Beauty Bitch:Top Tips for FABs

Mimi ON Nov 18, 2008 AT 4:52 pm


I can’t help finding the FAB (fashion and beauty) editors and PR dynamics endlessly fascinating. As soon as I get a new beauty assistant, one of her first assignments is to make herself known to the PRs. If that means a round of canapés and nibbled lunches then so be it, because unless you’ve got them right on side, life can be difficult in the beauty bubble. 

Getting on the wrong side of beauty PR’s can have curious consequences – I’ve been literally screamed at by a PR Director for upsetting an assistant (unintentionally, I might add), whose long-winded rant was delivered via phone from the back of a cab. It went on so long, and so hysterically that I literally had to hold the phone a foot away from my ear.

This has lead to a frosty, long-standing reluctance on my part to feature any of her products, and on her part to ever speak to me again. However, I think we’ve made a break-through recently – she shook my hand vigorously at a recent launch and introduced herself as though we had never, ever met before. A completely clean sheet in her book, or maybe she really had forgotten who I am! I, on the other hand, still have that terrible screeching ringing in my ears.

There’s also the PR director who, on discovering I wanted to feature her prestige products in an article about E-bay, where they do a roaring trade, literally banged the phone down, and to this day has never spoken to me again. She will only deal with my assistant. And, yes, they advertise, so my hands are tied, otherwise they’d probably be giving her face a well deserved slap.  But, bafflingly if you get a PR on the wrong day at the wrong time – post break up or pre-period I’m guessing, but who knows, you can end up on the receiving end of some extraordinary behaviour.

I phoned a newly appointed agency the other day to call in some samples of their make up brand which hasn’t had a great deal of press lately. The PR who answered the phone told me if I wanted samples I should email her. I said I felt it would be more appropriate if she took my details and completed the request. She said she was too busy and just on her way out. I put the phone down and gave a gorgeous quarter page to someone else.  But bad behaviour is across the board in the beauty bubble. Recent steps off the staircase of good manners from FAB editors mean we’d all be wise to follow these rough guidelines inspired by those who have gone before. 

It’s really not terribly helpful if you want to be invited on the swanky trips abroad to show up at the airport completely sozzled. Nor is it deemed good practice to refuse to come out of your room once settled in the 5* hotel that the PR’s client is being billed for due to some sudden mind-related reluctance to be among people. And to then stay there for 3 days. It’s completely a no-no at check-in to insist that you really can’t fly anything other than first class and if your ticket isn’t upgraded immediately you will have to return home. And, to then show off about your upgrade to the other journalists roughing it in economy as the icing on the cake. 

You probably won’t be on the receiving end of another invitation if you wander off track and get lost so often that another journalist has to be put in charge of you and you certainly shouldn’t get another invite if you throw a tantrum in a very expensive restaurant because you don’t like the vegetarian option, and insist on having a whole bottle of champagne to yourself instead. 

It’s also appallingly bad manners to accept a press trip, and on discovering that you’ll have to wear a freaky skin-tight white compressor suit and have your bottom literally squeezed into submission by a man and a machine, refuse the very treatment you’ve been taken all the way to Hamburg for. Oh, wait. That was me. On reflection, it’s fine to do that.

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