There are only a handful of people you meet throughout your life whose infectious good energy radiates even on your gloomiest day. Yazmin Ramos is one of those people whose combination of jubilance, urgency, creativity, and NYC hustle is either something you can hate on or get with but either way, it’s there in whatever room she walks in.
She was a Senior Producer at The Wendy Williams Show when I was an intern back in 2019 before all of our worlds changed. Now, as everyone is familiarized with their new normal, she’s just getting to redefine hers. Last year, she left her Emmy nominated position of almost 13 years and is venturing into motherhood, with a baby debuting in only a month.
Currently, as the Supervising Producer at Essence Magazine, Yazmin is ready to share it all. We talk about her start in television, why she left the notorious show, and what motherhood means for a career woman like herself.
Her Agenda: Born and raised in the Bronx to Hondoruon immigrants, you’re the first in your family to work in the TV industry. Can you talk about what got you interested?
Yazmin Ramos: I’ve always been a creative person since I was a child. I got into entertainment because I love music and movies. My dad loved music videos and he would record MTV or VH1 music videos on VHS tapes and play them as a form of entertainment for our guests. I loved how these music videos would soak people in and I just wanted to be a part of that somehow. I knew there was something there. I wanted to work on material that other people wanted to watch. Me coming from this TV background, I see now that my purpose was to create something that will uplift people.
Her Agenda: Was it hard breaking into the industry? The general population doesn't even know what a producer does.
Yazmin Ramos: I started from the bottom. I was an intern, then production assistant, associate producer, and now producer. My journey had a lot of ups and downs to get me to that producer title. It started with my first internship that I got myself. I was a big fan of 106& Park, it was the “it” show and I wanted to work here. I got tickets and while I was there, I wasn't focused on the show, I was focused on the people running the show. I was looking at the cameraperson, the PA, the producer. I was looking at everyone who was responsible for making the show. After the show, I asked someone how can I apply to be an intern and two weeks later I got a call with an offer. People always say you just need to get your foot in the door and that was me getting my foot in the door. I wanted to make my presence known. I learned how to network, which is important because people will notice when you’re there to hustle or if you’re just there because it's BET. That’s what helped me, those people noticed me and helped me get other opportunities. I know you asked me about being a producer but being an intern is where it all really started and I never allowed the grind to leave me, it always stayed within me.
As you said, it wasn’t easy breaking in. After graduation, I was living with my parents who’ve always been super supportive of what I do but after a little bit, they were like “alright, maybe it's time to think about something else” because although I was doing a couple of gigs, I had no steady work. For a little bit, I didn't know what to do because I did want steady work but I didn't want to give up on my passions. I eventually got my dream job, an associate producer on a BET show, interviewing A-list celebrities, and traveling. Then the 2008 recession hit and the show got canceled and it was hard for me to move on because no one was hiring. I was 23 with my own apartment in Harlem and now I had to move back in with my parents. It was traumatic. But at that point, I proved what I’ve been able to do so my parents really encouraged me when I was discouraged. My father said, ‘You did all of this, you’re bound to find another job.’ That's when I realized it was always important to have a second stream of income, which no one taught me. So I moved on to working weddings which are essentially production. Then an opportunity came about, this woman was in the sneak peek of her brand new show, The Wendy Williams Show.
Her Agenda: To confirm, you started during the show’s sneak peek and left towards the end of Season 12. Can you let the audience know some of your accomplishments at the show?’
Yazmin Ramos: ‘Ask Wendy,’ where audience members got to ask Wendy for advice, wasn’t what it was until I got there. I was a PA when I noticed that the segment didn’t translate on camera as well as it did when it started on radio. I realized we had to be people’s cheerleaders and over prep them. After that, the questions got better, Wendy was enjoying them and everybody was following my lead.
‘Eye Candy’ was also a segment that I created. I just thought it was a great idea to point out someone fashionable from the audience and eye candy is culture. How many songs do we know in R&B and rap that mention it? It was just a natural given. From “Eye Candy” I created “Guy Candy” because Wendy loves her men. Then “Wendy What's Good?” which they stopped doing after I left, probably because they couldn’t produce it. Finally, I also created “Birthday Shoutout” during the pandemic which they’re still doing to this day.
Her Agenda: When did you realize you had to leave?
Yazmin Ramos: My Co-EP asked us to come up with a segment idea for the show to air towards the end. When I was emailing her my new idea, I mentioned the success of my creation ‘Birthday Shoutout’ to help pitch it. She emailed me back totally dismissing the idea I was pitching and the only thing she said was ‘you’re not the only one that came up with the idea of Birthday Shoutout, there were other producers that had the same idea.’ That crushed me. That was the moment I realized my time is up here. I just want people who are in situations where they are creative and they don't feel recognized, like I have, to know that I’ve had to find ways to create opportunities for myself when they weren’t being given.
Her Agenda: Do you have any advice for anyone who’s making the transition to leave their job?
Yazmin Ramos: I really enjoyed being able to work at Wendy and the relationships I’ve developed. That’s what motivated me to stay for 12.5 years. In the beginning stages, it was challenging. Leaving a job that you’ve been in for a really long time is never easy because even though I wasn’t being treated fairly, I still loved my job, I looked forward to walking in. I didn’t want to be boxed in as the “Ask Wendy” girl, I wanted to do it all. And as much as I was fighting for it, it just wasn’t going in the direction I wanted. That’s when I realized I have to stop [trying to get] people to see my worth and just start seeing it for myself. I needed to see my own worth first. If I believe in myself and my worth and everything that I’ve done up to this point, then the sky’s the limit because I don’t need that recognition from anyone else because I have it within me.
My faith plays a big part because every opportunity I’ve been given has been divine so who knows where else God is going to put me? When you believe in yourself, you can do anything. It may take time and it won’t happen overnight, but I do think it will make you stronger and prepare you for the next position. If you stay patient, work hard, and have faith, no matter how hard someone tries to dim your light, they can’t because you shine everywhere you go. There may be people who don't want to see it because it reminds them of what they’re not able to do but just focus on you. Don't be discouraged, be encouraged.
- Yazmin Ramos, Supervising Producer at Essence Magazine
Motherhood is a whole new production, a whole new journey.
Yazmin Ramos: I did not! Polished Angels started because I wanted to give back to the community and I didn’t know how to. But it was just natural for me to create a non-profit where I would be painting nails for senior citizens. I love nails, it's been a big passion of mine for years. Choosing to work with the elderly was very important to me because growing up, I didn't have an abuelo and abuela to go to after school because of a language barrier. And just because you’re older doesn't mean you should be forgotten. I wanted something elderly people can look forward to.
Spicy Christians is so dear to me but it was never on my radar to sell merchandise. It came about because I was hosting my own Youtube series called Faith Works and it was getting a bit costly so I needed another source of income to fund it. I also felt like I wasn't growing the way I wanted to at my job so again, I felt like I needed to create opportunities for myself. I labeled it Spicy Christians because that’s how I’ve defined myself for so many years. I don't like the image and rep that Christians get about being perfect or being holier than thou. I wanted to show that you can be a spicy Christian like me. I'm not perfect, I like to wear tight clothes and I don't see anything wrong with twerking (I'm not that great at it but I love to see other people do it). Because of all of that, God doesn't see me as less.
Her Agenda: You've talked about the hustle and now it's coming to a temporary end as you prepare for your next big production, motherhood. How does that feel?
Yazmin Ramos: I’m still getting my mind around it. Motherhood is just like you’ve described it, it's a whole new production, a whole new journey. I’ve done so much in my career and have experienced so much that motherhood is like ‘OMG I really hope I'm good at it.’ I feel like I am going to be a great mom but at the same time, I know it's not easy. This is the first time someone is fully dependent on me. I want to be a great mom but I also still want to be who I am and that's the balance. I don't want to feel like once motherhood officially kicks in, other things that I love will just have to be put in the backburner. I'm praying that I’ll figure out what that balance is. I'm excited to instill so many amazing qualities as my parents did for me. For years my career has been my baby and now, it’s going to be different. It's a bit nerve-wracking because I feel like my career is always going to be my baby, but now it's not going to have that same amount of attention. I'm just really excited about being a super supportive mom.