If you see an A-list celebrity on the East End, chances are Michael Heller isn’t far away.
As we all know, the Hamptons is a summertime playground for the brightest stars in society. Where they hang out while summering in the Hamptons just matters. As a VIP room manager in his early career, Heller recognized this, and it is the bedrock on which his career is built.
Heller is a lawyer by trade, securing his bachelor’s from New York University and his Juris Doctorate from Cardozo Law School. It could be said, though, that his exclusive degrees are only fractionally as important as the exclusive relationships he made while managing hotspots in the Hamptons.
Heller has built friendships with many household name VIPs. From these relationships, Heller built a client list that reads like the celeb column on Page Six or the cover of People magazine. He would go on to manage talent like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Rachel Hunter, and from there, his roots in the entertainment industry continued to grow deeper.
Today, he oversees Talent Resources Holdings, including Talent Resources Ventures, a company which has transformed the way that brands connect with the celebrities that become their standard-bearers.
“We have found a way to democratize the way that brands book talent,” he says. “We have relationships with managers, publicists and agents, using a network built over 15 years, to connect a brand with the person they’re looking for that fits their exact needs, budget and desired outcome.”
His insight and savvy have driven the industry — on the East End and across the country — and shaped the way that the everyday Americans consume the content produced by celebrities and influencers.
What makes Heller distinctly unique to this column, is his story begins and continues in the Hamptons. While Talent Resources brings him to Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Chicago, Boston and wherever else red carpets are walked, he has a distinct affinity for the Hamptons.
He notes that while the Hamptons have changed, its reputation as the place where people go to be seen in the summer months has only been emboldened. While people may enjoy their time here differently — frequenting private parties rather than clubs, for example — the mecca of celebrity life remains Long Island’s East End.
“The Hamptons have evolved and people prefer now to enjoy the daytime, and less the late nights,” Heller says. “It’s one of the most sought after vacation spots in the world, and it’s become a great backdrop for some of the most amazing brand, charity and private events, while the clubs stay in the city.”
Professionally speaking, Heller’s business has evolved along with it, and the ever-changing landscape of American society. In today’s day and age, we know celebrities emerge overnight through a social media post. Some would say that relevance is rented, never owned, and payment is due every day.
“We are only as good as our last deal, so we make sure that our brands are happy and achieve their desired outcome,” he adds. “We have been fortunate and successful, and our lights are still on 15 years later. Now, you can take an influencer and meet 30 million eyeballs in a given second, so we take advantage of a moment. The Hamptons is a completely charged season, where people seek to look through the lens of the influencers.
“People hate FOMO — fear of missing out — and this is a way that people can stay tuned to what is a new product, a new trend, and in turn, identify what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out,’” he continues. “If you see a celebrity holding a new product, chances are Talent Resources has something to do with it.”
This, among other reasons, is why Talent Resources has become among the most sought-after management companies in the country, and his strategic approach is what brands and public figures alike need most.
Heller grew up with his family in Southampton, where he resided for his life’s early years. As a native to our beloved East End, he then moved to Sag Harbor, where he now spends his time.
When he’s not managing the newest product rollout or mingling at an East End celebrity appearance, he can be found playing tennis, boating and fishing, or spending time in the Hamptons’ legendary waterfront.
He says, though, his happiest times are spent gathered around the table with friends and family. The cuisine? BBQ.
“After entertaining, I like to spend my Sundays where you create your own environment,” he says, alluding to his often late nights at large-scale gatherings. “I invite those who I want to be around to my home, enjoy some great food and even better company. The BBQ has to come from Peconic,” giving credit to an East End fan-favorite butcher.
It can be said that the East End is a part of everyone who has spent time here, by way of memories and shared experience.
For Heller, though, it’s safe to say that the Hamptons helped make him who he is and who he always has been — and, still today, he is returning the favor, helping to shape the Hamptons itself, its image and its continuing reputation as an inimitable abode.
For those interested in learning more about Michael Heller and Talent Resources, visit talentresources.com.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.