To coin the term ‘super PA’ you must be at the top of your profession, an elite assistant, and someone who is willing to experience a fast-paced lifestyle in line with their boss’s schedule. Those working in Private PA jobs, and in particular, ‘Celebrity PAs’ will be no strangers to working like a shadow, anticipating their principal’s every need, and acting with discretion to sort continual ad hoc issues. No matter the profile of the principal, those who choose to work in a support-staff capacity possess the traits of organisation, dedication, flexibility and resourcefulness.
In discussion with Catherine Torrie, PA to Florence and the Machine, and the winner of our flagship PA of the Year award, we discuss what it takes to succeed as a Celebrity PA. Demonstrating distinction in her ability to support a world renowned artist during and after a pandemic, Catherine Torrie epitomises the term ‘Super PA’, through her ability to bring ‘hope, joy, and laughter’ to the role.
Discretion and Flexibility:
A paramount ‘learned skill’, discretion comes with the nature of the role. The work of a Celebrity PA requires complete trust and flexibility not only when it comes to taking ownership of the role but adjusting your livelihood to suit theirs. As Catherine Torrie commented, ‘the flexibility to work anywhere and the opportunity to travel and work in other countries is something I love about being a PA. There is something very freeing about escaping the daily commute'.
Confidence and Passion:
As clichéd as ‘passion’ sounds, succeeding as a Celebrity PA requires you to have a genuine love for what you do. As a Private PA you’ll usually carry sole responsibility for your role; with no one to delegate to so it’s vital that you conduct your role with confidence.
Working for an individual you respect and admire carries a lot of weight in the Celebrity PA world. Shining a light into the creative landscape, Catherine Torrie states, ‘specifically in the creative world, a Personal Assistant takes care of the non-creative aspects of a person's life, which then gives the client room to focus on their creative process. The value in that for a creative person is enormous’.
The understanding that your work aids not only your principal but their profession and passion is a significant driver for successful super PAs.
Creating boundaries is truly a learned skill. Building a healthy relationship between yourself and your principal comes with understanding and tenure. As Catherine Torrie notes, ‘the responsibilities of a PA are extremely broad, focusing not just on the business side of a client's life.’
The relationship works as a two-way street, and those who succeed, truly understand the necessity for boundaries, respect and friendship.
Networking and Authenticity:
The ability to network and build relationships is perhaps the single most important skill a Celebrity PA can learn. There are multitudes of fellow assistants out there - find them, use them, and act as a resource for them. A key part of expanding your network is authenticity. As the winner of our PA of the Year award, SecsintheCity asked Catherine Torrie to share her advice with fellow PAs applying for the awards. ‘Be authentic and honest, include the highs as well as the lows, when talking about your career history’.
Building your circle and rapport with fellow PAs and industry experts aids your career and highlights you as an expert in your field.
As ‘celebrity’ clients wish to remain anonymous, they request a confidential recruitment search conducted for them. Celebrity PA jobs may therefore not be advertised openly on SecsintheCity.
To find Celebrity PA roles, you can explore our Private PA jobs. Browse the latest Private PA opportunities on SecsintheCity today or create a job alert to be notified of suitable roles when they are posted.
Discover our ‘How to become a Celebrity PA’ article to get kickstarted in the industry.