Sometimes my life is ridiculous. I often find myself having conversations like this.
PR – Hi, we have just signed X and we have some time with them. We can offer you a 15-minute interview, how many pages do you think it will make in your magazine?
ME – Erm, that’s great news. I know they are beautiful but are they talkative, articulate, intelligent?
I then jostle over exclusive access, pre-approved questions and what I can and cannot mention about their love lives, time in rehab, extreme dieting and fitness, ad nauseum. It’s surreal and no way for a grown woman to make a living. Especially when that celebrity is Britney Spears.
At dinner parties I am always asked about celebrities – who is the most beautiful, the most interesting, the most off-the-wall (think Beyonce, Thandie Newton and Naomi Campbell in no, ahem, particular order). But now I dine out on Britney Spears.
I was offered a sit-down interview, that was relegated to a group interview, that ended up with my questions being pre-approved and then finally being told that they could not be asked by me, but by an also pre-approved music journalist. Now I know that poor Britney has had a rough time with the press, but I am a beauty editor, not Jon Snow. Did she think I was going to ask for her opinion on Syria, or if she could score me some mood-altering prescription drugs, when all I wanted was to ask for her favourite lipstick and if she had facials?
On the day, the beauty press gathered in a private suite of a Park Lane hotel and waited and waited. An hour after the allotted time, still no show. And then the word got out that the interview would be done without us but that, lucky me, Britney would be happy to instead have her picture taken with each one of us. Call me cynical, but was I being treated more like a teen fan than a hardnosed investigative beauty reporter?
Just before the head of the PR from the beauty company actually imploded, the Britney music being piped into the room was turned off and in walked the singer. She was nervous and looked under the weather and over made-up, remaining tight lipped whilst having her picture taken with each and every one of us. Words failed me too as I dutifully smiled for the camera whilst at the same time checking out the knots in the roots of her extensions.
Luckily, with deadline looming, the video interview was being biked to me the next day, so I left with her black-and-pearl perfume bottle in hand and rushed back to my desk to await her pearls of beauty wisdom. By 5pm the next day the DVD arrived. What did it contain? Two edited mini interviews, one with my questions on that was sent to everyone in the beauty business – rendering it useless to me - and one exclusive to me that contained only one question. And no I did not need to know that her favourite film of all time was Bridesmaids.
You see, ridiculous. So why do I do it? Because I love my job and for every Britney there is a super-professional Beyoncé or Gwyneth Paltrow. Why does Britney do it? She has sold a staggering 1 billion bottles of perfume in five years, netting $1.5 billion in the process. And that’s not to be sniffed at.
Here is the aforementioned picture of me and Britney. A friend saw it and said we could be sisters; at which point I booked an emergency appointment to have my hair dyed four shades darker.