What It’s Like
What It’s Like … To Woo Celebrities for a Living
Courtney Routt runs the celebrity division for a leading cosmetic and fashion PR house
-Mary Beth Sammons
At 26, Courtney Routt makes her living hopping on flights from New York City to Los Angeles to Miami wooing celebrity clients. Her mission: generate buzz for beauty and fashion products represented by Alison Brod Public Relations. The New York-based boutique celebrity and lifestyle firm represents such fashion, cosmetic and entertainment giants as Estee Lauder, Philosophy, Victoria’s Secret PINK, Godiva, Rue La La and Dior.
In the whirl of fashion shows, socializing with reporters and creating celeb buzz, we caught up with Routt, VIP/Talent Relations Manager for Alison Brod PR.
So, what’s it like being a publicist working with celebrity clients?
It’s a demanding job that truly requires stamina and a way with people. No matter how much you plan things, everything can be changed in an instant. To do this job you must be able to think on your feet and be a problem solver. If I let things ruffle my feathers I’d be in bad shape.
Who are some of the celebrities you work with and who are some of your current clients?
I work with everyone from Hilary Swank to Kristen Bell and the cast of Gossip Girl to Broadway stars, plus socialites in all of the major cities. We represent over 50 brands in fashion beauty and lifestyle. Some include: Laura Mercier, Stila … The list goes on and on.
What is a celebrity services division and what do you do?
We offer a variety of buzz-generating services that include product placement with celebrities, and their stylists and other people in the limelight. We also specialize in celebrity procurement for events, getting celebs to show up for Red Carper events. And we also have what we call a Celebrity Drive-By Program, where we invite celebrities to stop by our product show room and shop for products. In turn, we use their names and anecdotes to generate media and publicity. Since the products are hand-picked by the celebrities themselves, within weeks our client’s products are seen on the Red Carpet or celeb magazines.
Describe some of the drama involved in getting celebrities to your client events.
The ultimate goal is to get your front row shot in all the magazines. Some brands have hundreds of thousands of dollars to get A-List celebs and secure their place in the fashion week pages. I’ve found that brands with smaller budgets aren’t necessarily out of the game. If you get several together they make for a great photo op that no one else had. Photos like that always run alongside the giant pics of Demi Moore (who brands pay $100,000 for).
So what’s the secret to getting the stars to these kinds of events?
Getting them a private car. Once they’re in the car, you know where they are on their way and you can get them to your show. One example of this was the night before the Rosa Cha’ fashion show. Daisy Fuentes, the former model and MTV vee-jay accepted the offer of our car service and so did Mena Suvari and pop star JC Chasez.
Do you have some star favorites?
My favorite people to work with are the ones who can have fun with the task at hand. Some of the things done for publicity are pretty ridiculous when it comes down to it. But if the actor or actress can get past that, laugh at themselves and have fun then they are always top of mind when hiring for the next project comes around.
Do you have others that are “challenging?”
Sometimes we get a 48-hour warning from a client who needs a celebrity to appear at an event. Not everyone understands that it takes time to find someone who is usually in a different time zone, gain their interest in an event and get approval from the 15 people who manage their schedule along with permission from a studio or company whom they endorse
What are some of the perks of your job?
I’d have to say the best perks are having access to the newest clothes and makeup and getting to have fabulous dinners out at client run restaurants.
Where do you live in NYC and hangout? Do you hobnob with the stars? Or try to escape the limelight and just be with friends?
I live in the West Village and tend to hang out in this neighborhood for the most part. Attending work events has me trekking all over the city on a nightly basis but when work is over I tend to lean toward s cozy bars with a mix of friends.
Single. This job is nearly 24/7. It’s hard to keep a steady relationship going to be honest. I’m not ready to settle down anyway so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
Rapid Fire Questions
1. When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
2. What type of kids did you hang out with in high school?
I hung out with everyone – I was a “floater”. I was on Student Council and wrote for the school newspaper.
3. What’s your workout?
Yoga three times a week at Pure Yoga. Ever since we signed them as a client I have become obsessed.
4. Cat or dog?
Neither – not in the city at least.
5. What do you do when you want to completely tune out?
Get a book and lay out in the sun in the park.
6. What book is sitting on your shelf waiting to be read?
Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny by Suze Orman.
7. If you could have dinner with any two people, who would you choose?
Jason Bateman and Amy Poehler
8. What is the one thing you want or do not want the next generation of girls to encounter?
Breast cancer. Early detection is possible now, if breast cancer runs in your family getting the test is a must.
9. If there were one thing you could change in your life, what would it be?
Honestly I wish my parents lived closer! They are all the way in Memphis.