An Open Letter to Aspiring Female DJs by Gregg Hollmann

November 5, 2016 by GreggHollmann

You may have heard that the DJ industry is a male-dominated 20150419-ambient-photoshoot-18field, and that your chances for success are slim to none.  Well I’m here to advise you otherwise.

Who am I?  I am a DJ company owner based in Central New Jersey and a former President of the New Jersey Disc Jockey Network (2013-2015), our state’s professional disc jockey association.  As an active participant at national DJ conventions, I am familiar with many of the DJ industry’s success stories – both male and female.

I’ve always been vexed by the scarcity of female DJs. Perhaps just 5% of DJs are female.  While the job is mildly physically demanding and you may need to lift up to 75 pounds or so – I don’t think this should be a deterrent for most of you. If physical strength is a concern, today’s DJ equipment is more lightweight and compact than ever.   Worst case, you can utilize an assistant for load-in and set-up.

One complaint that I’ve heard voiced by female DJs is that club owners and companies are mostly interested in hiring based on looks and sex appeal.  In fact, at this past week’s DJ Expo in Atlantic City,  a female disc jockey by the name of “DJ Unladylike” voiced just that concern.

While it’s true that a small percentage of clubs and companies hire on looks and sex appeal, most hire based on skills and talent.  In other words, can you rock a party?  Also realize that females are not alone as victims of discrimination in the DJ industry.  Through the years, I’ve observed many decision makers draw false conclusions about DJ performers based on the factors of age, race and physical appearance.  I had a past prospective client request “a hunky younger DJ” for their 55+ retirement community.  I’ve spoken with prospective clients who requested that their DJ entertainer NOT be of a particular race.  I’ve personally been rejected for jobs because the prospect thought that I looked like an accountant and not like a DJ.  The most outrageous sexist request that I’ve ever received was from a mother who specifically requested a large-breasted female dancer for her son’s Bar Mitzvah!

I’ve always stated that our company is a talent-based service, not a modeling agency.    In hiring, I’m looking for individuals who are exceptional entertainers – be that exceptional music mixers, exceptional emcees, or both.  So long as they are well-groomed and physically able to meet the requirements of the job, their gender, sexual orientation or skin color is of no concern to me. This philosophy is evident in our company staff photo which resembles the United Nations with all of its diversity.

Our company has employed several female DJs through the years who put in quality work during their time with us.  We’re proud to currently offer an emcee named Jamie Herman – Jamie is an exceptional interactive entertainer.  The truth be told, skilled female DJs and emcees are in short supply.  Thus, if you are a female DJ with a passion for music and entertainment and the skills to back it up, I’m certain that many DJ company owners (myself included) would love to hear from you!

Emcee Jamie Herman always brings the party!
You – as a female DJ – are relatively rare, and thus possess unique niche marketing opportunities.  For example, as a wedding DJ, you could appeal to brides who feel more comfortable working with a DJ who can relate to their feminine side. Spin your female DJ status any way you wish if it can help you to book more gigs!

So whether you choose to work for a DJ company, spin at a bar/club, or blaze your own path with a DJ service of your very own…. ladies – I’m here to tell you that you can be successful!

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Filed Under: Performing, Personal Development