With more than a few stories up his sleeve, Sean Borg has had a fascinating life. He has rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous and had a few mystery romances and relationships with A-list celebrities himself, on which he remains tight-lipped. Let’s see if we can prise him open to tell all.
Former London “It-Boy” turned-lifestyle and travel expert Sean Borg, is sass with a dose of shock and often a little outspoken. The tone in his voice can sometimes come across as prickly. Not in the wrong way, but more of an honest one. He’s sharp and straightforward. Surprisingly, he’s more of a no-nonsense type than I expected him to be. He says it how it is.
His roots in showbusiness started when he attended the famous Sylvia Young Theater School in London, back in 1982. As a young Sean, he enjoyed classes in singing, dancing, and acting; it was a place he felt at home, and as the years flew by, Sean has had the chance to work in many areas of the enter
He is primarily known for tracking the stars and other famous-ish things. He described a 1996 encounter with the late Hollywood icon, Elizabeth Taylor, when he was invited to the home of South African business magnate, Sol Kerzner, in the South of France. “Elizabeth allowed my friend Julia Verdin to take a snap of us with my Kodak disposable camera. I cheekily put my arm around Elizabeth’s waist as we posed,” he said.
“For a split second, she looked a little taken aback. Perhaps I had crossed the line, I thought. But then she smiled at me and moved in closer. She smelt as beautiful as she looked. It was that cozy. She gave me her home number. Well, it was her assistant’s number at the house. We kept in touch. I even went to a few dinners there. She was exceptional.”
The last time Sean saw ‘Liz’ was at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards in November 2005, when ‘Dame’ Elizabeth, DBE was presented with the ‘Britannia Award’ for ‘Artistic Excellence in International Entertainment.’
He recalls: “Elizabeth arrived being pushed in a wheelchair as they announced her award. She still looked amazing, and every inch the star—as always. But it was sad to see her so confined. I got to say hello, but I’m not sure she recognized me. Maybe she did. She wasn’t the same person.”
Sean’s stories have made news across the world — from Heath Ledger’s death to the much-publicized family Beckham’s make-ups and breakups.
He has been at the center of celebrity’s lives since he left school, in London, back in 1986. Then, he was often spotted bopping around top nightclubs, The Wag, and Double Bass, rubbing shoulders with members of Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran and even had pigtail-pulling spats with Boy George in the Limelight club (he did, really).
He said, “I was like fifteen or sixteen years old running around London nightclubs alone, I had a couple of friends with me from time to time — Gary and Michael, but I was always the leader when it came to mischief
“It was 1986, and I would find myself in the homes of Freddie Mercury, or John Reid (Sir Elton John’s former manager). I was around really famous people. One night, I remember seeing Princess Diana and Fergie (The Duchess of York) standing in someone’s kitchen at this house party. I mean for real. Diana was right there in front of me, hanging out just like everybody else in the kitchen. After five minutes, the excitement of seeing her wore off and I would go over to chat with George Michael. Very weird.”
At this stage of the interview, he pauses, he then drifts off for a split-second into deep thought, as if deliberating on whether to tell me more. “Hmm, no, I won’t tell you that part,” he said.
He then loosely explains he went on “dates” on and off over a few years with someone very famous from back then. “I was so young, but I wasn’t if you know what I mean. OK, let’s move on.”
And that was all he would say about his secret dates with the famous mystery person.
Over the years, Sean has sipped cocktails with a plethora of well-known celebrities including Belinda Carlisle, Patsy Kensit, Samantha Fox, and Banaramma and he had a “close” relationship with European pop-star and heartthrob — Nathan Moore, the singer from chart-topping bands Brother Beyond and Worlds Apart (pictured below). The pair grew close in the summer of 1991 and lived together spending time between London and LA until 2006 — the year they grew apart.
Despite that—while reminiscing over his years with Moore, he said, “Ah, Nathan. A wonderful man. He is a good guy and very kind-hearted. We had some great adventures.” His eyes fill with emotion, and he draws a deep breath. He continues, “I love knowing he’s found happiness. I listen to his songs now and then. I was singing along to ‘Be My Twin’ (to myself) just the other day. Silly. But that though is all I will say on the subject of Mr. Moore.”
Today, almost three decades on from the ‘wild-child’ party days in London, Sean—a youthful 51-year-old, with looks that strikingly resemble a younger Paul McCartney, has mildly become a celebrity himself. He lives in California, spending time between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Surprisingly, he is mature, still fresh-faced, and always rubbing shoulders with the right people.
He says it’s hard growing up in LA—a place he has lived for most of his adult life. “People always ask me: how old are you? Or, What do you do? It’s a shallow place,” he said.
“I’m getting older!” he continued. “I have become more aware of time, and I have much more experience with people, good and bad. And it becomes about your wins and losses—the older you get, they don’t seem like so much of a win or so much of a loss. Who you spend your time with, and how you spend time—it has become much more important to me. It’s much easier to walk away from people that are bad for you, even though you still might enjoy them. 2019 has not been a fun year.”
Sean became one of the original cast members of TMZ.com and TMZ on TV, he had a short stint with New York Post’s Page SIX column and was a regular face on TV Guide’s Hollywood 411 with Chris Harrison. Sean is fashionable, in a GQ kind of way. He is often seen splashed across social media with celebrities, in particular, playing arm-candy for leggy socialite Lady Victoria Hervey (pictured below).
Sean Borg appears to have met everyone worth meeting, from Oprah to Hillary Clinton. So, what’s he all about? Verna Magazine wanted to find out.
Sean, what did you want to do growing up?
I was never quite sure. I thought I wanted to be an actor, so I attended the Sylvia Young Theater School in London and did drama, dance, and singing classes. I loved it there and, I still have lots of friends in show business as a result of being part of that stable. Sylvia Young launched my showbiz passions. Looking back now, it all makes sense — I much preferred being behind the scenes. I think that’s why I gravitated towards a career in news.
What was your first job in broadcasting?
My first proper job was working as a researcher and assistant producer at Bob Geldof’s company, Planet 24. I worked on a show called The Word, for Channel 4, UK. It was a big hit on British telly. My segment was called “The Gossip” — no surprise there. I used to unearth shameful videos from famous people’s past. It was a popular part of the series, a lot of fun and all very tongue-in-cheek.
How did you get from London to the entertainment capital of L.A.?
My first trip to L.A. as an adult was in 1989; I spent two weeks mostly star spotting. I went back a year later for the whole summer with Tamara Beckwith (pictured above) and 80s Wild Child, Emma Ridley (pictured below). We hit the party scene a lot, and I knew then, I was going to live here one day. In 1991, I went back with Nathan — the singer from Brother Beyond, and we decided to rent a flat. I was there for about six months with Nath,’ and I went back to London to work on The Word.
Was your path the “typical path” into broadcasting?
No, nothing I do is typical! I have had to work very hard for my place in the industry. I’ve endured a lot of disappointment over the years and made many mistakes, but it makes one stronger and better at their job if they apply the ups and downs as a skill to conquer. For me now, when taking on any working role, it’s about bringing my personal experience, my humor, my own, um, embarrassments, and my pains. I still have a finger on the pulse, as much as any twenty-five-year-old has. It’s about being a “creative.” Bringing in creative elements. It doesn’t just happen; it’s a process. You have to understand all the areas of the business. I think what sets me apart from others, is; I will take a few risks — I often say to myself, “Well if it all fails, then f**k it, let’s start again!” (Laughs)
Is it hard keeping up with the speed of technology?
Sometimes, yes. It’s funny when a young kid says, ‘press this button, press that button,’ and suddenly you have a TV studio on an app on your phone. You have to listen and learn and stay current. In the nineties, the singer Seal, with Adamski was making No.1 records at home. Today, young people are making TV shows on their phones. You have to get your head around it. I have so many notches, in so many areas of the entertainment industry under my belt — I mean, I have tried it all. I have PR’d people to the front pages of newspapers and magazines worldwide, I have produced TV shows, hosted on TV, been the face of brands myself, and nowadays, on top of that, you have to understand SEO, and the many social media platforms and so on. I can use all of that knowledge to my advantage to help others.
“I don’t like having my career categorized as a showbiz gossip guru, or “gossip gangster,” that’s Perez Hilton’s crown to wear.” — Sean Borg
You chose the “showbiz gossip” route, was this your intention?
No, not at all. I don’t like having my career categorized as a showbiz gossip guru, or “gossip gangster,” that’s Perez Hilton’s crown to wear (pictured). I’m not a gossipmonger at all. I don’t even like gossip! Most of the stuff I write comes directly from the source, and they want me to place it. The things I used to write didn’t hurt anyone; it’s planted strategically for the source’s benefit. I’ve worn many hats in my industry. Being pigeonholed is out-of-date, but people still do it. I rarely write for any tabloids these days, it’s not my thing.
What was it like working at TMZ?
It was short-lived by all accounts, but I did love it there. I was one of the original TMZ on TV cast. I remember my job interview with TMZ very well. I had to cut a package for Harvey, showing my news-telling skills. I put together an item on Amy Winehouse, who was in the news a lot then. And apparently (this is true) while I was reviewing my contract, Harvey played my test story in a staff meeting and said: “This guy’s got it right. This is spot on.” He was talking about my work. I was quite chuffed when I heard that. I never let on I knew what he’d said.
Most people look at your job and think it must be so glamorous. What would people be surprised to know about it?
It’s not glamorous at all. It’s full of very competitive, and negative people ready to pull you down if you allow. You have to be one step ahead at all times. One is only as good as their last scoop, which is why I won’t chase breaking-news. It’s exhausting.
abloid fame distorts real talent. Successful people often go off the rails when instant recognition strikes their lives.” — Sean Borg on Fame.
Why do people crave fame so much?
Perhaps they lack self-worth? I don’t know. We live in an age where one’s next-door neighbor, the person at the checkout or bartender serving you a cocktail could become the next YouTube or Instagram star. Honestly? I wouldn’t wish that kind of “disposable fame” on anyone. Fame is an illusion — that’s all; it tricks people it into thinking they have everything. Most of the famous people I know aren’t happy, even talented ones. They feel the need to be mentioned in the press daily to be complete. They suffer from what I call, “it’s never enough” syndrome. The money that comes with fame is excellent, and the freedom the payment brings. But, if one is so famous, then one is not exactly free, I suppose. Anyway, tabloid fame distorts real talent. Successful people often go off the rails when instant recognition strikes their lives.
Speaking of tabloids, what are your views on the way news is delivered today?
It’s gotten way out of hand, and even I don’t believe half the things I read anymore. It’s a scary time for high profile people. Their fame cannot protect them. I feel bad for the innocent ones though, the ones accused of things they didn’t do. And I feel bad for the victims of the ruthless, corrupt and powerful. I know people on both sides.
You are considered to be a bit of an influential Brit in LA. How did you acquire that status?
(Laughs) I don’t think I’m influential at all. I happen to know a lot of well-known people. David Furnish (pictured) is a prominent Brit in my opinion, so is James Corden. But to consider me that way? Ha! Well, I guess I am known by a lot of influential people, but that doesn’t necessarily make me an influential person, does it? But anyway, thanks, if you think of me that way I must be doing something right.
“She is a brilliant girl. I can be razzle-dazzle on a red carpet with her at Elton and David’s bash, or feet up on the sofa watching a movie scoffing on popcorn. She’s a good friend.” — Sean Borg on Lady Victoria Hervey.
Tell us about your “close” friendship with British Aristocrat and Model, Lady Victoria Hervey?
I’ve known her for a good twenty years now. What do you want to know? “Lady V” is the most ordinary and down-to-earth person you could ever imagine. Believe it or not. I can be razzle-dazzle on a red carpet with her at Elton and David’s bash, or feet up on the sofa watching a movie scoffing on popcorn. We are good friends. It takes time for her to gain one’s trust. I think she is an excellent businesswoman and a popular addition to our circle. I am proud to call her a friend.
Can you tell me how you met presidential candidate Hillary Clinton?
I got invited to CAA agent Bryan Lourd’s home in Beverly Hills for a meet-and-greet. There I was in line with everyone else — Morgan Freeman, Gavin Newsom, Anna Wintour. It was seriously A-list. I looked smart in a grey Gucci suit and my nineties electric-blue Gucci “GG” tie. Love that tie, I bought it in 1997! Anyway, my turn came for the big handshake — or “power-shake” as I called it, and I thought to myself — I have to make Hillary laugh, and I did.
What did you say to her?
I was slightly overfamiliar; I addressed her as “Hills.” I said, “Hey Hills, nice to meet you,” and she giggled at me, “Hi, oh, hey, you’re British!” I think that went down well with her. I so wanted her to win; she worked hard. There was a rumor at the time that she was planning a secret visit to Palm Springs; we talked about that for a second. I took advantage of my time with her. She was cool. A few people behind me were huffing and puffing, as if to say, “Hurry the frizz up.” I was sad and ever-so upset that she didn’t win. I cocooned myself for a few days after. I would love to see her run again. She should!
And now you’re supporting Democratic Presidential candidate, Kamala Harris. Is that right?
Yes, why not? It’s still early days yet. My emotions regarding politics swings in roundabouts right now. As I watch the debates unfolding, it’s so easy to go off people running. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with Kamala. I have enjoyed following Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg politically too. It’s all so up in the air. But I would like to see a woman running the country. I love America!
So if I dare mention Donald Trump at this point, which words spring to mind?
It’s so noisy in the news—daily. It’s painful to read the crap. Let me be clear about something, I am not anti-republican, and I am not anti-Trump. Well, I might be anti-President Trump, but I am certainly not anti-Donald Trump. There are two people here. I loved watching The Apprentice, and I have enjoyed reading about him from time to time in the press. His life as a celebrity was glamorous. Look, Oprah once said, ‘pick a lane and stay in it,’ I sometimes wonder, if President Trump wished he’d stayed in his lane? Being the president must be scary. He’s up against it. Not a minute goes by when someone isn’t sticking the knife in him; attacked continuously. He is doing a job he didn’t study for, surrounded by people with more knowledge in the field than he has. But he is living the American dream. Against all the odds, he became the President of the United States. Good for him. There are things I like about him, and there are things I don’t.
What was the story behind you wearing the Plastic Jesus T-shirt “Stop Making Stupid People Famous”? Isn’t that a contradictory statement coming from someone like you?
Yes, it is contradictory coming from me, as I have made so many “stupid people famous”. That’s the point. Plus, wearing the T-shirt is my homage to Plastic Jesus. I love his work!
Tell me something about you?
I love to laugh. Anyone who knows me will know that if I’m not laughing, then I am not happy. The pictures of me smiling at this shoot are real. I was roaring with laughter today. I love having fun; I love laughing. People need to lighten up and laugh a lot more!
Who is your most famous follower on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook?
I’ve had quite a few actually (laughs)… Piers Morgan, though knowing him he’ll probably unfollow me after reading this just to make a point, I’ve known him for years. Dash Mihok, who plays Bunchy on “Ray Donovan.” Richie Sambora, Richie’s famous… You know, the guy who used to be in Bon Jovi? That hot “20/20” news reporter, Matt Gutman follows me. American singer, Joy Villa… if you know her? I’m quite sure Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley followed me. Umm, Boy George, Paris Hilton, Josh Flagg — (Million Dollar Listing), Tamara Beckwith, Nikki Lund, Lady Victoria Hervey. Naomi Campbell (If she still does), Clare Brockett from “Towie” — (The Only Way Is Essex) — does that count? I’ve known Clare since she was about 15 [seriously]… Oh, and that zombie killer, Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), he follows me! Is that good enough?
Tell me a funny memory from your days in Hollywood?
That’s a tough one! Um, ooh. Oh, I know, I was at Book Soup, a book store in West Hollywood with Nathan back in 1996 and Brad Pitt was standing right next to us browsing through GQ. He was actually reading his own cover interview in the magazine. That was funny…Nathan was really impressed with seeing him, but I kind of shrugged it off. I don’t know why — I remember not caring about it that much.
Um, hmm, (laughs), Oh gosh… Um, oh, I know, The Time Travelers Wife!
Watch it, it’s a great film for many different reasons that only matter to me.
What is one of your biggest pet peeves?
Being labeled “Socialite.” I’ve worked hard all my life. (He then picks up his phone and Google’s Socialite) — ‘Socialite — a person who is well known in fashionable society and is fond of social activities and entertainment.’ Ok, that is me, I guess, but with a job! (Laughs).
Describe to me your personal style?
Style-wise, I’m sometimes preppy. I love a clean-cut look, Hugo Boss, Theory, Cole Haan. I like fitted jackets. I want to look smart. I still love a skinny jean or a cigarette leg. I pray flared pants NEVER come back in fashion, for men, anyway. And of course I love Gucci, Paul Smith, Tom Ford, Dsquared2, Louis Vuitton, blah, blah. I do love a good label, but not like T. shirts with “G U C C I”, or “L V” emblazoned all over them, no, no, I don’t want to look like a rapper or a D.J! Overall, though I am no chiseled, heartthrob, I’d say I am classic, casual, clean and smart. That is how I would describe my look.
Any other advice you have for people looking to break into your field?
Get to know as many people in the industry, from every area. I have in my phonebook, lawyers, producers, directors, casting directors, managers, agents, PRs, actors, actresses, journalists, and celebrities, even police. I mean, get to know everyone you can. It is about who you know. And if you can pack your phone with those kinds of people, then you must be good at what you do. I can open many doors with my contacts, and that’s a game-changer.
And finally, are you going to tell me about your famous mystery romance?
NO, it’ll all be in my book, if I ever become well known enough to do one.