Entertainment

The sad life of a celebrity assistant

Rob Lowe, Taryn Manning, Christian Bale or Lady Gaga.
Rob Lowe, Taryn Manning, Christian Bale or Lady Gaga.

PRIVATE-JET jaunts. Dom Pérignon on demand. The chance to rub (bony) shoulders with the A-list. Who wouldn't want to be a celebrity assistant?

The answer, it seems, is anyone who values their sanity or self-respect.

Last week, a job description was leaked detailing the requirements that actor Rob Lowe has for a lackey. The successful applicant must "never assume anything" and, for a salary of $US70,000 a year (which is pretty decent in celebrity-assistant world), duties include informing "estate staff if [Lowe] wants a jacuzzi turned on or a massage ordered," and scheduling a haircut before every single taping of Lowe's CBS drama, Code Black.

The internet scoffed - but when it comes to the demands placed on Hollywood helpers, Lowe's requests are on the more reasonable side.

A former aide to a big-name fashion model told The Post, "I was expected to do everything for [my boss]. She thought nothing of calling me at 3am. - I was given two phones so I would never be unreachable - to ask me to come over and let her dog out to pee."

But that wasn't the only task that made it such a "bum" job.

"One day she [sent me] some photos of her haemorrhoids," the former assistant said. "She wanted me to find a [doctor] to remove them. I'll never un-see those images."

Another erstwhile aide was at the mercy of her musician boss' mercurial temperament.

"He'd call a designer boutique and order the entire season's collection without even seeing it - he could blow one million dollars in just a few minutes," she recalled. Then regret would set in.

"He'd wear a few pieces, then send me to the store with everything - even the things he'd worn - to get his money back. It was excruciatingly embarrassing, especially when a sales clerk found a very obvious stain on a $US700 shirt."

Some assistants, however, fight back. In 2012, Lady Gaga was embroiled in a legal battle with her former employee Jennifer O'Neill, who claimed that the singer owed her roughly $US390,000 for more than 7000 hours of overtime. During her 13-month stint as the singer's helper, O'Neill said, she was expected to be on call 24/7, wake the star up, and even make sure she had a towel waiting after a shower. At the time of the case, The Post reported that O'Neill claimed she was "required" to sleep in Gaga's bed "because [the star] didn't sleep alone." Gaga dismissed her former Girl Friday as a "f ***ing hood rat," but settled the case out of court.

Lady Gaga sounds like a demanding boss.
Lady Gaga sounds like a demanding boss. BANG Showbiz

Last year, Holliann Hartman filed for a restraining order against her boss Taryn Manning, alleging that the Orange Is the New Black actress had put her in a headlock, headbutted her, whipped her with a wet towel and sprayed Windex in her face. (The order was denied due to jurisdictional filing issues.)

Christian Bale is another star who's unlikely to win Employer of the Year. His ex-assistant Harrison Cheung claimed in a 2012 book that "If Christian was away filming on location, I would take care of his five pets, along with stray possums in the backyard ... I would do anything from sniffing Christian's armpits for B.O. right before he hit the red carpet to making emergency sock-runs if Christian was all out of clean ones."

Prospective gofers should give up dreams of sharing in their employers' rich perks, according to one woman who used to assist a famous actress. She recalled how "my boyfriend dumped me because he got sick of the fact [that] I always had to drop everything for her." Having displayed such loyalty, "I naively believed that, given the amount of amazing stuff my boss got sent, she'd spread the love a little.

"She would send me to gifting suites to collect all the swag on offer ... I was in charge of organising storage units full of candles, pens, body creams and things that she never had any intention of using." The final straw was when the millionaire actress instructed her to sell some of the designer freebies on eBay.

"She wanted me to list the shoes and clothes via my personal account, and I was told to pay her in cash when the auctions ended," she said. "When I pointed out that some of the shoes were actually my size, she told me I could make her a 'reasonable offer' to buy them.

"I'd worked so many 80-hour weeks, survived on four hours sleep a night, cleaned up after her incontinent dog. But this was the wake-up call I needed to leave."

This article was originally published on the New York Post

News Corp Australia

Topics:  celebrity celebrity assistant editors picks


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