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Hollywood Career Coach Gives Advice on Met Gala Burn Out, More

Hollywood Career Coach Gives Advice on Met Gala Burn Out, More

My Famous Boss Is a Nightmare

Dear Remy,

Imagine my excitement earlier this year when I was hired by a celebrated actress to be president of her TV and film label.

What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was how god-awful my new boss’s ideas would be! You would think someone who had been in the industry since scrunchies were acceptable would have developed good instincts. No such luck. She seems intent on telling stories from her own life –  which even a Benedictine monk would find mundane – and rehashing hack plot-lines that feel straight out of the 00s. Last week, I kid you not, she started pitching me a musical centering around a high school choir. It was like Glee never happened.

But when I express my doubts about the commercial viability of a proposed project, she takes it personally. She has had hissy fits that remind me of my two-year-old’s tantrums—and not just because they both have a proclivity for dressing in tutus. I think thirty years of entourages allowing her to follow her every whim has made her impossible to reason with. It’s like I’m the first and only person who’s ever challenged her.

Remy, if we let my two-year-old be surrounded by people who always said yes to her, we’d create a monster, and yet we swaddle our celebrities in bubble-wrap like they’re fragile stars from a bygone era. Do you think this culture will ever change?

I joined this company because I thought this A-list founder would be able to open doors. And she can—but then I have to walk through those doors with an iPad full of stinkers. What advice do you have for someone in my situation? Is it a lost cause, or can I correct the power imbalance?

Sincerely,

Tutu Tangled

Dear Tutu Tangled,

Welcome to the glamorous nightmare of talent-led production companies—like giving a toddler the keys to a candy store and wondering why there’s chocolate everywhere.

Let’s tackle your boss’s meltdowns. Fame skews reality, making constructive criticism feel like a personal attack. But all is not lost.

Are your personal frustrations clouding your professional judgment? There is an edge to your writing here which tells me you simply don’t like this woman – but the professional world requires you to put this to one side.  The emotional toll can be high, but remember why you took this job. Fame opens doors; your job is to ensure what walks through those doors is worth watching.

Here’s my advice.  Balance adapting to this environment with advocating for change. Politely push back only when absolutely needed and perhaps suggest market research or test audiences to validate your concerns without making it personal. 

Set up a weekly development meeting with your boss to give them space to vent their ideas. Listen, take notes, and make them feel heard. Incorporate some of their ideas into more pitchable ones while giving them credit and allowing them to save face. And maybe leave some Glee DVDs lying around as a subtle hint that this idea is very much already in the ether.

Highlight past successful collaborations as a reminder that good ideas often come from diverse inputs.  And above all: try to put your personal feelings to one side. Work on putting your ego to one side. You know that fame distorts power dynamics, and in a battle of the egos, you won’t emerge victorious.

Keep your tutu tight and your feedback constructive!

Juggling Tiaras and Tantrums,

Remy

Illustration by Russ Tudor

I’m a Stylist Who Can’t Take Another Met Ball

Dear Remy,

As a stylist to the stars, my life looks enviable from the outside. I spend my days in presidential suites, transforming celebrities into living works of art. But this latest awards season nearly broke me.

Picture this: the Met Gala, me frantically reapplying silver body paint to a singer-songwriter’s left buttock. It was supposed to last 48 hours, but she brushed against an actor dressed in corrugated steel wire, which effectively “scoured” her cheek clean. At that moment, I thought, “I might be done here.”

It’s not the serving of the stars that bothers me—I’ve seen more bare buttocks than a proctologist. It’s the relentless chase for new ideas. Every year, my clients want to outdo each other on the red carpets of the Oscars, Grammys, and Golden Globes. Recently, a client wanted a look inspired by “the concept of time itself.” All I could think of was Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast.

Then there’s the waste. The silver body paint was flown in from Ecuador on a private jet. In my 40s, with kids, I’m not sure I can keep justifying this material excess.

Dear Remy, I feel like I’ve fallen out of love with my profession. Is it possible to reignite that passion?

All Styled Out

Dear All Styled Out,

You’re dealing with a classic existential crisis, the kind that usually strikes in one’s 40s—right on schedule!

Questioning your profession is healthy. Most jobs, in the grand scheme of things, are trivial. Life is fleeting, and every now and then, we all need to ask, “What’s this really all about?”.  If you were to dress a celebrity as a sentient lifesize clock – would it matter? Sometimes life is simply absurd.

Most importantly, is the work you’re doing aligned with your core values and life purpose? If it is, I see no reason for bailing now.

The Met Gala Madness reportedly costs over $3.5 million to put on each year, so, yes, it is a circus, but you’re one of the ringmasters. Our clothes and makeup are more than just coverings; they’re armor and expressions of self. They project our aspirations and shield our vulnerabilities.

Given your experience, career changes are a leap of faith but also a chance for reinvention. Reflect on what sparked joy in your career initially and seek ways to reignite that passion—or pivot to something new. Whether you choose to stay or move on, make sure it’s a decision that honors who you’ve become and the contribution you are making to the world,  silvery smudges and all.

In glamorous solidarity,

Remy

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I Don’t Want to Work With Human Actors Anymore

Dear Remy,

You know how they say ‘never work with animals’? I think the phrase should be: ‘never work with animals…unless they’re CGI’.

Let me explain. I am an actress and have just completed a feature film that was mainly populated by CGI animals. And Remy: it was a dream. My fellow cast members didn’t pull the director aside to give them ‘notes’ that added another 2 hours to our day’s shooting. They didn’t bring their partners, small children, or over-enthusiastic agents onto the lot to disrupt our creative process. And they didn’t try to lend me a copy of their autobiography during our dinner breaks, sell me a diet plan, or try to convert me to a religion that was invented in 2021.

Instead, I was alone for many of my scenes, dialoguing with a red dot.  And when the footage came back, it was beautiful. I almost envied the on-screen ‘me’ who got to run free with these pixel-perfect beasts.

Now my agent is lining me up to do a movie with quite a large cast. It is a ‘bottle movie’ – where the action takes place in one room and is dialogue-focused. In short, I will be in an enclosed space with a number of other humans. And I can’t think of anything worse.

Remy: is it strange to say that I miss working with CGI animals? I am almost melancholy – yearning for my old cast-mates, even though they were never real in the first place. I can’t believe I’m asking this but: do you think I will ever be able to adapt back to working with humans again?

Sincerely,

Pixelated and Perplexed

Dear Pixelated and Perplexed,

Ah, the wonders of CGI—where you can frolic with pixelated perfection without the drama of real-life co-stars! Your melancholy may be a sign of deeper reflections. Could it be that you miss the controlled, predictable environment of CGI rather than the digital animals themselves?

When working with CGI, you were the sole focus of each scene, interacting with a red dot that responded exactly as needed. No tantrums, no unsolicited advice, just pure, uninterrupted performance. This control likely gave you a sense of peace and focus that is hard to replicate with human co-stars.
No film is ever truly “real,” whether populated by CGI animals or human actors. Each scene, each line of dialogue, is a beautifully crafted illusion.  Are you truly missing the CGI creatures, or the solitude and predictability they provided? Working with human actors brings a richness of spontaneity and unplanned brilliance. Their unpredictability can challenge you, pushing your craft to new heights.

 Embrace this chaos as an opportunity for growth. It’s in these moments of unpredictability that true magic happens, both on and off-screen.

Will you adapt back to working with humans? Absolutely, And if you do find yourself missing your hirsute co-stars, can I suggest a trip to Dave and Buster’s?  Their arcade games will offer an opportunity to interact with on-screen animals once more.

Keep your pixels in place and your humanity in the mix!

Remy

Remy Blumenfeld is a veteran TV producer and founder of Vitality Guru, which offers business and career coaching to high performers in media. Send queries to: guru@vitality.guru.

Questions edited by Sarah Mills.

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