I first connected with Iris Renoux after learning she was a graduate from the College of Charleston, our shared alma mater. This was on twitter, nonetheless. We’ve tweeted back & forth and then facebook of course came into play. Finally meeting Iris was a super treat, as I was eager to discuss our beloved Charleston over turkey burgers and pasta salad. Chatting with Iris, I learned about her love for horses and some cool places I plan to check out on my next trip to Charleston.
Impressive enough that Iris learned English as she was attending Cof C (4 years of Spanish myself & I can’t speak a lick!), equally impressive was her solo trip to LA with her horse in tow.
Fresh out of college & ready for the challenge of working in LA, who was the lucky one to give Iris her big break? Goldie Hawn nonetheless. Lucky lady to get such a talented & internationally educated assistant. Enjoy my profile on Iris, just as much as I did:
Iris: I was studying in Paris, I went to College for 1 year in Paris…and actually went to law school for 1 year in Paris after graduating from high school and I didn’t really love it so thought it would be great to study abroad for one semester. So I applied to the College of Charleston, who has a great Equestrian program…and I was big into horses at the time. I wanted to keep riding horses and learn English, because I didn’t speak English at the time. That’s how I ended up there and I loved it so much I stayed there for four years.
LH: You didn’t speak English when you came to the country?
Iris: Not much, not much.
LH: Wow, well I’m very impressed. You’re doing great!
LH: How did that transition into sunny LA?
Iris: Sunny LA…well…after I graduated I wanted a summer job. I loved the entertainment industry and my parents were in the business in France, so drove my car to LA. I didn’t know anyone there and didn’t have a place to stay. I thought I would just find an internship, it will be great. And that’s how it started.
LH: How did you find the internship?
Iris: I went onto a website, it was Craigslist. They were looking for a production intern. I didn’t know what it was at all. I knew it was close to where I lived-I was so lost in LA anyways (ha!) and that was 2 days after I moved. (Way to go Iris!!)
LH: Wow, that’s great. And you didn’t have any prior experience as an assistant at all?
Iris: None! No, I worked at a coffee shop before and taught horseback riding.
LH: You know what, I’m finding out that with a lot of assistants, they don’t have that experience. So I want to encourage other assistants that you CAN find different avenues (newspaper, Craigslist, everything) and you never know what’s going to happen. It’s Hollywood!! Anything can happen:) So just keep going at it.
LH: What’s the most common misconception about being an assistant that you have found?
Iris: I think people think it’s a lot more fun than it really is and that it’s not a lot of work. BUT it really is a lot of hard work & long hours. You sit behind your desk & at your computer….
LH: But it does have some perks!! Do you have any cool perks?
Iris: You get to meet a lot of people… actors, philanthropists. I went to a conference with Michelle Obama speaking. We were front row and it was so surreal. And you get to do that b/c of your boss.
LH: Oh yeah, that would be great! What’s the biggest challenge that you have found?
Iris: I think it’s time management. You get so much thrown in your face & so many e-mails every day, so balancing that is hard. ( I concur!)
Iris: I’m big on lists and really excited on making lists. I think when you write everything down and then you break it down…like you are going to do this between 10-11am and then take your break…I think that’s what’s helped me.
LH: Are you involved with Goldie’s Foundation?
Iris: Actually yeah…the Hawn Foundation~ www.hawnfoundation.org
LH: What is your role in that?
Iris: She is the founder and has been running it for years. I am her Executive Assistant for that. She is so involved that I’m involved with it every day.
Iris: It’s a program for children and they have developed a curriculum, which is now being published by Scholastics…which is a big achievement for them. It’s in a lot of schools all across America and England. It’s a great program.
LH: Maybe they can bring it to France as well?
Iris: Yes, I hope so! Maybe one day.
LH: Now that we are in the media world, like with twitter…how has that affected you? Are you getting tons of followers being Goldie’s asst.,asking you all kinds of questions & disrupting your scheduled day or how is that?
LH:You just have people like me bother you (lol!)
Iris: No, no. Most are mutual friends and a lot of my friends are on it but I don’t really do it for work.
LH: Until they see this (haha!) sorry!
Iris: I’m new on twitter…I don’t really tweet much.
LH: It’s kind of addictive (I’m @savvyassistants). Do you travel a lot? What percentage do you travel?
Iris: I travel more now, actually. I have a very independent boss. We go to NY a lot…she’s doing a lot of work for the foundation in NY. It’s based there, so we have been going there a lot…every month pretty much. We travel throughout the US..she’s invited to speak at different conferences.
LH: Do you have any favorite places that you like?
LH: Now when you travel…I love to ask this question…do you have any travel tips? Especially right now…everybody is charging if you want to check your bags. So you have to be really anal about putting it together.
Iris: Yes, and I’m the worst packer in the world pretty much. So I’ve learned that packing light is definitely a good thing for me. So I just toss and go:)
LH: Relating to friends, do you feel you have more friends that when you started? Do you feel that friends have gotten back in touch with you b/c you work for Goldie or how has that affected you?
Iris: I think it has affected me quite positively….because people that I have lost touch with and they see what I’m doing that and send me a message on facebook. But it’s not like it’s a lot of random people that have tried to get in touch with me. It’s more like people who didn’t know where I was or what I was doing.
LH: Well, that’s good. That’s really great. Well… I love style..it’s one of my favorite things! What’s your daily style like? You are surrounded by top designers. You are getting the top clothes sent to you. Are you influenced by the styles coming to you and also as an assistant..how do you maintain your budget when you have Dolce beside you and Gucci?
Iris: That’s been hard. Because when you shop with someone who gets clothes like that, it’s hard to resist.
LH: Yes, especially with someone who has such great style! You want to say “Can I just borrow that tomorrow”? (ha ha )
Iris: Yeah, it’s been challenging because I have a bit of a shopping problem (join the club, Iris! I’m waiting as I write this on my French connection coat to arrive via UPS anytime now, lol)
LH: What are your favorite stores that you like to go to?
LH: Oh, you have expensive taste!
Iris: Yes, but I don’t shop that much anymore! I just buy a couple of good pieces.
LH: And I think it’s important for assistants that when they get into the industry and they DO start making big bucks if you can…to manage that and save. DON’T just spend it all. It’s fun to go to the discount stores too. I still love T.J. Maxx (Iris likes Loehmann’s-great choice also!) With make-up & hair and the GLAM team…you get a lot of experience being around that. Do you have any great tips that you would like to share?
Iris: I definitely have learned a few things from them…because I was so bad at doing my own make-up when I first started working for Goldie. But now seeing them in action, I’ve definitely learned to take care of my skin a little bit more. And primer-I didn’t know what primer was, so now I do!
LH: Would you like to give other assistants who are starting out or that are in the business any helpful tips?
Iris: Don’t be afraid to knock on doors and send your resumes out. I think a lot of people are afraid to do that or to move somewhere they don’t know anyone. I didn’t know anyone. It worked out. Don’t be afraid is the most important.
LH: That’s really great advice! Just push through doors b/c eventually you WILL get somebody that needs somebody.
THANK YOU IRIS FROM PARIS!! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to interview during your schedule and look forward to catching up with you down south in April!!
Check out Iris’ boss, Goldie Hawn on Oprah as she talks more about the Hawn foundation & happiness at: http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/Are-You-Happy-Take-Our-Quiz-With-Oscar-Winner-Goldie-Hawn