Daniel Radcliffe Proves Being A Receptionist Isn't Easy

July 20th 2015

Laura Donovan

Late last year, I left a physically and emotionally draining job to be a receptionist. I justified the switch by saying it would open doors for me in the screenwriting world, but I really just needed to get out of my previous role.

I learned right away, however, that working at the front desk presents many challenges and anxieties that I was unprepared to handle—and that's on me. It may be a low-paid job people say "anyone" can do, but it is so much more than greeting guests and restocking the kitchen. If you order food for a worker and it is not perfect, then you are the punching bag, not the restaurant for botching the meal. When the company caters lunch for the office, you will be penalized if you don't wait until everyone else has eaten to get whatever scraps all the "real" employees left behind for you. If you don't look or seem cheerful all the time, then you could be responsible for giving the company a negative image. It's a lot to expect of people making an average salary of $32,000.

That's what "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe figured out when he served as a receptionist for an hour at NYLON magazine. The actor, who took on the duties to prepare for an upcoming part, became overwhelmed at several moments during his hour at the front desk.


"Always turn on the NYLON sign," Lauren Adler, the full-time receptionist, instructed Radcliffe in the beginning. "Make sure that the newest issue is out and make sure that you are constantly smiling."

"Rough," Radcliffe said.

While everyone initially freaked out that Radcliffe was the office receptionist for the day, the fun was over before long.

"It's already proving to be the hardest thing I've ever done," he told the camera. "I'm not Lauren, I'm like a... much less efficient version of Lauren. Unless you need a bathroom key, you're out of options."

When asked whether he had any stamps, Radcliffe responded, "I'm not sure. You might want to come back when someone more experienced is working here... I'm struggling with the pressure. I'm cracking already. Literally every person that passes in front of the door, I'm thinking, 'Oh don't need to come in here, don't need anything from me.'"

He became especially flustered when a group of people crowded around the front desk with requests. When a woman came in to visit with an employee named Trudy, Radcliffe had to ask Lauren the receptionist whether Trudy was in the office. Calling Trudy's extension proved especially difficult.

Finally, when Joe Jonas came in to see somebody, Radcliffe was nervous because she didn't pick up her phone. This forced him to leave his desk and go look for her, a move that's frowned upon in many offices.

Some of the drama was surely scripted, but the stress of being a receptionist is no joke. It remains one of the most difficult jobs I've ever held because people assume that it's easier than it actually is and you must be the world's biggest moron if you can't perfectly serve them in the way they want. This gives them the right to abuse and berate you when you can't fulfill their wishes. By trying and failing to be a receptionist, Radcliffe proved that you can star in a billion dollar film franchise for a decade and still have trouble tackling administrative tasks. It's not as easy as it looks, just ask Radcliffe.