Just as some background, Zon D’Amour was one of K’s best friends in high school. Knowing her all of these years and watching her move to California has been quite a treat. Zon is an extraordinary young lady and I know she will continue to do great things. 3 Voices catches up with Zon to discuss the moves she’s been making in Los Angeles.
ZD: Hi K! Thank you for the interview. I’m honored! I am the Founder/Editor-In-Chief of AimerAmour Magazine. The online publication is a resource site for young professionals interested in the business aspects of the entertainment industry. I also freelance in tv production.
3 Voices: You grew up between New Orleans and the south suburbs of Chicago. Can you tell us what that was like and how you developed throughout high school?
ZD: Leaving New Orleans for Chicago was a culture shock. My southern accent was very thick and I was often teased. I had never seen snow before moving up north! It definitely took some time to get used to but in hindsight I know it was one of the best things for me. I felt like I had to grow up faster than my peers because I was outside of my comfort zone. The summer before my Senior year of high school I spent my summer at USC (University of Southern California) in their Upward Bound program. After being on a college campus I realized I didn’t want to go back to high school. I wrote my mom a four-page letter explaining why I wanted to graduate early. We met with the principal and she was also on board! I completed my senior year in one semester and within that time I was accepted into Howard University. I went to college when I was 16 years old. I don’t think that opportunity or subsequent opportunities would have happened if I still lived in New Orleans. A lot of people spend their whole lives in one state and I love that fact that I’ve been blessed to live in several states as well as visit other countries. But New Orleans will always be home. I lived there for 10 years and it’s always refreshing to go back and experience such sincerity and hospitality.
3 Voices: You are a proud alum of Howard University. Can you tell us some of the most important things you got from your experience at Howard?
ZD: Howard University made me the ambitious entrepreneur I am today. EVERYONE at Howard has a side hustle. No one is just a student. The biology major is also an actor and the film student has a clothing line, the architect major is also a DJ, so on and so forth. When you meet a Bison, regardless of what they studied or when they graduated, you’re meeting a hard worker. Many people associate alums with being “bourgeoisie” and I would agree to a certain extent because the University has such a rich and immense legacy, it forces you to carry yourself with pride. I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.
3 Voices: How did you make the decision to move all the way to California? What has it been like living there?
Zon: I was born in Los Angeles, my parents and I moved to New Orleans when I was three years old but I had always heard amazing stories about LA growing up. I just knew it was the place for me post graduation. However, when I graduated I didn’t have a job lined up so I was detoured from moving to LA. I stayed in DC and worked a retail job and a corporate sales job to make ends meet. Last year, on my birthday, I was fired from my corporate sales job. At first I was devastated but I took it as a sign from God. I didn’t have a plan but I bought a plane ticket, sold everything in my apartment and moved to LA. I didn’t tell anyone I was moving, not even my parents because I knew no one would understand that God was telling me to put my faith in Him and move. The risk paid off because it only took me three weeks to land an amazing job as a Project Manager for a Director. I was able to buy my first car and get my own place within three months of moving. Fast forward to 2014, I am no longer in that Project Manager position but it was an amazing experience. There have been many ups and downs but I’m not going anywhere! Regardless of my work or financial situation, everyday I wake up in LA I am living my dream.
3 Voices: Tell us about AimerAmour.com and how you came to develop it.
ZD: AimerAmour Magazine (pronounced Ah-may Ah-more) is French for “Like/Love”. I started the site in December 2009. I loved reading magazines especially Black Enterprise because growing up my grandmother had a subscription so they were always accessible. I also loved reading Vibe Magazine. One day I noticed Black Enterprise doesn’t really feature trending artists and Vibe doesn’t talk about business so I decided to merge the two. The niche of AimerAmour Magazine is interviews with your favorite artists and actors about the entertainment business because there’s so much that happens behind the scenes. I also interview the key people responsible for the artists’ success; including managers, publicists, label executives etc. My goal for every interview is for the reader to learn something new.
3 Voices: You’ve interviewed many artists including J.Cole, Miguel, Future, Wale, Anthony Hamilton and Chrisette Michele. What has been one of your most memorable interview experiences?
ZD: Funny story…I was in line at Popeyes in DC and the chicken was taking far too long. I kind of yelled that it wouldn’t have taken this long in New Orleans and the woman behind me said she was also from New Orleans so we struck up a conversation. I told her I was a journalist and a student at Howard University. She said she had a son named Ron and his best friend was a rapper named J.Cole. He was newly signed to Roc Nation and she suggested I reach out for an interview. I didn’t know who J.Cole was at the time but we exchanged information and as soon as I listened to his mixtape, I was a fan. Ron and I became cool and we talked a lot via phone but it took almost two years after initially meeting his mom for us to meet and for me to interview J. Cole after he performed at Howard. All of my other interviews have come about in the more traditional way which is reaching out to a publicist or manager and requesting the interview. So the backstory behind interviewing J.Cole makes him the most memorable.
3 Voices: What are some of the things you have coming up? What other projects are you working on for the magazine?Are there any exclusives you can share?
ZD: Last year I established a program at the Mid-Valley YMCA called “Catch Your Vision”. Twice a month I bring in speakers to expose the teens to various careers in the entertainment industry. Going to college at 16 years old helped me to realize that it’s never too early to get a head start on your career. Especially in this day and age when you have so much access to technology; teens can have a resume and successful businesses as an artist, blogger, director, designer, etc. before they graduate high school. So the program is about exposing them to those possibilities and helping them to think outside of the box.
3 Voices: Can you provide advice for aspiring journalists and readers that want careers in the entertainment industry?
ZD: Having a magazine is very hard work. You have to constantly keep the site updated with new content. And you get content by developing relationships with people who believe in your publication and want their client to be featured on your site. I would advise any aspiring journalist to first intern for several publications before they venture out and start their own site. A lot of people want to get into entertainment and want to be entrepreneurs but it’s imperative to crawl before your walk. Regardless of what you want to do-journalism, production, publicity, fashion design, artist management, etc. you should definitely intern with someone to learn from their trials and errors. That will make your life so much easily in the long run. When I was at Howard, so many of my peers didn’t want to take unpaid internships but you have to! How else will you learn? Google can only teach you so much. Having mentors, being on sets and being in offices whether you’re getting paid or not is invaluable. My background is in tv/film production not in journalism. In hindsight, I would have done collegiate internships for the publications I admire. I would also advise people interested in careers in entertainment to remember the importance of being persistent when you are trying to get an answer. You may be awaiting an answer about an interview or a job or for press passes etc. you will usually have to send multiple emails and leave multiple voicemails to get a reply. That is just the nature of the beast and as you develop more relationships, access and opportunities will be easier to come by.
3 Voices: How can people contact you on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc…
Twitter & IG @AimerAmourMag & @ZonDAmour
Facebook: Aimer Amour Magazine
There you have it! I would just like to say that I am very proud of what Zon has been able to accomplish so far and I can’t wait to see what she does next. I’ve always had the feeling that Zon would do amazing things. Please visit AimerAmour.com and ZonDAmour.com to see all of her site’s great content.