Career Conversations: Shanna
Career Conversations Series, creates a positive image for young girls to refer to, by having conversations with different business owners, entrepreneurs and creators. Shanna was a Celebrity Personal Assistant for some of the most talent artist within the music space.
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Job: Celebrity Personal Assistant
How did you first become a Celebrity Personal Assistant?
Earlier in my career, I was a contemporary hip-hop dancer. A few of my dance colleagues were dancing for a UK artist. Sometimes we meet up when she came to London, and we became very close. She started touring the UK to promote her latest album, and she would always invite me along. During the tour, I was always helping whether it was something small. I was still working at my day job and I would save my annual holiday if I needed to travel. For example, she was now touring in Australia and she wondered if I would like to come over to help. Once I arrived in Australia, I was helping her organise her day-day events. It was an enjoyable experience as I’ve never been to Australia before and I was helping a friend. A few years later, I got in contact with another UK artist, who was at the time pursuing her music career in the USA. I got to travel with her to New York for a week to help her during her promotional tour. After that week, I came back home, and I received a message from her saying, “How would you feel about being my personal assistant?”
It happened quickly. Within a month, I was back in New York. As soon as I arrived, I started work straight away. There was no dossier handed over to me with all the relevant information. I had to build those work relationships by meeting the management, getting to know the A&R, CEO of the record label. I was creating friendships, learning from other crew members. After that month, I really enjoyed it and took the offer to come back and continue with the role. I took a year's career break from my current role to pursue the personal assistant career.
What was your typical day as a Personal Assistant?
I’ve lived with two of my clients, which is slightly different when you're not living with them. The morning schedule will normally start with checking in with the client, checking my emails, and checking their day-day schedule. If we needed to travel that week, I would've checked the weather forecast so that the client would know what to pack for that trip. We never went into anything blind. We were always a few steps ahead. Working with the management team to ensure that all communication is solid between myself and the client.
What was the best part of your job?
The best part would be travelling. I’ve travelled to Australia, to many states in America including around Europe. It may not have been a holiday experience because I was working, however it’s been a lovely experience. One experience which is nice was spending the day at Beyonce’s family home in Houston, Texas. Beyonce’s father owns a studio within the original family’s house, which people could rent. It also had a restaurant connected to it, serving delicious soul food.
If you weren't a PA, what career would you have?
An Interior Designer.
What is the wackiest request clients have ever asked you to do?
I was with my client in Target, and she received a phone call from the media to do an interview. We left Target, still standing around the area, so that she can continue with her interview. There were two workers nearby moving around equipment. She asked me to go over to ask if they could be quiet, as she was on a call. I thought it was a ridiculous request, as they were currently working. I went over to the workers and said, “I’m going to pretend that I’m asking you to keep the noise down”. They looked at me like “what?”, but I just needed her to think that I was telling them something. I went back and said “Nothing they can do, they're working!”. I thought it was hilarious, as she was just starting in her music career and, unlike most music artists, wasn’t famous as yet.
3 facts about your role
- Quick thinking, organised and personal skills.
- It’s not glamorous
- Every day is different.