One of the best things about being a security guard is the huge variety of different situations and locations you can find yourself in. Naturally, some are more glamorous than others. Or at least they appear to be. Talk to any security guard — especially someone just starting out — and nine times out of ten they’ll tell you they’d rather be in a swish Soho club standing behind Jessie J in a leopard skin bikini (Jessie’s in the bikini, not the bodyguard) than patrolling an empty warehouse in the Isle of Dogs. And it’s not just about the money, money, money. It’s also about the excitement and perceived glamour of showbiz.
However, celebrity security comes with its own drawbacks. We spoke to two celebrity bodyguards who filled us in on some of the less pleasant aspects of looking out for the rich and infamous. Obviously, their professionalism requires that they remain anonymous, as do the stars they protect…
1. Missing Your Kids.
If you become a trusted member of a celebrity’s security detail, you will be expected to drop everything at a moment’s notice and follow your star wherever they decide to go. Generally speaking, you’ll be going somewhere pretty cool — a fashion show in Paris maybe, or an awards ceremony in California, so it might not sound like any great sacrifice. But if you have a family, you’ll have family commitments, and you’ll have to get used to work coming first and your family taking a back seat. Which is really tough, and definitely not for everyone.
2.Keeping It Professional.
It’s not uncommon for celebrities to get attached to their security staff, and while likeability is definitely an important part of the job, when your professional relationship becomes more like a friendship, it can cause problems. Always remember that you’re there to protect your celebrity client, and that’s all. Obviously you want them to like you, but friendship brings with it different responsibilities and it can begin to interfere with your working relationship. Better, if possible, to keep it strictly professional.
3. Dealing With Divas.
Whether your celebrity client is a pop star, an actor or a sports star, if their career blows up, they will almost certainly become a handful. Even the most level-headed person can lose their head when faced with what feels like universal adoration, especially if they have nobody to tell them no. If you’re around when your celebrity goes A-list, be prepared for your stress levels to go through the roof. Remember, it’s not your job to tell them not to do drugs or punch photographers, but it is your job to clean up their mess when they do. “Sometimes it’s like you’re looking after a teenager with ten million pounds at their disposal,” said one of our bodyguards. “Sometimes it literally is that and they do need protecting from themselves. But you have to be subtle. It’s a balancing act.”
As well as pointing out the downsides, each bodyguard we spoke to was also at pains to point out that they absolutely love their job and wouldn’t change it for the world. As one of them pointed out, “People are people, and celebrities are the same as ordinary people — they can be lovely, and they can be a**eholes, but more often than not, especially when they’re out of the spotlight, they’re lovely people.”
He added, “I started out as a bouncer outside of a pub in Birmingham and now I spend a lot of time on a private jet or hanging around on red carpets. Security has been pretty good to me and believe me, I am grateful for all the opportunities.”