Occasionally my husband The Gorilla is assigned a security guard for press trips and the like. Believe me when I say he never needs a security guard. If you recognize my husband, you're more than just a passing fan, since he's rarely the face in front of the camera.
Now, many of the cast members or talent for The Gorilla's shows have a real need for security when they're in very public venues. This isn't just because of their huge popularity - though of course their fan base is very large - but because of the nature of their shows and movies. Sometimes people think that because these guys kick each other on screen, that they like to be kicked. You might be surprised at how many people want to um, spar, with them.
When we were on the European press tour for the movie last Fall, The Gorilla was assigned a security guard I'll call Goliath. We loved Goliath. He took such special care of us for weeks. Goliath has been with some of the biggest names in entertainment, mostly music-related. I can't tell you who all he has guarded, but trust me when I tell you that they are the A-list of the A-list in the music industry. (And then, of course, he was assigned to The Gorilla. Do not think we didn't laugh about it.)
On a crisp day in Madrid, in a noisy cafe where the waiter wanted to work on his English with us, I asked Goliath a few questions about his job:
HH: What is your main job as a celebrity bodyguard? How long have you been doing it?
I'm a protector of celebrities when they go out in public, and I look after their needs. I'm been doing this for fifteen years. I'm generally protecting them from fans and paparazzi.
HH: What is the ratio of you to who you're protecting? Like are you assigned to look after the whole band or just one person?
It's normally 1:1. I have done lots of band work, and one man for everyone is difficult. With recessions they try and cut man power and the first thing they'll cut is security. They'll look after their hair before they take care of security.
HH: Are you on all the time? What if it's a very long day? Are there shifts?
There aren't really shifts. If you have a principle [assignment], they need to be seeing the same person.
HH: Would you rather guard a woman or a man?
I prefer to be with men because they're easier to protect. They're normally grateful to have me.
HH: What is your relationship like with the person you're protecting?
Professionally, you can't become friends because familiarity breeds contempt. It's better to keep a distance.
HH: Since security is basically a twenty-four job when you're on assignment, don't you just get exhausted?
I've been quite lucky as I'm mainly with women and they come home quite early.
HH: But what about eating/sleeping/taking care of yourself?
I don't eat much. I only eat one meal a day. Other [guards] are told to eat a big breakfast because they don't know when they'll eat next.
HH: But what do you do when the person you're guarding is eating?
In a restaurant, I would wait close to them or just outside the door. Or sit close. I was once with a very famous musician for about ten months solid. In all that time, I was offered a glass of water once.
HH: What are some of the more annoying aspects of the job?
When I've had to wake up fans parked outside someone's home. Or the tour buses that drive by a home hourly.
HH: Has anything ever happened that has been really scary?
No, I've never been seriously nervous on the job.
When The Gorilla and I would take a stroll around the city, Goliath would trail behind us. Sometimes we would forget he was even there. Other times we were so grateful he was our constant companion. Not because there was a security issue, but because it's nice to have a "local" by your side.
We loved having Goliath with us in Europe. He was patient with my thousands of questions and my endless search for a Dr. Pepper. He put up with The Gorilla who would forget to tell him when he was leaving the hotel. And he was just a very kind man.
I'm grateful that we don't have to have a daily security guard in our life. Of all the trappings of celebrity, I think that basic privacy would be the hardest part to deal with.
So then it's good to have someone around like Goliath.
For most posts explaining aspects of the entertainment industry, click here.