As International Publicity Manager for HBO, BU graduate Mikyla Baker manages the media interest in some of the biggest shows on television.
Having worked on popular series including Game of Thrones and Big Little Lies, Mikyla is used to balancing the needs of journalists and A-list stars. During lockdown, her usual diary of work commitments - attending festivals and arranging on-location media visits - has been replaced with press junkets delivered via Zoom. Despite the challenges, she continues to support the development of new talent entering the industry with two university interns currently joining the team on placement. Mikyla said: “I got my first taste of working in publicity for the entertainment industry during a placement with Warner Bros while at BU. It was a fantastic experience and opened my eyes to what an exciting career it could be. Jobs in the industry are hard to come by - once someone gets in they tend to stick around! However, experience and contacts are all-important and so I’m pleased that we can offer that same opportunity to students today.”
Mikyla took up a degree in public relations at Bournemouth as she was keen to study a course with a vocational focus which could open doors to future employment. She said: “A friend of my mother’s suggested that I look into public relations, and as I learnt more about the subject, Bournemouth University stood out as the place to study it. It had a great reputation and offered a year’s placement and lots of opportunity to develop practical skills such as pitching for work and crafting press releases.”
Mikyla’s placement at Warner Bros included helping to manage the publicity surrounding the final two Harry Potter films in the series, and the experience spurred her on to pursue a career in media publicity. Her first roles after graduation were for PR agencies, but contacts originally forged at BU eventually helped her to secure an opening at HBO. She said: “I joined the team six years ago as a co-ordinator, when we were just a team of four looking after publicity for HBO’s shows outside of the USA. We are now a team of eight and work on around 65 projects at a time - a mixture of dramas and documentaries. It’s a great job where building relationships with journalists and the talent at the centre of the shows is key to success.”
Mikyla and her team are currently working on the publicity for two new shows airing this autumn; The Undoing starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, and The Third Day featuring Jude Law and Naomie Harris. She said: “Our interns are currently working hard helping to organise the press junkets for these shows and I hope it will give them the experience they need to launch their future careers. My advice to anyone keen to break into this type of work is to get experience and then make the most of your contacts. The more you maintain those links the more doors are likely to open for you.”