PaperCity Magazine

November 2014 - Houston

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PHOTOGRAPHER SHAYNA FONTANA. ART DIRECTION MICHELLE AVIÑA. HAIR AND MAKEUP TONYA RINER. SHOT AT LA COLOMBE D'OR. T alent comes in many forms. Some people plug away; others are born all-knowing. Sitting down with the hyper-thoughtful, very stylish Gail Rubin, nurturer of brands as a very niched public relations maestro, one gets the sense of a woman who knows her place and her gifts. But there's always a moment when even the best and brightest find their test. She has rolled though the good times, overcome the bad and has now hit her stride. Steven Hempel talks with the notoriously private Ms. Rubin about the American dream, Ralph Lauren and the necessity of cloud gazing. BORN ANEW. The day I got to New York was the day I started to live. For the first 11 years, every day felt like it was a day worth living. RALPH LAUREN. My first job after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York was in the international licensing department of Ralph Lauren on the womenswear side. I'd sit in on design fittings and learn what each garment in the collection was to look and feel like, then travel to Tokyo to tweak the collection so the color and fit translated to the Japanese market. GETTING IN THE DOOR. A dear friend of mine was working in the Ralph Lauren in-house PR department and noticed the job description on their job board. My degree was in textile development and marketing, so she thought this would be a good fit. And it was. I loved that time in my life. Ralph's attention for quality and detail is unparalleled, and it was an amazing opportunity to have that company be the place that set my standards professionally. THE (OTHER) CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS. The first time I landed in Narita in Tokyo, I cried. And anyone who's been there knows how long the bus ride into the city is. But no matter how tired I was, I was exhilarated. There's something about the energy you get from Tokyo that I've never experienced anywhere else in the world. The culture. The design. The simplicity. The outrageousness. The food. The natural beauty. The signage! When you live in NYC you think there's no place bigger or better (which is true in some ways), but I remember thinking on that first visit, 'Holy shit, this makes Manhattan look like Kansas!' MOVING TO HOUSTON. I moved here for the sky. It is big and wide and open. And my mother is here. And Stuart Rosenberg, my business partner in Studio Communications. And you can find a quiet place to get away from everything. Houston is a very easy place to live. The people are warm, it's so entrepreneurial, and you can do anything. And the people around you will help you do it. I don't think you find that in other places. There are so many people from all over the world here that can give you input on things that you just wouldn't expect. LIFE IN THE CLOUDS. It's slightly embarrassing how much time I spend watching clouds roll by, but it allows me to tune out and clear my mind. The main reason I took the apartment I live in now is because no matter where I'm sitting or resting, I have a direct view to the sky. If you don't find me there on my downtime, I'm often gazing up at the sky in Menil Park. ON ARRIVAL. Stuart and I moved here on a total whim. I thought I would be doing PR work in oil and gas. I was just ready to leave New York and ready to get a bedroom and a space that was mine. I had this dream, so off we went. I was 30 … it was 2003. I owned my apartment in NY, and it took a year and half after 9/11 to sell it. Imagine now. It was just a different place then. In New York, Paris and London, PR firms are very niche in terms of luxury and lifestyle. When we started Studio, we discovered that most agencies here are large in scale and focus on corporate industries: medical, legal, obviously oil, gas and energy. So we decided to combine our backgrounds (mine in fashion and Stuart, in hospitality) and tap into something few were doing — which was to keep our operation boutique and tightly focus on what we know. THE DNA OF PR. We are messengers. People get into this business for very different reasons. Mine was to have a platform to express my creativity in a way that could help others build their brands and vision. When I take on a new client, I may not be their target customer, but I connect with their story. I literally close my eyes, and if I can view the world through their eyes, I know we'll be able to create good things together. I never push things; what I do is more like the editing of a story. I'm a curator. And I won't take anyone on whose work I don't connect with. GSPOT. Gail Rubin photographed throughout at La Colombe d'Or. She wears a coat by Isabel Marant, at Sloan/Hall. THE

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