The secret of success? Tiziana Rocca reveals it.

Tiziana Rocca

Betty Senatore interviews the most famous Italian PR.

Tiziana Rocca is the most famous Italian PR and event organiser. She created an agency that bears her name, is General Manager of the Taormina Film Fest, and has always been called the Robin Hood of active solidaritythanks to her social commitment. She has written numerous books –  some of which have also been translated into English –  and her new one entitled “Il segreto del successo” (The secret of success; Sperling & Kupfer) was just recently published.


In this book you dedicate a lot of space to young people, represented by your children. What pieces of advice would you give young people who are approaching the work world?

Commitment, sacrifice and determination: only with these three ingredients you will be able to succeed in any kind of work. In Italy, merits are hardly ever recognized and the really capable young people are not able to stand out. My work rewards those who bring results and keep the promises made in a reality, which tends to have a sloppy attitude. A great sacrifice in terms of flexibility, time and energy is necessary. This is why I tell young people that great passion has to be involved in their job: as a matter of fact, they’ll do it for most of their time in life.  


Tiziana Rocca with her children and husband Giulio Base

Your nickname is “event soothsayer” but also “marketing guru”, as Variety said. How important is instinct in your job?

Sometimes I joke around saying that my job is in my DNA. I think it’s true, as I’ve tried to take advantage of my characteristics. Every new event or festival is a challenge against everything and everyone, especially if a project is built from scratch. I am in favour of daring and doing new things rather than following an already traced path.  In our country, people tend to avoid following this path for fear of altering the existing balances, whereas you need to take risks.

You met a lot of celebrities from the world of politics, sports and sciences. Who among them left you the most important teachings?

I had the pleasure to meet Meryl Streep, a woman of great wisdom, mother of four children and one of the most important actresses worldwide. I particularly appreciate her kindness (she always remembers the names of the people she meets), and her ability to keep her feet on the ground, putting her family first and respecting her children’s choices. For me, this woman is a model: she has been able to maintain her values in a ruthless world like Hollywood. I was happy when she wrote the preface to one of my books.

What is your ace in the hole?

Not being afraid. You have to set yourself challenges that becomemore and more ambitious, above all when it comes to promoting our wonderful country. Challenges are part of my life, even when I have to convince people to believe in a project. I’m never afraid of what I do, because I’m the first one who believes in what I actually do. I know Iwouldvalue a product and a land, unlike many other people, who tend to do so only afterwards, as they can’t imagine future events, but then get on the bandwagon.

Which of these three sentences is more appropriate in your opinion? “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done” (Thomas Jefferson); “If you become a butterfly, everybody stops thinking about how it was when you crawled on the ground and didn’t want your wings” (Alda Merini); “Don’t judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. (Nelson Mandela)
The third one by Nelson Mandela.

Insofar as we can in our small way, what should we not renounce when organizing a party or a dinner?
Having fun! Earlier, we had very equipped houses with different sets of dishes and glasses. Now life is more hectic and instead of giving up an evening with friends, I recommend using disposable dishes and tablecloth as well as food delivered directly at home. You don’t have to stress yourself or give up the lightness of the moment. You can organize a nice evening with just three phone calls.

Being a true Neapolitan, do you have a ritual connected to coffee? With whom would you like to drink one right now?
For me, coffee is sacred, especially in the morning, when it helps me to switch on. When I work in America, I drink a lot of coffee, but I never have the same feeling of well-being as when it’s prepared at home. I would like to have one with Lady Gaga, a nice woman, who doesn’t brag her success. And, what’s more, she is proud of having Italian origins. She thinks women of our country are the best! Of all people, she would be the best mate.