Caroline Knop | Courtesy of Simply PR

Caroline Knop is the Energizer Bunny of public relations. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of her press releases knows just how dedicated, committed and thorough she is when it comes to championing for her clients.

Knop started her one-woman business Simply PR in 2001, but before that, the Sacred Heart Academy grad lived and worked all over the country as an entertainer (lead wench at King Henry’s Feast in Orlando), restaurant trainer (opened Planet Hollywood in New York, Cancun and London), band manager and booker and even a movie extra in L.A., where she also served as a seat filler during the Oscars one year.

Knop with daughter, Ava, and partner Michael Beckmann | Courtesy of Caroline Knop

Anyone who knows Knop personally will not be shocked by any of this. With her wild, long blonde hair and a vivacious personality to match, when Caroline Knop walks into a room, everyone knows it and smiles.

After moving around during her 20s and early 30s, Knop took a job in PR with the Saxton Group in New York City, where she learned and perfected the craft for five years. While pregnant with her daughter, Ava, Knop decided to venture out on her own with Simply PR.

She then returned home to Louisville after having Ava and starting her company.

Knop has four full-time clients and a steady stream of dozens of others, which include nonprofits like Apron Inc., Make-A-Wish Foundation and Parkinson’s Support Center.

Knop, who also fronts a band called Happy Hour, tells us there are five secrets to being a successful PR agent:

  1. Establish authentic relationships with the media and your clients.
  2. Take on clients that you believe in.
  3. Never guarantee clients exposure, but guarantee 110 percent dedication and creativity.
  4. Connect clients with nonprofits and other businesses and people that make sense for both parties.
  5. Have fun!

Knowing and working with Knop for more than a decade, this writer can attest that she nails each of the above tips, and then some.

We had to ask her what keeps her in the business this long, and of course, her answer is a little bit of this and a whole lot of that.

“The passion, energy and excitement I have for my clients and the belief I have in them, their organization and/or their product,” she says. “I love early mornings and getting the job done. I am an overachiever and very hard on myself … this is why I love singing, working out, eating, drinking and simply being with friends and family.”

We were fortunate to witness a recent Happy Hour gig at Gerstle’s Place where Knop commanded the attention of a packed bar for nearly 45 minutes straight. She has a penchant for classic rock, and her take on “Proud Mary” brought the house down.

Knop fronts the band Happy Hour. | Courtesy of Caroline Knop

She says the band has been playing gigs here and there for five years, and performing helps her face her fears and settle into her 50s in style. Happy Hour’s next show will be Aug. 17 at Gerstle’s, opening for The Placeholders.

Before Knop shoots off another email or takes on another client, we asked her some very important questions …

What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?

Surprise! I do not really have a Bucket List.

What poster was on your wall in junior high?

Rocky vs. Earth, Wind & Fire

I rotated “Rocky” and Earth, Wind & Fire — Rocky would be on my ceiling one month, with Earth, Wind & Fire on my wall next to the bed. Next month — switch!

If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?

I would give to someone who has never experienced the excitement, the food, the events, the pride, the love this city has to offer. I’d love to meet someone in NYC on a subway or walking down the street and say, “Hey, would you like to come visit my hometown?”

What are your preferred pizza toppings?

Cheese, jalapeño, sausage, more cheese, basil, onions, a little more cheese, honey (due to Lupo and their amazing honey pizzas) and homemade hot sauce if it’s available. Thin crust is my favorite!

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?

I have a feeling most people who know me will know this answer — 36 — I would give birth to Ava all over again. I simply adored the whole experience: finding out I was pregnant, being pregnant, then giving birth, holding Ava, then raising Ava.

Might be corny, but I have loved my life and am really loving being in my 50s!

What famous person do people say you resemble the most?

Knop as Ms. Frizzle? Looks about right.

Wow — that’s a doozy! I get Carole King, Janis Joplin, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand and, just recently, my nephew Otto and my daughter said I look like Ms. Frizzle from the “Magic School Bus.”

Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?

Cat Stevens, so he can sing “Father and Son,” “Peace Train,” “Father and Son” again, “Wild World,” “Father and Son” one more time, and then possibly sing a song or two together and simply talk about music, the ’60s, the ’70s and more!

The second half would be with my dad, Otto Knop. Would love to sing “Father and Son,” “The Rose,” “You Light Up My Life” and maybe one or two more. Would talk of life — then and now — and would ask, “Are you proud?”

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog ( daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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