A former assistant wrote a tell-all in New York Magazine recently about what it was like working for an unnamed “Hollywood household name,” and it’s one of those stories where you’re not sure who’s crazier, the person it’s about or the person telling it.
The anonymous assistant describes going to work for a famous actress, painting it as the ultimate nightmare job, starting with the time she had to break up with the actress’s boyfrane.
I broke up with a very prominent actor boyfriend of hers. She said, “Oh, we’re done making a movie together; it’s not really going to work; I’m sort of seeing somebody else. Could you just tell him to back off and leave me alone?” And she said this over the phone, over Christmas. She told me, “Accept the date on my behalf. Take the date. Go instead of me.” So, that’s what I did. [...] He had no idea it was coming, either, which was sad. Because when I was talking to him on the phone before, he was like, “Great! She said yes! Tell her I’ll see her here; I’ll order us her favorite wine,” and I was just like, “Okay!”
Other duties included having a Starbucks coffee for the actress at her bedside every morning, summarizing the news, summarizing scripts, buying all the of the best-sellers the actress wouldn’t read, being her drug mule (I’ve heard similar stories from a few different assistants), and having to drive the actress home from “her therapist,” who turned out to be a palm reader. Mostly your basic horror stories. But then it takes a turn for the crazy pants when the assistant describes warning the actress’s boyfriends about her STDs, and how the final straw was not getting invited to a film festival.
I would go pick up her medicine for her, all her pills, and after that I started checking every little thing to see what it was. I was like, Oh my God, I know exactly what she has now. I realized I needed to warn whoever was with her about certain STDs. I called the ex-boyfriend, and I was like, “Hey, you need to get checked out. I don’t think she’ll ever call you.” And he was like, “Oh, shit. Thanks.” This was seven months after the breakup. That’s just the nice thing to do, to let them know. [...]
I had planned on going to this international film festival with her, because she told me, “I can’t be without you.” This would be — not my little vacation, because I would be working — but at least an experience, at least to make up for the bad shit. And then at the last moment, she said, “Oh, yeah, I’m not going to take you.”
Excuse me? “No, there’s this guy who I’m seeing right now, and he’s just going to come in for a day, instead of the two weeks that you would be there.” And she wanted to use my flight to bring him in for one day. So I gave my two weeks. [NYMag]
This whole thing just gives me nightmarish flashbacks.
If you’ve ever witnessed an interaction between a Hollywood actor or actress and their assistant(s), it is a thing to behold. With someone reasonably famous, there’s usually a handful of people hovering around the set, competing to see who can care most about the most pointless minutiae of that person’s life, basically to try to prove that they’re the best candidate for a job that doesn’t really need to be done in the first place. I once worked on an infomercial where Nancy O’Dell’s hair and makeup people were all convinced that one of the lights was making this barely perceptible high-pitched noise. The crew spent almost an hour trying to find and eliminate this noise, all under the apparent assumption that if Nancy heard it, she was going to spook and start kicking the crew and maybe rip out her harness and throw a shoe in the process. Of course, we never found it, and when Nancy arrived she never even noticed, because who f*cking cares? Only someone trying to get hired as an assistant.
Yeah, that’s right, I named names, unlike the chick in this story. Who do you think she worked for? Cameron Diaz? Lindsay Lohan? Jennifer Aniston? Maybe Judi Dench? Yeah, probably Judi Dench. I can totally picture Dame Judi flipping out over Starbucks and trying to spread her crabs all over town, that slut.