“I moved to Los Angeles from Paris at the age of 23 because I wanted to immerse myself in the Latin community,” the now-35-year-old entrepreneur tells Billboard. “I’m the most Mexican non-Mexican you’ll ever meet.”
Duru’s first shot in the public relations world was back home at the age of 21, where she gained experience at a local events company. Two years later, she moved to L.A. on a work visa, where she worked for Power Media Group with clients such as Universal Music Latin. Shortly after, French Toast was born.
“I started French Toast after my work visa expired because the only person that would hire me was myself,” she says.
Duru credits Mexican singer-songwriter Aleks Syntek as the first client to believe in her when she was just starting out and had no experience. “I owe him a lot. He saw my potential and gave me a shot.”
Since, she’s been helping propel the careers of artists such as Sofia Reyes and newcomer Maria Becerra, and was even Roc Nation Latin’s in-house publicist in 2018. Recently, she was behind John Legend’s promotion plan for Latin America for his 2020 album Bigger Love.
“Being a woman who’s not Latina was not easy,” she recalls, “but I feel that as long as you have a passion for what you do and fight for it, you’ll make it.”
Below, learn more about Duru and her agency:
What drives you to want to work with an artist?
The drive. If I feel that an artist is passionate and has the drive, I don’t care about the numbers. Of course, their talent, that’s a no-brainer but the two main factors are drive and authenticity.
What were some initial challenges when you first opened?
In the beginning, it was not having experience and having a lot to prove. I was just starting in the industry and I had to make a name for myself. I wanted people to see that as a newcomer I had a lot to offer. I’ve had a lot of support from many people in the industry because I started with great talent. I had to struggle to give my clients the best service even without experience.
In your 10-year career, how do you keep motivated with your business?
What motivates me every day is waking up and knowing that I’m doing what I love. Now, I’m excited because I have a team and I’m able to inspire other people to grow as well. Seeing that makes me want to work even more.
Who do you turn to for business advice or who has taught you the most about the business?
Mary Carballes, she’s the director of music affairs and talent relations at Telemundo. She’s been an incredible support in my career. I also owe a lot to Sofia Reyes managers Charlie Guerrero and Paloma Hecht, because we were all starting together. Jennifer Nieman has always been amazing at giving me recommendations, and my mother is my biggest inspiration. She is always the one I turn to for advice. She is a self-made woman and she always taught me to follow my heart.
What’s the most crucial advice you can offer to up-and-coming publicists?
Have discipline and always do the best that you can do. Work as if it were your first day, every day. And don’t ever do something for the money. Really work for the talent of the artist, because you believe in them from the heart.