In this humorous and insightful memoir, Edison native Jayne Larson inadvertently becomes a royal family’s servant.
As a struggling actress in Los Angeles, Larson decides chauffeuring the Hollywood elite might be a creative approach to networking with producers and agents. When a high-end limo company hires her, she hears buzz about a large royal Saudi family that travels every summer to Beverly Hills for shopping and plastic surgery. Even though the 24/7 shifts would be exhausting, the tips at the end of the job are rumored to be as high as $20,000. As one of 10 New Jersey siblings, Larson thinks she’s prepared to handle the demands of a big family.
The Saudis prove to be extravagant, arriving with suitcases filled with $20 million in cash, receiving daily face-lifts and breast enhancements, and reserving a hotel room just for preparing tea. The princesses aren’t shy about asking her to buy 30 bottles of a particular brand of hair-removal cream and nearly 60 $500 brassieres.
These errands are put on Larson’s shoulders—the only female in the Saudis’ team of 40 drivers. “My sense of what was important was so skewed at this point that somehow I equated my undergarment treasure hunt with something of great significance—as if what I was doing would better the world in some way,” she writes.
The combination of the male-dominated chauffeur industry and the inherent sexism of Saudi culture takes its toll; Larson is taken advantage of, overlooked or harassed daily. At the end of the seven-week job, she realizes the extent of her cultural naiveté.