Former Intellectual Property attorney, sometime model, current celebrity journalist/blogger and urban media personality. You can find Mara’s work in Parle Magazine, and on websites such as YoRaps.com, HHLO.net, RollingOut.com, and DrJays.com (Live). The Wilmington, NC native has interviewed and written stories on what reads like a “who’s who” of R&B, hip-hop and urban entertainment, including Jadakiss, Maino, Grandmaster Caz, style icon June Ambrose, Kalenna Harper (Diddy Dirty Money), Tami Roman, Olivia, and Kandi Burruss.
In early 2009, Mara joined Street Disciplez Radio as co-host, joining the show’s creator and host, former hip-hop emcee turned media personality, Ei8ht. Street Disciplez Radio has generated headlines on many media outlets, including HipHopWired.com, MediaTakeOut.com, AllHipHop.com, SOHH.com, BET.com, XXLMag.com, TheYBF.com, Bossip.com, VIBE.com, NecoleBitchie.com, OzoneMag.com, and many, many more. Past guests of Street Disciplez Radio include Meagan Good, Natalie Nunn, Bobby Brown, Scarface, Def Jam executive Sha Money XL, actor Ving Rhames, Tashera Simmons, Felicia “Snoop” Pearson (“The Wire”), French Montana, Capone and Noreaga, Consequence, west coast hip-hop legend Too $hort, and many more. Currently syndicated on the web, Street Disciplez Radio airs on multiple sites every Monday and Wednesday night from 8:30pm to 10:30pm.
In the summer of 2011, Mara was selected to serve as Managing Editor of popular lifestyle/entertainment webzine, CherryOnTop.com (the brainchild of NYC radio personality, Cherry Martinez of Power 105.1 FM). With Mara at the helm, CherryOnTop.com has generated headlines on TheYBF.com, SOHH.com, Bossip.com, VIBE.com,TheHuffingtonPost.com, VIBEVixen.com and on many other popular media outlets.
The Renaissance woman also pens a column, “The Adventures of the Hip-Hop Socialite…”, for One-Ten Magazine, which is scheduled for relaunch in the summer of 2012.. Earlier this year marked another milestone in Mara’s career, as she began hosting the “60-Second Scoop” on North Carolina’s Coast 97.3 FM (Cumulus Media), Michigan’s WHPR FM 88.1, and NYC’s DaMatrixStudios.com.
Mara has also hosted her own internet series, “Scene & Heard TV”, which generated the kind of headlines that many have come to expect of the proud southern belle. As an urban media personality, Mara has been featured in RollingOut.com, ForbezDVD.com, GGurls.com, Femmixx.com, and other outlets.
Q & A with Mara The Hip-Hop Socialite:
BS: What made you leave your profession as an attorney to pursue a career in media?
Shamara McKoy: To be perfectly honest with you, I never pictured myself practicing law for the rest of my life. I’ve always been passionate about writing, but I knew I probably would not make much money from it. Nevertheless, when I relocated to NYC after graduating from the law school at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, I decided to make a go of it after working as a lawyer for almost 2 years. I’ve always been obsessed with pop culture, so working in the media world made perfect sense. It merges two of the things I love: writing and pop culture.
BS: How would you describe your work style?
Shamara McKoy: Organized chaos. I can be all over the place, but I manage to always get things done.
BS: Tell me about your proudest achievement. What inspires you?
Shamara McKoy: Although I’m no longer in the law field, earning my law degree is my proudest achievement.
I’m inspired by my nieces. With all the foolishness that’s going on on TV and just everywhere, it’s important to me that I model the behavior, morals, work ethic, and beliefs that I want them to possess. It inspires me to go hard and always carry myself in a way that influences them in a positive way.
BS: What do you ultimately want to become?
Shamara McKoy: Eventually, I want to be a radio personality that’s recognized on a national level. I want to get the book I’m working on published at some point, and I although I’m already a pop culture commentator, I would like to take it to the next level by landing television appearances to provide commentary on everything pop culture!
BS: Who has impacted you most in your career and how?
Shamara McKoy: Wow, there are quite a few people who have impacted my career. I can’t name one without naming them all, so I’ll leave it at that.
BS: What’s the most important thing you learned about yourself so far? What is your personal mission statement?
Shamara McKoy: Relocating to NYC and managing to make a life for myself here has taught me just how strong I am. It wasn’t easy by far.
I don’t have a personal mission statement per se, I just believe that hard work and faith (in God) will get you everywhere.
BS: Who are your role models and why?
Shamara McKoy: My mom and my dad (of course). Their work ethic is something like I’ve never seen! My dad worked 30+ years for a particular company, and he rarely missed a day. He actually retired in 2001, but he grew tired of sitting at home, and got another job working for a school. My mom is the same way. They’re just hard workers, and succeeded in giving my siblings and I the kind of childhood any kid would hope for. They’ve worked very hard on their marriage as well – in July, they celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary! They’re both very happy!
When it comes to this industry, I adore Cathy Hughes. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting her, but her career in media (particularly radio) is a major motivator for me.
BS: What techniques and tools do you use to develop yourself?
Shamara McKoy: I’m an avid reader, and one of the things I do while I’m reading is write down words that I stumble across that I don’t often use. I then write down their definitions (if I don’t know it already) and incorporate those words into my own writing.
I’m hoping to participate in more writing workshops. I’m always trying to improve my skills as a writer, and participating in whatever workshops I come across is a big part of that.
BS: What projects are you a part of now? What can we expect from you in the near future?
Shamara McKoy: Right now, I’m focused on my radio bit, “The 60 Second Scoop with the Hip-Hop Socialite”. It’s 60 seconds of the latest celebrity interviews, gossip, and/or details on the hottest events. The “Scoop” was launched earlier this year, and it’s featured interviews with everyone from rapper Ca$h Out, to Tami Roman (“Basketball Wives”), to Momma Dee (“Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta”). It’s done quite well in the radio markets that air it down south, and I recently landed a sponsor (t-shirt company Optic Verbiage, http://www.OpticVerbiage.com). The “Scoop” has already made headlines everywhere from The Urban Daily to Bossip. It’s something I created, with my name on it, produced by my production team, Da Matrix Studios in NYC. I’m quite proud of it. I’m looking forward to additional radio stations picking it up and adding it to their programming. I’m extremely grateful to my family at Coast 97.3 FM in North Carolina because they were the first station to give the “Scoop” a chance.
I also pen a column called “The Adventures of the Hip-Hop Socialite” for One Ten Magazine. It will be re-launched in December in the winter issue of One Ten. And of course, I’m still Managing Editor of CherryOnTop.com, a lifestyle/entertainment webzine that’s the brainchild of Power 105.1 FM radio personality, Cherry Martinez.