Chauffeur to Saudi Princesses: I Got the Job Because I Wasn’t Jewish
A woman who worked as a personal driver for Saudi princesses while they vacationed in Los Angeles said the only requirement for getting hired was that she not be Jewish.
“There was no application form. There was no paperwork whatsoever,” Jayne Amelia Larson, an actress who works as a chauffeur on the side, said in an interview on Friday with Public Radio International. “The only thing I had to have was a clean driver’s license, which I did, and I was asked if I was a Jew and I’m not, so I got the job.”
Larson wrote about her experiences in her 2012 memoir Driving the Saudis. She got paid in cash and said she was the only woman hired to drive the princesses from Saudi Arabia, a country where women are banned from driving.
“I was in a detail of over 40 drivers but I was the only woman. It was 24/7, seven days a week for seven weeks straight,” Larson said. “For the young teenagers that I drove around [the parents] wanted a female driver because they wanted them surrounded with women. These girls were just coming of age, you could see they were interested in boys although they were very restrained. I was kind of like a really nice mom sometimes.”
The Saudi Arabian royal family reportedly includes 7,000 princes and princesses, according to PRI.
Travelling with a fully-armed security detail, the young princesses spoke to Larson about their lives and their hopes for the future. One of them talked about wanting to attend college in the United States and become a fashion designer.
Larson explained that the women took pleasure in the relative amount of freedom they had during their stay in the US.
“Their lives at home were very confined. I was told this many times. They get in the car, they’re driven somewhere, they’re driven to schools, and they’re driven to the malls, which are segregated,” Larson said. “The young girls would just like to go to the mall [in the US] just to walk around and to let people look at them and look at people and mix with people and they loved it.”