New Novel 'Spin' Reminds Us of Our Own Boss From Hell
Robert Rave's debut novel "Spin" asks, "How far would you go to keep your job?"
Aug. 7, 2009— -- What you see is not always what you get with Hollywood. But with a good publicist behind a beautiful face, celebrities can tweak any bad photo angle, poor decision or inopportune moment to work to their advantage.
In what seems like a second dosage of "The Devil Wears Prada" (by former assistant Lauren Weisberger about working for Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour), celebrity-publicist-turned-writer Robert Rave has penned his debut novel, "Spin," on the lives of the "puppet master" publicists behind the scenes of celebrity's relationships with the media.
Although Rave, 35, told ABCNews.com, "It's definitely a novel, not a memoir," critics are already speculating whether the book resembles his stint as assistant to PR queen Lizzie Grubman in New York City.
"A lot of the characters are an amalgamation over the course of years working in publicity and in other fields," Rave said. "'Spin' means there are three sides to the truth: your side, their side and then there's the truth. 'Spin' is somewhere in the middle, depending on who you are spinning to."
The main character, Taylor Green, is a Midwestern-bred young man who ventures to New York City without a clue as to what he is doing when he stumbles across the city's most infamous public relations ice queen, Jennie Weinstein. Green starts working for Weinstein's firm and begins his "descent into darkness" as drugs and alcohol, the pool of freebies and the stakes get higher.
"In this situation, can you come out completely unscathed?" Rave said. "Unscathed, maybe. Unchanged, definitely not."
Rave said the novel is not like "Prada" in which there's a happy ending, but a lot of the questions, such as "How much is too much?" and "How far would you go to keep your job?" resound in both books.
And in Rave's own experiences, and in hearing stories from friends in the business, he found not all celebrities are as manipulative as Weinstein or Miranda Priestley in "Prada."
"Jennie is sort of an archetype, a deliciously evil character," Rave said. "But really, most of the celebrities I have come across are the complete opposite."
Here's a look at six reputed celebrity bosses from heaven and hell.
The only thing longer than supermodel Naomi Campbell's list of modeling accomplishments is her list of anger management issues when it comes to her help. In 2000, the now 39-year-old pleaded guilty to assaulting then-assistant Georgina Galanis with a telephone in a hotel room and threatened to throw her out of a moving car. In 2005, Campbell allegedly slapped another assistant and beat her around the head with a BlackBerry. In 2006, Campbell's housekeeper claimed she was assaulted with a jewel-encrusted cell phone. And again, in 2008, Campbell was arrested outside Heathrow Airport in London for reportedly assaulting a police officer after one of her bags had been lost. More recently, on August 3, 2009, an Italian paparazzo is claiming Campbell slapped him across the face with her purse, resulting in facial scratches and his left eye damaged. Campbell's rep denies the claims and so far, no report has been filed.
Kimora Lee Simmons
Fashion mogul Kimora Lee Simmons, who lives "Life in the Fab Lane," has an army of assistants within her Phat Fashions clothing company and her sprawling mansion in New Jersey, complete with a personal chef, personal trainer and yoga instructor. The 34-year-old ex-wife of mogul Russell Simmons has been known to bark orders at her assistants on her syndicated reality television show. In one instance, she demands her hairstylist, who apparently doubled as an assistant, find a black Pomeranian puppy for her two young daughters. After he tirelessly searched the greater Los Angeles area with no success, Simmons made sure he knew how important the exact breed, color and the sex of the puppy was to the girls. The assistant finally secured the puppy, but not without a little reprimanding from the boss.
Heather Mills, the ex-wife of Paul McCartney, was left without a publicist in July 2008 after her rep of four years, Michele Elyzabeth, quit. Elyzabeth told TV's "Extra" that Mills had become an "impossible person" to work with since her nasty split from the Beatles singer/songwriter. "I have been very patient in my dealings with Heather," Elyzabeth said. "I refuse to be subjected to her outbursts. On reflection and given the way I have been treated, I now have sympathy with much of what the British press has reported about her." The 41-year-old former model, who has a daughter with McCartney, even threatened to release tapes of her ex-husband in therapy during their 2006 split, portraying him as a drug and alcohol addict, and researching his assets to prove he had more than his claimed net worth of $730 million. She was eventually awarded more than $48.6 million of his assets, but the damage she did to herself in the media as being coldhearted was already done.
Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is known for being one of the most generous celebrities, donating more than $50 million in 2007 to various charities, including her own Oprah's Angel Network. And in an economy where just having a job is valued, the 55-year-old media mogul took her entire staff and their families on an all-expense paid cruise through the Mediterranean in July 2009. The trip set Winfrey back $5,000 a pop (pocket change for a woman who is worth $2.7 billion) and it was the second time in four years that Winfrey has gone cruising with her staff; the last one was to Hawaii.
Victoria Beckham is photographed quite often, but almost never with a smile on her face. So is the wife of one of the world's hottest athletes actually capable of being nice? Despite being known as an "ice queen" in the media, Beckham is reportedly very nice to her assistants. Her best friends also happen to be her makeup artist Maria-Louise Featherstone, and hairstylist Ben Cooke. In 2007's "Victoria Beckham: Coming to America," Beckham even hires a rookie assistant Renee to help her get settled into American life as her husband David Beckham joins to the L.A. Galaxy soccer team. At one point, the girl asks her, "Will I be assisting David as well?" Victoria laughed and humored the assistant while she giggled nervously.
Jessica Simpson, who relied heavily on her assistant Cacee Cobb to get her through her divorce to 98 Degrees lead singer Nick Lachey footed the bill for an all-expense paid vacation to the tropics for Cobb and hairstylist Ken Paves post-split from Lachey. The 29-year-old singer and actress, who is never too far from Paves, mixes both pleasure and business with the hair maven, who also styles Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez and Fergie. The duo have their own hair extensions line, and Simpson frequently treats Paves to sushi dinners at favorite hotspot Katsuya in Hollywood.