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Explainer: 10 best celebrity bosses

  • Kate Moss

    Love Ball London - Inside Arrivals
    Chris Jackson  /  Getty Images for De Beers
    Although Kate is close friends with Naomi Campbell, you’d never know it from the way she treated her longtime assistant, Fiona Young. Fiona spent seven years working for the British model and finally quit, not because of trauma resulting from multiple stilettos being lodged in her skull, but because she was pregnant with her first child and wanted to become a full-time mom. Although Kate was reportedly heartbroken at losing her assistant, she understood Fiona’s decision and threw her a huge, star-studded baby shower with tons of free stuff donated by companies Kate had connections with.

  • REM

    Carlos Alvarez  /  Getty Images
    Some journalists would kill for the kind of celebrity access that an assistant gets. That’s not always a good thing, particularly if “access” means being on the receiving end of a cell phone to the head. But for David Belisle, who spent several years as the band REM’s personal assistant, access meant that he got some one-of-a-kind pictures of the group. Belisle, whose dream was to be a photographer, spent seven years working for REM, and after he moved on he published his photos in a book, “REM: Hello.” Lead singer Michael Stipe wrote the foreword for the book and even appeared at a couple of Belisle’s book signings to show support.

  • Kate Bosworth

    "American Woman: Fashioning A National Identity" Met Gala - Arrivals
    Larry Busacca  /  Getty Images
    Plenty of bosses and assistants have pleasant, cordial relationships with each other, but sometimes they can become real-life friends. That’s what happened with actress Kate Bosworth and Jacqui Louez, who was her assistant during the shooting of “Superman Returns.” They become such good friends during the shoot that they stayed in close touch afterward, and when Jacqui got married Kate flew to Australia to serve as a bridesmaid. In this case, not only could a celebrity and an assistant be friends, but the celebrity could even willingly take a backseat to the assistant’s special day.

  • Neil Gaiman

    Premiere Of Paramount Pictures' "Beowulf"- Arrivals
    Frederick Brown  /  Getty Images
    The beloved sci-fi author often uses his personal blog to interact with his fans, talk about upcoming projects, and mention whatever he’s thinking about now. Occasionally, he refers to his personal assistant, Lorraine. When people wrote in asking questions about Lorraine and what her job was like, Neil let her speak for herself by writing some posts on the blog. Turns out that the author and his assistant had quite the mutual admiration society—Lorraine, an artist and musician, relished the freedom that her job gave her (she works a set number of hours per week, and portions them out during the week depending on what else she has going on) and Neil loved how Lorraine kept his otherwise hectic life organized and sane. It’s nice to see a boss/assistant relationship that’s so healthy and appreciative.

  • Chelsea Handler

    25th Annual Television Critics Association Awards - Arrivals
    Frederick M. Brown  /  Getty Images
    E! talk show host and comedian Chelsea Handler loves to include her personal assistant, Chuy “Little Nugget” Bravo, into her jokes and sketches [since he’s a little person, most of these jokes have to do with his size. Who would have guessed?]. However, it’s clear that her jokes are only in good fun, because when it comes to Chuy’s career, Chelsea is always willing to help him out. Evidence? Chuy nabbed a book deal with help from his boss, who has published several essay collections.

    Story: 9 no good, very bad bosses on TV
  • Bruce Springsteen

    Image: Bruce Springsteen
    Richard Drew  /  AP
    The Boss’ longtime friend and personal assistant, Terry Magovern, died in 2007 after battling cancer. While even the most compassionate boss probably would have come to the funeral or sent money to the family, Bruce went one step further, writing a song in his late assistant’s honor. That tune, “Terry’s Song,” was premiered at a Springsteen concert in April 2008 on what would have been Terry’s 67th birthday. For the record, yes, I was very tempted to make a “The Boss/a Boss”-related joke here.

  • Kelly Rowland

    Jean-Paul Gaultier : Paris Fashion Week Menswear S/S 2011
    Julien M. Hekimian  /  Getty Images
    Singer, Friend of Beyonce, and former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland loves cars. Like, she loves cars. In fact, she loved one particular car—the Lotus Elise—so much when she saw it at a British trade show that she bought it in three colors. She kept one for herself and gave the other two to her manager and her assistant.

  • Stone Phillips

    NBC Primetime Preview 2006-2007 At Radio City Music Hall
    Evan Agostini  /  Getty Images
    It’s one of the worst parts of being an assistant: when your boss gets fired, you almost always lose your job too. That’s what happened when news anchor Stone Phillips was let go from NBC during budget cuts—his assistant was canned along with him. But Phillips was classy to the end. Although he could have just retreated to his summer house and waited for a book deal to write his memoirs, he bought his assistant a new car to thank her for all her service over the years. It’s one thing for your boss to give you a note on your birthday, but it’s another for him to publicly thank you even after he’s not under a work obligation to do so. Oh, and in case you were wondering, it was an Audi.

  • Angelina Jolie

    "Salt" Press Conference In Seoul
    Chung Sung-jun  /  Getty Images
    Considering how much money and fame Angelina Jolie has, it’s easy to imagine her being a total diva. Luckily, her assistant Holly Goline reports that Angie is a great boss to work for. She and Goline are close friends, and the assistant is often a jolt of reality in Angelina’s crazy, tabloidy life. How close are they? The two got pregnant [Jolie with twins Knox and Vivienne] around the same time, and posed for tons of pictures together at Cannes in almost-identical white flowy maternity dresses. Sources in New Orleans, where Angelina and Brad Pitt own a home, have reported seeing Angelina and Holly out enjoying a drink together.

  • Maya Angelou

    Women In Film and Hallmark Channel Honor Dr. Maya Angelou - Inside
    Katy Winn  /  Getty Images
    Maya Angelou is possibly the only poet in America who requires a full-time personal assistant. The assistant, Lydia Stuckey, handles Angelou’s busy schedule and probably answers all the calls from Oprah. In order to thank her assistant, Angelou wore a red-and-white lace dress designed by Stuckey to her 80th birthday party, which was thrown by Oprah and televised on her show. Now, that’s one way to get a leg up on your new post-assistant career.

  • 'Save the Assistants'

    Excerpted from "Save the Assistants: A Guide for Surviving and Thriving in the Workplace" by Lilit Marcus. Copyright (c) 2010, reprinted with permission from Hyperion.


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