Security Guard, Bodyguard
Career Overview: The celebrity bodyguard is responsible for ensuring the personal safety of an artist, band, or other celebrity. Things they manage are entry and exit routes, crowds, fans, and even stalkers.
Salary: $25,000 to $500,000+
Celebrity Bodyguard JobsAbout This Music Career
The celebrity bodyguard plays an important role within the music and entertainment industries. Many recording artists hire professional bodyguards to help them with their security needs. For someone with personal defense, martial arts, or military training, being a celebrity bodyguard can be one of the most interesting jobs in the music business. Of course, the number one function of the bodyguard is to protect the artist by any means necessary. Some celebrity bodyguards even accompany artists anywhere and everywhere they go. This means they will often tag along on high profile stops such as interviews, recording sessions, public appearances, meetings, award shows, and concerts, as well as more private engagements like clubs, dinners, and parties.
Some celebrity bodyguards will work to make sure the artist (as well as the artist's family) is safe while inside their home. This can include watching--or hiring someone to watch--closed-circuit cameras installed on the property. This is especially true when the artist has been the victim of some sort of threat, or appears to have a stalker. Because the bodyguard will need to ensure round the clock protection in these cases, their job isn't usually nine-to-five. They may even have to be on call 24-hours per day when their client is on tour. It's sometimes possible to pick a celebrity bodyguard out of a crowd, but they are generally good at blending in with their surroundings. When needed, though, you can bet they won't hesitate to show their physical presence and prowess.
One major challenge for celebrity bodyguards is being able to fully protect their clients while still allowing them to work and live as normally as possible. Imagine, for instance, the musician going out to dinner with friends. In this case, the celebrity bodyguard has to decide if he needs to sit at the same table, or if he can let his client have some breathing room by sitting somewhere else. He also needs to decide how close other people--like customers and even staff--will be allowed to get to the musician's table. Because of all this, the celebrity bodyguard needs to be on top of his game at all times, alert to all potential threats.
There are even more responsibilities when the artist goes on tour. The celebrity bodyguard checks out the venue ahead of time, noting where all the entrances and exits are located. He also finds the best driving routes to and from the venue. When the artist takes the stage, the celebrity bodyguard watches the audience constantly. If the artist signs autographs or otherwise gets in close contact with fans, the bodyguard will stay very close by, and rush the artist out of the venue and back to the tour bus or hotel as soon as they're done. At that point, his job still isn't done. If the bodyguard doesn't stay outside the artist's room, he will at least be in an adjoining room, always on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary.
Celebrity bodyguards sometimes drive their clients around, so they must be aware of suspicious looking vehicles or ones that are driving erratically. To avoid any potential problems, the celebrity bodyguard should know evasive driving techniques. For maximum physical protection, some celebrity bodyguards carry firearms, while others practice various types of martial arts. But, whenever possible, it is in the bodyguard's best interest to handle each situation without violence.
Because celebrity bodyguards are almost always with the recording artist, they often become confidants, and will see and hear things that the recording artist does not want leaked to the public. So it is critical that the bodyguard have discretion and keep things confidential, even when faced with lucrative offers from tabloids.
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Some celebrity bodyguards earn $25,000 per year, while others earn $500,000 or more for advanced services. The reason for this large gap is that the bodyguard's salary depends largely on their experience and responsibilities, and also the popularity and status of the recording artist they are protecting. Some celebrity bodyguards work for security companies and are paid a weekly salary. Self-employed bodyguards are paid directly by the artist, whether hourly, weekly, or by project. Hourly rates can range from $100 to $300 or more, and even double that for traveling and touring.
Because celebrity bodyguards can work for recording artists who are at various levels in their careers, prospects for employment are good. Touring and promotion companies can present additional employment options, as can record labels or artist management companies. As mentioned earlier, celebrity bodyguards can also work for general security companies, or security companies that specialize in protecting celebrities and entertainers.
Celebrity bodyguards advance mainly by being hired to protect more, higher profile celebrities. Some can be lucky enough to work for an artist that becomes popular very quickly, but most will have to go out of their way to find new jobs with more famous clients as they try to become more successful. Bodyguards who work for security companies can become self-employed consultants or start their own security company.
Education and Training
Here is the reality. VERY FEW people who work in the 'business side' of the music business get there without attending a school specializing in their trade. Simple as that. If you want to take a step in the right direction right now, we suggest you take 60 seconds and fill out the form below. You'll get an email or a call from a school like Full Sail University. It’s free, easy and we recommend it.
The best celebrity bodyguards have undergone some sort of formal training. This can mean a criminal justice degree, or experience working as police or military. There are even schools that specialize in training bodyguards specifically. They can also take courses, seminars, and workshops in areas like unarmed combat, tactical driving, firearms, screening and controlling crowds, martial arts, and electronic surveillance.
Experience, Skills, and Personality
In most cases, celebrity bodyguards need basic security guards' or private investigators' licenses from the specific state they are working in. They also need valid drivers' licenses, and should have clean criminal records. Some employers might require their bodyguards to pass a physical exam as well.
Many celebrity bodyguards have experience in law enforcement, military, or government agencies like the Secret Service or U.S. Marshals. While they don't need to be music fans per se, celebrity bodyguards should understand the music business as it relates to celebrities and fans. They also need a "sixth sense" of what is going on in their surroundings.
Celebrity bodyguards need to be honest and loyal, and have high levels of integrity. Good judgment is also a must, along with the ability to think quickly and make decisions. Excellent verbal communication and people skills are key, too. Of course, celebrity bodyguards need to be physically fit, and, when necessary, assertive.
Unions and Associations
Celebrity bodyguards might belong to a number of trade associations, including the North American Association of Independent Security Consultants (NAAISC) and the National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS).
Suggestions for Getting Started
- Seek up-and-coming musicians to work with in order to gain experience.
- Find a short-term security job at a concert hall or arena.
- Send your rÃ©sumÃ© and a cover letter to security companies that specialize in celebrity clients.
- Contact recording artists and their management companies to check out openings.
- Check trade publications such as Billboard on a regular basis.