Audiences fell in love with the effervescent personality of Ericka Pittman while watching her fall in love on Bravo TV’s The Singles Project. But before becoming a reality television star, this maven was busy building an enviable career in business, which has led her into positions in the executive suite, including her current role as VP of Business Development for Combs Wine and Spirits.
We were thrilled when Ericka agreed to share a little bit about her career journey with us; and to dish on her experience on The Singles Project, how she achieves hair health, her go-to beauty regimen, and of course—what’s in her Ultimate Beauty Arsenal.
Tell us a little bit about your career journey. What was your very first job out of college?
My career path was a bit obscure in that I worked full time and went to school full time. It was important for me to gain hands on experience while in school full time and I didn’t have enough time to volunteer at an internship PLUS work. So being the strategic thinker that I am, I decided to identify and secure an entry-level position at a website/digital company called iVillage.com. I was an assistant in the Advertising/Sales Department of the company, which provided hands on experience in the corporate communication world.
How did you earn your role as VP with The Blue Flame Agency?
I am currently the VP of Business Development at the newly formed Combs Wines and Spirits, however, my role as VP of Blue Flame Agency came about as a result of an informational interview I had with the CMO at the time, Amani Duncan. We had a detailed exchange surrounding what my next dream job would/could look like and after prescriptively explaining my ideal role she communicated that my vision was precisely in line with a role she was developing at Blue Flame. It’s amazing how serendipity plays a strong role in the journey of life. Much of what we do is strategic but a greater deal of our success is preparedness when opportunity strikes.
What are some of the difficulties you face as a female executive, and how do you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges is the idea that women are inferior in the boardroom, when in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. Women possess distinct “feminine” qualities such as patience, empathy, and multi-tasking, which can and should be used as an asset in business. Taking ownership of being a woman creates an advantage that disrupts the status quo of boys club business as usual.
What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of professional advice I have ever received would be to take complete ownership of whatever role you currently play within an organization as if it were your own business. It is important to know (whether you are in the mail room or the board room) that your contribution to the greater good of the company is vital. Doing your absolute best and exemplifying excellence is imperative to growing your career. Always remember someone is watching you, and it is not what people say about you when you are present, it is what they say about you when you are not around.
The audience got to watch you fall in love on Bravo’s The Singles Project. Besides a new relationship, what is the most valuable thing you gained from filming the show?
The most valuable thing I gained from filming the show (other than a great relationship) is to never be afraid to take a leap of faith and invest in yourself. In the beginning I was 98% decided to pass on the show. Being an acutely private person and highly focused business professional, The Singles Project seemed like a platform that was completely off brand. I made the decision to do the show because of my personal empowerment mission and the idea that you have to make radically different decisions to gain radically different results in life and I wanted a change in my own life in general. Believing in myself enough to commit to this show was the bravest thing I’ve ever done and I am now more open to the possibility of YES in my life as a result.
We’ve heard other reality television stars say that producers or networks edited their scenes in a way that made them appear differently than they view themselves. Are you happy with the way you were portrayed on The Singles Project?
My #1 goal as a cast member of TSP was to showcase something different for women of color within the reality TV space. I don’t knock other shows or the success the cast members have garnered as a result of their participation–however I was personally exhausted by the monolithic portrayal of women of color within this forum. I wanted to disrupt the current view of young Black women on reality television and I can say I proudly and unequivocally achieved my goal.
We couldn’t help but notice your impeccable style while watching the show. What are some of your favorite brands and/or places to shop?
Believe it or not I am not a Fashion girl–but I love style. I love to mix and match pieces to achieve a fairly conservative but feminine overall look. I do take risks with accessories to spice things up a bit. Being that I am on the go quite frequently it is easiest to create looks that are transitional from day to night. My go to brands are Alvin Valley; Meskita; Mark & Estel; Ted Baker and never under estimate the power of quick Zara run. For shoes I tend to gravitate to Giuseppe Zanotti; YSL; and Prada.
Your hair is absolutely gorgeous–can you share your hair care regimen with us? How do you keep it so full and healthy?
Why Thank You! I have to say a great deal of my hair health is genetics, however, I do work diligently at maintaining hair health. I have my hair done bi-weekly at a professional salon and I use deep conditioning treatments to maintain moisture. I do not chemically treat my hair–never have–to keep it straight, however I do have it professionally blow-dried and styled. Also I take Biotin vitamin supplements. It helps maintain length and strength.
Tell us about your skincare routine. What’s the secret to your flawless skin?
On the contrary–my skin is far from flawless! I work very hard to maintain skin health. I deal with adult acne and my skin is very sensitive to topical products and make up. I frequent the dermatologist (Dr. Natasha Sandy MD) who formulated an ever-evolving personal skin care regimen. My morning and evening skin care routine consist of 8 steps and the CLARISONIC!! Every woman should have one. Last but not least the cardinal rule of thumb, NEVER EVER sleep in make-up–no matter what time you get home, try to wash your face before you go to bed.
What three items are in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal—those Holy Grail items that you just cannot live without?
The Clarisonic – I go nowhere without it.
Laura Mercier Oil Free Primer and Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer – it is light, gentle and operates as full coverage in a pinch.
Ruby Woo Lipstick by MAC – The Power of “A Red Lip” is infinite.
Which diet or fitness regimen do you follow to stay healthy and fit?
I am pretty regimented as it relates to diet and exercise. Beauty really does come from within. My body is my temple and what I put in will directly effect what I get out. I try to eat a high protein low calorie diet on a daily basis. I stick to white fish and veggies with an occasional chicken dish to diversify my meal plan. I also stick to a protein shake in the morning to ensure my metabolism is at its peak for the day. Kale based juices that are low cal/low carb options are ideal as well. In terms of fitness I run about 6-10 miles per week and incorporate Pilates, Yoga or Spin when I get bored. Also a quick intense work out is T25–it fits in your bag no matter where you travel and you can pop the DVD in your laptop during down time to burn up to 1K calories in 25 minutes!