Booth Babe Season and Crazy Corporate Shenanigans

I don’t have a whole lot  to report, because I’ve been sick with a cold and have had to stay home and lay low, instead of running around the sewers naked in the middle of the night, like last week (could there be a correlation?). But speaking of that, here are a few awesome pics from the shoot.

Vagina Dentata, baby!!! This was SO worth getting sick over 🙂 I love the way she painted my Yoni to look like the vicious, cock-biting monster it truly is. Uh oh, my secret’s out — there goes my sex life! Anyway, this was the first time I’ve had my clitoris painted…and
I must say, it was interesting!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyhoo, the fun and games are all over — this past week was all about packing for my move (boo!), and the upcoming week’s all about work. Aside from my souvenir photography gig, next week I am also working as a booth hostess for some super-high-end audio company (they sell a $25,000 turntable, LOL) at my most loathed of all conventions, CES (that’s the Consumer Electronics Show, for those of you who actually have a life).

I despise working conventions. If you’ve never been to one, it’s basically a cavernous room, chilled to about minus 25 degress Celsius, blasted with harsh fluorescent light and lined with temporary booths staffed by Willy Loman types desperately hawking some shitty product or service to the hordes of badge-wearing industry-folk ambling blindly up and and down the aisles. DEPRESSING!

Sometime in the last 30 or 40 years, some genius came up with the idea of hiring hot gash to stand in front of his booth, thus attracting ten times more bored convention-goers than his cheap Chinese widgets would on their own. An industry model was born, and now you can’t hardly go to a trade show without being accosted by all manner of bleach-brained bimbos in slutty businesswoman costumes at every corner. It’s ridiculous!

I lived in Vegas for 6 years before I worked up the balls to try my hand at being a “booth model.” Before that, I assumed that to be a “model,” one had to be tall, big-titted and drop-dead gorgeous. I didn’t realize that any half-baked hag with a vagina and a waist-cincher could do it! I swear, some of the girls I’ve worked with at these things were beasts (externally…internally, they were almost ALL beasts). I myself only get booked for about one out of 5 shows I apply for…so I have to wonder how these nasty-ass ho’s are getting these gigs. I assume they have expertly PhotoShopped pictures (most of the hiring is done through agencies, based off photos). Caveat Emptor, convention clients! Meet your model in person before hiring!!!

To be a convention model/booth babe/tradeshow hostess, you need 3 things: the aforementioned flattering headshot, a slutty business costume, and a high tolerance for drudgery, sexual harassment and bullshit. If you’re still with me, your next step is to sign up with as many local modeling agencies as possible — here in Vegas, all agency contracts are non-exclusive, meaning you can sign on with as many as you wish. Sometimes a certain agency has the contract for an entire show — meaning that all models hired must come from their books…which is good news for D-listers like me, who finally get some scrapings after the agency exhausts their A-roster. But usually, it’s a free-for-all.

If you don’t feel like joining an agency (they negotiate your breaks and pay, but they also sometimes take 10-20% of your day rate), you can freelance. I’ve gotten quite a few gigs on craigslist, One Model Place and Model Mayhem. When craigslist first launched in Vegas, no one really used it, so there was virtually no competition for gigs. But now, everyone goes on craigslist…and it’s driven down the rates! All your average douche-kit wholesaler need do is post a semi-literate ad on craigslist offering $10 an hour “plus free lunch,” and his inbox will be flooded within 24 hours with photos of scraggly-extensioned, orange-complected whores, all vying for his magnificent paycheck. PLEASE!

It’s really funny what these bargain-basement A-holes ask for, too: “MUST BE BILINGUAL IN FRENCH AND KAZAKH, 7’5″ OR TALLER WITH A MINIMUM GGG CUP. $9 per hour plus free gropes.” Seriously! I wonder who these idiots end up hiring. $9/hour?!

Now, I know it sounds exceedingly petulant to grip about making $9/hour when there are Chinese peasants making 1000 iPods a day for 33cents.  But let’s just consider the market here. First of all, I know exhibitors at these expos are shelling out beaucoup bucks already — the convention hall charges them for everything from floor space to carpet to chairs and even the wastebasket. But hiring a booth model actually SAVES them money, because now they have to pay to fly one less employee out, pay for one less hotel room, etc. So you wouldn’t think they’d begrudge paying a little more than minimum wage — especially when they’re demanding “model” looks.

So, what is an appropriate wage? The average is between $250-400 for an 8 hour day. At least, that used to be the average before the cheapasses and dumbasses on Craigslist fucked it up for everyone. Now you see plenty of ads offering $100 or $125/8 hours. But most respectable agencies pay in the $250-400 range. And clients, if you’re THAT fuckin’ cheap…Sapphire strip club offers FREE booth models (seriously, they send over some of their dancers in “businesswear” to work your booth — for FREE! But again, Caveat Emptor…there’s a reason those strip clubs aren’t lit with bright fluorescent lights).

For this upcoming CES, I got the gig through a photographer I shot with once, and it’s paying only $200/day. Weak! I almost turned it down, because I can make that flashing my beaver for 2 hours, and have a lot more fun. But I’m kinda hard up for money right now, so I said yes. I’ll be sorry I did when I’m getting up at 6am every day next week! Bah!!!

It’s not just the getting up early, it’s the freezing your tits off because it’s 40 degrees in there and you’re wearing little more than a pinstriped thong. It’s the draining effect of standing on your feet under fluorescent lights all day, listening to dead-eyed salarymen bleat corporate-speak platitudes…and then having to smile and respond wittily to their half-baked come-ons. And it’s having to do all this in HIGH HEELS! Did I mention these shows run for 8 or 9 HOURS?!

Now to be fair, there were one or two shows I worked that were pretty sweet. One CES I worked for Netgear, and they let me wear a little Netgear sweater and sit on my fat ass behind a little Netgear desk all day. Another year I worked the Nightclub & Bar show for some media company, but all we did was cruise around and get free samples of booze all day, every day. But the best was this one time I worked the Adult Entertainment Expo.

The AEE (or porn convention, as it’s more commonly called) is usually held at the same time as CES, so that all the tech dorks can sneak a peek before going back home to Mommy, Junior and Little Susie. For the last two years, I bailed on CES in favor of AEE (this year for some reason, they moved AEE to the weekend following CES…so I can work both). Anyhoo, the first year I worked AEE I got the gig on craigslist — it was for Christian Audigier Condoms — a line of ultra-premium condoms made from the finest Malaysian latex (come to find out, there really is a latex tree, and it grows best in Malaysia). The guy running the company was a Beverly Hills rich kid stoner who basically just licensed the Christian Audigier name — the condoms had nothing to do with Ed Hardy or anything.

The Beverly Hills Stoner (or BHS) wasn’t even really interested in selling condoms — I think he just started the company to get booth space at the porn show. What he was REALLY interested in was this screenplay he was writing, which he kept in one of those old-time composition books. I peeked in it once when he went to the bathroom, and it was excruciating! Anyway, I think he hired me because of my ass — he was obsessed with asses, and every afternoon after we got high we would go over to the Elegant Angel booth to stare at Alexis Texas, the ginormous-assed porn star who was signing autographs over there. Yes that’s right, I said after we got high — every afternoon, after lunch, he would invite me out behind the convention center to smoke a joint. We’d be standing there on the corner of Koval Lane and Sands Ave, puffing away, me in a bikini and platforms. Nice! Who was watching over the booth during all this, you ask? Why, Mom and Dad, of course — inexplicably, his ancient Jewish Mother and Father had come along to the show, and were constantly fussing with him.

When not getting high on the streetcorner, my job duties were limited to lying on this bed they had set up in the booth, and posing for photos with showgoers. Every once in awhile, if I wanted to, I could hand out some condom samples and tell people about how ultra-premium the Malaysian latex was…but it wasn’t really necessary. Now, THAT was a sweet gig! The BHS even introduced me to Larry Flynt, plus I got my photo taken with Evan Stone and Corey Feldman. Gooooooooooood times.

That was one of the best shows I ever worked…well OK, it was pretty much the ONLY show I ever worked that was awesome. The rest of ’em were more or less interminable days of TORTURE (as I’m sure this upcoming week will be)! Thus, I present for your reading pleasure…

My Top Five Worst Tradeshow Gigs:

1. First place goes to the first trade show I ever worked, a scrapbooking convention (basically, a show for matrons and other Michaels craft store denizens). This was before I realized I could be a booth “model,” so I was just hired as a regular sales assistant for $125/day by this little old Jewish couple from Yonkers. They were very nice, but bickered constantly and the show was super boring.

2. One of the first tradeshows I booked as a booth model was the Waste Expo. Everyone who’s ANYONE in the garbage industry goes to this show, and I had a gig working for a dumpster manufacturer. They had hired me and this other chick to run this cheesy putting challenge they’d set up in their booth, and the other chick was scandalous. She was kinda homely and on the wrong side of 40, so I think she was extra flirtatious to make up for it — any time a guy came up to try the putting challenge, she would grab his club and back her ass up into his crotch to demonstrate how he should be holding it. Then she’d run over to the end of the putting green: “Now put your ball in the little hole between my legs!” Yuk, HYUK! The Waste people ate it up, though, and she even scored us each a $100 tip, by giving the dumpster manufacturer a sob story about how the “agency” takes 20% of our pay…boo hoo hoo…

3. Speaking of scandalous, the SEMA (auto accesories) show is always a good one for slutty models. The convention authority supposedly has a code of conduct when it comes to models’ outfits at shows, but apparently their standards are lax — one year, a floormat manufacturer had his models dressed in nothing more than two floormats and some string! I was fortunate enough to have scored a classy gig, doing product demos for this crazy German inwentor who lived in a Bavarian castle, where he dreamed up this light-up LED gear shift knob that uses an accelerometer to show you what gear you’re in. The had a sample gear shift mounted on a pedestal, and my job was to demo it all day long by shifting. After a few hours of my deft maneuvering, one of the guys in the booth across the aisle came over: “Honey, you’re killin’ us!” Yuk, HYUK!

3. Another year, I worked the auto show for this WEIRD company that had to sit me down over breakfast at the Cheesecake Factory to explain what they did — it was that complicated. To this day, I don’t really get it — they “provide solutions for problematic excess inventory,” but I was NOT under any circumstances to say “barter…” although it sounded to me like that’s exactly what they did. I guess they would buy a bunch of out-of-season panties from Victoria’s Secret, then trade them to some guy wanting to unload 50,000 floppy disks of the Oregon Trail. Something like that! Anyhoo, the gig was suuuuuuper boring because they left me alone all day long, every day. If anyone came by, I was to tell them “We Provide Solutions For Problematic Excess Inventory” and then give them a pen, stress ball, or other promotional tchotchke. (Speaking of that, I *HATE* when people are greedy at trade shows, and run around collecting as much free shit as they can…they always try to be sneaky, and get more than one: “Could I git one for my cousin, too?” “Have to get one for BOTH kids, you know…Dad can’t just bring home one, or it’ll be ugly!” I always lie and make up some excuse why I’m so sorry, but I can’t…it drives me NUTS!

Anyway, back to the Auto Show…it was so boring, that the highlight of the show was when this creepy member of the Saudi Automotive Industry Delegation showed up and spent an hour trying to convince me to come to Saudi Arabia sometime. Yeah, RIGHT! Do I LQQK like I’d fit in in Saudi Arabia?!?!?!?!?!?!

4. Another shitty show I worked was a convenience store owners’ powwow. Basically, all these awful “food” vendors were there passing out free samples of their nasty-ass crap: corn dogs, 5-Hour Energy drinks, etc. The bad part wasn’t the work itself (I was playing the Peanut M&M for M&M Mars…so I was inside a costume, out of harm’s way)…it was the food, which I was soooo bored that I ate at least one of everything there. Hot dogs, corn dogs, Twizzlers, Slim Jims, nachos, Twinkies…ugh, I get sick even remembering it. The name of that show shoulda been CancerCon!!

5. I worked the shoe show a couple of times for this *W*E*I*R*D* company out of Miami that made a sneaker with an implanted tracking device, so that you could keep track of your kids and demented parents. As a bonus, if you were kidnapped or got lost, all you had to do was push the panic button on the side, and the 911 call center was alerted. The shoes were overpriced and clearly a novelty, yet the company staff was overflowing with thug-glam Miamians in expensive clothes, all bitching about one another behind everyone’s backs. I personally think it was all a front for some shady drug operation…they couldn’t possibly have been real!

Anyhoo, that’s why I hate working conventions….but as you can see, they’re also kinda interesting and fun, in weird ways. Also, the bonus with the bigger shows like CES is that among the 100,000 or so attendees will be many amateur photographers…I’ve already been hit up several times on my Model Mayhem page by guys wanting to shoot during CES week. Unfortunately I’m already working day and night, so I had to turn some of them down…but I did find time to squeeze in one quickie earlier today at the Cosmopolitan.

The photographer was a guy I’ve shot with many times — a businessman from California who got tired of the corporate life and took a year’s hiatus to travel the world, photographing beautiful women. His little hiatus cost him $150,000 (he is very lavish — he pays very generously and provides luxury lingerie for the models), plus he got tangled up with one of his models (who was 20, and he’s 60)…so now his break’s over and he’s had to go back to work. He and a colleague shot me up in their CEO’s suite; the CEO hadn’t arrived yet, but everything was set up for a week of meetings — banners and signage and crap. Very depressing! My friend is still a baller, and ordered up champagne for the shoot…so I was basically lounging around on the balcony, in the sun (it was beautiful weather today), swilling champers…and getting paid for it. Life’s a bitch!

Then they wanted to play a trick on the CEO, who is apparently a very handsome but very shy Swede. I guess one time in Stockholm the three of them shared a prostitute, and the CEO went last and made an unholy mess. As revenge, they paid me $20 for a pair of my panties and left it hidden in the pillows on his bed. They also had me smear a little lipstick on his pillow for good measure!. Those craaaaaaaaaaaaazy corporate hijinks… It makes me SO GLAD I don’t work in an office, bottling up my inner freak until it’s packed so tightly it comes exploding out on every business trip! For me, every is Shenanigans Day…and that’s the way I likes it!

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Dave Roan

I was the one that hired you to be our “Brand Ambassador” at the Pack Expo booth in 2009 (see picture above standing in front of reception counter next to the Barista). We needed more than a booth babe for our coffee bar promotion, and you did a great job! I know you didn’t get paid very well to work our booth, but next time I have a show in Vegas that needs someone with some actual people skills, I’ll contact you directly and pay you a livable wage. No, I never groped her.


Dave!!! Yeah, you guys were classy and I was not groped nor asked to wear anything scandalous. And they pay wasn’t bad…as I recall the agency gave me $20/hour, so I’m sure it cost your company a little extra.
Either way…..HOLY HELL am I glad I didn’t say anything bad about you guys!!! I didn’t expect to get a comment from yas :-p

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