In light of Women’s History Month, it’s important we uplift and amplify women in media who are acting as today’s leaders of innovation and change.
For Sirius XM radio host Sienna Garraway — better known as Swaggy Sie — she’s used her expertise as a media personality and content creator to propel herself into being a tastemaker for our culture. With the help of both technology and her skills in broadcasting, she’s been able to build a successful brand around herself.
Swaggy Sie — a native of Brooklyn, NY — got her start in the media world as a college student interning at Sirius XM under entities such as Shade 45, Ed Lover, Sway Calloway and more.
“Those entities really molded me into a person that could understand radio – the background of it, the programming side, and really gave me my foundation of media and broadcasting at such a young age,” she tells AfroTech.
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“One of my first mentors DJ S Whit was very instrumental for me getting into the [Sirius XM] building. She taught me and made sure I knew how to do everything [in radio],” she continued. “If it came down to it right now I could probably run, produce, and do whatever for my own show.”
From there, she joined the media company working a part-time music programming gig and eventually worked her way up the ladder to become a full-time music director for Shade 45.
Through her journey, Swaggy Sie picked up on key things that both elevated her brand and transformed the way her core audiences were consuming media. She understood the realms of producing and rolling out content and married those concepts together to appeal to different audiences.
“Coming from New York I said I want my friends to listen to me,” she shares. “In New York City, we’re not drivers. We take the train, we stream, and we’re very in our headphones, so I said how can I combine this and build my brand so that I can get Middle America as well as these millennials who are on the go.”
Through her social media platforms, notable celebrity interviews, and collaborations with other creatives, Swaggy Sie has been able to bridge the gap between Sirius XM’s various audiences while also creating a personal brand centered in Black culture.
Though the last year has presented its fair share of challenges navigating outside of the radio station’s building amid the pandemic, Swaggy Sie was able to pivot and move forward with the rest of the world’s new tech-savvy approach without missing a beat.
“I had to make that shift because if not I would’ve been left in the dust,” she laughs. “Thank God for technology that we’re able to connect with our computers, cell phones, things like that still. Now I found my niche where it’s easier to put out and produce content.”
Technology has been the world’s saving grace over the past year and it’s given people like Swaggy Sie the ability to create brand building blocks to inspire the next generation as well as aspiring professionals in her field.
While the media industry has been a rollercoaster ride as of recently, Swaggy Sie is still determined to lead the way for women and those part of the LGBTQ+ community to be their authentic selves no matter what life throws their way.
For Swaggy Sie that means “being myself, my unapologetic self. Not transforming who I am or what I do for any platform, just being who I am,” she says.
As more women in media continue to lead the charge for a more inclusive future, it’s up to the industry at-large to uplift them into positions of power so they can influence real change.
“I would love for the industry to open up more positions for women in media, broadcasting, and especially tech. We don’t see a lot of women who are engineering, running these boards behind the scenes, handling the broadcasting side mixing and mastering certain performances, or music in general,” Swaggy Sie shares. “I think that it’s imperative that the industry allows room for that and also allows women to lead in that. All over I think we need more representation. We’re definitely on our way there, but it’s a road and we’re making our way down it.”