From the VIPs to the wannabes, it’s a weird old world behind the tinted windows and velvet ropes. We asked some industry gatekeepers for the inside scoop.
Steve Sims is the CEO of luxury concierge company They.
“People will tell you that money can’t buy everything. It’s not true. In my world, everything can be bought. Sometimes the price tag could send your average bloke into cardiac arrest, but, what I do isn’t really for the average bloke. I run They, a luxury concierge company designed for the rich and famous. When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I make dreams come true. If that makes me sound like an ass, then I’m an ass. We’ve worked with plenty of bold-faced names – Donald Trump, the Hiltons, the cast of Ocean’s Eleven and Pamela Anderson. But the most extravagant things I do are for people you’ve never heard of, whose money comes from overseas – places like Russia, the Middle East and North Africa. I’ve taken people down to see the Titanic. I’ve gotten them into every awards show you can imagine, from the Oscars to the Adult Video [News] Awards. I once had a guy call me to tell me he wanted to throw a party at the castle from Harry Potter. I told him that particular castle was animated, but that I could do him one better.
“I learnt a long time ago that the guys with money almost never actually look rich. The guy who comes into my office looking like he’s just been surfing, he’s got real cash. If he comes in wearing some slick silver tie, I’m worried. Too much artifice. It’s like, if you go to a Ferrari dealership on a Saturday. The guy who got dressed up to go car shopping, who is in a suit and tie, he’ have to sell his house to buy that car. The guy who is there in jeans and a polo shirt could probably buy the dealership 10 times over.
“For celebrity clients, mostly they pay for privacy. If Matt Damon wants to catch up with a friend at a pub, without the entire room staring at him and asking him for autographs, I can make that happen. It’s insane how much coordination something that simple takes for a guy like Matt. I’ve been asked to do a reality show about my business before and I said ‘no way’. I’ve seen what fame is like, and it’s a pain in the ass. Mostly, though, the celebrities are pretty nice. I fixed up another Ocean’s cast member – one whose last name rhymes with Mooney – with the Ferrari paddock at the Monaco Grand Prix. When I went to pick him up, he offered me coffee and a Nutella sandwich. Now, I don’t even like Nutella, but I’m not going to refuse anything from that guy, you know?
“Of course, I get asked to do illegal stuff. There’re the usual late night texts asking for girls. Or from some guy who has had a few and is looking for something to stuff up his nose to keep the night going. I have a one-strike policy. You ask me to break the law once, we remind you that’s not what you pay us for. You ask us twice, you’re out of the club. We actually do provide girls, but not for the reason you think. If I’ve got a guy who wants to get into the hottest club in New York, there’s no way he’s getting past the velvet ropes on his own. So when I book a bottle-service table for him, I am also going to arrange for a collection of gorgeous women to be on his arm. These women aren’t prostitutes. Mostly, we use promotional models. I’m talking about women who make millions of dollars a year travelling around to different yacht and watch shows, modelling the wares. They are used to talking to clients and buyers and, as such, are well-mannered and good conversationalists.
“In all my years, I can’t think of one request I haven’t been able to fulfil. Some people are easier to crack than others. If you want to meet a politician, that’s easier than opening a McDonald’s front door. A politician has a temporary position. The second they get into office, they’re planning their escape to some board position for a Fortune 500 company. As long as I can offer them something that gets them closer to the front door, I’m golden. If you wanted to have a slumber party at the White House with the Obama girls? I could do that. I’m not saying it would be easy, just that it would be possible.”