Silicon Valley Is Sneaking Models Into This Year’s Holiday Parties
- “Ambiance and air models” contractually bound to pretend they are celebration guests are in document requirement from local agencies.
Together with a seemingly endless series of discrimination and harassment scandals, Silicon Valley’s homogeneity includes a more insignificant negative effect: dull holiday celebrations. A fete intended to keep all of your gifted engineers is almost sure to end up with a somewhat same-y audience, composed mostly of men. At this year’s holiday celebrations, nevertheless, there will be a sudden influx of attractive ladies, and a couple of fair guys, mingling with all the engineers. They are being paid to Neighborhood modeling agencies, which operate with Facebook- and – Google-size firms in addition to much smaller companies and also the occasional wealthy person, state a record number of technology companies are quietly paying $50 to $200 an hour to every version hired exclusively to talk up attendees. The firm, which she would not name, has handpicked the versions based on photographs, created them sign nondisclosure agreements and given them names of workers to pretend they are friends with if anybody asks why he has never seen them around the foosball table.
“The companies don’t want their staff to be talking to someone and think, Oh, this person was hired to socialize with me,” says Kermaani, who’s sending models to seven tech parties in the same weekend.
When this sounds crazy after a year packed with gruesome stories of sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination–a tidal wave that started in San Francisco, with Uber Technologies Inc.. –it is part of an older trend. Tech companies have used versions to run their booths hype up crowds at product launches, and direct foot traffic at conventions. That said, this year’s record-setting requests for the minglers, called “ambiance and atmosphere models,” are a step beyond what the industry has seen before, states Chris Hanna, who is run TSM Agency since 2004 and counts among his customers “one of the most significant search engines in the world.”
“Traditionally, should I return, say, within the previous five decades, if people asked these kinds of versions, it had been more for certain responsibilities,” Hanna says. ‘Show them the lift’ Now they are trending more toward the pleasure, the air” Parties are included by that, ” he states. So far this season, his versions are requested to dress up in outfits according to The Price Is Right and such as Elizabethan nobles or woods nymphs to adopt a somewhat confused medieval motif.
The agencies say clothing stipulations help them screen for ulterior motives. Olya Ishchukova executive officer of Versions in Tech, says that she regularly rejects company asks for short-shorts and cleavage. She turned the gig down.
The guests, of course, are generally controlled. Holiday celebrations have featured prominently in several offender stories lately. As Bloomberg reported in November, notable venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar supposedly slipped his hand up the leg of Austin Geidt, ” Uber’s then-head of global expansion, in the company’s 2014 holiday celebration. (He’s denied the allegations, and Geidt didn’t comment on them)
Vox Media Inc. is limiting employees to two drinks apiece at its Dec. 12 holiday party to curb “unprofessional behavior,” but so far it’s the exception. Cre8’s Kermaani visits the startups herself to get a read on the environment and her models’ safety. “If somebody is creepy toward me, and I’m the owner of the company, I can guarantee they’ll be creepy to the models,” she says. “Silicon Valley doesn’t have the best reputation.”