was super successful so I decided to redo it for freshman orientation with Drag Race: All Stars winner Shea Couleé. That event had more than 300 attendees. After that, audience numbers kept growing.

This is what you want to do for your career, right?

Yes, I’ve always been interested in event planning and public relations. I have a virtual internship with BPCM, a PR firm, in their L.A. office, creating press clips and pitching influencers. It’s L.A. time, which is hard, but I get to sleep in, which is nice. I like matchmaking influencers with brands. It’s basically what I do for FIT. I’m really in tune with pop culture. I know who would be good for what brand.

You even got one of the guys from Queer Eye for an event.

I wanted to do a cooking demo for Thanksgiving, so Antoni Porowski, the food and wine guy, came and made brussels sprouts with prosciutto chips on Zoom. (Mushrooms were the vegan substitute.) Our Instagram DMs and the SAB account were flooded with emails, and people were texting me about how great the event went. “Stay at home” gave us the opportunity to work with people I could only dream of because to get him in person would be so expensive.

And you finally got to promote the drag pageant — FIT’s 14th.

I was so excited that we were able to pull off the show virtually. We got Miz Cracker from Drag Race to host, and we had the college’s first-ever openly nonbinary winner, Mannie Quinn. The contestants taped their solo performances all over the city. One did it in Times Square; one transformed their backyard into Alice in Wonderland. They were so creative, and it made for an amazing show.