Seven Truths About Becoming a Celebrity Assistant!

By Shira Levine Dec 04, 2009 4:45 pm
Hollywood insiders explain the highs and lows of the job.
Editor’s Note: This is a companion piece to our Celebrity Boss package. Click here to view this feature.

Think you’d like to play the supporting role in a celebrity household? Here’s what some insiders think you should know:

1. You can make a lot of money.

Celebrity assistants are always in demand. “We’re busy, even in this economy,” says Rachel Zaslansky Sheer, co-founder of the Grapevine Agency, an L.A.-based staffing company that matches assistants to high net worth individuals and celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Arianna Huffington, Jennifer Aniston, and George Clooney. “People won’t give up their personal assistants in a recession. They have such big careers and lives, it’s too much,” she says.

And if you can tough it out on a 24/7 schedule, you’ll be handsomely rewarded. “You can make up to $200,000 a year if you’re an assistant who literally travels on tour with someone and never goes home,” says Zaslansky Sheer.

(Then again, some of the assistants we spoke to were making $15 an hour and working long days. Read about Lisa Rinna’s assistant.)

2. You may have to relocate to another continent on a moment’s notice.

It’s unrealistic to plan for any kind of life of your own when you work for a star, say the experts. Some celebrities don’t know where they’ll be in the next 12 hours, and the same goes for their personal assistants.

“You have to be prepared for literally everything and anything,” Zaslansky Sheer emphasizes. “One assistant I placed had to pop on a plane going to Europe at midnight that day, and stay in Europe for three months, with no advance notice,” she recalls. That assistant had been called to work on the set of a movie for her employer, a popular, young singer.

3. Not everyone is as nice as George Clooney.

George Clooney is famously beloved by fans, and the same is true of the staff that caters to his every whim. According to Zaslansky Sheer, “George Clooney is the one person every single celebrity person assistant wants to work for. His last assistant was so happy that she stayed was with him for eight years.

“There is this long time rumor that he once bought his assistant a house, but it’s not exactly true. Still, everyone and their mother wants that job,” she adds, “At least once a week I get someone asking, ‘Is the George Clooney job open?’ ”

Two other coveted positions are those with Sarah Jessica Parker and Angelina Jolie, according to Lilit Marcus, New York-based author of the blog Save the Assistants and a soon-to-be-released book by the same name.

“Sarah Jessica Parker is said to be one of the nicest and easiest people get along with,” she reports. “She gave her assistant so much credit for keeping things organized during the firstSex and the City movie that her assistant actually got an associate producer credit.”

Jolie is also known for “taking good care of her assistants,” says Marcus, who says the superstar is especially close to one woman. “They were pregnant at the same time and in Cannes, they were photographed together.”4. Some stars are more like Ricki Lake.

Going by her documentary, The Business of Being Born, about the factory-like operation of maternity wards in most hospitals, you might imagine Ricki Lake to be a gentle, liberal-minded person. But chances are high that her personal assistant would disagree.

As Marcus points out, Lake spoke publically about what happened after she gave birth naturally in a bathtub (an event captured in the documentary) and admitted to asking her assistant to help tidy up later.

“To this day, my assistant talks about how she had to clean up my bathtub afterward,” Lake said, according to New York magazine.

“I hope she paid her assistant a million dollars to do that,” says Marcus. “Having to clean up afterbirth is pretty far out there for a celebrity personal assistant.”

5. Best friends come first.

Getting a celebrity personal assistant job is hard enough. It usually requires connections in the business. Now outsiders have to compete with a new kind of competitor: the pal from way back.

“[Stars] tend to bring a friend from back home to be their assistant because they are otherwise surrounded by adult handlers and it gets boring,” says Marcus, who has noticed more and more celebrities hiring old pals as extra support. “Justin Timberlake did that with his friend Trace Ayala, and now they have the fashion line William Rast. When Britney Spears first came out, her mom’s best friend was her personal assistant.”

Jessica Simpson brought her best friend, CaCee Cobb, from Texas to join her on the trail to fame, as Simpson’s music, acting, and reality TV career took off. The work saw Cobb appearing on Jessica’s TV show, Newlyweds, and becoming a boldfaced name on the party circuit.

6. You probably won’t get famous …

“You’ll never be the person in the spotlight,” and you have to be okay with that, says Zaslansky Sheer. Instead, she says, “You’re the gatekeeper. People can’t get to your boss without getting through you.”

The Grapevine agency usually won’t work with an applicant who wants access to a celebrity with the ultimate goal of pushing his or her own script or project ideas.

“There are some celebrities who say they want a writer, and that down the line they’d be happy to read their material,” says Zaslansky Sheer, but “most creative types don’t want their assistant to have a lot going on outside the work. The client wants to be the personal assistant’s number one priority.”

7. … but there’s always chance.

Everybody has to start somewhere, so it’s always possible that spending your days charging cell phone batteries and ordering face creams will indeed put you in line for a TV or movie career.

Once upon a time, for example, Mark Cherry, the creator of the hit ABC show Desperate Housewives, was the personal assistant to Dixie Carter when the actress was starring in the TV show Designing Women.

According to Marcus, “[Carter] loved him so much as her assistant, and knew he was a writer, so she got him a writing job on The Golden Girls.

“He has her to thank for his career,” she adds.

Personal Assistant to 2 Actors in La Canada (FILLED)

PA needed for a Actor couple- La Canada

9am-6pm + flexible when needed after hours or on weekends on occasion.

Must ensure care for their home, errands, scheduling, interfacing with business execs etc.  Need someone who is competent, resourceful, dedicated. Must have a true work ethic.

50K-70K + health benefits after 90 days.

If interested email Lori@thegrapevinela.com and Rachel@thegrapevinela.com

Seasoned Independent Sales Representative, Hair Care, BH. Part time,

PLEASE send resumes of QUALIFIED applicants:  cassia@bybyron.com

High profile hair care company is looking for passionate and experienced achievers to grow hair product through selling, planning, ordering and distribution, as well as effectively managing activities such as merchandising, PR and  pricing.  Ideally seeking someone who has had experience in repping beauty products, has a rolodex of contacts and has experience in product placement in stores, salons, and press. Must be good with merchandising, business development etc. This is not a full time or in house job,  and pay is based in ability to launch the product, as well as comission from the product sales you generate.

Personal Assistant to Entertainer (FILLED)

Seeking a Personal Assistant with great experience and who thoroughly enjoys the role of being a PA.  This is working for a demanding client so must be able to “weather the storm”.

This position will require someone to be flexible and work with an Executive Assistant already in place.  MUST be a team player and must be able to multi-task.

This role will also require driving boss around from time to time, as well as simply being available when needed.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Management of schedules with EA

Managing errands, home maintenance needs, managing cars etc.

Interfacing with business executives

Ensuring that the employer is on track and is where is needed to be.

Hiring/managing home staff

Work on projects

Set up reservations etc.

Requirements include: 
5+ years experience as a personal assistant
- Proficiency in MS Office 
- Excellent verbal, and written communication skills

Superior time management skills with demonstrated ability to successfully handle multiple projects and assignments

Must be organized, self-directed, dependable, and flexible in this fast paced environment 
- Must exhibit a high degree of confidentiality, tact, and diplomacy

Up to 80K (plus for the right person)

If interested email resumes to Lori@thegrapevinela.com and Rachel@thegrapevinela.com

HOUSEKEEPER NEEDED BEVERLY HILLS

(If interested in this position please email Caitlin@thegrapevinela.com and include current resume)

The Grapevine is in search of an AMAZING housekeeper for a Beverly Hills home.  MUST HAVE a resume of experience in large -high end homes working as Head or Sole Housekeeper.  Position calls for strong organizational and cleaning skills and ability / experience working with fine furniture, art etc in a sophisticated domestic environment. Must be open to cooking family style meals. Must have reliable car to be used for errands – compensation will be provided. Hours: M-F 8-5:30 (and ability to work later from time to time) Salary: $18-$22 per hour net D.O.E.

Please only apply for this position if you HAVE worked independently in a large home and have a resume along with fantastic references.

LIVE IN HOUSEKEEPER / CHILD CAREGIVER MALIBU

(If interested in this position please email Caitlin@thegrapevinela.com and include current resume)

Wonderful family in Malibu is in need of a seasoned housekeeper.  There are 2 school age children in the home so experience working with and around children is a must.  Candidate must be detail oriented and a great cleaner / organizer.  Must be an independent worker who can keep up with cleaning a busy household as well as assist with the children (driving to activities etc) Lovely accommodations  – private guest house including television and internet access.  Hours: Tuesday – Saturday Salary: D.O.E.

Personal Assistant to a high profile individual (FILLED)

Looking for a personal assistant to a high profile individual.
Previous industry experience and bachelors degree preferred. The ideal
candidate will be creative, resourceful, have a positive attitude, be
a go-getter, find no job too big or too small. Must have good
communication skills and be able to complete projects in a timely
manner and be wholly responsible for them. This position is for a
personal assistant so duties include errands such as organizing,
dry-cleaning, shopping, packing for trips, mailing packages etc. Room
for promotion. References required.

PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE GRAPEVINE FOR THIS ONE!

If interested email resumes to assistantpositionemail@gmail.com ONLY!

Personal Assistant to Entertainer/ Entrepreneur -Atlanta (FILLED)

FULL TIME TRAVEL!  MUST BE 100% FLEXIBLE and on call 24/7!

55K PLUS based on experience and salary history.

A prominent entertainer/entertainment entrepreneur seeks savvy, experienced Personal Assistant to act as right-hand person in keeping this extremely active person on-point at all times.
At the moment this person is based in Atlanta however is deciding on a move to either NY or LA. When on the road, or not at home base, hotel will be provided.
There is a huge amount of travel so clearly only apply if this is OK.
PLEASE only apply if you have a true service heart and love being a CAREER PA.
Responsibilities:
  • Assist with all personal and business related needs – travel, day to day schedule, maintaining calendar, ensuring that doctor visits are happening, as well as making sure that this person’s over all well being is cared for at all times.
  • Collaborating as a team with all business folks, nannies and house manager.
  • Interface and assist any other family members
  • Screen, direct and respond to calls/emails etc.
Requirements
  • Entertainment experience working as a personal assistant.
  • Previous experience traveling with boss is a MUST.
  • Proficient on computer.
  • Excellent organization and communication skills. 
Due to volume of interest we will only respond to those with exact right experience.
If interested please send resumes to Lori@thegrapevinela.com and Rachel@thegrapevinela.com

Hospitality/Nightlife Publicists needed for busy PR/Marketing Agency!

PR and marketing agency, specializing in lifestyle, entertainment and consumer markets seeks Hospitality/Nightlife Publicist (hotels, night clubs, bars, concerts etc)

MUST know the media as well as editors for entertainment weeklies, broadcast media, social networking.

PLEASE don’t send resume if you are a promoter at a club. We are ONLY considering true publicists.

If interested please email both Lori@thegrapevinela.com and Rachel@thegrapevinela.com

Event Publicist Exec needed for busy PR/Marketing Agency!

  • PR and marketing agency, specializing in lifestyle, entertainment and consumer markets seeks an Event Publicist Executive – must have knowledge in event entertainment media including special events, film premieres, store openings, launches etc.

Must come with media contacts for events and have at least 3-5 years of experience!

If interested please email both Lori@thegrapevinela.com and Rachel@thegrapevinela.com