Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Executive protection
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Anthony Burnside of Lenexa, Kan., is a professional bodyguard. Burnside was working at the Beverly Hilton hotel at a pre-Grammys party hoste...

Anthony Burnside of Lenexa, Kan., is a professional bodyguard. Burnside was working at the Beverly Hilton hotel at a pre-Grammys party hosted by music producer Clive Davis the day Whitney Houston died there. Burnside will be back in Los Angeles working during the Oscar ceremony and after-parties. This conversation took place at a photo studio in Merriam, Kan. Q: Bodyguards have been in the news a lot lately. A: They shouldn't be. It's a very secretive business. I get paid to protect people's secrets. I get calls from TV programs wanting me to dish on clients who are in rehab and stuff like that. I would never do that. What has happened to people like Britney Spears (whose former bodyguard is writing a tell-all book) is wrong. I have a friend who says when that sort of thing happens, "I hope you got a lot of money for that, because you'll never work in EP again." Q: EP? A: Executive protection. We seldom use the term bodyguard, because there's a misperception on the public's part about what that means. Q: Did you see "The Bodyguard"? A: Loved it. Great movie. Extremely unrealistic in some parts. Q: What parts? A: The shootout at the beginning of the movie. That would never happen. First, you would never bring the client out the same door you brought them in through. And you don't get in a shootout with your client there. You don't get in a shootout, period. The best weapon a specialist has is their brain. Q: Specialist? A: That's what we call ourselves, EP specialists. Q: You are big and tall. How important is size? A: Not at all. Look at the Secret Service - they aren't big or tall, but they are some of the best trained men and women on the planet. It has nothing to do with being able to lift weights or do martial arts. It has to do with problem-solving and thinking and advance planning. Q: Do you ever find clients who want a bodyguard that is big and tall for show? A: Yes, and that's exactly what it is - for show. The important work goes on before the client is even there: checking the layout of the building, where the emergency exits are, where the bathrooms are, even checking the air sometimes. Just because you were a Navy SEAL doesn't mean you will make a good bodyguard. It's a specific skill set, just like you wouldn't want a great brain surgeon to do your foot surgery. When you get situations like bodyguards for Justin Bieber attacking a photographer, that's not EP. Those are thugs masquerading as EP. Q: Is it hard to not get sucked up in the glamour surrounding VIP clients? A: The job isn't as glamorous as it seems. There's a certain amount of glamour to it, but mostly it's the most boring job you ever had. And that's the way we like it. We like boring. Q: You don't like excitement, huh? A: Nooooooo. You want it all boring, all day. The average EP detail ranges from 12 to 18 hours. Q: Was there anything in "The Bodyguard" that was realistic? A: Yes. I think a lot of people fall in love with their client, which is the stupidest thing ever. Q: Why? A: When you start sleeping with someone, they don't think they have to pay you. And it compromises your objectivity. Emotions can't play a role in EP. If that ever happens you should remove yourself from the detail. Q: Are there any movies that offer a truer depiction of a bodyguard? A: "In the Line of Fire" was more realistic. Q: What are the skills it takes to be a good bodyguard? A: A good personality. Q: Why? A: Because you have to be smooth like James Bond in any situation. You also need to be very detail-oriented. You have to look at weather maps and research the political climate of a country before the client travels there. And you have to know about the client. If I am going to be guarding you tomorrow, by tomorrow I will know everything there is to know about you. Q: What technical skills are required? A: You have to be able to find hidden electronic devices and prevent them from being placed. I have specialized equipment to do that. Q: Do you ever have clients where part of the job is protecting them from themselves? A: You know, Whitney Houston's bodyguard expressed that it is difficult to protect people from themselves. I agree with that, but I don't agree with him talking to the press about it. We don't judge. If you are my client and you have a drinking problem, that concerns me mainly because people's vices make them vulnerable. Q: Without revealing any identities, can you share with us some unusual situations you have found yourself in? A: Like finding a half-naked woman on my bed when I unlocked the door to my hotel room? Q: Sure, that's unusual. Why did it happen? A: Some people are celebrity groupies, and they try to get to the bodyguards to gain access to the celebrities. They might bribe a maid or a bellhop to let them into the room. Q: What do you do when something like that happens? A: Call security. Q: How can you have a normal social life? A: I don't. Ask any woman I've ever gone out with. I've never been married. It's good for guys and women like me not to be married. Because with the hours you work you can't nurture a relationship like you are supposed to. Maybe I'm not built for that. I don't know. Q: You are in New York and Los Angeles frequently. How many nights a year do you spend in Lenexa? A: Maybe half of them. Q: Why do you live in Lenexa? A: Because I have a son who lives here. He is 15 going on 30. Q: Have you ever become friends with celebrity clients? A: Yes but there are boundaries. You are not there to be your client's friend. But there are exceptions. I became good friends with (comedian) Steve Allen - he was the first person I ever guarded. And Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have invited me to parties when I am off-duty, but I don't go over to their house. I don't know their problems. There are boundaries.


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