There’s a community of personal assistants so small and secretive that should you meet one, you might suspect they work for the CIA. Non-disclosure agreements may not be unusual among executive assistants working for high-level corporate leaders, but this group requires you to sign one just to attend a meeting assuming a member vouches for you.
This rarefied group of assistants works for celebrities.
Where a typical private personal assistant may be hired to help with errands and handle some of the boss’ administrative affairs, a celebrity assistant is more likely to be booking a private jet to London, arranging a party in Los Angeles, or as one recalls in a magazine article, shopping in the middle of the night for gourmet ingredients.
The job of these A-list assistants in some respects isn’t far different from that of a corporate executive assistant. Both jobs demand the ability to multitask, good organizational skills, excellent communication, diplomacy, flexibility and the technical skills to get the job done. The difference is in the hours – celebrity assistants are on-call 24/7 – and in the intimacy of the employee-employer relationship.
“Every star has different boundaries and there are certainly those who try to keep their personal information private from their team as long as possible, but more often than not the assistants have access to almost everything in a matter of weeks,” writes Seija Rankin in E! Online.
There’s no shortage of jobs for personal assistants. Thousands are listed online with salaries ranging from around $15 an hour for the errand runner variety of assistant to $78,000 for top tier executive assistants.
ZipRecruiter says the average celebrity personal assistant pay nationwide is $53,000 and lists several openings. But real celebrity assistant jobs rarely show up online and when they do it’s usually by one of the boutique firms in New York or Los Angeles that specialize in placing assistants to the stars. Those A-lister will earn north of $125,000.
Landing one of those jobs is all about connections. You need experience, of course. After that, says the ENews article, “It’s purely by accident… Placements are so random that the assistants could barely give advice to aspiring celebrity assistants if they tried. ‘I don’t think any of us go to college and say, I’m going to be a celebrity assistant,’ stressed one person.”
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Keep in mind that personal assistants work in fields besides entertainment. As the exclusive New York Celebrity Assistants organization says, “Our organization’s membership represents such diverse fields as film, television, music, philanthropy, fashion, sports, finance, law and politics.”
Photo by Craig Adderley