In the LA Business Journal we learn that Essel ran away from Cal State Northridge in the early 70s to head to Europe with a boyfriend to become a songwriter. Essel eventually found some success contributing to an album by Spanish pop band Los Pop Tops which had somewhat of a hit with the tune Mamy Blue.
Despite some songwriting achievement, Essel figured out she would better off to come back to the US and become an accountant, a career path that eventually led her to her role as chief lobbyist for Paramount Pictures. Later, she became BFFs with Wendy Greuel and decided that if Wendy could turn a studio government affairs position into a Council post well Chris could too. And the rest is history.