Public relations alum Myleeza Mingo learned to navigate two worlds as a student

Written byAshley McClure-French

"When I transferred to UL Lafayette, it was the first adult decision that I made on my own and I knew I had made the right decision."

UL Lafayette public relationns alum Myleeza Mingo.
Myleeza Mingo
Graduation Year
Class of 2016
Public Relations
Bogalusa, La.

Where I'm From

I’m from Bogalusa, La., where I started a Twitter that influenced my career and became good friends with Kim Kardashian.

Where I Am

I am loving my job as a Communications Coordinator at the University of Houston.

Where I'm Going

I am going to move up the ranks and eventually retire at the University of Houston.

Myleeza Mingo, ’16, has never been afraid to go after what she wants. She is “the type of person who can try something, don’t like it, move on to the next thing.”

Growing Up 

Myleeza started college at another university, studying to become a pharmacist.

“I absolutely hated it because my heart wasn’t in it,” she said. “I was doing that because my mom really wanted me to. I didn’t do that because Myleeza wanted to.”

With some influence from hometown friends, Myleeza considered transferring to UL Lafayette.

“I was on campus for one day and as soon as I got there, I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s it, I’m going here, I’m going here!’” she said. “The feel was different. 

“It really is a student’s type of university. It’s for the students, by the students,” she said. “And the city of Lafayette, in general, caters to UL Lafayette students so it really felt like a home away from home to me.

“And still to this day, when I go to UL Lafayette’s campus, it doesn’t feel like this is my college campus, it feels like this is my second home,” she said. 

Transferring to UL Lafayette was an important first step Myleeza took in growing up.

“When I transferred, I say that was the first adult decision that I made and that was the first decision that I could say, ‘This was the right decision,’” she said. 

Being Myleeza Kardash

As a big fan of "Keeping up with the Kardashians," Myleeza changed her Twitter handle to @MyleezaKardash in high school, a move that got her recognized by Kim Kardashian. 

“I actually went to a fragrance appearance and that let me meet Kim,” she said. “I woke up at 4:30 in the morning, drove to Jackson, Mississippi, from New Orleans, had a shirt that said ‘I’m Myleeza Kardash from Twitter,’ waited in line for 8 hours – no food, no bathroom – like, this was intense.

“It was very like smile, take a picture, she signs your bottle, go on about your business,” she said. “So, when I walked up, she was just like ‘I know you from Twitter, you’re Myleeza,’ and as soon as I walked up, she stood up and hugged me.”

This Twitter experience really motivated Myleeza to follow her heart when deciding to transfer and change her major to study public relations

“I chose public relations because I saw how big Myleeza Kardash was a hit,” she said. “I saw how much people really cared about what I said — it’s just how you word it.”

Being recognized by Kim Kardashian was just the beginning for Myleeza. The two built a genuine friendship, which led to hanging out at birthdays and always having Kanye West concert tickets. So, when Kim’s team asked Myleeza to be part of a campaign for Skims shapewear and underwear, she said yes.

“I didn’t think much of it,” she said. “I just thought we’d take a couple pictures, they’ll put it on Twitter and that’ll be that – I had no idea it would lead to having a billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.”



Two Worlds Influencing Each Other

“Whenever I discuss this with people from my professional life, I always say I’m like Hannah Montana – I live two different worlds,” she said. “When I’m there, I’m a rock star, when I’m here, I’m just Myleeza, but over there, I’m Myleeza Kardash.”

In order to keep the Myleeza Kardash world going, Myleeza needed some help from her professors in the Myleeza Mingo world.

“Imagine explaining to your professor – you’re like 19 years old – you’re asking to retake your exam because you’re going to L.A. to film a TV show,” she said. “It’s like a ‘my-dog-ate-my-homework’ type thing. But everyone was so understanding and I’m like, ‘This would not happen at any other university.’”

Myleeza’s professors would use this connection in class as well, prompting debates on relevant events in the Kardashian’s public life like lawsuits. 

“So, it really took what was going on in my Myleeza Kardash world and bring it to my Myleeza Mingo world,” she said. “And it really was like, ‘Okay this is what you’re going to school for.’ It’s actually happening.”

The support Myleeza got while at UL Lafayette made all the difference in following her ambition. 

“The Myleeza Kardash story is such a crazy experience but I always credit UL Lafayette for always giving me that push and also my professors for allowing me to reschedule my exams because, without them, none of this would be possible,” she said.

“It’s a crazy story about following your dreams and speaking stuff into existence.”

Prepared for Life

In one of her business minor classes, she had a particularly impactful encounter with her professor, Dr. Geoff Stewart. 

“That class was on the bigger side, it was like maybe 75 people,” she said. “And at the end of class, he asked me to stay behind. And I’m like, ‘Oh my god, what did I do, am I failing that bad?’

“He said ‘I know that you’re going to do great things, I can just tell. As a professor, you just know when a student is going to go off and do great things and, in this class, you’re that one student that I need to pull to the side to say this to,’” she said.

“And when you’re feeling so much pressure on you until you’re about to crack – because every college student has those days that’s like if someone just blinks at me wrong, I’m about to bust out into tears right now, I’m so stressed out,” she said. “And it was around that time and he pulled me aside and encouraged me.”

Encouragement as a student is something Myleeza needed and something she wants to pass on to current and future students. 

“It’s definitely an overwhelming feeling especially for someone that’s like 17, 18 years old and you think you’re supposed to have all the answers right then and there, but you won’t have all the answers and that’s okay because that’s how it’s supposed to be,” she said. 

“You’re not supposed to have all the answers, you’re supposed to make mistakes and learn from it, so don’t feel overwhelmed,” she said. “And if you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay because it’s going to come together, it always does.”

While being a student can be stressful, the classes are worth it. Myleeza recalls the most valuable class being the Strategic Campaign Management (CMCN 449) class, which she took with Dr. Deidra Givens. 

“Now that I look back on it, I learned everything in that class,” she said. “It’s basically like a contest. If your campaign is the best, you get an A.

“This is a 30-page type thing. It was very long, very extensive,” she said. “You have to go through and tick every checkmark to make sure you’re even able to present it. It was very stressful but very fulfilling.

“So, I got up to present and my group killed it and we ended up winning,” she said. “I felt like I was on 'American Idol.'”

Myleeza is grateful for the Department of Communication’s goal to prepare students for life after college. 

“The communications department and UL Lafayette in general really prepares you for your professional life,” she said. 

“Toward the end of your college years, you really start buckling down and it’s not a choice to buckle down in public relations, it’s a class,” she said. “It was a class to do your portfolio, it was a class to do an internship, it was a class to do the campaign, they really enforce this.

“That portfolio I still have to this day and I still use, I just pick out the parts that I don’t need anymore and update it, but I still use that same portfolio,” she said.

Keeping Up with Myleeza

Since graduating from UL Lafayette, Myleeza has earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in marketing. 

“UL Lafayette prepared me 100% because a lot of the theories and different marketing terms that they used in grad school, I also learned at UL Lafayette,” she said. 

“All of the terms I learned in those communications and public relations classes directly related to what we learned in grad school to the point where sometimes I didn’t even have to study,” she said.

Myleeza’s career grew out of the internship she completed at UL Lafayette. 

“I interned for Q95.5, the hip hop and R&B radio station in Lafayette,” she said. “I did a lot of their social media, I learned a lot about like email marketing, I learned a lot about the back end of website design, and we did promotional campaigns.”

Myleeza moved through a couple of marketing positions and a position teaching before finding her perfect fit as a Communications Coordinator at the University of Houston.

“I love the university setting,” she said. “I help with newsletters, I manage the social media, I help with email campaigns, I create campaigns, any kind of fun idea I’ll see, I’ll pitch it to my boss and then she’ll ask the steps I need."

“It’s really a hands-off thing and I love that they trust me so much. I call it my first ‘big girl job’ and I really do feel like a big girl right now,” she said.

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