Monday, Sept. 28, 2015|2 a.m.
Uyen Vu is a regional bodyguard, charged with taking care of performers who fly in for events such as the Signboard Music Awards and Electric Daisy Carnival.
She was born in Las Vegas and grew up taking martial arts classes and shooting weapons in her yard.
Her customers include Tyson Beckford, Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars.
How did you end up being a bodyguard?
It’s not the sort of industry where you can go to a firm and say, “Hi, this is my resume. I want to be a bodyguard!” I just fell into it.
I was presented to a guy who preferred drivers to pick up talent for the American C and w Awards. When he found out I have a background in martial arts and guns, he hired me to care for his clients. They pertain to Las Vegas for the awards shows, and now they request me personally.
People think this market is really difficult to obtain into, and it is– unless you understand someone.
Who are your most famous customers?
I’ve had one phenomenally popular client. I signed a nondisclosure contract to keep his privacy, however I’ll provide you a hint: He’s incredibly popular with teenagers, and he’s a boy now in his twenties. At one point, his fans were understood for having a specific type of fever.
Other well-known customers include Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas and the Far East Movement.
Are there any benefits to being a female bodyguard?
This made use of to be a male-dominated industry; it still is, but female agents are a hot commodity now. As a lady, you mix in more. If you’re dressed usually, you can pass for an individual assistant. You do not have the stereotyped physical construct individuals connect with bodyguards.
In the past, big people were employed as visual deterrents, however times have altered and the market is altering with it. It’s not just a male’s world anymore. A lot more ladies direct Fortune 500 business, and females commonly prefer a female agent.
There was a ladies’s volleyball competition just recently. They asked for female agents because they said, “We don’t need a man walking our locker location.”
Then there are male customers who are more comfy with female representatives safeguarding their partners and kids. It’s not just celebrities; business executives bring their families on business trips. So there’s a growing need– however there aren’t enough female representatives to fulfill it.
Whatever’s discouraging more women from becoming bodyguards?
It’s unidentified area for females. You’re the new kid on the block, which can be really intimidating.
Speaking from experience, there aren’t enough women out there to give you assistance or point you in the ideal instructions. Those of us who are out there have the tendency to be guarded with our contacts. We do not share that details because it didn’t come to me easily; why am I going to provide it to someone else quickly? You’re safeguarding your income, essentially.
Do you ever have to state no to customers?
A great deal of stars are used to being told yes to everything, however you need to know when to state no.
Some agents think: “I’m going to state yes to my customer no matter what,” since they believe that’s anticipated of them. They’re afraid of losing the customer.
I inform my customers, “There are times when someone has actually got to state no, and I’ll be that individual. I’m not questioning your authority, but you’re paying me to do a task. I have to deciding that I feel are best for me to perform my task.” If that means denying their requests, I’ll do it.
What sorts of things have you had to state no to?
If we’re driving back from rehearsals and my customer wants to open the window and welcome fans, there have actually been times when I have actually said, “That’s not possible.” The fans will certainly turn into a crazy mob, and while the client wants to do something well-meaning, they’re threatening their safety. The fans aren’t destructive, however they get excited. It’s not a regulated environment, so it opens the opportunity for things to fail.
When I was driving a well-known vocalist, and he rolled down the window to wave. The mob got his arm, and we had to stop the automobile. They wouldn’t release, so he unlocked, thinking if he didn’t get out, he ‘d lose his arm. That developed more craze. That’s the worst problem for us. I need to get the client out immediately. It got so insane, he lost half his t-shirt and a fan obtained his watch.
Do people ignore your capability as a bodyguard because you’re a female?
I haven’t had too many issues. It comes down to how you carry yourself and whether you require a presence.
There have been a couple of individuals in the entourage or on the security team who have actually questioned if I’m capable. Then I demonstrate my martial arts or we go to the fitness center or we go shooting, and they see I have valid abilities.
I had an interview with a customer in the jewelry industry. He desired someone to secure him if things went bad. When I informed him about my martial arts background, he pitted me against a man on his group and said, “OK, let’s see how you handle yourself.” I showcased my skills, and it put the client’s mind at ease.
Do clients ever hit on you?
I see it all the time, celebs sleeping with their staffers. Clients in a certain industry are utilized to being informed yes to everything, and they lose fact of exactly what’s appropriate.
Then there are people operating in the industry who see the situation as a chance to make more cash.
It takes two. It takes a single person to say no and the other person to regard that. However it’s hard to walk away from these people. Staffers wonder: “If I turn them down, will this be my last opportunity to work in this market? This person is so popular and well-known, they make one call and I’ll never work once again.”
This isn’t really my only income source, so it’s no loss to me; I can move on. It comes down to self-pride, too. I have a lot, so I’m adamant about limits.
Customers aim to flirt with me, however I make a joke or imitate I didn’t hear it. I still need to deal with them, so the last thing I desire is for them to feel uneasy. One client asked me if I stand out when I see Vietnam, which is where my household is from. I stated yes– my body is a lot thicker. He stated, “That’s how I like ’em!”
I have actually driven one frontman of a rock band, and he was the nicest, most down-to-earth musician I have actually dealt with, really gracious and gentlemanly. He asked if I would like to go to dinner with him, and the fan in me resembled: “I would like to!” However I had to state no. I said, “I am honored and flattered that you provided me a dinner invite. Possibly another time, when I’m not working for you. While I’m working for you, I want to remain professional.” And he stated, “I appreciate that.”
Do you carry a gun, and have you needed to use it?
Most of the time, when I’m out on a task, I carry a gun concealed beneath my clothes. I have actually never had to utilize it, and I believe that boils down to how you carry yourself. If you interact efficiently, there’s no need to take out a weapon. I feel that the minute you draw your weapon, you’ve failed in several steps along the method. To me, drawing a weapon is a last resort, and it shows you’ve failed to manage the scenario.
Have you had to utilize your martial arts skills?
I use martial arts every day, and people don’t recognize it. Martial arts teaches me how to be aware of people, the best ways to read their body movement and their motions. When I’m on a job, I use martial arts to try to find possible problem. State we’re in a club and people are getting rowdy four tables over. It’s my job to assess whether that might develop into a circumstance. Part of my training is to be knowledgeable about my environments, to examine the circumstance and to choose if we stay where we are or transfer to another area.
Would you take a bullet for a client?
I don’t know about taking a bullet, however I ‘d purchase them a hamburger!
I was caring for a band who carried out at the Billboard Music Awards. It was their very first time in Las Vegas, and they wished to go to In-N-Out Burger.
We arrive at 11:50 p.m., but the lady at the counter states they’re closed; the kitchen area is getting cleaned up and the grill is broken down. I said, “These guys simply won an award. Can you make an exception?”
She offered us some french fries but no hamburgers. I stated, “Guys, I’m gon na make this happen for you.”
I went to a customer at the drive-thru and paid him $100 for his burgers. I went back to the people, and they stated, “You just got freakin’ robbed! You’re fantastic!”
Then one notices there isn’t a hamburger for me. So he goes to the drive-thru and pays someone $40 so I can have a hamburger with them.
We have actually all seen ‘The Bodyguard.’ Have you ever fallen in love with a client?
I’ve been with my sweetheart for three years, as well as he asks me: “You ever have crushes on these people you deal with?” I state no, since I do not simply see them at their best; I see them when they slouch and dirty, too.
Exactly what is the most difficult scenario you’ve dealt with as a bodyguard?
Logistics can be the hardest thing for me. I need to get customers to a particular place at a specific time, but they’re not always great time managers. It’s stressful when I work with certain customers due to the fact that they believe, “Oh, everyone will certainly await me.”
I needed to take a popular singer to perform at the White Home Reporters’ Dinner. We were pressed for time, then en route there, she states she wishes to stop at CVS. I’m believing, there’s no way we’re going to make it on time. But you need to pick your fights.
Do you ever get starstruck?
No. Sometimes I do not even understand who they are. After I’ve dealt with them, I Google them.
It’s amusing since you see these people in a film or music video, and you reflect to when you were dealing with them, and you think, “Yeah, that’s typical. He constantly joked around.”
I as soon as worked for Tyson Beckford at a race event, when I see him on “America’s Next Top Model,” I’m like, “I understand that guy, and he sucks on the race track!” So you have your very own little window to a world that not everyone else gets to see.