A few years ago CNN interviewed me about starting Contact Any Celebrity.
It was a full-circle moment because I had interned in CNN’s public relations department during my junior year of college.
This had nothing to do with getting me on!
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Tips I had learned at the National Publicity Summit.
Here’s the interview if you’d like to see it.
CNN: So, who is your favorite celebrity? Is it Britney Spears? Maybe it’s Oprah. Well, have you ever thought about contacting them? Every weekend here on Pipeline we like to bring you something different and interesting from the world of entertainment. So today, we have with us an entrepreneur, whose passion for collecting autographs of the rich and famous led him to create a database of celebrity contacts.
Now Jordan McAuley has a book titled the Celebrity Black Book and a Web site with 55,000 of who’s who in entertainment. So if you’re like me, you’re curious about his little black book.
Jordan is here with us now to tell us more. Jordan, thank you so much for joining us today on CNN Pipeline.
Jordan: Thank you for having me.
CNN: Jordan I want to say not only a little black book because I have it right here and it’s more like a really really big black book! It’s gigantic. How many names do you have in this thing?
Jordan: There are over 55,000 names in the book, everybody from actors to athletes, musicians, politicians, even reality TV stars. We have pretty much everybody in the book.
CNN: I know, I’ve been thumbing through it and it’s amazing, I mean just the range. You know, I’m curious about your background. How did this all get started? I know that you said that you like to collect autographs.
Jordan: Right. Well, I used to collect autographs when I was about 13 just as a hobby, something to do. I’ve always loved celebrities and loved the movies. When I was in high school I started compiling the addresses that were working into what I called a celebrity address list, and I started selling that by mail order just to make some extra money. And by the time I got to college around 1996 — I went to film school — I started creating my Web site Contact Any Celebrity which now is the online database where 55,000 celebrities are inside with their agents and managers and publicists. Any way you’d want to contact a celebrity is in that database.
CNN: And you were saying that you started this as a way to make money. Did it make you rich? Were you making a lot of money?
Jordan: Not in the beginning. In the beginning like any entrepreneur, I think I had $15 and I bought a Web site creation package and I sort of just learned along the way. And now it does make a lot of money.
CNN: Excellent. Well, let’s talk about the book now. Was it difficult for you to compile all of these contacts, and who was difficult to get?
Jordan: Well I’ve learned through trial and error over the years. Like I said I went to film school so that helped a little bit with learning how to deal with agents and managers. We get their client lists every week. One of the hardest people to find — although we have pretty much everyone in the book and in the database — for some reason Yoko Ono has been really difficult to find. She’s really mysterious, we don’t know where she is.
CNN: I think I know that she lives across the street from Central Park. I didn’t say that.
Jordan: Right. We try not to provide home addresses, that’s one thing I want to be really clear about. Everything is an agent, a manager, a publicists, like I said a production company, maybe a personal assistant, sometimes the celebrity’s personal PO box where they would rather get their fan mail, but we don’t provide any kind of personal home addresses.
CNN: Well that’s really interesting. Have you ever had a celebrity come after you and say hey, you need to remove me from your book I’m not happy about this.
Jordan: I’ve actually never had anybody in the ten years I’ve been doing this want to be removed. We have a lot of celebrities will contact us and say you know maybe change my information I’m with a new management company. Like I said we have a lot of managers and agents that send us their client lists every week. So we find that people really do want to be included.
CNN: They do. OK. I wanted to ask you this because people become really celebrity obsessed. Do people ever, in turn, begin stalking you about their celebrity?
Jordan: I don’t get stalked about the celebrity. We do get some crazy fan mail. People sometimes think that our address is the address they should be sending their mail to instead of finding out the celebrity’s correct address. So we do sometimes read some crazy letters.
CNN: Like what? You have to tell us. You gotta fill us in here.
Jordan: There was one man that wanted to have the bottom of his pool tiled to look like Angelina Jolie so he could I guess float on top of it and look down on her.
CNN: Oh, you’re kidding me!
Jordan: No. There was another man who wanted to contact Daryl Hannah from Splash because he wanted to have a mermaid’s tail surgically implanted on his legs so he could be a mermaid.
CNN: Wait! What did you just say? He wanted Daryl Hannah’s mermaid tail surgically implanted on his legs?
Jordan: Right. He wanted to contact Daryl Hannah to get her mermaid tail. I guess he thinks she owns it from Splash and wanted to have it surgically implanted on his feet. At least that’s what he told us, I’m not sure.
CNN: Now what do you do in a situation like that? What did you say to him?
Jordan: We usually just refer him back to our Web site and say you know you can find her contact information there. But it is fun to read the letters like I said there are a lot of crazy requests that we get.
CNN: And I understand as well that a lot of celebrities have taken part in charity. Is that thanks to you?
Jordan: It’s thanks to the information in our database. We list the charitable causes that all of the celebrities contribute to whether it be cancer or AIDS. That’s something that I like doing the most. We have a lot of nonprofits and a lot of charities that use our service. What they’ll do is send off letters requesting autographed and celebrity memorabilia, and then they’ll hold a celebrity autograph auction whether it’s live or silent or sometimes on online services like eBay. And what they’ll do is they’ll raise thousands of dollars for their organization and it cost them nothing more than some postage and some volunteers to send the letters out.
CNN: Jordan I understand that you’ve also been contacted by news organizations, maybe even CNN in order to get in contact with somebody else.
Jordan: Right. Larry King Live contacted us right after the tsunami to contact Petra Nemcova, the supermodel that was injured in the tsunami. They said that they couldn’t find her information anywhere. We were able to get her agent and a few days later, actually I think it was only two days later, she was on Larry King Live. So I like to think we had something to do with that.
CNN: Jordan on a more personal note, how many autographs do you think you have?
Jordan: Well I kind of stopped collecting autographs when I was younger. At the time I had several hundred. Now I prefer working with like I said nonprofits, small businesses, fans, authors and writers and helping them contact celebrities whether just to send a fan letter or to get a speaker at an agent, to raise money for their charity, to get a testimonial to put on the cover of their book. Those are the things I focus on now.
CNN: If you would like to find out how you or your organization can contact a celebrity, you can always log on to Jordan’s Web site. That’s www.ContactAnyCelebrity.com or you can always go the hard copy route and buy the Celebrity Black Book.