As many regular convention attendee will attest, booth babes are as common as winter colds, but for most males (and some females, undoubtedly) in the crowd, their presence makes the showroom floor a much more enjoyable experience. But sometimes, being eye candy for a tech industry company’s booth isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, at least according to some experienced models who shared their experiences in a recent interview.
The interview was conducted by Michael Kan, and it appeared in both PC World and IT World, and it paints a less-than-glamourous picture of leering attendees, long hours (8 hours is long?) and perpetual smiles. The article featured quotes from four booth babe models who don’t seem to enjoy the process anymore. Examples include 22-year-old Amanda Lin discussing long days in heels:
“They can hurt,” Lin said of her shoes. “But the work is pretty relaxed and you don’t have to do a lot in order to get paid.”
Lin also discusses the leering passers-by and those who stop to take pictures, something the author relates directly to sexism:
“I’m used to it,” she said, when asked how she felt about Computex visitors ogling her and taking her picture.
“Used to it” or knew it came with the territory, considering the position? Or did she expect men to ignore the fact she playing the role of booth babe, or are men not supposed to react? Another model, 25-year old Eileen Lee also indicates the work is taxing:
“It takes a lot of energy, because you stand for a long time,” she said. During her eight hour day, Lee stands for 30 minutes holding a product, then takes a 10-minute rest and repeats the process. “You have to look happy all day and smile, but it’s not that easy,” she said. “It gets very tiring.”
Furthermore, an issue with a company tweeting a exploitative image of one of their booth babes has caused her to reconsider this kind of work:
“I’m very sensitive to these kind of things, and I really want to leave this career,” she said. “The industry is now moving towards making models show more skin,” she said. “People will look at you, but do so in a way that’s more sexist and sexual. There’s no respect.”
With that in mind, how should conference attendees look at these models, especially if the audience is largely male and the models are female, who, in some cases, are dressed like the two models who lead this post? Are the attendees supposed to ignore the models, regardless if they are dressed in bikinis or in cosplay outfits?
Negative aspects aside, the booth babe “industry” is booming with many women looking to join up. Says model Ashley Hsu:
“It seems like more and more young women want to do this kind of work,” she said. “It’s easy to do, you can make money. You just need to talk to people and get your picture taken. I’m seeing a lot of people wanting to do this part-time.”
If showing too much skin is the issue, not every booth babe is dressed like she’s at the beach:
But then again, maybe some get uncomfortable if they’re asked to dress like this:
It’s almost a no-win situation, but the pay isn’t too bad, with models earning around $100-$170 for an 8-hour shift.