Confession of a Hollywood publicist.

Think your boss is hell to work with? Working as a Tinseltown publicist gives new meaning to the word “slave”.

By Georgia Cassimatis

Getting into business

About six years ago I was working as a television publicist for a major network when one of the television hosts I worked for asked me to be her personal publicist. I was looking forward to dealing with just one person’s demands rather than the huge egos of television actors who are always screaming, yelling and crying as to why other cast members get more press than they were, or better treatment. Soon after, the television star I worked for started getting work in the US, which is how I ended up working in Hollywood.

It’s not what you know

Being a publicist in Tinseltown means you’re always out on the partycircuit and hanging out with A-listers. Because I started cultivating a huge social circle of top celebs, companies and magazines from around the world contacted me to try and get access to the stars. That’s when I decided to open my own publicity company. Almost immediately stars were calling me because they heard about all the deals I was able to make. Without a shadow of doubt, the old Hollywood adage is true: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Many a good business deal can be done over a bottle of vodka. The beauty about my job also is that I can pick, choose and dump who I want to represent, and who I don’t.

Dirty diva antics

No matter how rich they are, they’re all greedy for clothes; I’ve had A-listers spit the dummy because the stylist hasn’t bought them enough clothes, or if they won’t let them keep it. I’ve seen them stash their bags and run out the door and of course I’m left explain that I really have no idea where the clothes went, knowing full well my client has done a “Wynona Rider” and done a runner.

They hit people

The worst diva behaviour I’ve seen was when we were in Australia and the star’s assistant hadn’t deposited money into her account. She screamed at the top of her lungs, slapped her across her face, and the poor girl had a red handprint on her check for the rest of the day. Its clichéd but true: They spit the dummy if the don’t have the “right” mineral water. I was slapped once for only having Fuji water, and not Evian.

They’re spoilt brats

They always complain about their five-star hotel rooms not smelling right, not being vacuumed properly, not being big enough, the windows not opening, not having a piano – even though they don’t know the first music. A lot of the time my jaw just drops thinking some people would kill just to spend time in a beautiful hotel.

I’ve also seen them clear shelves in clothes shops because they didn’t like the sale assistant. They just pull the clothes off the racks and say, “well now you have something to do.”

Another horrible scenario I witnessed was when an actress I worked with for just seven days treated her family with complete disdain. I won’t say what show she’s on now, but I will say she was on Ally McBeal. She’s really wealthy and her family is dirt poor. Because she gets so many freebies, she was going to throw them out. Her family asked if they could have some. She said they could have it, but only if they paid the shipping cost. When they couldn’t afford it. I was so horrified I couldn’t represent her any longer.

The downside to fame

The sad part is I always notice that the higher up the ladder a celebrity goes the lonelier they become, purely because there are more users around them. If they haven’t worked through their issues, they start on a downward spiral. Poor Lindsay Lohan; she’s resorted to using her troubled childhood to publicise her album. There’s also a reason Mary-Kate Olsen dresses like a bag lady; she’s hiding a lot of unresolved issues. I think it’s slave labour when parents put them in the entertainment industry at such a young age.

Drugs, boyfriends and the lazy Diva Diet

Bulimia is and always will be an issue: I’ve seen many a girl throw up. It’s not the majority of celebs, but the lazy ones who don’t want to work out. I can always spot it when I walk into their hotel suite first thing in the morning and there’s every item on the breakfast menu that’s been half eaten. What amazes me is they think you don’t know. They go to the bathroom after eating, and if you’re close enough to the bathroom door you can hear the silence of the two fingers down the backs of their throat. I always think, “Damm, and I’ve just paid for all that!”

Drugs play a huge part in Hollywood circles too. It’s common knowledge that everyone’s on the “C” diet. The whole Kate Moss thing was just unlucky because she wasn’t doing anything different to what the majority of stars and celebs do, she was just betrayed by someone.

Pot is huge; a couple of my clients smoke it all day, and I’m always going through my client’s luggage to make sure they not carrying any illegal paraphernalia. I had one client who was so comatose all the time I never bothered asking her what drugs or pills she was taking.

Boyfriends too are almost always a problem. Whenever any of my clients get involved with a man I cringe because they always seem to be getting done over. At the same time they always go for the pretty boys just so they look good on the red carpet.

But it’s usually a total nightmare for me: I play the scenario out in my head all the time: He’s going to get sick of being her handbag and then he starts getting possessive, then he hates me because I spend more time with them, then they start hating the fact that woman makes more money than he does, or he’s the opposite to all of that and just becomes a parasitical loser who doesn’t do anything, but just annoy me.

One of the worst conversations I ever heard between a client and her boyfriend was when she said to him, “Don’t you know who I am! I can do whatever I like. I’m more famous than you. What have you done in the last three years anyway? You’d be nothing without me!” Then she wondered why that person ended up punching her. I’m not endorsing domestic violence, but it’s not the nicest way to be spoken to is it?

They’re uneducated

The level of education some of these Hollywood brat packers have is really horrifying. Then they’re supposed to know how to deal with the media on the red carpet. For me it’s often bad business when I take them to an event and they’re so rude that everyone ends up hating them; the photographer, the sons and daughters of the rich and famous who think they can be this way, but they don’t realize the reason people get treated well by the media is because you have to court them. I’ve had a client make a writer wait five hours, so of course that writer isn’t going to say anything nice, and why would they?

Dishing some more dirt

Because I don’t represent the following celebs, I’ll just go hell for leather and dish the dirt: Everyone knows Whitney Houston has a huge coke addiction and has been in rehab more times than you can imagine. She’s always out screaming at her husband and wiping her nose from all the coke.

Recently I saw Tori Spelling out in a three day night-clubbing binge with a boyfriend, still wearing the same clothes.

I’m pretty sure Tom Cruise isn’t gay because if he was, he’d be done for perjury for suing all those mags.

Celebs never sue otherwise; or if you notice, a lot of them “threaten” to sue, and actually don’t because a lot of the time, what they print is true.

Madonna is notorious for making his men pay for everything. She never treats her guys to anything. One of her exes is a friend of mine and he nearly went broke, running up thousands of dollars in debt keeping up with her, and then she just dumped him for Guy Ritchie. But he still gets laid because he lives off this story and women love it.

It’s common knowledge that Brad Pitt’s just a tart. It’s crap that he left Jennifer because she didn’t want to have a kids; it’s the other way around. He just wanted to play around, which is a shame.

They slag each other

Loads of slagging, bitching, back-stabbing and hate emails go around about each other. I’ve been in trailer with an ensemble cast of women on a famous show who all deliberately talk at the top of their voices on the phone to their agents saying, “Oh great, so I’ll get $500,00 for that commercial and $300,000 for that deal” and of course a lot of screaming starts. One of them yelled out, “I’m not letting that bitch get it all!”

They love the paparazzi

I really loathe the annoying myth that celebrities “hate” the paparazzi. Are you kidding? AQ struggling star would happily pay paparazzi to appear in the in front of their house. Then, when they get really big, they pretend that the paparazzi are such a headache. How do you think Hilton become such a well-known person? She direct-dials the paps! Everyone does!

I always let the paps know where my clients are. That’s why clients hire me; they want as much exposure as possible. More exposure means more photos in the tabloids, which means more freebies. And let me tell you, they are all freebies-obsessed.

Money talks

I’ve since represented over 100 A-listers. To be honest though I don’t think they really like working with me, but it’s not about that. It’s all about knowing I can get them deals, money and exposure. Regardless what any actor or actress tells you; if they say they’re in the business for the love of it, it’s crap. They don’t really care who makes them the money as long as someone is making it. I laugh when I hear a publicist say “I really care about my client’s career”. Yeah, right.

Profile equals dollars

I do get tired of all the antics, but the motto is “profile equals dollars”. The higher your profile, the more money there is to be made, so you have to keep yourself in the magazines. If celebs weren’t out partying constantly and being pictured in mags, no one would know who they are. Hollywood is definitely seedy, but I actually really like that.

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