If you get invited to a party and you know Beyoncé and Jay-Z are going to be there, you go, right? Not if you’re music-industry entrepreneur Lola Plaku, who found herself in that (very enviable) situation in 2013. “Of course I wanted to be in their presence, but [at the time] we didn’t have any common ground,” she says, adding that her rule is “I should only be in a room I have something to contribute to.” Mission accomplished. The Albanian-born, Toronto-made, now NYC-based exec started as a music journalist for HipHopCanada before moving into concert production with artists like The Weeknd (she helped put together his first big show), Big Sean and French Montana. Now, she runs Lola Media Group, specializing in marketing and brand and artist development, and is launching Girl Connected, a mentorship program pairing young women with industry leaders.


“I’m all about empowering women and giving them opportunities, even if it’s one I can take [for myself]. If someone else is a better fit, I will hand it over. Most people are scared of doing that, but the way I look at it is if you’re the best at what you do, and are comfortable and confident, it doesn’t matter what someone else is doing.”


“We [women] downplay ourselves. A lot of the time, I felt like it was okay for me to just accept whatever I was given—it took me 10 years to feel that I was worth the money I was asking for. My goal always is, when I’m going into a room with a bunch of men, I make sure that what I’m saying is backed up by facts. Then they can never say it doesn’t matter.”


“My fave beauty product is Chanel Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer. I don’t leave the house without it. It is perfect for my skin. Neutral and subtle. And Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Lipstick. It never comes off.”


“When I’m in the air for a long time, my feet get really tired, so I always bring a pair of slippers. Also my Louis Vuitton purse, because it basically carries my whole life.”


This article first appeared in the May 2019 issue of ELLE Canada. Photography by Berna Kansu.