from the public relations firm MSL U.S. and The Influencer League, which found a 29% pay gap between white influencers and influencers of color. The gap between white and Black influencers, specifically? A whopping 35%.That disparity comes as no surprise to Pamela Zapata, who saw firsthand the inequities in the industry during her decade-plus in marketing, production and influencer strategy—and set out to fix it.
In 2019, she launched , an influencer management and digital marketing firm that focuses on multicultural and multiethnic content creators.Zapata wants to show influencers of color that their skills and talent have value, and these days, she has a roster of creators who trust her team to and . We sat down with Zapata to talk about setting out on your own, supporting creators of all kinds, and the beauty of standing up for yourself.This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.Pamela Zapata: I had been working in marketing, production, talent and casting for about 10 years when I started the agency. I started at Ryan Seacrest Productions; then, I went to E! and was there for four years.
I went to a startup and essentially created their entire influencer network. Then, I moved to New York and worked at a couple of marketing agencies, where I was overseeing the Estée Lauder and Unilever portfolios—everything from influencer strategy to casting to execution to reporting.What I noticed across the board, especially in the later years, was that influencers—a lot of them didn’t understand their value. They didn’t understand how to negotiate contracts.
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