Caterina Balzano, who you may all know as Cata Balzano—is a TV host, fashion guru, and journalist. She began her journey as a journalist reporting at the South Florida News Service as a student reporter. Nowadays, Caterina writes articles for The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, and Miami New Times—covering everything from fashion to entertainment, and even community news. Cata has attended numerous red carpet events and award ceremonies—interviewing hollywood’s biggest celebrities, such as Paris Hilton, Trey Songz, DJ Khaled, J Balvin, Wyclef Jean, and Prince Royce.
At the age of 18-years-old, Cata decided to move to New York City all by herself; realizing her purpose in life and discovering her passion for fashion. Caterina spent her time working at stores, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Zara, and American Apparel—allowing Cata to gain experience in the the field of fashion. After realizing NY was not giving her the opportunities she was looking for, she decided to move to Miami, FL. During this time, Caterina created a brand for herself which some of you may know as Cata Balzano Inc.
Caterina began developing her website in 2012—yet, 2016 is when it actually began to gain attraction. As you can see, it took 4 years for Cata to see progress in regard to her project. Caterina is the most down-to-earth, hardworking, and inspirational person we have been able to watch grow throughout the years. We hope this article inspires and motivates you all to follow your dreams. It may not be easy and you may not be able to see progress as quickly as you would like, but hard work, motivation, and patience are all you need to begin your journey.
1. How often do you use social media? Which sites do you use the most?
“I use social media every day, and as often as every 15-20 minutes sometimes. One of the first things I do in the morning is go on Facebook to look for current news – what happened within the past hours, follow-ups on any important news from the days before, and to read comments and insights from my followers. Then I go on Instagram. I try to post on Instagram once per day, and on Facebook I share news, write posts and repost about 20-25 times per day – sometimes more.”
2. Tell me about some of your favorite experiences, such as fashion shows, award ceremonies, red carpet events, etc.
Some of my most memorable experiences are usually during Miami Swim Week, the Latin Billboards and events such as the launch of the Hermes store in the Design District. It’s always so fun to cover these events because not only do I run into friends in the industry, some who are singers and performers who live someplace else and some colleagues that I see all the time. It’s always fun, but during those weeks is when I have the most work to do, and sometimes it gets overwhelming having so much to write and cover on very little sleep.”
3. How would you describe your personal style?
“My personal style is a mix of basics, highlighted with funky shoes, handbags and blazers or jackets – especially jean jackets. I own about 8 different types of denim jackets. I LOVE an extra layer even though we live in Miami, so blazers, jackets and sweaters are my weakness. I’m also really into customizing my statement pieces, so I add patches or fringe or pom-poms to my shoes or a jacket. I like things that stand out and are funky, but I usually wear them with very laid back, classic pants and shirts. I also have a very curvy figure, and I’ve learned to dress in a way where I look less curvy and voluptuous, which comes with having a conservative taste as well, where (showing) less is (always) more.”
4. How do you stay informed on the news and current events?
“I stay informed through press releases that I receive in my e-mail, and Facebook. I watch the 6 p.m. news, and I usually already know 9 out of 10 things that are being reported that night unless it’s an exclusive. Facebook is my favorite source for current events, and it’s also where I share all the news that I think is worth reading.”
5. What advice would you give in regard to branding yourself?
“Branding yourself. Gosh, it’s really about getting to know yourself first. Who am I? What do I like? What are my favorite colors? What’s my style like? What do I want to project? How do I want to project it? Am I staying true to myself and to who I am with what I’m showing as my brand? Those are all questions that should be asked by someone who is looking to brand themselves. Your brand is a mixture of your tastes, your career, your personality and sense of humor, and it takes time to build it, but it’s important to have an idea of who we are by asking ourselves those questions. The best way to brand yourself is through a website and social media. Make your content memorable, and make it recognizable by using the same styles, patterns, colors within a feed.”
6. Where do you hope to be in life 5 years from now?
“Wow…that’s such a difficult question. In a perfect world, I would have my own business, live in California (L.A. to be specific), would have my own TV show, would be running a fashion and entertainment magazine, and I would be married and about to have my first child.
It may turn out that way at 30, but I doubt it – at least the husband and kids part. It’ll probably turn out like that when I’m 35. The rest might just happen, but what I am sure of is that by 30 I will be 10 times more successful, will be doing very well financially, traveling the world, will be working with some of the biggest networks in the country and will have my own reality TV show. I already do a day-to-day on my Snapchat and people constantly tell me that I need my own show, so it’s definitely a plan in progress.”
7. Which people or books have had the most influence on your growth and why?
“My biggest inspirations in this career have been Oprah Winfrey, Giuliana Rancic, Jorge Ramos, Coco Chanel, Anna Wintour, Nina Garcia, Ryan Seacrest.
Books: The Alchemist, Girlcode, Going off Script (by Giuliana Rancic).”
8. What advice would you give to anyone starting in the entertainment/media industry?
“The best advice I could give is that they must NOT be stubborn and think about only doing entertainment. They need to experiment with other forms of news. It’s the only way to create credibility and to prove that you’re really a journalist who knows what you’re doing and not just a pretty face. Also, don’t sell yourself short, don’t cut corners, don’t think that things are going to work out the first time around. They might, but it’s not probable…this career is a work in progress and working in entertainment and media is also…it’s a process of proving yourself, of showing your capacities, of growing and learning how to ask the proper questions, and of working towards standing out within a crowd of people doing the same thing you do. Just remember that none of them are exactly you.
Also, I would tell them to avoid being starstruck or groupies. It’s not a good look, and also the celebrities aren’t going to get you your dream job. Producers, directors, editors, executives and those behind the scenes are going to make the decisions about where your career lies. Worry about connecting with them, getting on their radar, having them recognize your work.”
9. What does a typical day in your week look like?
“I wake up, grab my phone and look for e-mails, make sure that there isn’t anything super important, and my assistant, Mariana is the one in charge of sorting through to find event invites, so I don’t go through all of them. Then I go on Facebook, check news, read a little, go through some inboxes, then Instagram, and then I get up and make myself a cup of coffee. While that goes down, I open my agenda and look at the list of to-do’s, and it varies in everything from updating my website, to finishing an article, filming a tutorial for my blog, answering e-mails, writing a document in my company’s google docs, meetings, getting ready for a press junket, calling my editors to pitch stories…usually my week is organized by the Sunday before the week starts, so I have a good idea of what the entire week is looking like. But I’m also crazy, so that varies too and I sometimes don’t touch my agenda and just keep my events and to-do’s in my head, but I always rather using the agenda. At 6 p.m. I watch the news with my mother and we catch up on the day and any important information or stories we have for each other. Then around I recap the day and write down what I completed and what I need to do the following day. Then if I have an event at night, I get ready and head out. That usually happens 2-3 times per week where I’ll be attending something or covering something at night.”
10. What advice would you have in regard to gaining an audience and/or following?
“I would say focus less on the amount of followers and more on who exactly follows you. If you have 100 followers and they’re all in the industry and could hire you and get you a job, then that’s more valuable than 100,000 that you don’t even know. I say brand yourself, post high quality photos, tell a visual story within a photo so people follow you and your tastes and what you like throughout the days and the photos, look for niche markets and engage with them, and most importantly be honest about your life, who you are and what you do. You don’t have to speak on anything personal or family-related if you don’t want to (I don’t) but make sure your bio doesn’t say TV host if you aren’t one. Credibility is everything, and if who you say you are doesn’t go with who you’re showing you are, then people don’t believe. The time will come when your title and who you are speaks for itself…but also have fun with it, don’t take it too seriously and use social media to truly document your work, who you interview, where you go, what you covered, what you like, what you think about a certain aspect of the industry. Audiences come along when you’re organic like that and credible.”