We had the good fortune of connecting with Cameron Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cameron, what do you attribute your success to?
I have worked in marketing and PR for over 10 years before becoming a content creator/influencer. I was able to build my brand fairly quickly because I knew how to pitch myself properly and how to work with PR agencies and marketing teams in a professional manner. I am considered a unicorn in the influencer space because of my experience from the brand side as well as the content creator side. I’ve done marketing and PR in beauty, fashion, entertainment and hospitality, basically all the categories that influencers/content creators work in. There are many content creators/influencers out there, but not many can run a marketing or PR campaign from conception to execution and this definitely gives me an edge when working with other brands and creators. I see myself as a brand/product and I approach it as a business and create assets that speak to my brand, which is luxury lifestyle and travel.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a marketing/PR professional turned content creator. My personal brand is Out With Cameron (@thecameronlee on ig) where I cover luxury lifestyle and travel on my Instagram working with destinations, hotels, and brands in the luxury space. I also run my own creative PR/Marketing agency working with brands on building strategic partnerships and consulting with influencers and brands on social media branding. What sets me apart from others is that I am a marketing/PR professional first, so I approach everything from a business perspective and I execute through a creative lens. I have experience as a PR/Marketing professional and I also know how to create influencer content and have a pretty good eye on knowing what will click with an audience. I am most proud of being profiled by The Washington Post both in print and online and last year I spoke on a panel hosted by Facebook on the importance of working with diversity creators. I am proud of representing Asians in this digital space, especially in the luxury travel space where you don’t see that many Asian men from the US. It’s very important to me to continue my efforts in better Asian representation in mainstream US media. My journey to where I am today is really a combination of many things. I am working in an industry that didn’t really exist 5 years ago. I’ve always had a creative soul. I pursued acting while I was going to school and after that I went into marketing. I worked at a major cable network and then transitioned to the luxury world where I worked in PR/Marketing in beauty, fashion, and hospitality, It was during my time in fashion that instagram became a thing and I was working with a lot of influencers during this time that really didn’t know how to work with brands properly. I thought what if I were to do this influencer thing and actually do it the “right” way where I give brands what they need and able to be professional? I took that thought and I ran with it while I was still working the corporate job. It was definitely a challenge. I was working a very demanding PR job during the week and on the weekends I would get up at sunrise to shoot content to build my instagram. I had a vision, a plan, and I knew how to get there. I was shooting every weekend and using my little vacation time to book trips to shoot more content. I was able to build my following fairly quickly and got some press within months. I never cared much about the number of followers because I knew from working on the brand side that content is key, if I have good content, it is much easier to secure brand collaborations and that’s what I focused on. I saw this whole thing as a business, not as a vanity project that most influencer fell into, which is one of the reasons I started my creative PR/Marketing agency, to guide influencers/content creators on branding themselves so they are able to become a brand and monetize on it the right way. I lost some “friends” along the way that really resented what I was doing initially. I think that’s the biggest lesson i’ve learned- People are used to seeing you in a certain way. They want to put you in a box, and the moment you step outside of that box they get uncomfortable. They’ll try you shame you, make you feel bad or silly about what you’re doing because it’s not what they are used to seeing of you. Don’t listen to those people. Cut them out and surround yourself with people that support your vision and you dreams. It is the only way for you to reach your goal. I want people to hear my story and be inspired to go out to pursue things that make them happy. I could have stayed behind a desk and worked a 6 figure salary marketing/PR job, but I wanted to pursue something for myself (through proper planning). Since then I have been able to travel the world and work with some of the most recognizable luxury brands in the world. It is never too late!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, there isn’t much to do in the city nowadays in the middle of a pandemic. If we weren’t in a pandemic, I would definitely suggest Santa Monica for a day, drive up the PCH to Zuma Beach in Malibu with dinner at Nobu Malibu on the way back. A hike up the Griffith Observatory is a must. My favorite restaurants in LA are Cecconis in West Hollywood and L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Hollywood. They are actually both great hangout spots and drinks after dinner as well. I live in West Hollywood, so I always love to take my friends to Soho House at night for the view. You always meet exciting people there as well. They often have live music there, which makes it even better. San Vicente Bungalow has a great weekend brunch. Sit in the garden area and order the bottomless mimosas is a great way to spend a Sunday- just make sure to go with someone who’s a member.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my dear friend, my mentor, Erin Shaffer. My life would not be the same without her and I wouldn’t be where I am today if she hadn’t taken a chance on believing in my potentials. I knew Erin for awhile prior to working together. I’ve always admired her no nonsense approach as a marketing executive and her intelligence as a person. I was working a marketing job where I knew was heading in the wrong direction. I had to get out, but I was stuck. I was interviewing at so many different companies trying to get my career back on track and no one was willing to take a chance on me. I reached out to Erin, and after a year long process, she got me on her team at the same company. The job allowed me to build the network and the skillsets I needed to launch what I am doing today. Some of the people I met at that job are now my clients. I continue to go to Erin for both professional and personal emergencies and she is always there for me. I think it is so rare in LA to have someone do something for you without expecting something in return. Every Thanksgiving, I send her a note to thank her for what she’s done for me. I will forever be grateful.