During Women's History Month, we'll be spotlighting empowering women who are making moves in their industries and communities. This week, we're giving all the light to Tianna-Marie Rosser, Orlando Magic's Social Media Graduate Associate.
LOS ANGELES — Tianna-Marie is a solid representation of what it means to grind. All by the age of 25, she's graduated with a Bachelor's in Communications & Minor in Critical Media and Cultural Studies from Rollins College, received her Master's from Lynn University in Media Studies, landed a social media role within the NBA's Orlando Magic (which has a whopping 1.4+ million followers), all while under the modern-day pressures of being a young, black women in a male-dominated industry.
Here, she opens up about her journey, reflects on the hardships she had to overcome, and how confidence plays a major part in all of her success...
What do you do for the Orlando Magic?
I’m their Social Media Graduate Associate. Each year, they offer a program where they bring in recent graduates to gain experience in a bunch of different departments like global partnerships, ticket sales, and social responsibility. As a Graduate Associate (GA) in social media, I help the team create, ideate, and analyze data on the social scene. So far, one of the most fun achievements was working on the NBA G League team, and producing and directing a feature on Devin Cannady who was the MVP of our G league last year - that was a lot of fun.
What sparked your interest in pursuing a role in the NBA?
I love the whole media scene and learning how media, social responsibility, and race all intertwine. I have a real passion in that.
Why do you think International Women's Day (IWD) matters in today's world?
Oooh good question. Historically, spaces in the sports industry and those that are still mainly dominated by men were not safe spaces for women to contribute, so IWD matters today because it allows us to share our voice and break the barriers of narrow representation constructed over time. I’m actually leading a campaign right now that's focused on highlighting women in this space for the Orlando Magic -- it feels good to take ownership of that and be a part of this new movement that should be celebrated every day, just like #BlackHistoryMonth.
Speaking of your line of work and the things you're working on, what would you say are the biggest challenges that you face in your career?
Honestly, an insecurity of mine relates back to people thinking I'm being extra or assuming that I'm all that, and having this over-flowing amount of confidence which I don't. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not doing anything or doing enough, but have to remind myself "you have a voice. You work in a safe space where your colleagues are amazing. You can express your ideas -- and your ideas are good."
I'm also the only woman on the social team which is a double-edged sword — putting myself here will allow others to venture to this position, but I'm the only woman here. It's caused me to work harder to not overstep boundaries and continue playing this political game that we need to play in order to be successful in sports, especially being a black woman. The key is confidence, which I'm really trying to build on my own without the validation from others.
Going back to the anecdote about women shying away from their accomplishments, have you ever felt the need to dim yourself to make other people feel comfortable?
When I was playing basketball in college, I felt like I had to dim myself with my own teammates or I would be accused of being a "kiss up". At a predominantly white school or in any white-dominant space, I think there is this thing called a “chosen black person in white spaces” - it's the black person who is cool with the white people. When there are other black people in this same space, it becomes a competition for that spot/title. I felt like I fit that spot because rarely did I feel pressure or jealousy from my white teammates, but I did feel it from my own sisterhood who would discredit my hard work based on assumptions. It's disheartening to not feel accepted by those like you and we need to celebrate each other more, especially in white dominant spaces.
🔥Rapid fire questions🔥
What is a personal quality that you are currently cultivating or would like to cultivate that stems from a woman that you admire?
Malika Andrews, reporter from ESPN, radiates confidence and black beauty. My goal is to become a digital reporter and/or work for a show, so having someone that looks like me and shows me that I can look the way I do and be successful is just so special.
What lights your fire?
Music haha! I can't live without it.
What track never fails to hype you up?
Already Won by Kehlani makes me feel empowered. It makes me feel like I've already won, but it helps me get in the groove to go win some more.
Any advice for our readers out there?
If you're a [collegiate level] athlete, be kind to yourself. The pressure to be great is heavy, and it's important to remember at the end of the day we’re putting a ball in a basket. It’s a game. Just keep in mind to have fun and talk to family and friends on those stressful days. The love and support I had during my depressional season is why I’m still here today.
For more about Tianna-Marie, follow Instagram account @tianna_marieeee.
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