They Started From The "Bottom": Life After Being An Assistant
Posted on October 20 2016
Although I was a fan and I looked up to Angela Simmons while she was on television, I never in a million years expected to be her assistant. The journey of how the job began is a long one you can read in previous post: click here . I'll give you all the short version here and some insight into other assistants who have had an impeccable drive and a leap of faith. Two quick tips: Being urgent is key. And being diligent is essential.
It all started a little over three years ago with Angela Simmons when I began to work for her. We all have at times worked a challenging job full of multiple important elements, and responsibilities. Assisting has many benefit's of being an every day hard working job, with results that range from immediate goal achieving to long time optimistic strides made for business and personal clarity, being in this type of workspace made me remember the larger picture. When you have the opportunity to work with a person who has achieved their everyday goals it is inspiring and will ignite a fire in you to achieve your own goals as well.
At times I didn’t see the forest for the trees but that season only lasted shortly. Being personal assistant you learn quickly how to complete every task, including setting up meetings and making all the components of life run smoothly. Pushing myself and seeing how great Angela is motivated me to finally achieve my own goals.
I learned so much from people about the industry and business. All the products and connections made because of how considerable I am with people of in all industries and position’s propelled my own career and grew friendships. I was able to rely on professionals and friends alike to help with steps towards my goals. There is a guide, almost an outline that never comes with instructions on a winding road. These people may inspire you to get there and move forward in a positive way.
Pierre Balmain/ Karl Lagerfeld. Will Smith/ Troy Carter. Dior/ Yves Saint Laurant. Heather Joy Tompson/ P. Diddy. Vincent Oqundo/ Pat McGrath, what do all these names have in common? Each individual is a creative director of their own career, and a former assistant with years of experience underneath their belt. As an assistant you are dedicated to the individual you work with. Across all boards, designer, actor, editors and makeup you have an obligation to serve, learn and make their lives the importance of your day, the easier and faster you are the more a client and celebrity can trust you. Their names have a tremendous sound in sync with one another. Catching the attention of a celebrity or well-respected name in the industry can propel an assistant and teach the ropes of the industry.
The International Wool Secretariat Prize a second competition that gave two designers the ability to showcase their talents. As Pierre Balmain and Hubert de Givenchy as judges on the panel for the 1954 award show. Two great designers emerged from this show Karl Lagerfeld at the tender age of 21 and Saint Laurent at a young age of 18. Right place, right time, and the right amount of talent showcased. Both young designers lacked experience in the widespread market of French fashion. Karl Lagerfeld won as a young German coat designer and Yes Saint Laurent won for his dress design. Many years later Karl Lagerfeld is now the creative director of a $125-million-dollar business. Overseeing 6 collections a season including the Italian brand Fendi, he is forever on the cutting edge of what is the next wave of fashion and leads the creative direction carefully also adding photography to his resume.
Yves Saint Laurent
Christian Dior is the designer that bought the most fashionable threads after World War II. The man that stood next to him during his career was an independent designer Yves Saint Laurent. Saint Laurent won the first place prize for International Wool Secretariat two years in a row. Metting Micheal de Brunhoff the editor and chief of French Vogue was his breakthrough moment. Making a huge impact on his career and the development of emerging talent. One day after the International Wool show Dior was introduced to Laurent through sketches. Saint Laurant similar sketches resembled Dior even though they were worlds apart. Yves Saint Laurent was quoted as saying "Dior fascinated me, I couldn't speak in front of him. He taught me the basis of my art. Whatever was to happen next, I never forgot the years I spent by his side." Saint Laurent was one of the top designers of our time, he encouraged couture in 1960’s and also helped propel ready- to -wear into the fashion market. The company’s net worth is the $154-million-dollar company is still a desirable brand to wear.
Troy Carter - Will Smith
Will Smith is known for his acting career, rapping and many companies he has created over the years. The mogul has established so many brands and a powerhouse production company with the intent to spread his message and create products for all age ranges. His intern Troy Carter began his career at the age of 17, Carter signed to Will Smith and James Lassiter label for one year under the rap group 2 Too Many. Carter’s career spanned from working with DJ Jazzy Jeff shortly after in the studio, to Sean Comb’s interning at the Bad Boy Records Label, to Eve’s (the rapper) Nelly and Floetry’s manager and propelling Eve’s career from rap to TV show on UPN 9. His many build ups, break through and evolutions are documented through his life story. Years later he Co- Founded his company Erving Wonder that partnered with British-based company Sanctuary. The partnership separated and caused for him to return to managing again. Troy Carter was asked to Manage Lady Gaga in 2006, he began in small nightclubs and building her career to what it is today. Shortly after he began Coalition Media Group and Atom Factory which manages John Legend, Greyson Chance, Mindless Behavior, Priyanka Chopra, Lindsey Staerling, The Ceremonies and John Mayer and many movies and animations. The Backplane and A/IDEA are companies he began in 2011. He has started many startups companies in Silicon Valley and invested in over 60 businesses including Spotify, Dropbox, Fab, and Uber. His net worth is currently $30 million and he was featured on Shark Tank.
Heather Joy Tompson
Heather Joy Thompson in 2007 posted a video along with many other applicants on how she would like to acquire an assistant position with P.Diddy. She was a lawyer and a Peace Corp participant. She and millions of other applicants posted a video on YouTube in hours hoping to get a chance to work with the businessman and entrepreneur. Those three favorite applicants sat on the Oprah show. It was revealed she would win. As she worked on the Vote-or-Die campaign she is quoted as saying “I think I should have this job because of my experience as a lawyer, a return Peace Corps volunteer and my wide scope of professional experiences, I believe, make me uniquely qualified to serve Mr. Combs,” Thompson said. “And I’m very humble and [willing] to take the role of assisting him because I understand who the star is in this relationship. I’m willing to support him in the way that he needs.” After helping in 2007 she was invited to become a U.S. Diplomat and is stationed in New Mexico at the U.S. Embassy.
Vincent Oqundo is the makeup artist to GiGi Hadid and Bella Hadid and many other A-list models and stars. The makeup artist has had a client list since being on the team with Pat McGrath who he owes his skill of skin fetish that is always recognizable. He assisted for 5 years on her team. Pat McGrath is now the top makeup artist in the world with international covers and the beauty director at Procter and Gamble including international campaigns all over the world.
As you see whether it’s just a campaign, music, fashion or being a production assistant or design assistant these people have asked questions or advice from individuals in their life, supporting others and receiving support in any way is amazing. Being a personal assistant is just a stepping stone or in some cases a big push. I can testify to that. Where am I now? After working with Angela Simmons, I am now creating an online course and consulting services company for people who want to pursue to be an assistants like me. Teaching and training them to prepare for the business world, the real world. When I am not working my full-time position as executive assistant. I am working on many projects for releases in 2017. I have never felt so excited for my future as I am now!
I encourage all the young adults in college or even the adults my age who finished college and feel like they don't know what they want to be or they do know what they want to be but don't know where to start or how to start or just don't feel like they have the resources to do so. Go get some! Intern everywhere !! Take all in. And keep searching for jobs. Most of all try to stick it on until the wheels literally fall off. Don't run the minute things get to hard if you can learn to handle pressure now you at prepping yourself to be a boss. For those of you who always wondered about being a personal assistant don't be so quick to turn the other cheek.