A Survivor’s Kit for the Celebrity Personal Assistant (or Anyone with a Pesky Boss)
I have to admit that one of the most fun parts of being a reviewer is that you learn something new every day. It was not until I had read Dealing With Divas that I realized there was an association solely committed to the plight of those that work for the famous. Well there is, and it is called The Association of Celebrity Personal Assistants.
I am not a personal assistant to a celebrity, but I certainly understand the issues involved. Being a reviewer and interviewer I play on the edge of the celebrity world. Some of the folks I have worked with are indeed ‘different’. My favorite story concerns an interview I had scheduled with Keith Emerson, I called him at the prearranged time of noon, and get his answering machine, I leave a message and move on to the next project. It had been a long day, so about 9pm my wife and I call it a day. The next thing I know is my wife Jan shaking me awake, and saying â€œHoney, you are going to hate me, the phone rang, I thought it was Joey (her 15 year old son), so I think I have just been rude to Keith Emersonâ€.
On the whole I have found the rich and famous to be fairly easy to get along with, but on the other hand I have seen up close and personal just how demanding the Divas can be. Last summer my wife and I were the invited guests of a very famous singer, he wasn’t a diva, but his wife certainly was. I watched in awe as from the stage, with mic in her hand she gave the three guys running the soundboard a good solid beating for everyone within a mile radius to hear, and the concert wasn’t due to start for another 2 hours. The poor guys has glazed expressions on their face, and were obviously wondering why the hell they had taken the job!
While Dealing With Divas is clearly aimed at the niche market of Personal Assistants that work with the sometimes eccentric and egocentric, it is a delightful little read. It is by no means a ‘show and tell’, there are no wild revelations about your favorite star, but there are some truly funny anecdotal tales.
My one criticism of Dealing With Divas is that it is not nearly long enough. You just start to enjoy the subject, and maybe speculate about some of the situations, and Shelly Anderson pulls the rug out from under you, there are no more pages to read!
She shares one wonderful ‘agony column’ letter that she received that I think really encapsulates the entire industry of dealing with the rich and famous:
I’m fed up. My boss is unappreciative of how I got her on a fully booked, nonstop flight from New York to Bangladesh. She was unhappy that it was a 757, not a 747, and that the seats were blue and not maroon.