UCLA Anderson Has Put Her on
the Entertainment Track
Jasmine Gipson (’23) envisions a career supporting Black creatives
January 30, 2023
UCLA Anderson’s Center for Media, Entertainment & Sports supports the research, teaching, and student education and leadership training that lead MBAs to meaningful careers in the business of entertainment. Academic resources include the more than 3,000 Anderson alumni who work in entertainment fields, at least a third of them resident right here in the Los Angeles area. So students gain remarkable access to connections possessing the very expertise they’re developing themselves.
For Jasmine Gipson (’23), who has aspired to work in entertainment since she was a child, Anderson’s curriculum and the resources of the greater UCLA campus provide the ideal launching pad for her career. Her connection with an Anderson professor led directly to a summer position with Peacock. She serves the student body as VP of film festivals in the Entertainment Management Association. A graduate of Harvard University, Gipson is currently a marketing and communications strategy fellow at the WACO Theater Center in North Hollywood.
Q: Is there something particular in your education or personal or professional background that drove your interest in an entertainment industry career?
I’ve been a part of the arts community since I was very young. I have been illustrating for as long as I can remember and practiced graphic design for many years. I grew up in church and sang in the church choir from 6 years old, and even earlier in my school choir. I also got into acting in high school and enjoyed the process of creating a production for our community to enjoy. So, the joy of storytelling through art has been a part of my life for a long time.
My family had little money to spend on entertainment, so movies and television were often our go-to. I have seven siblings, and we would all gather around the TV together and bond over the shows we loved. During the holidays, we watch the Thanksgiving episode of every throw-back TV show we love — Fresh Prince, King of Queens, The Office, Kenan and Kel …
Q: Who do you admire in the industry?
Charles and Stacey King, the founders of the multiplatform media company MACRO. I admire the risks they’ve taken in leaving traditional industry jobs to follow their dream of enabling industry artists. They are taking big swings that I think the biggest companies in the industry are watching. I got to intern for MACRO/UNCMMN in the spring and was delighted to be among people of color creating tremendous value in the industry.
Q: How has UCLA Anderson furthered your knowledge and career goals?
Not to sound dramatic, but the Entertainment Marketing class taught by a veteran industry executive, Brian Frons, kind of changed my life. He is very committed to ensuring students have opportunities to thrive in the industry, and he gives great, direct advice. He encourages us to network with his connections — which I don’t take lightly in such a reputation-driven industry. I got my summer job at Peacock through this class. That’s a big deal.
Center for Media, Entertainment & Sports executive director Jay Tucker (’09) is also a gem. He has influenced me to dream bigger and see myself as someone who deserves a seat at the table. He has also given me direct connections and reassurance that following my own path, no matter how different from others, would be worth it.
Having peers in the Black Business Students Association like Fuad Ligali (’23) and Smita Patibanda (’23) has also been key. We all have non-traditional goals in terms of post-MBA jobs. I check in with them when my confidence is wavering, and they always help me refocus on my own goals and tune out the noise. I am also eternally grateful for the Consortium community at Anderson.
Q: What opportunities have you had as a result of your leadership in Anderson student clubs? What opportunities have you been able to provide others?
I think my leadership in the Entertainment Management Association is most valuable in the sense of being a resource for incoming students. I enjoy talking to prospective students interested in entertainment, especially Black students who aren’t sure where they might fit in a business school setting.
Q: Have any alumni been instrumental in shaping your industry progress and connections?
Alumni Ashley Johnson (’22), Leanna Parchment (’22), Gaelen LeMelle-Brown (’21) and Julian Dumas (’22) have all played a direct role in helping me transition to entertainment. They have all gone above and beyond as advocates for me in different ways. Ashley and Leanna, in particular, took me under their wing and made me feel welcome when I came to Anderson. They are both entrepreneurs, and I couldn’t ask for better role models. My Anderson classmates Philip Williams (’23) and Lorna Appiah (’23) have been my rocks for the last year and a half.
Q: Are you familiar with UCLA’s annual Hollywood Diversity Report? What are your thoughts about the industry from the standpoint of equitable access and representation?
Yes! We went over it a bit in my stats core class (shout out to Professor Elisa Long!). I’m grateful UCLA is keeping an eye on the industry. I think it has become stunningly obvious that diversity is not only the right thing to do, but also the only responsible business choice because diverse films tend to command higher revenues. Ultimately, studios have to make work that sells tickets and ads. So, I think shareholders will start to pay attention to whether studios are responding to demand.
Last April, I had the opportunity to PA for Black Madonna, a short film my friend Morgan Jerkins wrote and co-directed. The film is by Black women, for Black women. That experience showed me the power of us.
Q: What area of the industry are you focusing on? What do you anticipate your special talent or contribution will be?
I’m focusing on marketing, strategy and operations for now. I’m essentially trying to build my case to be a CMO but balancing those efforts with working on my own projects. I’m mostly agnostic about the exact verticals. I have interests across film, gaming, theater and other areas of the industry.
There are many artists in my life who I want to support in getting their work in front of the right audience. So, I’m hoping to move whatever mountains I have to in order to realize an artistic vision. Recently, I’ve started directing and editing my partner’s movie review content. I believe in people and have the skills to back it up, so I think those traits will carry me far.
Q: Do you plan to work in L.A., the heart of the entertainment industry?
Yes, that’s my intention! In the short term, I see myself working on a content marketing team at a medium-large studio. I want to learn more about motivating others toward a common campaign goal to further my own leadership capabilities.
I’m currently the communications and strategy fellow at WACO Theater Center, founded by Tina Knowles-Lawson and Richard Lawson. I feel very validated and supported by my director, Nijeul X, and I enjoy working with other Black professionals to provide a space and audience for Black creatives to develop their work. That’s my intention moving forward: I want to be a connector and enabler for others to be able to support their families while also practicing their art. I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time and will never not have my own thing going on, whether on the side or full-time.