Josephine Talegon Green is the embodiment of a 40s Woman: she has experience having worked for over 20 years with international celebrities including George Michael and Cher, is incredibly talented at what she does and now manages this with two small children. Like so many of us Josephine has had to adapt, always appearing calm in the face of countless problems thrown at her daily in her work life whilst juggling all the balls at home too. I highly recommend a read of this episode of “Someone to Celebrate”
AB – You’re a PA, what does this involve?
JTG – Even though I’m a PA to people in an exciting industry, the majority of my work is not very glamorous. It’s a lot of diary management and organisation. I also spend a lot of time sitting in a client’s home waiting for a plumber to fix a leak or a gardener to prune the garden. And I daren’t even try and work out how many hours I’ve spent inside an on-set trailer (which is a glorified caravan).
But there are some really fun aspects to the role. I enjoy playing the other parts in a script to help a client with their audition tape or styling and sourcing outfits for a special event. And there are definitely perks to the job. I have been to some amazing events, award shows and TV show recordings (London Fashion Week, BAFTAs, Graham Norton etc) and in turn met many of my idols.
I chose to work in the entertainment industry because I love it. And I still get a buzz from standing behind the cameras watching programmes being made.
AB – What does your day to day look like?
JTG – One of the things I like most about my job is that no two days are the same. I am self employed and not based in an office. So, I maintain a lot of autonomy in how my day runs. Although, I am on call 24/7 and there is always the chance I will be called on to check a property who’s alarm is going off or making an emergency trip to Charlotte Tilbury for fake tan.
My work mantra has always been that I want my clients to fully concentrate on their work (writing, preparing for a role, learning lines etc) and I will take care of everything else.
AB – What was your early career pathway?
JTG – I started off in entertainment PR. I applied to a job advert in Music Week and ended up getting the role aged 21. My boss and I did the PR for George Michael, Cher and Mariah Carey (amongst others), so it was never dull and I learned a lot very quickly. We also worked for Versace organising the stars to sit in the front row of their fashion shows and wear their clothes to events. This is the aspect of the job I really enjoyed. Organising complicated and demanding entourages. So, I knew that being a PA was going to suit my skills best. This was also the job that gave me the most amazing experiences. From flying on a private jet with Jon Bon Jovi and Jay Kay from Jamiroquai – to a Robbie Williams concert with 20 people in the audience – to the Oscars!
JTG – How has your approach to work/career changed in your 40s compared to your 20s and early 30s?
After 5 years in PR, I knew I had to change things. It was an amazing job. But incredibly demanding. Long hours, high pressure. As it was my first job and I was in my 20s, I gave it my all. And that took its toll. When I left, I took 9months totally off to recover and work out exactly what I wanted to do next and how I was going to do it.
I was in my late 20s and knew I wanted to be my own boss, so decided the way forward was to have a few different clients. Using my PR contacts, I was lucky to land my first PA role to Joseph Fiennes. By my early 30s I had 5 permanent clients. My 30s is when I was definitely at my peak. My brain held so much information. If Addison Lee called me to say they had a car waiting, I would instantly know which of my 5 clients it was meant for. I sometimes marvel at how sharp my brain was in that period.
At this point I also ran the events for CAN (Celebrity Assistants Network) and set up my own PA training company with a colleague. Work was definitely my main focus at this stage and I was always on the go.
At the end of my 30s I met my (now) husband and got pregnant with my first child at 39. That meant another major change. Of course my priorities were thrown up in the air and I scaled back work commitments. I then had my second child at 42. I may have less clients now, but my two under 5s take more organisation and are more demanding than any superstar I’ve ever worked with! So, I feel like I’m still at work, even when I’m not!!!
AB – How important is work to you?
JTG – That has changed as my personal circumstances have changed. It’s important to me to be able to provide for my family and to do a job I enjoy. And I’m very loyal to clients I’ve been with for decades. But I now put my heart and soul into my children. That is very different to my 20s and 30s when I gave my all to my work. I do feel like this balance is more healthy and realistic to maintain.
JTG – What are your top 3 highlights?
Working for George Michael was a dream come true. And still feels like a dream. He was a hero of mine from when I was young. So, to get to work with him and finding out he is everything I had hoped he’d be and so so so much more was life affirming.
Sitting on Centre Court at Wimbledon. As a Londoner who loves tennis, I couldn’t understand how I’d never been. I’ve always wanted to. But ironically had never been organised enough to sort it out. When Emilia Fox was invited as a VIP and asked me to go with her, I was so thrilled. We had an amazing day. We were hosted by a wine company with endless complimentary food and wine. And the other VIP was Olivia Coleman who brought her husband. So, the four of us had a fantastic day together.
Setting up my PA Training Company with my long time friend and colleague, Merryl. Being able to pass on hard earned knowledge and experiences to other people in my industry has been a real highlight for me. Setting up a business was an achievement in itself, but I was particularly proud of mentoring other PAs and realising how far I have come in my chosen profession.
AB – What is next for you?
JTG – Now my eldest is starting primary school and my youngest is starting nursery, I can concentrate on my career more again. Whether that means more PA work or something a bit different, only time will tell. And I’m excited to find out what this next chapter has in store…