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Getting paid in excess of $500 a day to apply makeup, style hair, shop for clothes and paint nails on the set of a film, TV show, magazine shoot or print ad is considered pretty glamorous. Yet, some freelance artists get confused about their job description, and are challenged with setting boundaries when it comes to working with VIP’s.
Boundaries define the limits and responsibilities of the people with whom we interact. Without these guidelines for behavior––on both sides of the fence (client/artist), over time––artists can experience disrespectful behavior, bullying and threats. All of which can lead to depression, low morale and a loss of confidence. So how can we get out in front of this catastrophe?
Establishing and maintaining a proper business relationship with VIP clients is crucial to a long-term respectful working relationship. Working with celebrities, politicians and corporate executives can be a blast as long as you preserve your professional boundaries. No matter how many times a celebrity, well-known photographer, director or politician specifically requests you for a job, you must not confuse a good working relationship with a real friendship. Always remember, this is your client––not your friend.
Not to say that these business relationships never turn into friendships––sometimes they do, but it’s rare and artists often mistake invitations to hang out as––now we’re best buds. Be careful.
This business is fickle and competitive. Getting too relaxed with your VIP client and assuming that you are a shoe in for the next big gig is one of the quickest ways to get your feelings hurt. Entertainers and their handlers are being propositioned every day by other freelance artists who want to work with them.
Angelina Jolie, Hugh Grant, Cameron Diaz and the First Lady––Michelle Obama may very well have your home number, spend hours with you shopping, lunching, and talking fashion. However, the first time they get some bad press on social media about the color of lipstick you chose, the fact that their foundation color was different from their neck, some syndicated beauty columnist says that their slicked back pony tail is sooo 15 minutes ago, or the dress you picked out for them was being worn by some other celeb at the same event, you could be out with the next change of seasons.
So, what can you do to maintain that professional balance?
There is a fine line you’ll need to walk with your celebrity clients, but the basic tenets remain the same. If you stay on top of your craft, work smart, and establish boundaries––you'll have longevity in this business, a lot of fun, and have more success than you ever dreamed of!
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