For every face in the lights, there are several people behind the scenes making sure that everything runs correctly. Often spotted, but rarely noted, the celebrity personal assistant keeps a star's life in order, on schedule and as drama-free as possible.
While a celebrity personal assistant gig isn't the easiest job to land, the benefits make up for the pain of the hunt. However, there is little glory in the work, and lots of chances to make mistakes. To get a taste of the celebrity life, along with a roster of hectic day-to-day duties, try the job of a celebrity personal assistant.
The word "celebrity" doesn't immediately mean a cushy life in the VIP section, sipping martinis while hobnobbing with your new celebrity best friend. In fact, the celebrity personal assistant is more likely to be taking care of some other job while his charge unwinds. These jobs can involve anything: walking dogs, shining shoes or purchasing personal care items.
Another not-so-glamorous reality of celebrity personal assistant life is the fact that your time never belongs to you. At any moment, the celebrity could call with a request that must be filled right then, and there must not be any argument.
The celebrity personal assistant wears a lot of hats for their famous clientele. They simultaneously act as therapists, runners, security and administrative assistants, all the while smiling and figuring out how to complete the next task. According to Jon C. Havens, job book author and career consultant, "The personal assistant makes sure that everything gets done, allowing the celebrity to enjoy a semi-private life. A good CPA (celebrity personal assistant) functions as coordinator, accountant, and just about anything else that a famous person might require."
A good celebrity personal assistant possesses several different qualities that serve her high-end clientele. Patience is a must, along with flawless etiquette and strong skills of persuasion. "As a celebrity personal assistant, you are at least part miracle-worker, and this requires being able to convince others to help you out when you need it," Job Seeker's Advice website states. It also helps to be in good physical condition, ready to travel and free of other major responsibilities.
It's not necessary to have a college diploma to be a personal assistant. A background in sales, law, public relations or politics can give a boost in navigating the world of the famous.
Salary and Benefits
A celebrity personal assistant can count on many cool perks as a part of his job. There's often the free use of a car, or a travel allowance to cover wear and tear on your personal vehicle. Hard-to-get concert tickets, access to VIP events and world travel are also regular features of CPA life.
Salary for an A-list celebrity personal assistant hovers between $120,000 and $150,000 a year (as of 2007-2008), with most making $56,000 or above. An appreciative boss may also throw in cash bonuses and tips. Health benefits are also available with some celebrities.
Celebrity personal assistants follow the celebrities, with many making their home in New York City or Los Angeles. Other cities, like Miami and Chicago, also see their fair share of celebrity action. A celebrity may have several assistants in different locations, or can use one assistant that travels constantly. For this job, a passport and a clean driver's license is a necessity. A celebrity personal assistant must always be able to get up and go with very short notice.
Celebrity personal assistants often stay with their clients for years. According to celebrity assistant Dean Johnston, there aren't that many opportunities to move up. He tells author Jake Halpern that celebrities, reluctant to let a new person into their intimate life, attempt to keep an assistant for as long as possible. However, some assistants move up to an executive producer role on the celebrity's project, or start their own businesses.
2016 Salary Information for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $38,730 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, secretaries and administrative assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $30,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 3,990,400 people were employed in the U.S. as secretaries and administrative assistants.
- CNNMoney: Personal Assistants: the New "It" Accessory
- Student Now: Ten Steps to Working as a Celebrity Personal Assistant
- NPR: Almost Famous: The Lives of Celebrity Assistants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- Career Trend: Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Gigi Starr is a freelance fashion writer. She previously served as the blog editor for a major online fashion blog and has more than a decade of backstage experience in the beauty and high fashion industries. She has worked for businesses like an internationally renowned theatrical touring company and events such as the Mercedes-Benz N.Y.C. Fashion Week.