More Stars Are Hiring At-Home Bodyguards, Sparked by High-Profile Crimes in L.A. – Hollywood Reporter

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Safety corporations that work with Hollywood additionally make use of drone surveillance and even superstar look-alikes to maintain purchasers protected, with yearly safety prices generally topping $1 million.
By Kirsten Chuba
Affiliate Editor
Bodyguards have lengthy been a Hollywood fixture, showing alongside A-listers on pink carpets, on nights out and infrequently onscreen ( you, Kevin Costner). However there’s greater than meets the attention to those safety brokers, who’re being more and more referred to as upon in latest months as Los Angeles’ crime charge has ticked up.
The LAPD reported in March that robberies involving firearms had been up 57 % from 2020 and homicides had been up 29 % for the primary six months of the 12 months in contrast with the identical interval in 2020. In consequence, says Kent Moyer, president and CEO of L.A.-based World Safety Group, “Our enterprise revenues have doubled from January on, each month. And it’s because of the truth that individuals are scared.”

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Safety specialists say that’s sparked a change in Hollywood. Previously, stars usually relied on bodyguards just for each day outings and press excursions. Many are actually more and more hiring 24/7 residential safety — notably after crimes towards some high-profile individuals in late 2021, such because the homicide of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant and the armed housebreaking of Actual Housewife Dorit Kemsley when she was at house together with her youngsters. (Police, nonetheless, did report that Avant had a safety guard at house in the course of the taking pictures.)
“Residential property safety has been on an uptick as a result of everyone desires their very own personal safety now to allow them to sleep properly at evening,” confirms Anton Kalaydjian, CEO and founding father of Guardians Skilled Safety, based mostly out of South Florida with an workplace in L.A. “As a substitute of being reactive, they’re turning into extra proactive.”
Residential safety particulars might embody one or a number of armed guards round a house who’re expert in defensive ways, surveillance detection and safety driving (which incorporates precision driving, accident avoidance and different abilities) and can monitor a property across the clock. There additionally is perhaps digital safety methods, limitations, alarms and, in some circumstances, drones. Moyer, who obtained his begin doing safety on the Playboy Mansion and was previously head of safety at ICM, says his crew makes use of drones with thermal imaging cameras on superstar estates that may detect individuals hiding in bushes in the course of the day or evening. They’ve speaker methods, as properly, so “we are able to talk with the unhealthy man and inform him to depart and the police are coming,” he says.

The drones can also seize 3D maps of an area, flying zigzags of a complete space so “we are able to discover very simply the weaknesses of their property and safety methods that they should put in,” says Moyer. World Safety Group’s safety system is monitored by way of a pill, and when a sensor is ready off, all cameras routinely concentrate on the suspect space, adopted by audio and visible alerts.
And simply who’re these guards working to maintain a lot of Hollywood protected? The bulk are males, and lots of are former army or former police, although Kalaydjian has brokers who embody onetime NFL and NBA gamers, UFC fighters and, in a single case, a highschool principal who “on the weekends helps us out.” Although referred to as bodyguards in popular culture, they’re identified professionally as shut safety brokers or govt safety.
Excessive-end safety companies require background checks, firearm permits, first assist and medical certifications (“We’re not simply right here to catch a bullet; we’re right here to assist them get out of a seizure or out of a coronary heart assault,” says Kalaydjian), crowd administration expertise and formal coaching or a level in safety work. Some corporations additionally carry out psychological assessments.
Although veterans and former regulation enforcement sorts usually are drawn to the sector, they sometimes need to be retrained as a result of “it’s a special job that they’ve, a special mission,” says NYC and L.A.-based International Risk Options CEO Kenneth Bombace, a former Military captain who has protected Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
“If any individual poses a risk and has a gun, police run to them and so they need to meet that risk, subdue them and convey them to justice. Within the safety enterprise, that’s not our job,” says Bombace. “We simply need to get our principal someplace protected, as quick as we are able to.” Echoes DTeflon, a longtime bodyguard who has protected Morgan Freeman and Justin Timberlake: “It’s not about coming in there and kicking somebody’s ass. In case you’re whooping any individual’s ass otherwise you’ve obtained to drag a gun, you just about haven’t completed your job.”

That is the place celebrities generally get themselves into hassle, safety professionals say, opting to rent pals and bouncer-type protectors — dubbed within the area as “buddy-guards” or “homeboy safety” — who’re massive and intimidating however don’t have the correct coaching. “These are the those who make unhealthy tactical choices, and so they’re those shoving the cameras into the paparazzi’s face, attempting to [take] the SIM playing cards,” says Moyer of such ways, which may finish in a headache-inducing lawsuit for the superstar.
Bodyguards in Hollywood may be traced all the best way again to the Nineteen Fifties, when Frank Sinatra had a number of guards (together with soccer participant Ed Pucci) and Richard Burton’s brother was employed because the star’s safety element. They are often intimately concerned in a consumer’s life, with Justin Bieber noting his bodyguard would verify his pulse whereas he was sleeping to ensure he was nonetheless alive in the course of the top of his drug use. Some — like Peter Van Der Veen, who has guarded Adele and Woman Gaga, and Greg Lenz, Jennifer Lawrence’s former bodyguard — appeal to thirsty headlines and social media accounts of their honor. And very similar to the story portrayed by Costner and Whitney Houston, some stars have dated their bodyguards, like Heidi Klum and Kim Kardashian.
Males make up nearly all of bodyguards, although there are the occasional girls who enter the business. Moyer says in his expertise, “If I wanted safety in my life, I’d in all probability go along with an all-female crew since you don’t need to be coping with egos and A-type personalities and persona clashes.” Kalaydjian — whose firm has protected Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber — factors to stereotypes in purchasers feeling much less protected round girls than towering males, admitting, “I’m 6-foot-4, 265. They may really feel safer with me round moderately than Ronda Rousey; in the meantime, Ronda Rousey would beat the hell out of me in a combat in a second, however they don’t see that.” 

Kalaydjian says there’s quite a lot of area for ladies within the business, although, particularly as he notes two-thirds of his superstar consumer base is feminine, and in locations like restrooms and tour buses, male guards are generally not an possibility.
In terms of coaching, Kalaydjian begins his brokers on ride-alongs with veteran bodyguards and requires two years of expertise earlier than they’re in a position to do a element on their very own. After guards study “Bodyguard 101” at an govt safety faculty (together with safety driving, safety firearms and defensive ways), Kalaydjian has his crew weight elevate and study MMA practices to “deal with threats bodily with out hurting anyone however on the similar time mitigating the risk.”
When purchasers are out and about, brokers generally e-book a number of resort rooms to throw off anybody from understanding the place a celeb is staying and, in uncommon circumstances, DTeflon — who additionally serves as president of APA Safety Group — says he’s even used look-alikes of his superstar purchasers as decoys to trick followers and paparazzi. He additionally opts for apparel outdoors of the traditional bodyguard black go well with and earpiece to attempt to mix in: “In case you’re an individual that’s on the market desirous to trigger hurt, do some harm or be within the crowd, you’re going to attempt to keep away from me in any respect prices. You’re going to attend till I’m not there as a result of you understand precisely who I’m. But when I’m mixing in, in numerous apparel that you simply’re not used to seeing a bodyguard in, you’re not going to know if I’m the publicist, the supervisor, a pal, one other actor; you haven’t any thought.” And whereas a big portion of guards are armed, some are usually not, and it’s as much as the consumer’s discretion. For worldwide journey, weapons are extremely restricted. British bodyguard Simon Newton, who has labored for Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, notes brokers in most of Europe are usually not allowed to hold firearms.
Social media has thrown one other problem on the govt safety business as stars are sharing extra of their lives on-line and generally revealing their places. Newton says he asks his purchasers to chorus from dwell posting, notably after one superstar shared a photograph whereas boarding a flight from New York to London, and followers regarded up each flight from each service on that route, leading to “separate followers throughout the completely different terminals ready to catch these individuals coming in.”

Bombace says his firm has databases and search instruments to scan social media for any threats to their purchasers, and Moyer goes so far as to take away all of his purchasers’ private data from the web — which includes by no means getting mail despatched to the house and altering P.O. bins a number of occasions to take away a bodily handle — and setting them up with nameless telephones that use faux names and encrypted apps.
All of this isn’t low cost. Moyer says celebrities can spend $100,000 to $1 million a 12 months on safety relying on the providers, with the typical between $250,000 and $500,000. Bombace says with residential 24/7 safety, purchasers are “many tens of millions.”
“It’s a really expensive affair,” says Newton, who notes that the development of getting at-home guards has risen within the U.Ok. as properly. “A few of the homes we’ve obtained now, they in all probability wouldn’t have had it 5 years in the past. Persons are discovering the cash to justify paying for it now as a result of it’s simply peace of thoughts.”
For individuals who aren’t in a position to spend six figures on safety providers, the professionals have some suggestions for staying protected at house. Kalaydjian recommends primary cameras, alarm methods, fences and ensuring all doorways are locked in addition to paying shut consideration to at least one’s keys for push-to-start vehicles. “When you stroll in your door, you set your key fob on the desk subsequent to your door — properly, guess what, that’s shut sufficient the place if a thief is available in, they may press begin and take your automobile away,” he says. “And that’s what occurs when you’ve got a guard gate or not, as a result of quite a lot of these gates are triggered routinely [by the fob].”
Bombace says he at all times recommends each canine and safety cameras as a result of “if somebody has a canine and cameras, you’re going to go to the subsequent home that doesn’t. You’re going to go to the weakest, the softest goal on the block.”
Enterprise supervisor John McIlwee says he’s seen that “purchasers have doubled and even tripled spending on in-home safety methods — cameras, locks, the works” because of L.A.’s present crime state of affairs. He continues, “Persons are selecting to get the highest-quality, greatest model of a safety system.”

Moyer provides that for cybersecurity, he usually turns to Faraday Baggage (faradaybag.com), which defend computer systems, telephones and iPads from hackers and forestall digital indicators from being despatched and acquired: “When [devices] are turned off and so they’re put within the Faraday Bag, you’ll be able to’t monitor them.”
A model of this story first appeared within the Aug. 10 difficulty of The Hollywood Reporter journal. Click here to subscribe.
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