Amanda (Ama) Scriver is the HBIC of Fat Girl Food Squad and the Community Manager of Gastropost. She is a regular contributor to Toronto Guardian, BizBash, BlogTO and Eater covering all things food, events and travel.
Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
When I was younger, I had picked up a British edition Cosmo and read a feature on interesting jobs to have and one of them was being an event planner. I thought: “If I can’t play an instrument or act, then I’m just going to organize parties for people who do.” I ended up working in events for six years full-time professionally.
Working in the media was always something I wanted to pursue full-time and I am so lucky to now take that passion full-time, working as the Community Manager for Gastropost.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
My main career focus has been to build Fat Girl Food Squad and create our brand and our community. We want people to really feel like they are a part of something. Since we hit our one year in April, I’ve been thinking very seriously about the “five year” plan. Realistically, I would one day love to have our own office and perhaps our own series (web/tv). I think there are so much unexplored territories with our brand and I want to share it with the world. We are way more than just a food blog and I think slowly people are starting to realize that.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
I can only speak to the freelance writing side of things but IT IS A LOT OF WORK and it is not all glamorous. If you’re starting your own blog, find your own niche or something that makes you stand out from the pack. Also, have a plan! It doesn’t have to be solid or concrete but a vision or a goal for what you want to do. Finally, if you don’t have certain skills – enlist people who do. Nothing kills a blog faster than readers seeing it stumbling around and not giving consistent, quality content.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
I would have to say Chuck Hughes was probably the best interview I’ve ever had. He was incredibly genuine and thoughtful of all his answers. I had asked him what his spirit animal was and he told him it was a seagull after exclaiming, “That was one of the best questions I have ever been asked!”. I met him a few months later in person and he remembered me and told me to call him anytime time I’m in Montreal and want to eat at Garde Manger.
The worst interview I ever had was with Das Racist, a hip-hop group from Brooklyn, back in my music blogging days. The interview was heartbreaking because I was huge fans of their music and what they were doing (as a group). I had heard stories about how they were notoriously bad for interviews so I wasn’t totally surprised but the 15-minute interview was filled with one word answers and snark.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
I came across this quote when I was in high-school studying Samuel Beckett and it stuck with me forever, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” This quote has been able to translate to so many situations in my life.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
No rules! Don’t take yourself too seriously and have fun every single day in your life. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then how are you going to laugh at anyone else! Oh and if it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist. I live and die by my calendar.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Know who you are pitching to and what publications they write for. Try to have a handle of the person that you’re pitching and what they represent. All too often I receive super misguided pitches that don’t fit the mandate of any of the publications I work for or things that I stand for. If you want a long-lasting relationship with the media, build one.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
This is just one example of ‘good PR’ and a pro doing their job right: one of the agencies I work with knows that I love drag queens. For World Pride, they sent me off on a cruise around the Toronto harbour with the season six queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Not only did I write about their client but they also tailored the experience to my personal interests and likes. I was so excited for that evening and so excited that they thought of me.
Inefficiency and apathy, they are such a bummer.
The days where I get to do nothing and laze around the house with my partner, Simon. Those days don’t come often and I honestly cherish them more than anything in the world.
Is sexy! I have a Kindle loaded up with books but ask me how many I’ve read this year. It’s embarrassing.
Best place on earth?
It’s a tossup between Chicago and Montreal for me. Both have amazing food, music and arts scene. I still want to do more travelling so both of those places could change. But Chicago and Montreal are two places I have considered moving previously.
I would love to have Kanye West over for dinner. I can only imagine was that would be like. I wonder if Kim and North West would make an appearance. Dinner would not be the same without the whole Kardashian-West family.
Tess Munster, body image activist and champion behind the campaign, “Eff Your Beauty Standards”. The message behind what she has and the work that she is doing is inspiring. She is a self-made badass plus-size female that I highly admire.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I can’t stop using VSCOCam and I know I’m really late to the game but it’s a great photo editing tool. Plus, I love my Azendoo app. It is a task-management system that we use to communicate with all our staff of FGFS regarding deadlines, upcoming events or just IRL hangs.
Pool or ocean?
Both – lounging in the water is the most relaxing and exhilarating feeling ever. I just went to Body Blitz a few weekends ago and spent five hours in their water spa. Take me back!
Voicemail or email?
I hate talking on the phone so always email.