Behind the scenes of your favorite housewives, influencers, restaurants, and more, NYC and Hamptons-based talent manager Tom Ierna has orchestrated the rise of some of entertainment’s biggest names.
Founder of Thomas Christian Management, Tom Ierna, has and still represents a majority of the casts of RHONJ and RHONY including Jackie Goldschneider, Ramona Singer, Jennifer Fessler, Margaret Josephs, and many more.
Ierna started his career at a very young age and had a lot to share with Spotlight about his journey thus far. In the following Q&A, we shed light on everything from Ierna’s biggest triumphs to his favorite NYC restaurants and most hilarious career moments.
You began working in the entertainment industry from a very young age. What inspired you to start a career in this field?
What challenges did you face starting your own management company?
It is always a hard decision to step away from the comfort and financial security of a job and take the leap into running your own business, but there comes a time when you are ready. And you may be ready but in the early stages, self-doubt will have you questioning if you have made the right decision. YOU DID!
You should still be learning every day. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect so I have to remind myself to take everything one day at a time. Sticking to a daily morning routine has been very helpful and taking some time for self-care is essential; whether that is going for a walk, meditating, or taking a workout class.
What has been the most rewarding moment in your career thus far?
I work with my talent/brand roster to set career goals, partnerships they want, collaborations that truly represent them, and red carpets they want to walk. Seeing my clients achieve their goals is the most rewarding part of my career and I am so grateful this happens weekly and even daily. This has enabled me to build a life full of unique, interesting experiences and I have made amazing memories with clients who are also great friends. Having your own business really gives you the freedom to shape a lifestyle that works for you.
You manage a majority of the cast of Real Housewives of New Jersey and the OG Real Housewives of New York. How were you able to connect with them? What is the best part about working with them?
I worked at a company called Talent Resources and I started to get assigned to work in the unscripted sector, primarily the Real Housewives accounts and running their social media. It quickly turned into a full management role. I was a natural at navigating all of their personalities and it was a perfect fit, such a good fit that at one point Bravo’s PR department was recommending their talent work with me. It’s funny because I was young and running all around the city with them and that in turn gave me the opportunity to meet some great people and onboard new clients.
The best part about working with them is that they are very entertaining, just like on-screen, there is always excitement (aka drama). I try to always be the voice of reason and keep everyone calm in the moment. It has been a gift to work with so many of them and I really have become a part of their families. I do have some crazy stories though but my lips are sealed!
You are based in NYC. What are some of your favorite spots in the city?
Some of my favorite spots in NYC are The Polo Bar—they have the best burgers in town—and Nelly! I also love Jacques Bar at The Lowell for an extra dirty gin martini—I feel like I am in Europe sitting in there. L’avenue at Saks for lunch. The Mark and The Carlyle of course! For Italian food, I love Emilio’s Ballato. For some me time, I love the home floors at Bergdorf Goodman and Ralph Lauren on Madison. I can spend hours just looking around!
What does a Friday night in the Hamptons look like to you?
It depends on my mood, but if I have the night off I like to go to dinner with friends. If I am looking for more of a casual night I love Calissa in Watermill or East Hampton Grill in East Hampton. For more of a scene, Bilboquet is the place to go.
You have started expanding your work into Palm Beach. How is the clientele different there vs. NYC/the Hamptons?
There is definitely a crossover in NYC/Palm Beach clientele. Most of my clients summer in the Hamptons and spend the winter in Palm Beach. I can tell you that everyone seems to be more relaxed and laid back once they get there!
In your opinion which celebrities have done a great job with marketing and branding themselves? What would you say it takes to get a celebrity client to the next level of their career?
I would say the obvious answer is Kim Kardashian. She has built the most incredible brands and businesses. She is driven and everything she does is intentional and that is reflected in her success. Victoria & David Beckham established themselves as a very aspirational, luxury lifestyle brand from the very beginning. That made it a natural fit for the luxury fashion brands to work with them and in turn, led them to build their own brands.
To get to the next level in your career, I really think it comes down to elevating your personal style. When Anna Wintour decided to start putting celebrities/sports stars on the cover of Vogue it changed the industry entirely. Celebrities have become today’s supermodels and the face of some of the most prestigious brands in the world.
Who are some of the coolest people you’ve met in the industry thus far? Why?
Off the top of my head, I would say Jennifer Lopez and Martha Stewart. They both have accomplished so much in their careers and I had a very pleasant experience with both of them.
What has been the most hilarious moment of your career thus far?
What advice do you have for others looking to start their own management company?
You need to start small and work your way up. It’s all about building those relationships and networking. I would consider myself to be very kind, honest, and positive. These core values have helped me retain the same clients I have worked with for years and have helped with onboarding new ones. I have become a part of everyone’s extended family that I work with. We not only work together but we have a lot of fun together as well! Also, being well-organized is key!
What is one movie you feel like you relate to the most?
The Devil Wears Prada for sure! It’s one of the best movies ever made.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would love to build out my roster to include more scripted talent, musicians, and luxury brands and expand into global markets. I love to travel for business—specifically Paris and London. I feel so alive there. But whatever I am doing and wherever I am, client success, personal happiness, and self-fulfillment are key.
** All images courtesy of Tom Ierna.