Being a Student Celebrity Publicist

My job is crazy, confusing and hard. I am a celebrity publicist.

If you ever watch a red carpet and see the person dressed in all black, as if they were re about to rob a bank, pushing your favorite celeb to the next interview — that’s me. It’s not a large title, but the job itself is demanding. My duties span from supervising red carpet appearances to accompanying clients to photo shoots to designing innovative publicity campaigns.

Celebrities, glamorous after parties, advanced screenings. It all sounds exciting — and don’t get me wrong, it is — but it’s not all flashing lights and private jets.

When people ask me what I do, I don’t say that I’m in the entertainment business. I don’t say that I’m a publicist. Honestly, I say that I’m a glorified babysitter.

I’m not saying my clients are babies who need constant attention. I’m just saying they’re adults who need constant attention.

One day I’m traveling with talent in New York and the next I’m jetting off to Los Angeles to supervise press and escort my client. Thousands of people line the carpets, bulbs flashing, herds of people screaming and chanting your name. Kyra, Kyra, Kyra.

Alright, they don’t scream my name. I’m not the star. I’m in the background — the extra that’s only there to provide a sense of comfort for the main attraction. I’m there to keep my hand on their back, pushing them forward. Some days I’m not even on the carpet. Sometimes my job is to just check talent in or to fill a seat in the theatre.

But only about 30 percent of the job is travel and fun . The other 70 percent is sitting in the office behind a computer screen. Emails, emails, emails. I know how Hilary Clinton must feel. In between replies, I make schedules for upcoming events, write press releases and send out offers to clients.

But client needs don’t just include these routine tasks. I can recall one day in particular, while I worked for a client who is a model. She was at Fashion Week in London and frantically called my office, screaming that she had run out of outfits. She still had appearances and was mortified at the thought of repeating a look. She demanded — I mean asked — us to send her a buyer for another outfit. Due to the distances and differences in time zone, this just was not possible. And as babysitters do, I put my foot down. I told her to — get this — buy her own clothes.

Despite the more bratty clients, I’ve met great people along the way — people that I respect and love. I’ve met Tom Hanks, backstage at a Gavin DeGraw concert. I’ve worked alongside Judy Reyes (Scrubs, Devious Maids). And I’ve gotten to go to an advanced screening of Ant-Man. And as a Marvel nerd, this was huge.

My most recent publicist experience actually involved Ant-Man. I was in London helping out at the premiere. Dressed in all black, I had my list of clients to greet at the top of the carpet. On my list was none other than one of my top 5 celebrity crushes, Jeremy Irvine.

Of course, I began to freak out. My superior looked at me with a big toothy grin.
“Why so nervous about him?” she chalked in her British accent.
“He’s so dreamy,” I stuttered.
“You have a crush on him. Aw. I just had lunch with him last Sunday,” she spoke before she was called down the carpet.

Great. She spent time with him, and my hands were sweating from the thought of his presence. But I did the job and played my part. Calm, cool, collected. My plan was to usher him down the carpet. Make him fall in love with me, move to Cambridge together and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

I waited patiently at the top of the carpet, but Jeremy never came. I had my own team of spies looking out until I heard, “I’ve got Irvine, going down the carpet now.” There were hundreds of people, it was a mixture of excitement and chaos. I couldn’t see a thing. No Jeremy. I still don’t know who stole my meet-cue, but I do know that Jeremy and I were in the same theater, breathing the same air. That’s good enough for me.

I am a publicist. I babysit people with a lot of money. I manage brands and make sure their image is impeccable. I travel with clientele to various shows and appearances. I get nervous when I meet celebrity clients, and I apparently become a secret agent on carpets. My job is crazy, confusing, hard and the best thing in the world.


Kyra Nathanson

Kyra Nathanson, COMpost blogger

Kyra is the COMpost blogger for the COMmunicator. Her posts give a comical yet insightful look into to the life as a communications student-professional. Kyra is a senior graduating in public relations. She’s been working in the entertainment industry since she was 15 years old. Recently, Kyra has been working as a publicist in Los Angeles and London and plans on moving to the west coast after school.

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