in another life, i wore a different hat. played a different part. and by the grace of God, i've managed to experience life in the entertainment industry though, not quite in the way that i'd always envisaged.

of course, as all experiences go, i am now all the better because of it. for all of you who might be (even remotely) interested, this is my take on celebrity management and why you should, if you so happen to consider yourself to be a part of this category at all, have a manager.

the role itself is easily confused and by that extension, disrespected. many believe that celebrity managers work for celebrities when in fact, real celebrity managers work with celebrities. and in quite a number of cases, when celebrities burn bridges with their managers, they risk burning bridges with their business clients, too.

management is good for a number of things but most of all, and might i add, most importantly: managers are good for price negotiations.

imagine trying to name your price to someone who will not take you seriously (read: laugh you out the door) or someone who thinks you are not to be taken seriously (read: won't pay you the rate that you're good for). imagine having to go through all that awkwardness of price sparring and finally (perhaps after much uncomfortable and possibly heated back-and-forthing) needing to still appear Ever So Grateful And Gracious so as to not permanently burn the bridge— let's face it. it's always scary and sensitive when it comes to money matters and whenever possible, we'd much rather volunteer somebody else as tribute for that hellfire than brave it ourselves.

(though, maybe it might just be with the thin skin.) whether celebrities realise it or not, if you ask for too much, you'll be perceived as greedy, arrogant. and if you accept any price, well, you'll never be regarded as someone who has significant repute. any amount also can. i believe the industry term i learned for so-called celebrities like this is "village bicylce."

besides that, management also takes the heat off of the celebrity. in any circumstance.

don't want to do a job? have management say your schedule's overbooked.

don't want to accept a low(ered) price or the terms of a job? have management re-negotiate (refer to point one).

don't want to do a job except for a high(er) price? have management work their manipulative magic. a decent manager will know exactly which strings to tug at and at what strength— yank too hard and the deal is lost. yank too softly, the deal goes to the cheaper (more desperate, cough) talent. sometimes, clients would rather have what they want over what they can/must/should afford.

at the end of the day, management serves as the business hand so celebrities can purely focus on being the pleasure hand. show up, razzle dazzle, shake many hands and have your manager be present with you wherever you are because you'll never know who could turn out to be a client and who might need a bill sent to them for photos they took off you and published without consent.

and then again, i might just be pro-management because of the wonderful start i had in the field. my line manager was a formidable woman who gave me all the leeway to explore my own fullest potential and my head of department was resilient and encouraged my independence, self-sufficiency and told me to always go with my instincts. they equipped me with the basic skills and knowledge that i needed and covered me through my falls and errors. it was the best possible start and taught me quickly to have a strong backbone. to know my stuff and not to ever allow anybody (client or otherwise) to regard me as "just" the plus one, bag-carrier, waterbottle bearer or, p.a.

not that there is any disrespect for personal assistants, of course. only that managers are not personal assistants and vice versa.

why else is management good?

a manager is 200% invested in growing your brand. when you do well, they will do well. hence why it isn't (and on that note, should never be) a parasitic relationship whereby the manager is waiting on referrals to come his/her way before something is negotiated and discussed. managers should constantly be strategising, brainstorming, weighing in on a talent's performance. reviewing engagements, refining a star's image or assisting them explore a new avenue for success. your manager is there to help you level up. and if you presently have a manager that isn't... well. you have a p.a.

celebrity management is pretty much an alien concept here in malaysia. a lot of times, clients do not have high regard for the role because they don't understand why it would be necessary to talk through a middle man. celebrities do not have high regard for the role because they don't understand what their manager does besides take the 20% cut for any job that comes their way. and i suppose, to be completely transparent, there are plenty who abuse the title themselves because they know celebrities aren't always the brightest bulbs when it comes to business and money matters. if it weren't for my working experience, i, too, would continue to be a dim bulb and not know there was even such a thing as undercutting. or why it would be so important to stand and hold your ground with pricing sometimes.

had i never experienced being on the backend, i wouldn't necessarily understand all the rules to being a savvy business and a successful brand. and to that, i'll also admit that i sure as all heck wouldn't be publishing an entire post to singing praises for celebrity management.

take it from me— there is always strength (and benefit) to numbers. and when it comes to making it in life, it will always take a village. if you've spent some time reading this as a person who fancies themself (almost?) famous, i hope your take away is now what to hold your management accountable to. and if you're reading this as a person who's thinking of delving into the business side of things, you'll now know what to expect. if you're one of them people who regards yourself a celebrity manager, i hope you're doing the role justice. and if you've just read this because you ran out of things to watch on netflix then, thank you for your time and attention. much love.