Aashna Moitra-Serrao knew exactly what she wanted to do with her career.
“It was either be part of the communications industry or event planning, so when I found public relations, it was the perfect blend of those two worlds,” Moitra-Serrao said. “I’m a little bit of a peacock myself so it was a match made in heaven.”
Moitra-Serrao grew up in New Delhi, India, with supportive parents who encouraged their daughter’s more creative endeavors. While attending the prestigious Modern School, Barakhamba Road in India, Moitra-Serrao was editor of the school magazine and president of the debate society. She went on to earn her undergraduate degree in English literature at Delhi University. A post-graduate degree was her next step. “I only zeroed in on schools that offered a degree in my direct field, and Annenberg was a top choice,” she said.
In Fall 2010, Moitra-Serrao joined the master’s of strategic public relations program.
The start of her USC journey yielded an internship — and a boyfriend who would eventually become her husband.
The internship came about when Moitra-Serrao reached out to adjunct professor Larry Winokur, one of the co-founders of the iconic Hollywood PR firm BWR, after one of her advanced entertainment public relations classes that Winokur taught.
“To his credit, he appreciated my directness,” she said. “BWR started my career, and once I learned the skills, I just kept getting more internships. I didn’t waste a single moment.”
As for her husband, Moitra-Serrao met fellow Trojan Erik Serrao at a USC graduate event her first semester. “He was on the health sciences campus (earning a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences), and we would never have met if it hadn’t been for that party,” she said.
Upon graduation in 2012, Moitra-Serrao went to work as an account executive at a PR agency in North Hollywood and later moved to Boston with Erik — now her husband — who had a fellowship at Harvard.
She was hired at Cone Communications, and one of the highlights was getting her first major media hit on the Today show with Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. “I was all of 24 years old, and it was such an achievement in my eyes,” Moitra-Serrao said. “Since then, many big placements have happened, but you never forget the first.”
In 2016, the couple returned to Los Angeles, and after a year at Sunshine Sachs, Moitra-Serrao decided she wanted a change. “Having spent over seven years in the PR agency world, I wanted to shake things up,” she said. “Do something I had never done before.”
Her plan was to move to an in-house gig. Moitra-Serrao joined DreamWorks Animation as the manager of public relations for television, entering a brand-new sphere for her. “I think a strong belief in oneself, confidence in your abilities and someone to take a chance on you goes a long way,” she said.
In 2020, Moitra-Serrao was promoted to director. “What inspires me to do my job is the feeling that I am making a difference,” she said. “At any given time, I do PR for over 40 different TV series. When the stories connect with the audience, making them feel seen, heard and represented, it makes every effort worthwhile.”
Now, working alongside the best in animation as well as entertainment stalwarts such as Guillermo del Toro, Glenn Close, Sterling K. Brown, and Jack Black brings an exceptional sense of gratitude. “I feel appreciative every day for what I do and the experiences and memories I can amass,” she said.
As far as her personal PR goals, Moitra-Serrao admits that she loves chasing the big stories. “I want it to be bigger and bigger with each story I land. If it’s the Today show, how can I top this? I’m never going to retire because I’m never satisfied!”