It is the night of the most anticipated annual awards show and the newest up and coming actress has just won the award for Best Supporting Actress. One of the many post red carpet event parties is at the sprawling estate of a renowned Hollywood producer, and EVERYONE wants to be in the radius of the circle that revolves around the girl who is now the talk of the town. Her life will never quite be the same. Putting all her hair up under a Dodgers cap and entering the local Starbucks in Hollywood Hills will no longer be a totally incognito entry. The starlet’s experienced personal assistant acknowledges that a higher level of protection is necessary, but is well aware that her 22-year-old client will still like to go clubbing at night and jogging on the Santa Monica beach the next morning.
A black limo pulls up to the curb and a chauffeur and three bodyguards with muscles distorting the fit of their black suits jump out to surround the back door as the celebrity exits the vehicle. The person of interest is escorted into a store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. How’s that for a grand entrance? Appropriate for some “A-List” celebrities or those who might be looking to drum up media attention, but not the kind of attraction that most celebrities want every time they go out to run an errand. A celebrity security expert knows how to create the protection needed for each and every event, appearance or daily activity, and can do so in a way that fits with the lifestyle of the famous individual. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but a successful comprehensive celebrity security detail still entails participation and ‘buy in’ from the person being protected. Celebrities may sometimes discount their security plans, or not take the precautionary measures seriously. Therefore, it is important to analyze the protective agent’s profile to ensure the security team is matched well with the VIP, works seamlessly with his or her entourage and has their attention and trust, and thus can be a voice of reason.
There are many tactics used in the overall protection strategy to minimize risk at all times. Much can be done in advance because a good percentage of celebrity movement is decided ahead of time by their handlers, and locations can be checked out and evaluated before the client actually arrives. Similar to executive protection, maintaining security for celebrities entails navigating many steps ahead of their daily, weekly, and monthly itinerary. An additional component today is monitoring social media. The celebrity’s social media presence and messages should be continuously monitored and evaluated. They should be advised and redirected if it is identified that they are inadvertently posting messages and tweets that could compromise their safety in the future. A deranged mind can think the famous person with whom they are obsessed is speaking just to them. Obsessive fans should also be monitored online, with any red flags from their social media activity sparking a closer investigation of their personality and whereabouts. Embarrassing encounters with someone enacting a calculated plan – like throwing paint on a movie star – may be minimized with proactive celebrity security planning. Physically dangerous encounters can often times be predicted and the threat dissipated. Keeping many matters private, and certain dealings separate from the celebrity, is also part of a comprehensive plan. They should be insulated to maintain a distance from vendors. In real estate dealings, for example, assets might be obtained in the name of a company or intermediary so that specific information about the VIP is protected. Another technique is to watch the celebrity’s travels during the day from a discrete distance. They can be shadowed by protective agents, and when appropriate, a GPS device can be on their person or vehicle. Leveraging Protective Intelligence Analysts who are focused on the VIP’s surroundings and environment with on-the-ground physical protection enables the team to jump in and take the client out of a bad situation. There is always an exit plan!
One prime area to explore in detail for risk assessment and ongoing protection is the relationship the individual has with their family members. Distant relatives, former wives, husbands, friends and significant others all have the potential to disrupt a celebrity’s life and create, at best a drama to keep out of the press and public eye, and at worst, a dangerous scenario. It becomes crucial to understand the dynamics of their family, and the extent to which they could create undesirable issues. Diligent overview of potential threats, including images and videos when possible can help to document events for use in subsequent legal proceedings.
Often times VIP or celebrity protection can operate status quo for a period of time without incident. However, a third party celebrity security risk assessment and action plan review is the key to a collaborative partnership, with the goal of identifying any weak links or vulnerabilities. Constant benchmarking and reevaluation ensures more holistic and intelligence-driven security than just the day-to-day dealings of the current protective team.Tweet