When it comes to movies, you'd be better off learning how silencers work from Hollywood than the secrets to success -- which apparently can always be achieved with nothing more than a dream, a secret second mortgage, and a Thomas Newman soundtrack. But in all those hackneyed rags-to-riches tropes does lie one solid piece of advice. It just happens to be the dumbest, dated, and downright most duplicitous of them all: pretend to be your own assistant. 

It may sound like a recipe for wacky hijinks, but making up imaginary PAs in real life has helped launch more people to the big time than any watermarked business cards could. C, B, and soon-to-be-A-list celebrities have all dressed up their voices to impress with great success. Standouts include Australian radio personality Jackie O, who as a starting DJ once managed to pull a "do you know who I work for" on a high-end jewelry store to wear their most expensive pieces to a local red carpet event. Or reality show personality Jennifer Hoffman, who in a meta move pretended to be her personal assistant to book an audition on The Apprentice, the reality TV show where the prize was becoming a … personal assistant. 

That apprentice had learned well at the feet of the master of fake flunkeys, The Apprentice host and former President of Trump Steaks, Donald Trump. According to reports, throughout the '80s and early '90s, it was an open secret that Trump, under the guise of P.R. spokesman "John Miller" (the narcissist's John Smith), would call gossip magazines to plant outlandish stories about himself, like how international model Carla Bruni had dumped Steve Tyler to be with him-- I mean, with Mr. Trump.  

Trump steadfastly denies this is him speaking (apart from that one time he admitted to it under oath in a court of law), but that sure sounds like the same drunken toddler rantings we heard from behind that eagle-seal podium. Eventually, Miller disappeared and was replaced by a rep called John Barron, who we'll just assume happens to have the same name as Trump's youngest son because he named the kid after this random employee and definitely not because Donald Trump is the kind of peabrain who can't think of a decent alias to save his dying career. 

Trump White House Archives

People especially weren’t convinced by Trump’s third spokesman, Erik Donaldjuniorson.

But what if you don't have an ego that stretches further than even your tan lines? Good news, faking employees can not just get people to pay attention to you; it can also get people to leave you the hell alone. Actor David Tennant, overwhelmed by his early fame as the star of Doctor Who and 19 million pages of Sherlock Holmes/The Doctor slashfic, invented Teutonic assistant Mellissa von Stressel to firmly reject celebrity appearance requests without hurting his new reputation.

Catfishing bigots with fake middlemen is a trick women in the workplace have been using for years (one they learned from every minority who wanted to buy a house during Jim Crow). To circumvent part of the everyday sexism and harassment women experience in the workplace, some go-getters have decided to become their own male assistants, who work very much like the fake boyfriends they mention to keep the creep with vodka breath from following you out of the bar. 

And it doesn't just work for assistants. You can invent just about any type of co-worker to take a bigoted bullet for you. To assuage the backward concerns of their boomer investors, Witchsy founders Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer decided to add some male confidence to their weird art startup by invented a fictitious third cofounder called Keith -- assumedly after a night of heavy drinking and discovering The Associate on Netflix. 

(Two random Trump references in one article. What is this, 2017 again?). It may seem like a risky move, but if you've ever wanted to experience the power of being your own flunkey, there's really is no time like the present. After all, we're still mostly working remotely. Also, we've gotten pretty good at pretending to be someone we're not during work hours – in this case, a fully clothed employee who doesn't get high right before Zoom meetings.

You can follow Cedric on Twitter, where all bad tweets are written by his assistant … Cirdec? Yeah, that adds up.

Top Image: BBC

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