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Meet Ashley Villa of Rare Global in Century City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Villa.

Ashley, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Today, I am the CEO and partner of Rare Global, a female-run, female-focused talent management firm. I’m manager and attorney to digital content creators and YouTube stars, including Jenn Im, Jackie Aina, and Wengie. I also consultant with brands and entertainment companies in the digital media space. I started Rare Global in 2014, after realizing that the influencer and digital media industry were quickly changing—with a huge opportunity for new voices and talent to launch careers in YouTube and beyond. The meeting of social media with fashion, beauty, and lifestyle was exciting! I decided to combine my background in law with knowledge in management—and the dream of building a company that championed women. I gained incredible experience as legal counsel at StyleHaul, one of the first YouTube multi-channel networks focused on fashion and beauty. That was basically ground zero in terms of learning how the business would evolve and grow. I had previously worked several years in entertainment law: first at Lionsgate; then at Sierra/Affinity, specializing in international film and TV. Before that, I received my law degree from Loyola Law School, after attending undergrad at UCLA.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My story is definitely not one I could have predicted. To be honest, I always expected to work in a corporate environment and move up in entertainment law. That meant many years and many hours… climbing the ladder. I was okay with that. But then, in working with my sister (Stephanie Villa, a client of mine!) and her best friend (Jenn Im, my first YouTube client), I saw a void in the space. I started to wonder if there might be another path for me…something completely different than what I had laid out for myself. The thought of starting my own business in a brand new industry—stepping away from years of career planning and foresight—was absolutely terrifying. And then, taking the leap wasn’t even the scariest thing. The scariest thing was: is this real? Can I handle the work? Oh, I’m drowning. I need help; I need a team. How do I find them? Finding the right people to help you grow and make your dream into a reality—without a real blueprint—was the hardest part of the journey. Fortunately, I hired an assistant, who has now become a junior manager at the company; then we hired another assistant. Then I took on a partner, Ivy Cavic. Meanwhile, I had help in other parts of the business: creative, PR… Women (and allies!) who offered their knowledge and skills… Now we’re all in, doing this cool thing together.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Rare Global – what should we know?
Rare Global has been growing year over year. Our team is small but mighty! In our office, we value sisterhood and community as much as we value the needs and goals of our clients. Our client roster includes a diverse and distinct group of women, many of whom have broken huge barriers in the industry, not only through their success in working with some of the world’s top fashion and beauty brands—but in starting their own lines (Jenn Im’s Eggie Clothing line); crossing over into traditional media (Wengie’s music); and challenging industry standards of representation and inclusivity (Jackie Aina’s collaboration with TooFaced Cosmetics to expand their foundation line for women of color). At Rare Global, both talent and team are proud to be women of all backgrounds and ethnicities, whose stories, passions, and missions make us unique in our space—and stronger together.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
PHOTO OF ME: Photographer: Emilynn Rose PHOTO OF GROUP Photographer: Adam Rindy

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