In the past, celebrities have paid anywhere from $177,000 to $1.5 million a year for personal security.
With so many bodyguards on call and working for A-list Hollywood stars, it makes you wonder just who are these people?
Former bouncers? Former presidential security detail members? Professionally-trained karate experts?
If you’re dying to know, then here’s an inside look into the lives of a celebrity security detail.
Celebrity Security is More Than Just a Showpiece
Before delving into the lives of trusted celebrity security guards, it’s important to understand the difference between a true bodyguard and a showpiece.
Insiders note that some celebrities will hire friends or trusted acquaintances to walk around with them simply because they look like they’re tough.
However, the real bodyguards are the ones that come from private security companies.
These individuals have skills that include:
- A degree or certificate from a program related to personal security, police science or criminal justice
- The ability to move quickly and protect themselves and others
- The quick analysis of spaces to look for security gaps
- Logistics training to create alternative travel or exit routes in an emergency
- First aid or emergency services training
On top of that, they’re usually pretty well-built and strong. At least, the most popular celebrity security guards are.
Julius DeBoer is the bodyguard for Beyonce and Jay-Z and is pretty tall and fear-inducing. Despite his size, which isn’t just for show, he’s also worked in security all of his life.
Tom Cruise’s main bodyguard is a former SWAT officer. The most foreboding of them all, however, is Kendrick Lamar’s giant of a bodyguard.
Going Along for the Ride (But Not Interfering)
One of the perks of being a celebrity bodyguard is that they get to go everywhere celebrities go. This sometimes includes reaping the benefits of fame as well.
Katy Perry’s bodyguard accompanied her to Disneyland once, and Kylie Jenner’s bodyguard recently became famous for his good looks (and other related reasons).
However, they’re not allowed to relax and indulge in all of the fun. Not every bodyguard’s story is as steamy as the 1992 romantic thriller “The Bodyguard.”
They have to be on the lookout for suspicious body language and facial expressions. They are constantly monitoring the situation to ensure the celebrity isn’t approached by anybody dangerous.
Insiders in the industry also note that, in general, security guards aren’t allowed to get too involved unless safety is an issue.
Celebrities with illegal habits tend to test this professional barrier. It’s fairly well-known that bodyguards aren’t expected to jump in and stop a person from doing anything they want to do. They’re there simply to protect them from outside dangers.
Britney Spears and Justin Bieber have both had legal issues with former bodyguards for reasons relating to illegal activities.
However, even sober celebrities can run into problems with their security detail.
The Biggest Secrets in Celebrity Security Detail
Celebrity security jobs come with a pretty hefty list of requirements. At a moment’s notice, they have to be ready for just about anything.
That’s what makes these bodyguards have some interesting secrets that aren’t part of a normal 9-5.
Spur of the Moment Schedules
As mentioned, life as a celebrity is pretty unpredictable. If they get a call that they’re needed for a screen test in Milan, they might have to be on the next flight to Italy tonight.
Celebrities expect their security detail to live on this schedule.
Most note that this makes it hard to manage a personal life. However, they also note that the opportunity to see the world is second to none.
Some bodyguards have said they began the morning in Tokyo and ended it in Egypt. That’s not a bad day of work.
Establishing Boundaries to Avoid Becoming a “Buddyguard”
In the security industry, there’s a term that celebrities like to use. They refer to their friendly bodyguards as “buddyguards.”
This is a big no-no.
A celebrity bodyguard is there to protect, not to become a person’s best friend. Once they cross this line, many note that things tend to get too personal. This causes them to lose sight of their focus on security.
Instead, celebrities might ask them to walk their dog or pick up a birthday cake. Professionals note that this is a huge mistake. To avoid this, they try not to get too friendly.
Celebrities Can Be Predictable
Professional bodyguards know what pitfalls new celebrities are going to make. They’ve been around it all and can easily tell who is going to make certain types of mistakes.
However, this is a great asset to have as an experienced celebrity guard.
If a celebrity is looking for a trusted confidant who has their best interests in mind, then this experience comes in handy.
While they’re not supposed to give advice or get too involved, they’ll know exactly what kinds of situations to avoid and what to do in certain emergencies.
Remaining Professional in an Unprofessional World
Celebrity life is crazy. Life as a celebrity security guard is even crazier.
Most of these guards are members of private security groups that have received training in physical security, emergency response and safety procedures.
Oftentimes, these people have been working for years in the security industry when the opportunity to guard a celebrity arises.
Even though they’re required to shift gears and move into a sometimes unprofessional world, the chance to travel the world and attend movie premieres is a pretty great opportunity.
Who would pass up on the chance to go to work on a movie set each day and provide security detail to Angelina Jolie or Ryan Reynolds?
A behind-the-scenes look at the new Marvel movie? Yes, please! Just make sure the security is tight, and you’re always on your game.
While you’re thinking about celebrities, take a look at our hip-hop section for musical news and inspirations.