9 things I learned working as a celebrity assistant

Shanna MahinCourtesy of Shanna MahinShanna Mahin has worked as a celebrity assistant.

Shanna Mahin has worked for a variety of celebrity clients. She can’t reveal who they are, but she can share what she’s learned from her time serving them. Below are nine of those lessons.

1. Getting the job is tough!

Good assistants are hard to find and are valued, but getting your foot in the door can be a big challenge.

Most assistants get stolen from agents, film sets or other actors, but if you’re still determined to give it a shot, buff up your resume to a polished sheen and try the big staffing companies around town.

In addition to providing maids, nannies, house managers and the like, they sometimes get assistant jobs.

But be warned: if a celebrity has to use an agency to snag an assistant, chances are they have already got a closet full of assistant skeletons. Proceed with caution.

2. Celebrity assistants can make a lot of money.

$US75k-200k/year. But when you factor in the odd hours, late nights, and 24/7 commitment, it’s not nearly as much as you think.

3. Not all celebrities are alike.

Some may have the delightful reputation of George Clooney, but others are emotional wrecks who treat their assistants like shit. You will not be able to parse this on the initial interview, or possibly even during your first few weeks of work.

They’re actors. They’re good at acting normal.

4. You may get to experience the lifestyle of the rich and famous, but you’ll always be looking in.

As a celebrity assistant, you’re neither rich nor famous, and you will be reminded of that every time you deposit your paycheck.

5. Didn’t like doing your homework in high school? Tough.

You may find yourself doing homework for your celebrity’s kids. In their handwriting, of course. Anything less than an A is unacceptable.

People may want to talk to you, but you’re not the end goal. You’re merely the gatekeeper to someone more interesting, and once they get past you, there’s no looking back.

6. You’ll find yourself running interference with bad dates and drug dealers.

And doing the dishes if the maid doesn’t show, carrying luggage that outweighs you, and babysitting bratty offspring.

The payoff? Well, that depends on who you’re working for, but your big reward is probably going to be the dregs from party gift bags and a paycheck that is going to keep you living in a very different zip code from the one you’re working in.

7. Don’t plan on having a life.

Your own, that is. While being a celebrity assistant may mean you get to travel to glamorous destinations and meet interesting people, it also means being at the beck and call of your celebrity at all times.

You may need to fly somewhere in the middle of the night, or leave your best friend’s party to fetch laundry at a moment’s notice. And forget dating — you’re in a committed relationship with your celebrity.

8. Life as a celebrity assistant is rarely glamorous.

Sure, you get to drink a lychee martini or two in an exotic locale every once in a while, but while you’re there you’ll likely to be on the receiving end of a 3:00 a.m. phone call requesting emergency tampons/a pregnancy test/condoms. Good luck finding a 12-pack of Trojan Extra Large on an island where the solar electricity poops out at 10:00 p.m.

9. Sometimes it feels like you’re a paid best friend.

This isn’t a bad thing, but if you end up hanging out with other people in their crowd, the moment will come when you get flipped back to work status and it can be awkward. No matter what intimacies you share, at the end of the day, you’re still the hired help.

Shanna Mahin has worked for a variety of celebrity clients, and like most former and current celebrity assistants, her lips are sealed. Her book OH! YOU PRETTY THINGS is out in April from Dutton.

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