Rave's Review

Ex-publicist Robert Rave's new novel Spin is poised to do for the world of PR what The Devil Wears Prada did for fashion mags. So don't be surprised if Lizzie Grubman has a comment any minute now.

BY Corey Scholibo

August 19 2009 12:00 AM ET

LIZZIE GRUBMAN X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

But it was fun too?Yeah, there were fun elements. We did album release parties and movie stuff. As a publicist, though, you are working those parties. So it is not like you are in the thick of it. I went last night to the premiere of the new Ashton Kutcher movie Spread. And I told my friend when we were looking at the publicist, “I couldn't do this again.” Just that frenzied, nervous publicist face. For the first couple of years after I left PR, when I would go to events, I would just snap into that again.

It is a sort of heightened state, almost like kicking into a survival mode. A state of anxiety.Yes, a heightened state of anxiety would be a great way to describe it. Now I have gone to the opposite extreme. I still can enjoy going to events, but I would rather just stay home or go to dinner with friends. It maybe comes with age as well. I mean, I am 35 now, but it just doesn't mean that much to me anymore.

What do you think draws someone to want to be a publicist?I think initially it is about the excitement of it, and about going to the events and the parties and thinking, I'm going to hang out with this one and be a part of that world. But at the end of the day… you have to remember that you are working for someone and they are your client, whether it is a celebrity or a corporation. They are not your best friend and they shouldn't be. But a lot of times those lines get blurred.

And they never got blurred for you?Not so much. I kept a couple of friends from when I was a publicist like Billie Myers, the singer. She's one of those people where the line got blurred and we just became friends. But it never got blurred with like, "Send me free clothes," if I was working with a fashion house or something.

You mean you never took advantage of your comps?Oh, well, yeah [laughs]. I never did afterwards, but while I was there, sure. But the philosophy behind free dinners or whatnot was that I would sit down with the chefs and they would be like, "Tell me what you like, really. You're our biggest mouthpiece." So I wouldn't feel as guilty about that, and to be honest with you I didn't really take advantage of that.

When you were in it, did you feel the objective skepticism you have now, or at a certain point had you completely bought into the culture and started drinking the Kool-Aid?I think to some degree you have to. I think it becomes very transparent if you are pitching a product or a person you don't believe in. Also, for example, I worked with this one off-Broadway performer and I was invested in it, thinking, Look, if she doesn't get this press she isn't going to get the ticket sales, and if she doesn't get the ticket sales she isn't going to be able to afford her rent this month. So I would buy into it that much, but I never got that bug of like, "I'm self-important because I am a publicist." I was actually more like, "I could get fired at any minute." Publicists are very expendable.

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