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Snoop Dogg, Michael Strahan among stars helped by super-marketer Constance Schwartz-Morini

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Constance Schwartz-Morini is a woman who is unafraid, unapologetic and simply unbothered.

And she, frankly, is tired of being in the background. Women have owned and operated companies for decades, but being a powerful woman in the male-driven entity of sports can take some getting used to. Schwartz-Morini has shattered that mold and making sure that not only is she being seen but paving a way for future women leaders to succeed in the industry.

Schwartz-Morini is a partner and CEO of SMAC Entertainment (Sports, Media, and Culture) that she started in 2011.

In many ways she is, unquestionably, one the most powerful woman in sports and entertainment that people may not know. This is what makes her story so vital.

The roster of talent she works with includes Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan, who is a co-partner, model Camille Kostek, former pro wrestlers Brie Bella and Nikki Bella, and rapper Wiz Khalifa.

SMAC’s company motto is “Hustle like you're broke” and Schwartz-Morini stresses those words with anyone she comes into contact with.

For as she puts it, her tolerance for ignorance and ignorant people is “zero” and she proves it by wearing a necklace with the work f**k attached to it, given to her by an intern’s mother, who she worked with while working for the NFL. Her other jewelry of choice includes two more pieces of neckwear: a cross, and a pair of “evil eyes.”

That brash attitude has served her well throughout a multi-faceted, multi-decade career which led her from the serving several roles with the NFL to managing rapper Snoop Dogg’s career and helping launch a clothing line called WEAR with FOX NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews.

Constance Morini-Schwartz with Hall of Famer Michael Strahan.
Constance Morini-Schwartz with Hall of Famer Michael Strahan.

“I didn't realize how defined I was by this word,” Schwartz-Morini said. “But it's not just the word. It’s let’s get it done. I don't have time for the bulls**t. When I am around people and in a situation where I can’t say it, I just kind of rub my neck.”

It’s exactly the kind of freewheeling attitude what you would expect from a person who brings her own syrup when going to eat pancakes at IHOP.

She is affectionally called "The Boss” by Strahan, a “pit bull in pumps” by Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders, and a “bulldog” by Andrews for her tenacity and aggressive mindset.

“She is a go getter. She doesn’t sleep. She reminds me a lot of myself. She doesn’t take “no” for an answer,” said Andrews, “and if you give her 'no,' she still tries to figure out how to make it work.”

Her hustling ways in essence began in Yonkers, N.Y., a stone’s throw from the lights and buzz of midtown Manhattan.

Raised by a single mother, Schwartz-Morini had no interest in entertainment, sports or managing careers. She skipped her senior year of high school and headed off to SUNY Oswego to study political science with the dreams of becoming a lawyer. Those fantasies and thoughts of sitting in a courtroom with clients soon went out the window after taking one introductory marketing class.

When she arrived at the NFL at age 22 and two months into her job as an assistant in corporate sponsorship, Schwartz-Morini was sent to New York Giants training camp at Fairleigh Dickinson, when without warning All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor started yelling at her. Instinctively, a few choice words that can’t be printed went back in Taylor’s direction, causing him to laugh and quickly apologize for his behavior.

Her job at the NFL concluded and after a brief stint at Arista Records, she moved to Los Angeles to work at The Firm, where she handed marketing and strategic partnerships for Enrique Iglesias, Dixie Chicks, Linkin Park, Michelle Branch and Kelly Clarkson.

But during a meeting with Snoop Dogg regarding his career, the summit quickly turned sideways, when the rapper, who arrived in purple fur coat, turned his back to everyone effectively wasting the time of those at the conference room table.

After banging on the table to get his attention, and again with a few choice words sprinkled throughout the conversation, Snoop finally listened to the ideas his marketing team pitched.

A few days later, Snoop’s team requested to get “that the girl from the NFL” to be his manager.

“I said to them, I'm not a manager. And quite frankly, I don't really like what he stands for because coming from the NFL, he had that whole gangster thing going,” she said.

Snoop Dogg’s ambition at the time wasn’t to become a more mainstream and crossover entertainer. Instead, he wanted to start his own youth football league.

Constance Morini-Schwartz and ESPN's Erin Andrews at the 33rd Annual Cedars-Sinai and Sports Spectacular Gala Celebration in 2018 at The Compound in Los Angeles, California (Photo by @ArnoldShoots)
Constance Morini-Schwartz and ESPN's Erin Andrews at the 33rd Annual Cedars-Sinai and Sports Spectacular Gala Celebration in 2018 at The Compound in Los Angeles, California (Photo by @ArnoldShoots)

Fifteen years after that meeting, the Snoop Youth Football is still going strong.

Strahan and Schwartz-Morini were longtime friends and when Strahan began looking for more business opportunities, she had a blunt suggestion for him.

“I would have an opinion on different things that were going on that she was working on. Strahan told USA TODAY Sports. “One day, she literally just looked at me and said, ‘Instead of just coming in here and basically running your mouth, how about you get involved and become a partner.’ And I immediately did it, without hesitation.”

The New York-based SMAC has their hands in almost every aspect of entertainment, describing itself as a branding and production company, while also delving into music and talent management.

SMAC has produced more than 30 programs for the web and television, including season two of “More than an Athlete” which can be streamed on ESPN+, ABC’s "$100,000 Pyramid," HBO’s “Cost of Winning,” Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Sports Awards and will produce a documentary on the Bishop Sycamore scandal, which Strahan credits to having the ability to be diverse and pivot during different times period so the company wouldn’t get stuck in place or genre.

“I think she's smart enough to realize that everybody is not her, and she's also smart enough to realize that if you don't give people responsibility, you will never figure out if they can ever handle the pressure to respond in a certain way,” Strahan said. “So, that’s why I call her ‘The Boss.' She is truly a unique personality with a unique skill set that I have yet to find in anybody else: someone who creates ideas and also could execute them as well.”

Sanders teamed up Strahan earlier this summer to help Jackson State student-athletes secure name, image and likeness deals, and also gave every player and coach on staff custom made suits through Collection by Michael Strahan, sold at Men’s Wearhouse.

“The things that I am trying to do for our athletes couldn’t be done without Constance. There is no way,” Sanders said. “Giving me the structure, the resources, the professionalism and many things she brings to the table is unbelievable.”

Schwartz-Morini certainly isn’t thinking about retirement at age 52, but says a step back from the company is in the works, to include possibly letting someone else handle a lot of the day-to-day operations so she can focus more on the big picture and future of the company.

In the meantime, the meetings, the answering of emails, phone calls, and the continued guidance of diverse careers will have to do.

“I am the same girl from the Y-O who has been hustling like she's broke, who’s making a difference and leveling the playing field for my clients, my business partners, and helping them achieve their dreams,” she said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Snoop Dogg, Michael Strahan among stars helped by super-marketer