A celebrity bodyguard turned Hollywood actor has revealed what it’s really like protecting A-list clients.
While working with celebrities across the fashion world, Simon became known for his impeccable style – being hailed by British Vogue as the ‘real style star of London Fashion Week’.
He has since turned his attention to pursuing a film career, having already starred as a body double for Dave Bautista in 2018 thriller Final Score and acting alongside Robert Downey Jr in Sherlock Holmes a Game of Shadows.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Simon revealed how he became the top choice for celebrities around the world, as well as sharing some weird and wonderful stories from throughout his career.
Simon Newton, 42, from London, (pictured left), is known for being a bodyguard to some of the most famous people in the world including Michael Jackson. He is pictured with Jackson at the 2006 World Music Awards
After leaving school Simon carried out a Mechanical Engineering apprenticeship before joining the Royal Corps of Signals, one of the combat support arms of the British Army, in 2000.
He served in Canada and on operations in Iraq for four years before leaving the military in 2004 and starting his career in the Private Security.
‘When I was a child being a solider is all I wanted to be’, said Simon. ‘The army is big on personal discipline, that definitely helps if you want to become a bodyguard.’
Simon began working as a bodyguard in the Middle East for the American oil company KBR. After a number of years operating in Iraq he was appointed as a Close Protection Officer with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Afghanistan.
His roster of clients includes model Kendall Jenner, as well as supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. He is pictured with Jenner in London
In addition to working in the Middle East, Simon was involved with Maritime Security as a Ship Security Officer preventing pirates operating in the Indian Ocean.
‘I was in the military before so it was kind of a natural progression’, explained Simon. ‘Being a bodyguard is not something I thought I would be doing as a child but I always knew I wanted to be a soldier’.
Simon’s first A-list client came in 2006, when he received an unexpected call asking him to look after Michael Jackson during his visit to London for the World Music Awards.
The bodyguard said he still has no idea who recommended him to work for Michael, insisting the call was ‘totally out the blue and unexpected’.
During his time as a bodyguard he has looked after Middle Eastern royalty, members of parliament, along with news and TV crews – but says that no celebrity has ever phased him.
‘I’ve never been someone to have heroes or anything like that’, said Simon. ‘Anytime I looked after a celebrity it was always just another job to me.’
He went on to say that he hasn’t had a favourite celebrity, and that each of his clients has ‘treated me well’ – although his gruelling shift patterns could sometimes see him working over 100 hours a week.
Throughout his bodyguard career, Simon would often dress to impress the paparazzi – routinely styling his dapper tailored suits with a signature Hermes belt. The pair are pictured attending a Dior Backstage party in 2018
‘There is always lots to do when managing the security of a celebrity’, said Simon. ‘The planning before you move anywhere can take up a lot of time, sometimes time you don’t have.
‘Also, the working day is long, you wake up before them and you go to sleep after them. Often you can do a 16 hour day and work seven days a week.’
Simon, who has worked with supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, says his visibility depends on ‘the environment you’re in’, and that he would often match his client’s outfit choices depending on what they were doing that day.
‘It just depends what you are doing and the environment you’re in,’ he explained. ‘Sometimes you can be in the background slightly, other times you need to be visible.
‘I always used to try and dress to fit in with the day’s activities and a gentle approach to dealing with the public always worked well for me. No one wants an overbearing bodyguard.’
As for some of the stranger requests Simon has had, he recalled when an unnamed client asked him to take her dog to Harrods pet store and dye her dog blue, admitting: ‘We did get some strange looks walking down Knightsbridge after’.
British Vogue branded Simon a star of London fashion week after he attended with one of his clients, Bella Hadid. The pair are pictured attending a Dior Backstage party in 2018
DIE HARD FANS
While Simon managed to keep star-struck fans at bay during his career, he says that Michael Jackson had so many admirers that he needed five bodyguards to travel with him at once.
‘Michael Jackson was always going to be a difficult job’, said Simon. ‘His fan base followed him everywhere. Due to his fan base being so large I was one of five bodyguards.
‘He did have a lot of die-hard fans that would follow us in taxis. They had paid for them for the whole day. Also ,he had a number of regular fans that would follow him all over the world 365 days a year.
Speaking of how he found Michael personally, Simon added: ‘Michael was a nice guy, always had a lot of time for his fans and was very professional to deal with.’
HOLLYWOOD FILM CAREER
Simon is pictured with Kendall Jenner in 2015 as she leaves a Topshop Unique fashion show in central London
Simon began pursuing a career in the film industry while still working in security, but in 2018 decided to pack in being a bodyguard and follow his passion of becoming an actor.
Though Simon still owns a private security company based in Central London, he finished acting school last year and has since been signed to SD Talent Management as a full-time professional actor.
‘Sometimes I don’t watch some of the stuff I’ve been in’, he explained. ‘I have some bigger roles coming up at the start of next year so that will be interesting to play more complex roles.’
The actor, who has featured in various TV projects including BBC drama Strike, has two movies in the pipeline, one of which is due to start filming in January 2022.
‘Unfortunately, I am unable to mention too much detail as it’s early on in the production process’, said Simon. ‘I do have my sights set on being involved in a Bond movie. Myself and my agent are both working towards making that happen in the future.’
FASHION RISING STAR
Throughout his bodyguard career, Simon would often dress to impress the paparazzi – routinely styling his dapper tailored suits with a signature Hermes belt.
And his impeccable taste in clothes caught the eye of the fashion world, with British Vogue branding Simon a star of London fashion week, which he attended in 2018 with Bella Hadid.
‘I have always loved fashion, ever since I was a child, so to be credited by Vogue can’t be a bad thing can it!’, said Simon.
‘Fashion isn’t something I would speak about really. I have my own ideas and thoughts and what looks good on me and what doesn’t.
‘I’ve never really asked for advice or anything like that on fashion. I just wear what I like. I like to look smart and presentable day-to-day, I always think if you look and feel good – it sets you up for the day.’