Digital Brand Architects, the Los Angeles-based management firm acquired by United Talent Agency that represents a who’s who of social media personalities, has added Olivia Perez to its roster of clients.
The 27-year-old represents a new generation of storytellers in this digital age, carving out her own path as a journalist, influencer — working with the likes of Chanel, Prada and Nike — and host of “Friend of a Friend,” a weekly podcast she launched in May 2019.
“I’m grateful for all the experiences that have gotten me to this point, and I’m really excited to see this new chapter,” said Perez, who’s currently based in her hometown of L.A.
She’s garnered attention for being Gigi Hadid’s childhood bestie but has made a name for herself independent of her supermodel friend, partnering with fashion brands that include Kith, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and being named ambassador for Outdoor Voices and Coach. A graduate of New York University, where she studied journalism, she’s a contributing writer for Forbes.com and has written for Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue and Huffington Post.
With “Friend of a Friend,” Perez dives into the lives, passions and career stories of each guest — a range of talent that includes creators and entertainers such as musician Maggie Rogers, activists like Janaya Future Khan, as well as executives and founders, from Jen Rubio of Away to Annie Lawless of Lawless Beauty. Episodes chart in the top 100 career podcasts in the U.S., Canada and Australia every week, according to Perez.
“I love interviewing, and storytelling is at my core, so when I noticed that the podcast industry was really starting to pick up, I saw it as an incredible opportunity,” she continued. “I was reading statistics the other day, I think in 2021 alone, people have listened to 15 billion hours of podcasts already.”
Inspired by the intimate conversations often shared by friends around a dinner table, the aim of the podcast is to “take down the wall,” she said, while offering candidness and advice. “It’s to have a show that really emulates human connection and friendship. And through that experience, they can tell their story in a way that doesn’t have to feel like it’s a media trained moment. It’s a very, very honest conversation.”
Perez produced the show for six months before being tapped by Dear Media, a podcast network created by DBA. By the end of this year, she’ll hit her 100th episode, as she continues to grow her audience (many of them females in their 20s and early 30s).
“There’s something extremely intimate about hearing someone’s story through their lens,” Perez added. “And audibly, the sound of a voice in your ear — quite literally — is something that’s really powerful and a very intimate experience as a listener.”
Looking ahead, she hopes to expand the podcast “to as many platforms as possible,” she said: “I want people to be able to listen to it in its original form, but I could even see this on TV, and that’s always been a goal of mine, to be able to reach a wider audience.”