Interview with Traci Szymanski, founder of Co-Star Entertainment
Co-Star Entertainment are experts in working with celebrities to help bring attention and draw further support for causes in need.
We coincided with Traci several times in Barcelona, Spain. Seeing what she does and how she manages it, we were keen to interview her and let people know about her company, the person behind it and the reason why she does what she does.
Could you shortly explain to us what Co-Star Entertainment does?
Co-Star Entertainment is a full-service celebrity booking, events production and promotional firm that specializes in working with popular American celebrities from TV, Film, Music, Fashion and Sports. For over 15 years we have produced major events all over the world to help charitable causes. We are experts in working with celebrities to help bring attention and draw further support for causes in need.
Which specific problems do you solve?
Charitable organizations come to us for several reasons:
- To widen their demographic outreach and start appealing to a broader or specific audience,
- Help in spreading the word about a cause.
- Draw attention in the press, Celebrity support,
- Raise money, and
- Create unique events to keep their current supporters active.
What is your business model?
To work with good people on great projects that have an impact.
What is the most you love about what you do?
I love that I am actually making a positive difference in some way on every project.
How did you come to the idea to create Co-Star Entertainment?
While I was still in college, I made it a priority to work and intern in a variety of different places within the entertainment industry. I thought it was important to have a very diverse background so that it would help me succeed in any path I chose. I worked at talent agencies, record labels, TV networks, production houses, all the big celebrity awards shows. I think it was my senior year in college when I began working at one of the top pop radio stations in the world, KIISfm in Los Angeles. I made a lot of connections with talent, music artists and industry people during that time. It was a combination of that and working on various award shows like the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Grammys, Radio Music Awards that I made most of my initial connections.
The day I graduated college, I was hired by one of the top music management companies (that managed *Nsync & Britney Spears at the height of their careers). We opened up a West Coast office and I worked for manager Johnny Wright for about two years. After that I went out on my own and was managing and developing music artists and a few writers. Simultaneously, I partnered with Hollywood Knights and assisted in expanding the company to do celebrity charity events around the world. It was during that time and influenced by Hollywood Knights, that helping charities became my focus.
I will always continue to partner with Hollywood Knights because they are family but I began expanding Co-Star Entertainment a few years later. Instead of committing to a few talent and managing only those people, Co-Star evolved to work with companies and charities all over the world who can utilize US Celebrities. I continued to build relationships within the entertainment community and I now work with hundreds of celebrities to pair them with projects that make the most sense for everyone.
What amounts do you usually expect to raise for a typical campaign?
There is no set amount as every campaign, project, event is very different from the others. I have helped friends with small projects that raise a few thousand dollars or just enough for a medical procedure to save one life all the way up to many millions.
What do you think has been the best campaign ever and why?
I have so many great memories. Each of them a favorite because you can actually see something occur beyond the raising of money.
In no particular order….
- When Hollywood Knights went to Bergen, Norway to raise money for children with Cancer.
- When we went to Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Hawaii with the USO to spend time with the US Troops.
- The Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation Celebrity Poker Tournament hosted by James Gandolfini shortly before he passed.
- The star-studded Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Western Region Galas with Barbra Streisand, Mark Wahlberg, Robert DeNiro, Arnold Schwartzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Larry King, Gerard Butler, Gene Simmons, Liev Shreiber, Jason Alexander, Antonio Banderas, AJ McLean, Pamela Anderson, Kathy Ireland, Joanna Krupa, the Marcianos, Larry Elison, Robert Kraft, the Beach Boys and more.
Some of my favorite memories are when you can see that what you’re doing makes an impact and people really care. I love when celebrities go above and beyond for a cause.
- ’ll never forget when Jason Alexander spontaneously got up and performed a Barbra Streisand’s “Memories” followed by Gene Simmons taking the mic and rocking the event with “Rock N’ Roll All Night”. And Gene and Jason both did it just to add to the event and help the cause.
- MLB icon Tommy Lasorda and MMA Champion Tito Ortiz are two greats that always surprise me with their constant generosity and willingness to go the extra mile to contribute at every event they attend. These are times that I never forget.
- One of my best friends and Supermodel Joanna Krupa always makes her support known for a cause and helps to spread the word.
- The Backstreet Boys going to Israel and sharing their experience publicly was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.Most of my trips with celebrities to Israel have been wonderful and unforgettable.
- In 2016, I partnered with the Omri Casspi Foundation to bring a group of celebrities and athletes to see the country and I believe each one of them was impacted in some way. That makes me the happiest.
- The time I brought The Force Awakens star, John Boyega to Barcelona Spain and taught him how to play poker so he could compete against futbol star Neymar Jr. in “PokerStars Duel” to raise money for his charity was really cool.
When you can have fun while doing something great that helps people or a cause….. It’s these types of things that I cherish.