Ok, so how are celebrities' hectic schedules organised?

"I didn't even know I was doing this until yesterday," F1 driver Lando Norris says casually to Amelia Dimoldenberg, as he sticks a straw into a Capri Sun on the set of his Chicken Shop date. While Amelia, her crew and Lando's team had likely been planning the interview for months prior, Lando was (supposedly) only aware of its presence 24 hours beforehand, when he checked his calendar.

While it was perhaps an embellished tale to play into the interview's flirty dynamic, Lando's unawareness of his own schedule strikes up an image we often think of when it comes to celebrities and their schedules. Just look at the countless teen movies with a popstar, actor or royal at the centre, completely out of control of their own lives (and diary), being pulled in every direction by a demanding agent, wanting to be 'free' from the clutches of fame.

It's a clichéd story, but is there any truth to it? Are celebrities really just overgrown children dripped in designer garms, shuffled from one place to another with no awareness to what's coming next? Or are they adults, just like the rest of us, trying to squeeze their many responsibilities, childcare and exercise routine, into a jam packed scheduled already filled with interviews and cover shoots, very much aware of the well-oiled machine around them?

julia roberts in notting hill
Polygram Filmed entertainment

Well, one part of the narrative is slightly true. Celebrities aren't the first port of call when it comes to planning their diaries; instead this job is often taken up by their assistant or manager.

"I like to call myself the master of the calendar," Sabeen Faheem, aka The Hijabi Bounder, and Simu Liu's assistant says lightheartedly over the phone, admitting she's often the one in control of the Barbie actor's busy schedule. "If you had a diagram, it would be Simu, and then a line to me, and then a line to everyone else."

With press junkets, meetings with producers, music recording, charity functions and of course filming, with Marvel projects and Netflix movie Atlas on the horizon, Sabeen is responsible for making sure Simu's diary runs smoothly.

"So you have his PR, his managers and his agents, all of these people wanting to schedule certain things with studios or producers. They email me and say, ‘This is when these people are available, let us know his availability’ and then we'll match it up [with his existing commitments]. They'll send me the invitations to the Zoom call or the location of the meeting. And that all gets added to his calendar," she explains.

But this is not to say Simu is completely out of control of his calendar. The pair catch up weekly to go through the actor's diary, and often text throughout the day.

Charlotte Tobin, the founder and CEO of Belle PR, who do publicity for talent such as Katie Piper, AJ Odudu and GK Barry, has a similar approach with working out her client's engagements.

They often have a catch up on Monday mornings to run through the week's diary. "Often the teams of my talent, for example, will have Monday calls and briefings with their publicists and agents, and they can run them through the diary and say, ‘Tomorrow you've got the shoot. Wednesday, you're shooting a commercial. Friday you've got a morning writing your book and the afternoon off,' " she explains over the phone.

But no, this is not a dictatorship. The celebrity is still the one in control and often their personal life can end up taking priority. Just like the rest of us, they'll have holidays booked, family days organised and unplanned life events which pop up, that need to be accounted for and planned around.

We all have friends that are ridiculously organised, or those who can't remember what day it is, and the same can be said for celebrities who vary in their level of organisation. Charlotte says she has a number of clients who are "super hot" on their diaries and "could pretty much rehearse to you and recite what's coming up for the next few weeks." And those who have children or other dependents, will also try and plan ahead for factoring in shoots or other projects around their home life.

Speaking of the actual projects filling the diary, they're never usually agreed without the celebrity's approval. "I would never confirm a shoot or an opportunity without running it past my client," Charlotte explains. "If I get a game changing opportunity through on email, I will WhatsApp my client saying, ‘This is a great opportunity. You’re clear in your diary, just checking you're up for it, and you can do it?’"

That said, as time goes on and a relationship develops with a celebrity, Charlotte will know her client well enough to book in the interviews she knows they'll want to do, without having to consult them, when it comes to doing a day of press.

And for Simu, while he might not be the one scheduling the meetings or working out the logistics of a week (and honestly, who wants to do that much admin?) Sabeen says he likes to be involved in the whole process of planning a project.

When it came to the Barbie press junket last year (think the Horse and Hound scene in Notting Hill), Simu was having conversations early on with his stylist to plan the looks he needed, and received a full list in advance of all the journalists and media outlets he was speaking to (with time intervals) so he could prepare. It was then down to Sabeen to get his travel booked and for his PR team to organise and approve said interviews.

As for planning years in advance? Yeah that's not quite accurate. When I ask Sabeen if she could tell me what Simu would be doing this time next year, she laughs and says no - but she does know that a lot of his diary is scheduled up until autumn.

From speaking with both Sabeen and Charlotte, it's clear that it takes a village to prepare a celebrity's diary. But a village that is very much spearheaded and shaped around the celebrity's own wishes, and what they want for their career and personal life.

Maybe Lando just really doesn't check his calendar that often.

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