Since her shock divorce filing in September, Jolie’s circle of advisers has not included a traditional celebrity p.r. rep. Instead Jolie retained Washington, DC, crisis specialist Judy Smith, and she also reportedly brought back onboard her former manager Geyer Kosinski, with whom she split in 2013.
Page Six further reported that Jolie, a UN special envoy, was also getting advice from Lady Arminka Helic — a former adviser to Britain’s ex-Foreign Secretary William Hague — as well as fellow former Hague aide Chloe Dalton.
But another insider pointed out that Jolie has a film coming out, “First They Killed My Father,” on Netflix. “She’s got a film coming out on Cambodia and will be doing promotion around that,” the source said of why she would seek any p.r.
Yet we hear that Jolie’s inner circle has been quietly making calls to find her a showbiz spin doctor. So far, no top Hollywood publicist’s jumped at the chance.
As we’ve seen through the years though, Angelina is quite capable of doing her own spinning and PR – better than many proper publicists. I know this first-hand from junkets. Typically the studio will send a list of reporters over to a celebrity’s publicist for review. The star stays completely removed from the process. With Angelina, in the past, she reviews the list herself. I remember being excited about this on the Maleficent junket because it meant that she would have looked over my name and not crossed it off the schedule. It’s the kind of busy work, however, that most celebrities don’t bother with. But that’s how she works. She wants to know everything. I can’t imagine that that’s changed. She has said in the past that she did try working with a publicist once and didn’t take to it. So… if she’s looking for a publicist, what will that relationship look like? Because it’s not like she’s going to give up control.
That said, a collaborative relationship with an effective publicist, in combination with Angelina’s solid PR instincts, could be quite beneficial. It’s a matter, then, of finding the right person – if she really is planning to work with a publicist, and I’m still not sure I believe it.
Angelina is scheduled to be in Cambodia this weekend to screen First They Killed My Father. King Norodom Sihamoni will attend. No word on whether or not there will be a press opportunity but in these situations, if she needs someone to escort her down the carpet, the studio (Netflix) can always send someone. That’s how she normally operates, with studio reps attached to the film, on a case by case basis, getting her through a media line and timing her stops. That’s the babysitting part of being a Hollywood publicist and even the most powerful publicists have to do it – walk behind the celebrity on a red carpet, standing just behind them while they do interviews on the press line, and either signalling to or tapping the reporter on the shoulder when their 2 or 3 minutes are up. I don’t know that Angelina needs a dedicated person just for that job. What she does need is someone who has established relationships with media outlets and magazines to more effectively leak whatever it is she needs/wants to leak going forward, since those same outlets and magazines seem to be favouring Brad Pitt on exchange for future interviews/exclusives. It’s not that she can’t do that sh-t herself – and she has – but the difference here is that a major publicist who has those kinds of connections can leverage his or her other clients and, through his or her other clients, understands what other gossip is at play.
Let’s take, for example, someone like Robin Baum, who reps Ryan Gosling, Johnny Depp, Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe etc. Robin not only has influence with the magazines, she can also tap into her roster and assess who else may have big stories dropping, what else is about to go down in Hollywood, and advise accordingly. That way Angelina isn’t operating blind. Robin Baum would actually be an excellent choice for Angelina. She’s tough. And she doesn’t have a super long list. She has big names on her list but it’s not extensive. And none of the names on her list are in conflict with Angelina’s history. Her experience with both Johnny and Russell also gives her some insight on how to manage scandal and, perhaps most importantly, eccentric personalities.