I don’t know about you but bloody hell I have been lucky when it has come to my career. Hands down I feel like I’ve had some of the best jobs in the world… okay maybe with the exception of my stint as a dish pig when I was 14 at a restaurant (and I use that term loosely) at a motorway services in South Wales. Anyway as well as feeling like I have hit the employment jackpot I have also been pretty lucky not to get the sack on several occasions.
My first job straight from university was working for a publishing house in Stockport. Now for those unfamiliar with that town, Stockport is geographically a mere kebab throw away from Manchester. We produced trade magazines for the nightclub and restaurant industry. In a nutshell we covered bar, restaurant & nightclub openings around the UK. Fresh from a student life of cheap booze, tuna pasta, poor hook-up choices and overdrafts to suddenly find myself getting paid for going to openings (with free bar tabs) was like winning the lottery!
The first event I went to was a nightclub opening in Brighton (about four hours from Stockport). I loved it. I met some cool people and enjoyed all the free drink cards that were thrown my way. In the morning I was rough as a badger, feeling very, very dusty I hit the buffet breakfast at the hotel to try to soak up the alcohol. Buffets and I don’t get on. I mean we do, we get on too well and in short I just don’t know when to stop. It’s a bit like when I go to a sushi train… I just keep going much like the train. When the food supply is continuous so is my appetite.
Anyway, after I had devoured all the food stations and had my own personalised omelette served to me at my table it was time to hit the road. I hopped in the back while Matt & Alan my new co-workers were in the front. Alan the designated driver had just got his new company car. It was flash, black, fancy, shinny and had that lush smell you get from a new leather interior.
About an hour into the journey home I started to feel queasy. I opened the window and gulped down the fresh air. That was better. Well for a moment anyway. Then a wave of nausea hit me followed by a rush of saliva to my mouth. Oh dear. Deep breaths, “Come on old girl you’ll be fine.” my inner voice tried to reassure me. OH NO….. I managed to get my hand to my mouth just in time. Well technically I didn’t. The projectile vomit came out at a Usain Bolt speed and pierced through my fingers and hit Matt and Alan on the back of their heads and sprayed the new leather interiors.
I won’t lie the most awkward three-hour journey then ensued. We stopped at the first petrol station we found to wipe my breakfast off the leather seats and for me to pick bits of bacon out of my co-workers hair. Not my finest hour.
However when we returned to the office instead of getting my marching orders I got a standing ovation. And so began three of the most amazing years, loving my job and trying to take it easier at buffets. A million years later I am still great mates with Matt and the Stockport gang and I’m also still crap at portion control.
Sadly the projectile vomit wasn’t my only ‘work place fail’ there have been several more. I moved to Australia in 2000 and all of my jobs here have been in various roles within the entertainment industry.
My first job when I hit Sydney was with Sony Music. Literally this role was my dream job. It was better than waking up on Christmas morning when I got the gig. I went home to the UK in December for the holidays and was to start the new job in January. I remember watching the Destinys Child ‘Independent Women’ video in a London pub and I got so excited a little bit of wee came out when I realised they were on the label I was going to be working on (pelvic floor exercises were never my thing).
Sony had all the best artists on their roster over the six years I worked there. I met a myriad of super stars, one hit wonders, divas, knobs and made some absolute friends for life. I still pinch myself at some of the artists I have been up close and personal with. One thing I will say though is with the exception of James Taylor I was surprised with just how tiny most of the musicians are… there we are a little fun fact.
First up and literally two weeks into my new role Sony had a global superstar heading to Sydney. Jennifer Lopez, aka JLo. The preparation by the label in the lead up to her visit down under was incredible. I remember as part of the artist rider her people had asked that the hotel suite she was staying in had to be freshly painted, new sheets bought as well as furniture brought in. We also had to order hundreds of gorgeous Diptique Candles (the best bit was most of the candles were left over so we all ended up with very fancy smelling homes). JLo had recently broken up with P Diddy and was rumoured to be with one of her back-up dancers so the media scrutiny from around the world was going to be huge.
We had arranged a press conference at Boomerang House, on the water in Sydney harbour, one of the most amazing example of Spanish Art Deco in Australia and for film buffs it featured in Mission Impossible 2. We had all the media in-situ on the lawn ready for the star and in true movie style JLo arrived at the conference on a jet boat.
I was like a kid in a candy store. This was my job! I was so bloody excited. After the press conference a small group of record company types along with JLo and her team were ushered onto a yacht moored at the mansions private jetty. As I worked in publicity my team were on the boat to help with the proceedings. We were presenting JLo with a plaque to commemorate her Australian record sales. I was given the task of holding the plaque before our CEO presented it to her.
It was enormous. The plaque was heavy and as the presentation was taking place in the bowels (hull) of the boat space was quite tight. Before I knew it I was wedge against the back wall, heavy plaque leaning against me with JLo just in front of me. Now before I go on I need to back-up as we need to talk about Ms Lopez’s famous rear. Remember this was years and years before the Kardashians hit the headlines with their curves and famous bottoms.
As someone who doesn’t really have much of a bottom to write home about I was in awe of Ms Lopez’s derriere. It was magnificent. How that lovely bottom stayed up without scaffolding was any ones guess. Honestly it was a masterpiece. Structurally it was spectacular and I am sure it was insured to the hilt. Anyway back to the boat…
There I am hot and bothered, two weeks into my dream job the heavy plaque leaving an indent on my thighs that it was leaning on. My hands were resting on top of it and then JLo took a tiny step back and with that one move her perfectly formed bottom was literally resting in my hands. Now sweating like I was going through early menopause I didn’t know what to do. Would I loose my job for touching up the talent?
What seemed like an eternity passed and I decided not to move my hands in case the movement alert the bottom owner. What if she though I had ‘dropped the hand’ for a cheeky cheek feel? Instead I waited for the super star to dismount. Amazingly she didn’t turn around and death stare me or slap me in the face and her ‘people’ didn’t have my frog marched off the boat.
So although I had touched Jenny’s Block I ended up keeping my job and made a pact with myself to never touch the talent again; a pact which I may or may not have stuck to, but that’s a story for another day…
Oh actually before I sign off I have one more sack-able offence I just remembered.
One of my favourite jobs was working as an in-house publicist for a fashion designer. This was a role that saw our team travel the globe and dress some of the most famous bodies in the world. I had a ball doing this gig and the small work crew were more like family than colleagues. I have so many stories yet to share from our time together and I can honestly say I have never laughed so hard as I did with these beautiful ladies.
Now as well as the international travel and assignments we also worked on some amazing projects here in Australia. One of which was with Danni Minogue. We worked closely with her Australian stylist Ben who was totally hot and fantastic – and still is (Gentleman I have his details if you need them). Danni and her stylist loved what my boss Jo had been creating on red carpets around the world and were looking for some designs for TV appearances and potentially a magazine cover. As Danni is one of my ultimate girl crushes I was pretty bloody excited I was going to actually meet her. Yes I was total fan-girling big time and yes I was worried I would be a bright red jabbering mess around her and make a tit of myself.
The day came when Danni and her stylist were in town from Melbourne and were coming into our design studio. I couldn’t sleep the night before as I was so excited. I had of course workshopped my outfit within an inch of its life and was happy with the look I had decided on. Cream top, cream skirt, killer boots and jacket. The morning of the meeting I left the house before it was light at 5.45am to shake my tail feathers at the gym and beat the traffic into the city.
Work out complete, I showered my bits and did my hair and make up. Well-chosen outfit ready to roll and the dialogue in my head going along like,
“What you like this old thing Danni – oh thanks it’s just something I threw on today!”
Rummaging around in my gym bag for my undies I realised packing in the dark I had forgot my nude G-string and only had a massive pair of black nana gym undies with me. Bugger.
Ok. So I put the Bridget Jones specials on and drove to work. Once in the light of studio I realised how bad the ensemble looked. Picture this, I was wearing a fitted cream skirt with the massive black undies very visible and my love handles were bulging over the top of the knickers. Oh no. How were Danni and I going to become BFF’s with me in this under-pant get-up? Massive, fashion, fail. Not to worry just before Danni arrived I decided to ditch the undies and go ‘commando’. In normal circumstances there is no way I would let my ‘bits’ roam free but this was an emergency you see.
Action stations, Danni and stylist arrived. I made small talk, dropped a few of my best lines and got a laugh or two. Jo the designer wowed them both with her creations and ideas. We were nailing this.
Danni sat down on a step in the middle of the studio as I leant back onto a chest of drawers in front of her. More laughing and bonding and I was sure at this rate, we could potentially be social media pals before she left. And then it happened. As I laughed and lost control of my posture I gave my best impersonation of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. Just as I was balls-deep in a belly laugh I realised Danni may have accidentally been looking straight at my breakfast, as it were. Like a Venus Fly trap I snapped my inner thighs together so hard I left a bruise.
I have no idea what Danni did or didn’t see at that moment but I decided against suggesting swapping social media details. What I do know is she looked amazing on the cover of the magazine a few months later. And me? Well I have always worn a full brief ever since, and my time going commando was a mere one-off flash.