It’s Time for More by Her
And it starts with the advancement of female creativity.
For Black History Month, we’re highlighting black change makers who are shifting the culture and using their identity as a tool to propel them forward, not hold them back. Meet New York based brand builder and creative entrepreneur Anisa Benitez.
What does it take to replace the ‘starving artist’ concept with that of a ‘thriving artist?’ Brand builder, strategic marketer, artist advocate, and creative entrepreneur Anisa Benitez founded the creative platform More by Her to help answer that question.
A New York native born to Cuban and Nuyorican (Puerto Rican New Yorker) parents, Anisa couldn’t envision herself in a creative field growing up. “My family had sacrificed too much to live in the U.S., we were low-income, and I didn’t personally know a woman who was making a comfortable living as a creative,” she shares.
Fast forward to today and Anisa has built a career in marketing with major brands like Google and TIME and is continuing to evolve into the artist she’s always wanted to be. We chatted with Anisa to learn more about her work as a marketer, what identity means to her and how we can all play a role in dismantling the starving artist stigma.
Give us a little overview of what you do and how you got started in marketing.
I’m now a marketing consultant with over 7+ years of experience with top brands like Google, YouTube, TIME Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune Magazine, and RCA Records within Sony Music Entertainment. I’ve also been using my marketing skills towards More by Her, a platform I founded to highlight creative women who are shaping our culture.
I fell in love with marketing in undergrad. I was obsessed with behavioral economics, and the psychology behind the way people made decisions. As a creative and strategist, marketing is a fulfilling blend of the two. My first marketing role was for my college’s, Smith College, executive leadership conferences for women. It wasn’t meant to be a marketing role, but I advocated to take on growing their social channel and taking on marketing duties to make it so. Then interned in the music industry, on the entertainment side and absolutely loved it. “I will leverage my marketing skills to support artists,” was my work mantra.
After graduating, I started at Sony Music in Promotions Marketing for RCA Records. After that moved to Time Inc for a subscription marketing & new revenue acquisition role. Did marketing consulting for startups and small businesses. Then have been at Google for the past 3 years, most recently as a Brand Marketing Manager for YouTube Music. Marketing is storytelling; it’s continually evolving. Grateful to have built my career around learning how to make people care for things I value: supporting artists and creatives across music, media and other spaces.
How do you identify and why is your identity important to you?
Afro-latina, Black, Latinx, a woman, she, her… My identity is important to me because it carries history; Stories of all the people who fought for my identity to be recognized and treated as equal.
Why did you decide to create More by Her?
More by Her serves as a platform and community that aims to dismantle the ‘starving artist’ stigma by highlighting creative women who are shaping culture. We share the stories of the #ThrivingArtist across a diversity of backgrounds with the intention to:
- Strengthen the pipeline of women in the arts and creative spaces by providing others transparency into what a creative future could look like.
- Shift unequal power structures and cultural beliefs by promoting creative women and supporting their work.
- Show the diversity of creative paths.
Since launching we’ve featured many incredible women, such as Madison McFerrin, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter; Ingrid Silva, professional ballerina at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and activist, among others. Each Wednesday we drop wisdom (share a new story) from these creatives and invite readers to get their take on early exposure to creative paths, accountability, financials, success tips and more. You can follow us on social @More_by_Her.
Growing up I couldn’t envision a creative future for myself, despite being a very artistic kid. My family had sacrificed too much to live in the U.S., we were low-income, and I didn’t personally know a woman who was making a comfortable living as a creative. “I will not be a starving artist,” I declared myself.
Against my proclamation, today I’m an artist: actor, a dancer, model, writer, speaker and creator of More by Her. I’ve also realized the power that we unleash by creating and recognize that so many people suppress this power. They believe the ‘starving artist’ stigma and don’t continue to express themselves creatively or pursue what brings them joy. It’s tragic to me! Especially because they could be shifting culture through what they create. I deeply admire all the women on More by Her; each is sharing their perspective through their work and creating a more inclusive future for all.
“My family had sacrificed too much to live in the U.S., we were low-income, and I didn’t personally know a woman who was making a comfortable living as a creative. ”
How can we all play a part in dismantling the ‘starving artist’ stigma?
We have to start by shifting our mindsets, our internal narrative first. Most of us have been conditioned to believe the ‘starving artist’ stigma. Only after re-examination can we can change the external narratives and drive change through action. I lead workshops on this so please reach out for further inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
To summarize some of what I cover, it begins here:
- Release scarcity mindset – Stop believing there is not enough to go around.
- Re-examine who is an artist. Who gets to claim this title and how?
- Allow abundance – Create a mindset of prosperity and generosity
- Live your value – Ask your worth and pay for value
There’s a lot to unpack in the above, but the outcome is society upholding standards of paying artists and artists getting paid well as normalized.
What frustrates you the most about today’s creative landscape?
Economic disparity – that there is actually SO MUCH wealth and abundance invested in creative spaces, but it’s not distributed fairly. Where it’s mainly invested there is also a lack of diversity. I’ve witnessed it first-hand in marketing. Seeing massive budgets go to creative agencies of pretty much all white (and already wealthy) men.
What do you want people to take away from your work with More by Her?
That they are powerful. That in unleashing their creative power they can shift culture. That they don’t need to ‘starve’ to be creating. That their unique perspective matters.
What’s your positive message for 2020?
Once you’ve fed your mouth, feed your soul.