What do you get when you mix music, politics and the law? You get Sandi Gollen Balendra! Sandi is an Entertainment Lawyer, Music Manager, London College of Fashion Professor and Founder of VMM Invest! Read below on how she got her start and how she balances it all!
1) Why did you choose your profession?
I think it came from having learned to be independent and persuasive at a very young age as I attended boarding school from the age of 8 years old. As I got older I was always surrounded by lawyers and regularly assisted at a family law firm during high school. My mother later introduced me into the world of politics and I was lucky to be mentored by an incredibly inspiring Trade Union Lawyer and politician who was also a Member of Parliament where I worked for a very long time before and after graduating from Law. It was here that I was truly inspired as I was based at the heart of Law making and Policies, having worked as a Campaigner and Researcher at the UK Houses Of Parliament.
2) What is the favorite part of your job?
I would say, now more than ever the favourite part of my job is the fact that it is so versatile and varied. I also think that having the freedom to truly enjoy my work is deeply empowering as I can pretty much cherry pick the clients and brands I work with and I’m incredibly grateful to be working with some of the most talented creative artists, academics, fashion designers and musician’s in the industry. The job has also enabled me to travel which is always a good thing!. My firm’s focus is on Music, Fashion, Technology and Art and my career has allowed me to work with exceptional character’s supporting philanthropic causes within the remit of eco consciousness, sustainable and ethical sourcing as well as sponsoring rising talent. It has also been incredibly enriching being an Advisory Panel Trustee at the London College of Fashion’s fund raising committee where I lecture and conduct mentor programmes in Business and Enterprise to Post Grad students looking to start up their own line and label or aspire to work for top designers. This career lifestyle enabled me to wear several hats as a Lawyer (Solicitor as we say in the U.K) but also as an entrepreneur and business woman.
3) What is the most difficult part of your job?
There’s a saying that Lawyers are the one profession in which pessimists outperform the optimists. This rings true especially when dealing with matters relating to a side of this job where I also act as Publicist as well as a Lawyer. A proportion of my client’s are high profile and I do take pride in the fact that I can ‘tell it how it is’ to even the most well known of artists/celebrities I work with, and thankfully this has only worked to enhance the effectiveness of my work, but saying that, it’s still a tough thing to do, especially when you develop a friendship for most of the people you work with, its not always easy thing to do but part of the job and always appreciated with the desired results in the end.
4) Who is your mentor (if any)?
I have many mentors, the first and most important one is my mother, a truly exceptional lady. She is my rock beyond any, she taught me the value of thinking evolved, beyond barriers and at all times with curiosity, logic and creativity and always with a touch of fabulousness!
Throughout the years I have been mentored by a handful of amazing people, one of them being Andrew Dismore Greater London Assembly Member and former Member of Parliament, who still inspires me to this day!
5) Best piece of advice for someone pursuing your field?
I would definitely say, try not to stick to one area of law throughout the early stages of your career as some may suggest. Sometimes, it takes time for you to really find your niche. I started in Litigation and Criminal Law and then Commercial and Technology Law and eventually found my true calling within Media & Entertainment Law. Take your time to find out what really makes you tick because that passion and drive is what will carry you towards progress.
6) If you have not chosen this profession would have you chosen instead?
Most probably a writer or journalist/news presenter. The world of Creatives, Art and Communications have always been a passion of mine!
7) Favorite designer?
Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Moschino
8) Favorite makeup brand?
Chanel, M.A.C and Benefit
9) Favorite hair care?
My GHD Straighteners!
10) Favorite skin brand?
Lancôme, LaRoche Posay and The Body Shop
11) If you could only choose 5 items to put in your purse everyday, what would they be?
1) My Deep Red Armani Matte Lipstick
2) Anti-Bac Handwipes
3) Of course my phone!
4) My Car & House keys
5) My favourite Eau De Parfum of either Gucci Bamboo or Armani Si (or both!)
12) Free plug:)– Anything you would like our readers to know that you are supporting, selling or creating?
Most of my activities at VMM Invest are updated on our Instagram Page at vmm_lawyermusicfashioninvest and www.vmmmusicandfashion.com
We will soon be expanding our offices in the City to be close to our tech and finance Partners as well as remain West End bound where all the glitz and glamour takes place, and also incredibly excited to be having more staff join us as part of VMM’s expansion!
My next big project is with Patti Stanger and her Team, the star of Millionaire Matchmaker so watch this space! I’m also creating my own Smart Contract’s to manage artists on the Blockchain – You can find out more at www.vmmblockchain.com
Last but certainly not least, want to big up and congratulate my sister on her new organic luxury food line and soon to be restaurateur! check out her Instagram Page: @simply_organica