Tales of a Displaced Youth: Ana T

Betting on oneself sure can pay off, as it did for Ana T, a Venezuelan woman who went to America looking for opportunities and found herself working with international music stars

Photo: Sofía Jaimes Barreto

In January 2015, Ana Tillero decided to visit her cousin in Miami to see what opportunities she could find in the U.S. She thought she would be there for around three months. 

Five years have gone by.

Back then, Ana was very into fitness, and she started going to a gym as soon as she arrived in Miami. There, they offered her a deal. She could train for free if she helped train the kids that went to the gym. Doing this, she met another trainer, and this is where her path to working with stars such as Maluma and Wisin started.

This trainer introduced Ana to Pierina, who worked at a management firm. They were looking for people to help them with content design. Ana was interested, but she couldn’t work legally. However, she had enough grounds to request asylum.

During the 2014 protests, the national guards attacking protesters targeted Ana and broke two of her professional cameras. A major in Marketing and Public Relations, her true love was digital design, photography, and music. Also, her family had been involved in helping military officers who attempted to take Chavez from power back in 2001. This helped Ana’s asylum case, and three months later she had her work permit.

Ana started to work as a personal trainer, with a grueling schedule between hours at the gym, private clients, and a part-time job at a juicing bar. Soon enough though, she got contacted by Pierina again, and started designing content for the artists managed by her office, among them, Miguel Bosé.

By 2016, Ana was working at another company, making a name for herself. That’s when she got in contact with Jorge Pino, who had his label within Universal Music. Jorge immediately offered Ana a job.

During her year working with Jorge, she did a bit of everything. Publicity, management, design, marketing, you name it. This was a learning time and she got more involved in the music business. Through an acquaintance, Ana met Barbara Kolm, who wanted Ana to create content for her YouTube channel.

During this time with Kolm, Ana photographed numerous artists and her pictures have been part of publications like Billboard and Rolling Stone.

Barbara is the daughter of Latin music mogul Walter Kolm, who worked with Latino singers like Maluma, Carlos Vives, and many others. Ana started to produce content for Barbara while she continued to work at Universal, not knowing how good she was at handling social mediabut Walter Kolm did. After talking to Ana, he offered to double her salary if she came to work for him. Ana received an email with the offer as soon as she left his office, and she gave her two-week notice to Jorge.

She offered her former job to a friend from Venezuela, Luis Villamizar, who has thrived in this position. For Ana, there’s nothing more satisfying than being able to lend a helping hand to others.

That’s how Ana found herself working for Sony though Walter Kolm Management in 2017. During this time with Kolm, Ana photographed numerous artists and her pictures have been part of publications like Billboard and Rolling Stone.

Her immigration status threatened to limit her at one point. As an asylum seeker, Ana can’t leave the country until her case has been resolved. However, Walter told her not to worry, greater things were coming.

Around the final months of 2019, Ana started working part-time for WildHouse Pictures, where she learned the intricacies of music video production and discovered a new passion.

Between these two companies, she was working with artists like Daddy Yankee, Li’l Wayne, and Zion and Lenox. Her schedule was insane, shooting videos from 9 am to 2 am, but she enjoyed the process. Six months after this, Walter announced he was ready to launch his label and he wanted Ana to be his head of digital content.

This coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Against all odds, the label thrived, signing multiple artists including Maluma, Wisin, Carlos Vives, and Silvestre Dangond.

Thanks to the pandemic, Ana found herself making five of Silvestre Dangond’s new music videos. She also directed Maluma’s newest video, “100 años” with artist Carlos Rivero. This behind-the-scenes type of video turned into an official one thanks to Ana’s vision.

Ana now works for both Walter Kolm Management and Walter Kolm Entertainment, and she’s the brain behind the social media platforms of both companies.

In the future, she wants to have her own business. She only knows that it’ll  be a part of the music business.