Get your celeb exclusive without pandering to egos

You have two options.

For the first, in your desperation to access the star you will say ‘yes’to anything the fragrant one’s representative desires. In which case you will agree to any or all of the following: Writer approval, question approval, copy approval, photographer approval, picture approval, clothes approval.

So why not save yourself the hassle and just get them to write the piece for you instead? You’ll get exactly the same kind of coma-inducing copy anyway.

Option two takes some effort. This is called journalism.

It’s obviously better if you write for a title that prides itself on its journalism. This means the title will almost certainly have some credibility in the industry. The greater the credibility, the more likely the celebrity is to want to be in it.

After that, it’s down to building relationships, and this takes time.

Many celebrities now have personal publicists, but it’s always a good idea to put in a call to the agent, too – especially with more-established artists. Agents are more likely to be more upfront about your chances of access.

Refuse anything that might compromise the quality of the interview. Do not allow a PR to sit in. If they turn up nonetheless, point out that you will mention this in your copy, and that it will not reflect well on the star (does a veteran of screen and stage really need a child minder?) Be prepared to walk away if necessary.

Observe basic journalistic good practice. Make it clear that you’re recording your interview. Be meticulous in your transcribing. Then, when the agent/publicist subsequently decides that you have hideously misquoted their client and that you must print an immediate retraction, you can calmly prove your innocence.

Be trustworthy. We don’t go in with an agenda to ‘get’someone no matter what. The result is usually a very fine interview that more often than not gets picked up around the world.

Accessing celebrities has been getting increasingly tricky – not helped by the number of Brits hitting Hollywood, and some pretty draconian US publicists along the way, many of whom don’t understand the British media at all.

Trouble is, bland, vapid copy does not protect a celebrity – it merely makes them more bland and vapid, too. This does not attract readers. No wonder there’s been a backlash in the shape of the feral cellulite titles (as in ‘look at the cellulite on that!”). At least some of the more intelligent agents and publicists understand that credibility is a much-better currency to aim for than blandness or cellulite. It makes for much better copy for readers, too.

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