The Savvy Assistant

Profiling Bethenny Frankel’s assistant, New York’s BEST Julie Plake

June 12th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Celeb Assistants, Industry Insiders, Organizational Tips, Traveling

Yes, Assistants get super excited to interview other assistants! Especially when you get a chance to get insight from a superstar one like Bethenny Frankels’.

What’s the BIG deal about assistants anyway…especially celebrity assistants?

Why all the hype?

I’ll tell you WHY.

The odds that person even GOT the job is a HUGE  feat in itself. That person beat out a tremendous amount of candidates and was thought highly enough from the talent to let them manage their  lives.

Another reason… the level of skill you need in order to not only handle this job but excel in itself is ridonculous (yes ridonculous, not ridiculous).

Combine all of that and you get a Super Star assistant running the Big City…Ms. Julie Plake.

Julie either has a message in her inbox  every millasecond or a phone ringing her for an immediate response, so my SINCERE gratitude for taking the time out to help YOU guys/gals in the assistant world. 

GRAZIE JULIE!

Without further ado….meet Ms. Julie Plake:

 

LH: Julie, How did you get your current position & did you have any prior experience assisting?

Julie: I have known Bethenny before the RHONY (Real Housewives of NY) days, when she was catering for free at celebrities and high-profile parties.

I worked for Hamptons magazine and my job for one Saturday was to show up at my CEO’s house and help the caterer. That caterer was Bethenny.

From the moment I stepped into the kitchen, she had me on the move….cutting tomatoes, setting up caprese salads, creating pizzas cooked on a grill.

We formed a bond.

She said she like my “on it” mentality and I told her I knew she was going to make it “big” – we stayed in touch over the years always helping each other out in the industry.

In January of 2009, I called her up and said “are you ready to hire me yet?”

- In March of 2009 she called and said “quit your other job…are you ready to work with me?”

The rest is history.
I would say however, that my assistant knowledge came from my first job. I had an amazing boss who really taught me how to handle chaos and a busy schedule.

She also taught me that nothing is to be taken to personal. It’s business. We still remain close and she is the person who prepared me for this job.

I wouldn’t have been able to be where I am in my career without her. Also – over the years, living in NYC I have had so many women role models in the workplace.
 
 
LH: Is there a current tool or app you would like to see invented to help you keep more organized?

Julie: I would like a magic fairy come in and organize my email inbox. I can always find information, but if anyone else had to go into my email….good luck.

I am a huge list maker, so perhaps a device that I could speak out loud to and then it would create a list for me? haha

– However, we recently hired another assistant, Jackie. I like to think that she makes my life easier since I often shout things out and she creates a list for me!
 
LH: When traveling, what are your 5 MUST haves that you take with you?

Julie: Until I worked for Bethenny, I was the WORST packer. I always brought way too much stuff and used half of it.

Bethenny is the world’s best packer so I learned a lot from her.
I always bring the below with me:

1. My IPAD!!! (Just got it, but can’t wait to use it!)
2. My Instyler (straightens and curls hair under so quickly! love it)
3. Fuzzy socks to wear on the airplane to be more comfortable
4. Bethenny Appearance checklist – this is a list that our office made so that we check off everything we need everytime we go to a Bethenny interview/press event etc.
5. Hooded sweatshirt – they are so cozy and I have so many. Usually says Penn State, or Steelers or another sports team I love!

  
LH: Assistants move all day. Do you have a particular go to comfy shoe you wear?

Julie: I like to make my life hell. I wear heels because I like them, but they aren’t always comfortable. I recently started wearing flats, but I think I look like an elf in them.

I LOVE a dressed up flip-flop and I pretty much wear flip flops or wedges all summer. Jessica Simpson makes the most comfortable heels!
 
LH: I love NY & have my fav. spots but always like to hear from the locals. What are your two favorite places you recommend for a great lunch or dinner while in the city?
Julie: My favorite place to go is Dublin6 in the West Village. It has become my friends and my meeting spot.

We know the owners, they treat us great and the cocktails and food are amazing.
The other place I love to go when splurging is called Barbounia in Gramercy Park.
 
LH: You recently had a make-over (and looked FABULOUS by the way!) What was your favorite part?

Julie: Oh – the makeover. The whole thing was really fun and totally unexpected. Getting my hair done was nerve wracking, but I totally LOVE it and am still a brunette!
 
LH:My favorite question….Do you have a role in any of  Bethenny’s charities?

What role is that & would you like to highlight those charities?

Julie: Team Bethenny recently came up with a great idea. We always have clothing, shoes, jewelry etc that Bethenny is ready to part with. And we always have fans asking “where did Bethenny” buy this?

So as a team we decided to auction off all of the clothing that she wore on her show that people love to a different charity per month.

Bethenny now is going to match what people bid and donate to that same charity. For more information go to www.bethenny.com.

Another charity close to my heart is Mustard Seed Communities.

Every year I go on a mission trip to spend time with the orphaned children in Kingston, Jamaica.

All of the children have been abandoned and have physical or mental disabilities and many of them are also HIV positive.

All year long we raise money for the communities that they live in. While in Jamaica we spend time with the children and work on a project for them.

For more information on my trip go to www.mustardseed.com
 
LH: Assisting can be long hours and getting home late. When you do have time, what is your quick & easy meal you like to make & what is the recipe?

Julie: I recently became a vegetarian, so my quick easy meal is usually a salad. I love adding corn and avocado. I recently have decided salsa is an acceptable food group and LOVE making it homemade. It’s so simple.

This interview was a Blast!

How exciting to get the best insight from the city’s TOP PA??

THANKS Julie!!

(Now I’m off to make that salad and add avocado!)

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