Assistants to celebrities vs. HNW families
I often get asked about what it takes to be a celebrity personal assistant, but candidates often overlook another important market segment: Working for high-net-worth families. In this article, I'm going to talk about some important differences between working for celebrities and high-net-worth families.
Before we do that, it's important to define "celebrity." It actually comes from the word celebrate. Yes, celebrities are celebrated for their skill in a given field. Technically speaking, if someone is well-known to the public, then they are a celebrity: TV and movie actors, famous book authors, professional athletes, etc. In contrast, a high-net-worth family is one with extraordinary financial means, often in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.
Fact vs. fiction: Working with celebrities
There is a bit of a myth that personal assistants who work with celebrities are always on private jets and walking on red carpets. To some extent, the job does entail that; but most of the time you're sitting behind a desk and making phone calls to agents, managers, publicity reps, etc.
Working for celebrities is a sort of hybrid role between an Executive Assistant and a Personal Assistant. On the EA side, you will be booking appointments, managing a schedule and be engaged in data entry. On the PA side, you will be running errands, getting the dry cleaning and walking pets.
All of this is virtually the same as a regular PA job, with the exception that the pressure is usually a lot higher when working with celebrities. Also, the hours can be very long. Lastly, the pay is usually lower than you would expect because part of the trade is the "access to glamour," which means a lot to some assistants.
What's it like to be an assistant to a wealthy family?
Because I've been a personal assistant to both celebrities and billionaires, I know that there are distinctive differences between the two. Firstly, the hours are a bit more normal when working in a private estate. It's not that you won't ever work long hours; but with celebrities, you're always at level 10.
Because high-net-worth families and billionaires have deeper pockets, they can afford to hire more staff. So, there are usually PAs, Estate Managers and a Chief of Staff for the ultra-rich families. Having a lot of support staff can help alleviate the pressure that assistants face while on the job.
Last, but certainly not least, working with affluent families is a bit more stable than working with celebrities. By and large, celebrities burn through a lot more assistants because they are always working at break-neck speed. For the sake of longevity and job stability, working for the billionaires offers more opportunities and a chance at a somewhat normal life.
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Written for assistants and estate managers working for celebrities, CEOs, UHNW families, billionaires and royalty