Georgina Wahed fell into her career as a PA to celebrities. But she clearly has a talent for it, as we discover…
You’ve been in the industry for 14 years working as a PA – what made you choose this career?
When I was younger I generally didn’t know what I wanted to do – all I knew was I wanted to be in the movies.
As I failed all my GCSEs and I came from a working-class family where no one had contacts to the industry I decided to go out to Pinewood Studios and hand my CV out to everyone – and after two weeks it paid off.
I said I was a great runner and that I liked doing something different every day. They said that I should be a PA for talent… so, there you have it. Someone picked my career for me. But I’m great at it, so they were right.
Who you currently working for?
I’m an EA to an A-List actress at the moment, but I can’t disclosed her name until I finish working for her.
How did you enter the world of celebrities and managing their schedules?
I was a ‘runner’ and a producer said that I should be a PA – I was put straight to work. The Dark Knight Batman movie was my first movie as a PA to an actor and it started from there, working from film to film. I was thrown straight in the deep end, looking after them from the crack of dawn till night. I was the person who was the main point of contact as I was with them from start to finish – so everything had to be filtered through me.
If you want to work in that industry, you must think quickly and know who is a priority. Getting close to your boss as quickly as possible – without being pushy – is good. I learnt a lot, and how to be thick-skinned, fast.
Has there been a particular celebrity who was tough to work with?
They all have their faults, but the lower the celebrity status, the more diva-ish they are. The more famous are actually more reasonable and nice because they don’t have to prove anything.
Anyone you particularly got on with?
Yeah, I really got on with an A-list musician and an A-list actress. Those two really stick in my mind as they generally cared about who I was. Sometimes, as a celebrity PA/EA/manager, you go through the week/month/six months and they don’t know anything about you. Sometimes they even forget your last name. But I suppose sometimes it’s like that in the corporate world too.
But those two honestly gave a shit and they would take me for dinner and really cared.
Give us the insight on what it’s like looking after a high-profile figure?
Forget your life. If you’re looking after a man, he basically becomes your boyfriend but without the sex part. Your life revolves around them; you’re everything to them too.
Depending on what aspect you’re looking after, you go from calling the plumber for one of their houses, to going to a film premier with them. Dealing with their exes is always fun, or if they want to break up with a girlfriend and they block them, they message you and you become a councillor to someone you don’t even know.
Have you found there is a difference between looking after someone in the public eye and someone who isn’t?
It really depends who you look after. If it is a billionaire CEO I’m sure they’re the same. But looking after someone in the public eye, you really do give half your soul away. You forget who you are and their life becomes yours. It’s non-stop. You become very close and that’s why I can imagine some people have affairs with their bosses (that hasn’t happened to me).
What advice would you give fellow assistants looking to work as a celeb PA?
You need time off between each creative talent or job to remember who you are and to take a breather for you and see your friends without the worry of someone texting you.
You work so fast in those industries you must have ‘me’ time. Now if I go and meet someone to be their PA/EA, I set the rules, I tell them to take or leave it. I want weekends off and I need a life or I’ll never get a husband or family!