Everyone Who’s Anyone Is Getting a Bodyguard

VICE News’ Complexify series takes you down the rabbit hole, to show you why just about everything is more convoluted than you think.
February 27, 2021, 1:30pm

Disease. Riots. Widespread inequality. These words might signal bad news for most people, but for bodyguards they’re the ticket to opportunity. Reportedly, the personal security business has been thriving lately, particularly in cities like New York and Hong Kong that have been rocked by massive protests and political unrest. Companies, too, have been boost in security spending, like Facebook, which faces escalating annual costs, ranging into the tens of millions, to protect unpopular CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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But while you might think more of bodyguards trailing celebrities, politicians, and titans of industry, these days even non-famous rich people are getting in on the act, enabled by convenient, on-demand options like Bond—an app that’s been described as “Uber for bodyguards.” 

But choosing a bodyguard isn’t as easy as grabbing the nearest hunk and handing him an earpiece. Every bodyguard is a special snowflake, with different skills and credentials. Many, for example, boast tough-guy bonafides from a law enforcement background, while others attend trade schools and learn how to scan crowds for threats and scoop clients to safety. Certain personal security agents double as chauffeurs, while others learn cybersecurity to protect you from digital threats. Then there’s Nannyguards, whose personnel are experts in both childcare and security. And for high-net-worth types who like to terrorize the commoners, there are also bodyguards who make excellent hired goons, enthusiastically thumping anyone who annoys their gold-plated patrons.

But while bodyguards may operate in the vicinity of wealth, that doesn’t mean they’re making a bundle themselves. In the U.S. they can earn anywhere from minimum wage to six figures per year, with the average annual salary around $50,000-65,000. Still, if you’re banking on a guard  being willing to take a bullet for you, they’d probably be much more inclined if they had health insurance. That’s why the very wisest plutocrats and autocrats (really any kind of crats) know how to treat their security staff well—like Russian President Vladimir Putin, who reportedly rewards his bodyguards with land and power. 

For this episode of Complexify, we tactically assessed the world of close protection, escorting you safely to the unguarded truth about personal security.