BET is rolling out it’s newest reality series Hustle in Brooklyn. Premiering on October 16, the show takes an intimate look into the lives of the most influential young professionals in the borough of Brooklyn. Among these ambitious millennials is entrepreneur Alicia Gooding, who is probably the most interesting and unique cast member on the show.
With over a decade of experience in marketing, public relations, and management, Alicia is the founder of The Code. Her company provides public relations and management services for celebrities, artists, and brands. However, she also specializes in assisting television talents and has been involved in reality television from behind-the-scenes.
“I represent television talent. Our agency does everything from management, brand management, marketing, A&R work, placements,” says Alicia. She continues by pointing out, “My background is TV, being that I started with people like Erica Mena and Amber Rose.”
Throughout the years, she’s worked with A Boogie With Da Hoodie, Safaree Samuels, Briana Perry, Fatboy SSE, Busta Rhymes, and most recently Chinese Kitty.
Her experience with television is what makes Alicia the most unique member of the show. Not only has she been involved with numerous reality shows from behind-the-scenes, but she’s also received multiple invitations to join some of the most known reality series on television. So, when she got the call for Hustle in Brooklyn, Alicia thought it was another attempt to get her on a television show.
To her surprise, the call was to bring her in to help with casting. In fact, she’s responsible for bringing on one of her castmates, Baggy Large. Alicia expresses, “I honestly didn’t think that this show was really going to happen.” Especially, after she was told that production was having trouble casting interesting personalities. She would eventually receive another call asking her to self-tape, in an effort to have an example of what production was looking for. The next day, Alica was asked to join the cast.
“For me, everything is about authenticity. I know production probably got annoyed with me because my biggest phrase is ‘I don’t do anything on TV that’s not my real life.'”
Alicia stands apart from her castmates with not only a larger-than-life personality but also a track record that would put most 30-year-olds to shame. She’s an established professional who owns her a company, works with high profile talent and negotiates million dollar deals. And surprisingly, she doesn’t even have a college degree.
“I’ve always felt that I have naturally big personality.”
A Brooklyn-born native with West Indian roots, she was raised in New Jersey. Alicia is a proud college dropout who found that her ambition superseded a college degree. “I dropped out of college my first month after I realized that the money I was making at 17 years old was the same amount of money I would be making after I went to school for 4 years and got this degree, she says.” She continues by explaining, ” I didn’t tell my parents until the end would have been my sophomore year, and I just worked. I always loved something about making my own money.” For years, she held down multiple jobs and developed a pattern of going after whatever she wanted.
Eventually, she received a Tweet about a marketing internship. “I honestly didn’t know what marketing was or an internship, says Alicia.” However, she later learned that the company represented fortune 500 companies like American Family Insurance, Cesears Palace, Nike, Pepsi, and Amber Rose. Alicia would accept the internship, agreeing to work for free for at least 6 months. But it only took 10 days for her to be promoted to a paying position.
Alicia explains that on her tenth day, she was approached by the CEO who offered her a position as his executive assistant:
“10 days into my internship, the CEO came up to me and said, ‘I see something in you. When I was your age, I started this company.’ I was 22 at the time. And he was like ‘How would you like to work for me?’ I became the executive assistant to the CEO after 10 days. My first job was handling Amber Rose. I handled her booking, setting her rates, and all of these things that I honestly didn’t know how to do.”
The quality of her work would lead to multiple promotions. Unfortunately, none of the promotions came with a raise. Alicia eventually took what she had learned and set out on her own. She created the code which started as an event marketing firm and evolved into a management and public relations company.
“I never knew anything about PR,” says Alicia. However what she did know is that an emotional attachment can be made to a product or a person through an experience. So, she built her career off of creating experiences that would make even the most useless product popular among their target audience.
Essentially, Alicia is the living embodiment of what Hustle in Brooklyn is all about. Like the show, she represents a generation of people who work hard and play hard, all while forging their own path; refining the rules during their journey. Though the show is based in Brooklyn, it’s actually a snapshot of what’s happening in many cities all over the world. However, none of those cities have an Alicia Gooding; which is reason enough to watch Hustle in Brooklyn.
Watch Alicia Gooding and the cast of BET’s Hustle in Brooklyn, which premieres Tuesday, October 16 at 10 ET/9 CT.
Martel S. Sharpe