Celebrity bodyguards need discretion?
One important skill that you need as a bodyguard is discretion. Discretion is the skill of keeping secrets and not disclosing information to people who should not know it. One difficulty to being a personal bodyguard is you have to treat your job as if you are in the CIA. You can never share any information with anyone. Never. Ever. You never know when it’s going to come back and haunt you. So what I’m saying is learn how to keep your mouth shut.
As a celebrity bodyguard you hear and see a lot of things, and celebrities live a very interesting life. You are so close to someone and are around them all the time, so there is no room for modesty or having to correct oneself. The celebrity must be able to feel free enough to be themselves and confident it will not be a public issue.
The National Enquirer and other tabloids will pay you a lot of money for some of the secrets you’ll know. But you’ll never be able to work in this industry again if you say anything to anyone. Being discreet is perhaps the most important ‘skill’ required to be successful as a professional bodyguard. When you are dealing with anyone’s life, especially one about whom the public is desperate to know, you always have to think before you speak, whether to family, friends, fans or reporters. I make it a point of NEVER asking a celebrity about his or her personal life. If and when the celebrity becomes comfortable with me, and we have built a relationship based on trust, he or she will often bring it up.”
You may think something as harmless as giving your celebrity’s home address to a company you’re buying something from is nothing big. But who knows who’s taking your order? It could be a crazed fan. So you have to have a secure mailing address to get packages.
Remember you are the buffer between the outside world and your celebrity. That means you have to learn how to fend off the press as well. Maybe you’re setting up a party for your boss and some nice looking gal or guy wants to know where it’s going to be. You have to keep that information from them at all costs. Get used to repeating yourself and saying, “He/she can’t give an interview right now. Thanks for your interest.” You’ll get to know what you need to say, but basically, you’re revealing nothing. That’s the point.
Overall, what’s expected is everything it takes to make the life of your celebrity easier, more comfortable, and the main thing SAFER, and that will vary according to with whom you’re working. Anticipating needs is a big one— being able to look at a situation and determine what can go wrong and make sure it doesn’t; or knowing how to fix a problem once it occurs (which requires you to familiarize yourself with all the players, their jobs, and who has the power to make the problem go away, quickly), which means you better have some terrific relationships in place. This, of course, takes time and experience.”
Harlan (Hucky) Austin
About the Author: Harlan V. Austin has acquired over 20 years of field experience as a Close Protection Operative/Bodyguard, seven years of which he served as Director of Security Services for Paisley Park Productions. Foremost in his duties at Paisley Park was assuring the safety and welfare of the musical artist Prince, as well as celebrities with whom Prince collaborated or associated with – Lenny Kravitz, Madonna, Morris Day, Sheena Easton, George Clinton and Kim Basinger to name a few.