In #GoGina, Regina Rene is your resident expert in all things PR and special events. Follow her around to get an inside scoop on the most poppin’ press NYC has to offer.
This #GoGina blew me out of the water and I know you’ll be just as blown away. Last night I attended the Essentia Water “Fire Within” press event where they spotlighted college artists around the U.S. I must say Essentia Water really went above and beyond for the students they sponsored which warmed my heart to no end seeing the students and their art get so much exposure, hearing stories form Essentia Water partners, and even an up close and personal performance from British singer/ songwriter, Arlissa. I even caught up with an old friend who to my surprise was being honored at the event. Here’s the exclusive 411…
A Loft in the MeatPacking District of Chelsea, NY
Essentia Water | #FireWithin
–Daniel Patrick, High-end Men’s Streetwear Designer
–Jessie Lukasik, Winner of Ironman World Championship- 2017
–Karam Gill, Director of G funk & Variety Magazine’s Top 10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch
–Arlissa, “We Don’t Move” featured in the film The Hate U Give & Singer/Songwriter of DefJam
Hosted by Derrick N. Ashong, world-renowned Digital Media Entrepreneur & Broadcast Journalist
The night began with me and my co-worker running from the office at 6 PM to catch our free Uber taken care of by Essentia Water. We love a generous PR coordinator, you go Glen Coco and by Glen Coco, I mean Karyn Abrahamson, Chief Marketing Officer at Essentia. My plus one was an avid Essentia drinker so she gave me all the tea on why today’s it water company was so beneficial as opposed to other well-marketed… water. As someone who is invested in reversing the effects of climate change as well as preparing for the unavoidable repercussions, I enjoyed hearing the science behind the water. Little did I know that was only the beginning of my journey through Essentia Nation.
Essentia Water, more than just water.
When we first arrived we were a little lost but not even a minute passed before someone in Essentia gear grabbed our attention and said: “Right this way.” The moment we walked onto the Essentia carpet I was in awe of the black, white, and RED realm!
There were so many Instagram-able moments that I had to get a few boomerangs at every corner. (Stay tuned for the full experience video.) But honestly, nothing can replace the energy in the air that night. From the freight elevator that was fully stocked with refreshments to the large loft-like space decked out with dim red lights dressing the walls, I never wanted to leave. Everyone was genuinely kind, how refreshing? Pun intended. Sarah and Cameron, who invited me, told me all about the company’s 20-year long history.
Danielle, an Essentia rep, made me feel like family as she showed me the ionization process of the water and explained how much it changed her energy levels after adding it to her morning routine. And of course, Doug, another Essentia rep, walked me through the college artists’ art exhibition. I expressed to Doug how important their support of young artist is and how much they must’ve appreciated. Later on that night I even caught up with artist Jackie from Sacramento Califonia who shared with me that Essentia flew her to NY just to present her art that night.
As the night went on it felt less and less like a press event and more like a large gathering of those inspired. I was honored to just be in the room, the panel discussion really sealed the deal for me. Here are some of the major keys that stuck with me.
-Derrick: How do you survive financially while you’re working your way up?
-What was your tipping point? Did you have a moment when you just decided I’m going to do this?
-What do you do if your family doesn’t support you?
“My mom did not want me to be a singer at all. My mom would actually tell me ‘you can’t sing’ whenever I’d be singing in the house. I beleived her a so I studeied YouTube videos to get better. Luckily, my dad was like ‘you can do it!’ I don’t have a relationship with [my mom] and haven’t seen her in 7 years but that’s the sacrifice I had to make.” — Arlissa, singer/songwriter
-Derrick chimed in sharing that finding family support wasn’t always so easy for him either…
“Both of my parents didn’t understand PR and didn’t understand what I wanted to do. So one day I told them I’m not coming home. I love you both but my goals and what you want for me do not match and if I’m going to get where I see myself being I have to surround myself with that. So my parents had to decide, are we going to stay a family or be apart? Luckily we ended up staying a family but it really just comes down to this. At a certain point, you have to choose who you want to be.” — Derrick N. Ashong
With Student Artist…
After the panel discussion (and loading up on all the free refreshments and hors-d’oeuvres) we continued looping the venue in amazement from the 360 photo booth to the backpack stuffing for children station. I went around the exhibit one last time admiring the work of the night’s honorees, collage artists. I was applauding the detail in this particular piece when the artist taps me on the shoulder and asks “Don’t I know you?”
Dillon O’Keefe is a FIT illustration major who I met last year at a friend’s party in Harlem. We only spoke every so often via Instagram comments that consisted of me admiring his work. I remember commenting something like “Damn, this should really be appreciated more, blown up on a subway platform or something.” He laughed and that was the end of it. Then last night, there it was, his art on display for people from all areas of the fashion, art, and entertainment industries to see. A true full circle moment. I felt so much joy for him and all of my peers that night who’s talents got to be showcased and finally appreciated.
*Insert MORE waterworks!*
Look out for the extended, all-access footage of last night’s event and stay tuned for more events with me, Regina Rene! #GoGina
Are you an Essentia water fanatic? Do you have uncommon interests or relate to the speakers’ testimonies? What lights you #FireWithin? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share what makes you get up and go!