This week's featured professionals are Laurie Kessler and Rita Tateel, the CEO and President respectively of The Celebrity Source. The company makes matches between celebrities and brands, for both corporate and non-profit clients, with access to thousands of stars from film, television, music, sports, fashion, digital-influencers, and experts in a variety of other industries.
How booking a celebrity works
The Celebrity Source was established over 30 years ago. Why do celebrities and their assistants like working with you?
We keep all our promises, and we don’t make any promises we can’t keep. We treat the celebrities as if they are our clients, making sure they are well cared for; and every detail is addressed.
We are honest, trustworthy, and communicate in a timely and professional manner. We also love humor and are just fun to work with. All these qualities cause clients to come back to us and celebrities wanting to work with us whenever they can!
Above: Adrian Brody, Christian Slater, and Keanu Reeves at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro-Celebrity Race.
Credit: Rita Tateel of The Celebrity Source
Matching celebrities to brands
I read that the Celebrity Source prides itself on making “authentic” matches. What does that mean?
We feel that if a celebrity is attaching their name and image to an organization, it’s important that there be a reason apart from money. There needs to be authenticity in the connection and something the celebrity sincerely cares about, is touched by, personally utilizes, or is in some way personally connected to.
Today’s consumer is very savvy, and they can spot whether an endorsement is sincere or not.
Part of what we are hired to do is extensive celebrity research. We want to suggest celebrities to our clients who are authentic matches with their brand and values.
By the time we bring requests to celebrities, they know that it is likely a fit. If they accept the deal, then we know that the match will feel authentic.
Misconceptions about celebrity matching
What is the biggest misconception companies have about hiring celebrities for endorsements?
Celebrities are too expensive, so they can’t afford to hire one. There’s a relatively small percentage at the top of the celebrity ladder that are very costly. There are also famous names who are 3rd billing in a cast, retired athletes, and stars of yesteryear who may be incentivized to work for lower fees in the deal is the right fit.
Sometimes the key is to scoring a deal is knowing what might motivate the celebrity to say “yes." We make it our job to keep our hand on the celebrity pulse for these kinds of things. Other factors that could affect fees might be additional perks that could be offered. There could be a charity that a celebrity cares about, so every angle should be explored.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about working with celebrities?
The word “anticipate.” It’s important to anticipate questions, needs, likes, and desires. We must anticipate what could go wrong and have a solution ready!
Domestic Staffing Blog
Written for assistants and estate managers working for celebrities, CEOs, UHNW families, billionaires and royalty.