Secret Life of an Anonymous Speechwriter to the Stars
At work, I’m a ghost: always heard, never seen. But mastering the voices of celebrities and politicians helped me learn to speak for myself.
Illustrations by Genevieve Ashley
I write speeches for people who can barely read their scripts because public speaking makes them nervous (statistically, public speaking is the number one fear, worse even than death). I write for people who are so compelling and beautiful that they could recite the alphabet and get a standing ovation. I write arguments that are recited in the House and Senate, in the seats of power. My words are on television and in stadiums that hold thousands of eager listeners. I’m not there at all. The speeches, toasts and rallying cries I write go further than I ever will: I may not be seen, but I am heard. The words that do not matter when I speak for myself are amplified when I put them in the mouths of others. Because as anyone knows, it’s not just the words that matter. It’s who says them, and when, and how.
Before I started writing for reality TV stars, musicians, political leaders and lecturers, I assumed that everyone wrote their own lines. Why wouldn’t I t…
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