The Assistants

Behind every successful leader is a good PA – armed with coffee, a neat calendar, and the dry cleaning. We chat to Jackie O and Roxy Jacenko’s assistants…

Behind every successful leader is a good PA

Samantha Cox, 34, is 2Day FM radio personality Jackie O’s PA

First came Richard Branson: “I was Sir Richard Branson’s PA for almost five years. I did everything from making him a cup of tea to giving my opinion on photo shoots, reviewing his speeches, being his worldwide travel companion, and even feeding him laxatives when he was unwell. Everything.”

New gig: “The producer of The Kyle and Jackie O Show asked if I’d be interested in being Jackie’s PA. I wasn’t sure, because I’d come from one full-on PA role. But when I met her I realised she just needed to be nurtured and looked after.”

Getting personal: “It’s Jackie’s personal life I look after. She and her husband are renovating their house, so we’re designing the interior together. We go shopping and attend events. She’s so kind – she bought me a Louis Vuitton bag for Christmas and a Sass & Bide dress for my birthday!”

Trust factor: “Being a personal assistant is about having a very intimate, one-on-one relationship with your boss. You become somebody they trust absolutely 100 per cent with their life, family, even with health issues. You have to be a strong person as well, quite thick-skinned.”

Sam’s work schedule

8.30am: “Jackie is on-air from about 6am but I head into the studio to check on her and make sure she’s happy.”

9-11am: “Answer emails, plus diary and fan mail management. Update new content for the show, so Jackie is aware of what’s happening the next day.”

11am: “We have a quick meeting to update each other on what’s happening. I deal with her invites and media requests.”

12pm: “Jackie normally leaves the office.”

12.30pm: “I grab a salad for lunch.”

1pm: “My afternoons differ, but often they involve working on Jackie’s home interiors, visiting Sass & Bide to collect something for Jackie, planning overseas schedules, paying bills and sorting financial matters, and booking appointments.”

Melanie Maroun, 23, is PA to Sweaty Betty PR owner Roxy Jacenko

How I got the job: “I emailed Roxy and told her, ‘Stop looking, because I can do the job better than anyone.’ Obviously she thought it was hilarious, because I’ve been her longest-serving PA.”

The first time I met my boss: “She was in denim shorts, and no shoes, running up and down the office screaming that things needed to be done. Her soon-to-be-ex PA turned to me and said, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get used to this.’”

Always on email: “Even when I’m home, I’ll be on email, up until I go to bed at 11pm. If Roxy wants something done, she’ll email – sometimes at 5am!”

Love it sick: “I feel so organised all the time. This job has taught me how to juggle a million things at once and not even break out in a sweat. I’ll go to the office and Roxy will say, ‘Do this, this and this,’ and I’ll get all of that done in half an hour then say, ‘What’s next?’”

A day in Mel’s job:

7.45am: “Get into the office, check my emails. Sort Roxy’s calendar.”

8:15am: “Liaise with clients, organise meetings for Roxy and make sure they don’t overlap.”

9am: “Roxy gets in the office and sends me out on errands. I’m never in the office
for more than three hours at a time.”

10.30am: “Go on-site to an event we’re organising. Assist with managing the door
and greeting guests.”

12.30pm: “Inhale my lunch (I usually don’t get a lunchbreak).”

1pm: “Go to Roxy’s house to check on her daughter, Pixie, and see if her nanny needs anything. On my way back, pick up Roxy’s dry cleaning and do a coffee run.”

2pm: “Book Roxy’s hair and makeup appointments for an event. Assist the PR girls in the showroom.”

3pm: “Organise Roxy’s mail – she gets stacks of mail.”

3.30pm: “Busy organising send-outs, packing boxes, tying ribbons, wrapping things and booking couriers to get our gifts sent out. We also send product out to media to be photographed.”

6pm: “Time to go home.”