With long work days, low wages, and busy and often demanding bosses, it’s easy to see why assistants are called Hollywood’s unsung heroes.
Ashlee Margolis knows that, which is why she opened her Beverly Hills office to throw a party in their honor on February 22. No sneaking out the back door or pretending to be the plus-one boss for 175 administrative insiders from companies like CAA, UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Gersh Agency, Mosaic, Lede Company, Wolf Kasteler Public Relations, Align PR and more. Upon arrival, they were greeted by rapid COVID-19 testing and hosts Margolis, managing partner Jenine Leigh-Pollard and the rest of The A List’s staff.
It was the second assistant-only bash by Margolis and her team at A List, a top celebrity, influencer and entertainment marketing, events and special projects company, which maintains a client base that includes New Balance, J. Crew, Rothy’s, Reformation, OSEA, Genexa, Grove Collaborative, SEED, Ritual & Daily Harvest, and others. The last one went out three years ago and Margolis thought it was even more urgent to send out invites for another hangout now.
“It’s been tough for all these assistants who have become isolated while working from home,” explains Margolis. “They have not been able to meet other assistants in a social setting, and some have not even met those who work at their own companies.”
She recruited a number of sponsors – Sparkling Iced Spiked Cocktails and Fly By Jing – who provided libations and snacks. Fly By Jing founder Jin Gao even attended to help prepare a special menu of dumplings and tacos. There were Prince Street Pizza pies, Teremana tequila, and the celebration happened to coincide with National Margarita Day, which made for a great excuse to showcase Sparkling Ice’s latest Cocktail-inspired Hard Seltzers. The low sugar seltzer is launched in two flavors, Strawberry Margarita and Mango Mule.
Margolis said she still has a close relationship with many of the people she met during her own assistant days with notable PR and branding power player Lara Shriftman. “They are now the best publicists, managers and agents of this generation,” she explained. “I want to give my team the opportunity to build relationships with people who will one day be heads of agencies and studios. I like networking and bringing people together. My business is all about relationships and I want to help build them for the next generation of leaders at The A List.”
There are now also more for you to meet. Margolis explained that her company has tripled in size during the pandemic led by Leigh-Pollard. Even with diverse tasks and a growing workforce, Margolis says she still has a soft spot for organizing events and Tuesday evenings. She even made sure everyone had a name tag on their chest to ensure maximum mixing and mixing. “I like to create an atmosphere and have fun, and last night was the perfect night to start and hopefully get some normalcy back. The most frequently asked question I got all night was, ‘So when’s your next one?’”
A version of this story first appeared in the March 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.