Andrea Lopez caught her big break in the entertainment industry through a DM on Instagram. After getting flown to LA to appear on NBC’s “Bring the Funny,” she began growing her following on social media through her spot-on celebrity impressions. Then, while negotiating a big brand partnership, she recognized a familiar face.
Hear how Lopez learned the value of good impressions and good relationships for building her personal brand on this week’s episode of Pretty Big Deal.
What prompted you to start a career in entertainment and comedy?
I always loved being on the microphone. I have always loved the idea of media and I went to school for television, radio and film. That was my major. So I always thought I was going to go into radio. I loved the voiceover side of it.
And my main passion in life has always been impressions and character voices. I think it came from my loud, Hispanic, mixed-cultural family. We’re just always doing voices together. And my dad was a huge influence.
I was able, with radio, to morph that and do voices. I was able to do commercials and different voices, and everything about radio was fascinating to me. So I really, really worked with that. And on the side, I would do my impressions on Instagram and different social platforms. That also gave me a way to be creative with my passion.
What do you mean by impressions and character voices? Can you show us actually? Can you do one really quick?
Definitely. I started doing my teachers in school and different people that would call the house, like my different aunts. I just always would … that’s where it started, but then I really got into celebrities and reality TV when that hit big.
I think my most famous, most well-known is Kourtney Kardashian. So here’s a little Kourtney talking about her wedding in Italy.
“We just fell in love on the Italian riverside. We just ate pasta and just had the best romantic time on gondolas. It was just everything I’ve ever dreamed of. I love Travis.”
Wow. OK. I can see how you made a career out of that because I feel like I just talked to her. When did you realize that this could become a business?
Well, believe me, convincing my parents that I was going to go into this, they were very skeptical, as I’m sure you could understand. As a parent you’re like, “Wait a minute, are you sure? This is what?”
So it took a while, for sure, which is why I think they really encouraged me to get some type of degree or just go to school for anything that’s related to what I love, which is entertainment.
But it wasn’t until I used all the social platforms that are available to us — I put all my voices on Instagram, all my voices on Twitter. And I was discovered by a talent scout for NBC’s “Bring the Funny.” I thought he was totally kidding.
I was like, “You’re going to fly me to LA?”
It was just a random Instagram message and doesn’t sound legit. You think you’re going to be contacted via email or phone, or they’re going to send you some formal written letter, but it turned out to be legit. I auditioned, I actually was able to fly out to LA for two weeks. I did the show and it was my first time on national television doing voices.
Since the moment that show aired, I have totally changed my career trajectory. I’ve been able to pursue impressions, voiceovers, and comedy. It took somebody else to scout me and to tell me, “You have the talent and you can really pursue this.”
And when was that? When did that happen?
That was the beginning of 2019. We filmed (the show) and then we waited, of course, eight months for it to actually be produced and put out on television. But back in 2019, and before then, I was always working in media. I had done production assistant work in news. I had worked on a radio show. I had done news hits in a very small town and I was also a podcast editor. So everything that you could possibly do from a lower level, I was working on already. But this was my first time — really me actually taking a chance on myself — being in front of the camera.
So why don’t we talk a little bit about that, was there a special deal that shifted your perspective on the sales side of the influencer market? Like any deal that really was impactful in your career that you’d want to talk about?
I do have one in mind. I think it will help explain how making relationships in the business, and then keeping and fostering the relationships, is so important. And always putting your best foot forward because you never know what could happen in the future. So one comes to mind.
It happened, I would say last year. It was with obé fitness. I went into it totally open-minded. I said, “Oh my gosh, we could totally do Kourtney prepping for her wedding and she’s utilizing obé fitness.”
And I actually had used obé before, so I was totally honest with that. And when I got on the Zoom call to present all my ideas, I recognized a very familiar face. And I said, “Oh my gosh.”
And it was actually a casting agent that I had auditioned with for a really big network. I had auditioned for a show nine months prior. It was for a host position on a really big network. It was a very, very big audition.
And I thought I did great, but there were a million other great people. So I did not get the role. But I kept in good contact with the casting director and he knew my impressions, that’s how they had brought me in the first place. And I just could not believe it. I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, you’re a casting agent.” And then you switch to a whole different brand with a different title.
It just goes to show you that you never know what audition can lead to what. If it’s a closed door, it could lead to an open door. You just never know. And so we had a great meeting. I had a great pitch deck and he was very happy with what I had to pitch. It was because of the audition that I had done many months prior, he knew that I was serious and professional enough that I was going to carry off the job.
He was able to offer me more money because he knew me. He had seen me in another light as a host. I think that really helped, but it just goes to show you the relationships you make early on can totally come back tenfold. And that you never have to be fake. Just be your authentic self and put your best foot forward and that might lead to something in the future.
Yeah. What was that deal? Can you talk a little bit about what you got out of that situation?
This was the first time I had reached over 10 grand and I was doing one video. So less content but more script writing went into that. I was definitely doing a whole script for them, but this was over the 10 grand mark for one video on TikTok.
After you secured that deal, over the $10,000 mark for one video, did that have a positive effect? Was there a ripple effect? Did that help you gain momentum in terms of getting deals with other brands?
Definitely. So once you get higher and higher on your benchmark, my team will say, “OK, now that we’ve made this amount of money and anybody offers us lower, we can show them an example of what you’ve done. We feel good asking for a little bit more.”
It sounds like that deal helped you understand what your own worth is in your own career, because you are your own personal brand. I think that’s really important, knowing your own worth.
Right. Exactly. And knowing also that I can work with fitness brands and it doesn’t have to be … a lot of the times you’ll see, as a female influencer, I’ll get reached out to by very female-oriented brands. But this one is also geared towards females of all ages. So it definitely got me into the fitness world.
It helped me to realize, “OK, there’s a bigger circle than what I’ve currently been working on and there are a lot of brands to contact and to work with.”
Yeah. So how does that work? You send over the videos and give them a sense of what they’re going to get out of you, and then you go back and forth with them? It sounds like they would provide feedback and then did you make changes based on that feedback?
Right. I was traveling at that time. So I always bring my wigs, I always bring a tripod. I have a million wigs. I think whenever I travel the TSA agents are a little concerned. They think I’m doing some covert operation because I have like 10 wigs with me.
But from my end I was like, “This is great. This is all I need.” They came back with a few revisions and that same day I was like, “OK.” I pulled my wig out. I put on my makeup, I did the same getup. And I was back as Kourtney.
When I sent it over to them, they loved it. They approved it. These processes can take months. People don’t realize there’s actually work that goes on behind it. I’m also a writer for a network and that is a whole other job.
And the turnaround time is so quick. I think people forget that with these videos, they have to approve them and they have to make changes. Sometimes the videos won’t go live until the product or the service is live. So you can wait three months, but they want to have it all planned out.
And has that experience changed the way that you conduct deals moving forward?
Seeing how interconnected everybody is, I definitely was like, “OK, so if this is possible then I need to be bringing the best ideas.”
I actually always prepare a whole presentation. I think I just come more prepared and more excited about it, because there’s that off chance I do recognize somebody, and you just never know.
I think it just made me take it a little bit, even more serious than I already was. I was like, “This is great. I know people now.” You start building your contact list and it’s really nice.
What advice would you give to yourself, to 19 year old Andrea just starting out?
I’ve always been open to saying “yes” to as many opportunities, but know that all that time that you were an intern, and you were making no money, and you woke up and worked at the news station at 3:45 in the morning, and then later on was working as an intern on a podcast. It’s all going to pay off.
It really is hard work right now, but trust me those jobs are all important and we’ll get you to where you want to be. And you’re going to be a way better candidate because you have all that background. You’ve done the work.
So even when you’re exhausted and you think it’s useless, it’s not. You will be making really good money that you never thought was possible. You will be able to live on your own and it’s going to be great.
I definitely lived at home for a while and I always was like, “These jobs, I’m going to be an intern forever,” but you’re not. You will start making strides. You’ll make connections and one job always leads to the next job. Continue what you’re doing. It seems hard now, but it pays off.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the past few years? Like the biggest career lessons that you’ve learned from going through all these different experiences?
I think I hear a lot of people say they’re above certain things. They’re like, “Well, I’ve been working at this for a year.” And I just like to tell them, “Rome was not built in a day. These things take time, but know that whatever you’re doing right now, if you’re putting in the work, it will come back and it will all be OK.”
I had a really great boss who I worked for, for three years. I was an intern for her. I was a producer for her podcast. And the biggest piece of advice she ever told me was, “Rising tides lift all ships.”
When one of your friends or somebody on your team is getting a lot of success, that is great for you too. It’s not a competition. I work with so many people that do other impressions and I think I’ve built a great team. It’s great to shout other people out. It’s great to show support to your friends, and even not your friends, just people that are in the same industry, because you guys are all a team.
Don’t think of it as I am one person and it’s just me on the island and only I can succeed. That’s never a good idea. That was the best piece of advice. And she still supports me to this day.
We haven’t worked together professionally for two years, but she still calls me. We’re still great friends. I still call her when there’s a deal and I want to get her opinion. So it’s a team effort. I think that’s the biggest piece of advice I can give.
This episode of “Pretty Big Deal” featured Andrea Lopez, comedian and social media influencer. It was produced by Meghan Barr and edited by Xavier Leong. If you have a pretty big deal to tell us about, write in to PrettyBigDeal@zoominfo.com. Otherwise, we’ll see you on the next episode.