The secret to her success: “Keep on hustlin’. I just don’t take no for an answer.”
You might not know Jessica Piha’s name, but Elizabeth Hurley does. So does Isabelle Fuhrman, who played Clove in “The Hunger Games.” Fashionista Piha has made a name for herself on the red carpet while the women making the walk wear the jewels she has personally picked out for them.
Penelope Ann Miller, who most recently appeared in last year’s “The Artist,” sported a pair of earrings at this year’s Academy Awards hand-picked by Piha.
So how did she end up in the dressing rooms of the stars?
“It’s about relationship building and trust,” she says. “I’ve been able to be really quite good at making sure I’m able to deliver both a fantastic experience to the celebrity or stylist, and make sure they’re always feeling beautiful and in good hands.”
Her entrée into the world of actors and models came through her work with local online jeweler Blue Nile, which she says “was really wanting to pivot themselves in the celebrity sphere.”
Though it’s usually the camera lens that separates us from them, in reality the clients Piha works with are regular people who, just like her, have a job to do.
Brooklyn Decker, who played Skyler in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” is “one of the sweetest people we’ve ever met, just down to earth,” Piha says. “They’re very grateful if you’re able to loan them a million dollars’ worth of jewelry.”
But who wouldn’t be? Providing exquisite jewelry, however, is a far cry from where Piha got her start: As a CNN reporter who did on-the-ground coverage after Hurricane Katrina.
“I really loved it, but the work hours were very hard for me,” she says. Public relations felt like a natural transition, so she went for it. “I was able to use my media contacts, and I was able to do some great work.”
It’s safe to say that the work hours haven’t gotten any better — not that she’s complaining. In the two years since Piha launched JVP Media & Public Relations, online at www.jvpmedia.com, she has made it a point of always being available, no matter the time of day or what’s going on in her life.
“That’s actually one of the crazy parts of the job,” she says. “At any minute you can get a call and…you are beckoned to New York or L.A.”
But, she says, she’s having a great time.
Piha grew up in Seattle in a Sephardic family that has produced generations of leaders at Temple De Hirsch Sinai.
“My father was president, my grandfather was president,” she says. “I hope to be active as I have more time.”
She has also volunteered for the AJC Seattle Jewish Film Festival and at the Council for World Affairs, for which she helped to organize a lunch between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I’m really passionate about Middle East affairs,” she says.