The Beautiful Ladies At Macworld: Just Don’t Call Them Booth Babes

The Beautiful Ladies At Macworld: Just Don’t Call Them Booth Babes

SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD/IWORLD 2012 — There seems to be more beautiful models here at Macworld than ever. Models are a great asset for companies. Especially the newer companies. I spoke to a few girls this afternoon to get some insight into their job.

This is what they told me…

The Beautiful Ladies At Macworld: Just Don’t Call Them Booth Babes

The models who work the booths at trade shows — commonly referred as Booth Babes — are sometimes criticized for being all body and no brains. They’re seen as a throwback to an earlier, sexist era. The use of models has always been popular in industries like the automotive industry, but is growing in tech. There were so many booth babes at CES in January, the BBC did a story about it.

First off, they don’t like being called Booth Babes.

“I’m really offended by Booth Babe,” said one model. “I find it degrading.”

They are models and screeners who weed out the crowd. They screen passersby and tell them basic info about the products. They only get an hour of training prior to the show. If the person is interested in finding out more, they are directed to a salesperson.

The Beautiful Ladies At Macworld: Just Don’t Call Them Booth Babes

The models are hired because they are crowd generators. A lot of company reps are too shy to work the crowd, especially in technology. They do the work of bringing prospects into the booth to talk about the products.

The Beautiful Ladies At Macworld: Just Don’t Call Them Booth Babes

The Models are hired from modeling agencies like the Cre8 Model Agency in San Francisco. There are only a few of them that circulate and many know each other. I asked them if they get along with each other. They told me that conventions are different than regular modeling jobs. Because they have to socialize for so many hours a day there is a great camaraderie amongst them. It’s just not worth it to be catty to each other.

They are paid according to height. Taller models make more money than shorter models. Most make between $30 and $50 an hour. Companies screen the models by Skype to make sure they are well spoken and look like their portfolio pictures. Some of the modeling pictures can be heavily photoshopped.

Many work the shows to supplement their income. Some are college graduates who use conventions to figure out what’s going on in fields like tech or medical.

The Beautiful Ladies At Macworld: Just Don’t Call Them Booth Babes

Models often don’t know what they will be asked to wear at the show. They find out when they turn up at the convention. Some companies want the girls to wear skimpy outfits; others want them dressed in business suits. The more experienced models know to ask beforehand. The dresses are usually available only in two sizes — small and medium. Taller models sometimes have to squeeze into outfits too small for them. It can be a nightmare.

One company rep said hiring very attractive girls can sometimes backfire. Customers just gawk at the models and pay no attention to the products.

But the models are a good tactic for smaller, unknown companies, the rep said. Unknown companies with obscure products are often ignored. Having the models brings customers to the booth, even if they only want to leer at them.

“Any attention is better than no attention at all,” he said.

The Beautiful Ladies At Macworld: Just Don’t Call Them Booth Babes

One model, who asked not to be named, said she does about 30 conventions a year. This is her fifth year at Macworld. She owns a lot of Apple products, including an iPhone and iPod. She likes to work for the same companies, but since Apple has quit the show, a lot of them haven’t come back.

Since she’s been doing it a long time, she has the luxury of picking the companies she works for. “Ninety nine percent of the time, the products are awesome,” she said. The models maintain integrity for the companies and the companies take good care of them.

She gets a lot of attention from men. Posing for pictures can be exhausting. Especially after an eight hour shift. “We get hit on all the time,” the model said. “Either they are too embarrassed to look at us, or they’re hitting on us relentlessly.”

  • NotThatBobJames

    Second photo, far right? Sorry, but that is not a woman….

  • poppa1138

    I like iCandy :))

  • Harry Stevenson

    Only the tune up girl can say she’s not some overly made up bint.

  • Harry Stevenson

    Also, they are only a “great asset” if your company still lives in the dark ages when it comes to it’s attitude to women, i.e they are a little more than iCandy. I disappointed this article was written by a woman, I thought a female tech writer would be a bit more progressive.

  • erinallen

    First impression of this article, I had a hard time getting past the constant use of girls instead of women. Is that any better than calling them babes?

  • Don Pope

    The height disparity in the first picture is huge. 
    The tall girls must be a foot taller than the shorter ones!

  • David_Aames

    You are correct, they certainly are not booth babes.

  • Chris Camps

    Paid according to height?

    Isn’t that the kind of discrimination that needs to be investigated?

    Soon we’ll be paying people differently because of their sex, color or age, regardless of their skills and experience!

  • CharliK

    A model is hired to stand in a booth and attract attention and is offended by being called a Booth Babe. 

    Perhaps she shouldn’t take the job cause honey that’s what she’s being asked to do and what she agreed to do.

  • CharliK

    Modeling is one of a very small group of jobs where you can play such games and it is legal. It has to do with the fact that appearance is the job. Unlike say being a tech at an Apple store. You don’t have to be 5’11, 105 pounds with a nice tan and size C boobs to know how to fix a computer. So they can’t legally not hire a trained guy (or flip it and only hire guys) for the job

  • mailman22

    they should be forced to crawl around on the floor and have cum and gravel thrown in their faces with an angry mob shouting ‘booth babes!’ at them for 24 hours straight.

  • TrifleTrifle

    When the term “booth babe” is considered as offence and “degrading for a woman”, why in Gods name Ms. Traci is making heavy use of it? I counted it…. 5 times ;)

  • Howard_B

    What on earth is wrong with being a Babe ?  and a Booth Babe at that ?

    The truth is .. that 9% of women would give their eye teeth to ever be consider a ‘babe’ of any variety.

    Look … men love gadgets. Men love pretty girls. Gadgets sellers want to attract the men to their stands ….  QED and long may it last.

  • rsbell

    The Tune Up girl was really cool.

  • SandraM

    Why are they all white women?

  • Nick_Germ

    Except for the asian, latina and black girls. Did you look at the pictures

  • ddevito

    Nice article……? Wow.

    This site has flushed itself down the toilet

  • mailman22

    boring comment. boring avatar. boring existence. boring blah android boring blah ice cream sandwich blah blah ddveito cunt

  • ddevito

    Seriously, what is this article trying to prove? Did I say anything about Android? No.

    Get off my c0ck g8y boy

  • Fitz

    Looks like the b team to me

  • Hondamaker

    The nerds gotta have something nice to look at other than tech stuff!

  • Ivan Vojt

    Yeah it would be degrading, actually an insult to call most of these ladies actual “booth babes”!

  • Adam Walter

    I always get a kick out of women who apply for jobs that are so obviously based on sex appeal and then complain when they’re objectified by people. Ladies, your sexy babe bodies are being hired to attract people to the booth.

  • nthnm

    Guess what women (or really anyone that considers themselves a model), you are objectified. That’s your job. Go back to university or use the degree you already have and change careers.

  • HerbalEd

    Hellooooo. They are “booth babes” who are specifically hired based upon their looks, boobs and sex appeal. Pure and simple. 

  • Daniel Skäremo Holmberg

    Way to miss the point. The whole point of the article was to portray the women working these jobs, to get their side of the story of what it’s like being hired to represent a product you have no relation to using only your good looks and minimal training. The fact that the article does so, and still manages to show how utterly ridiculous this practice sometimes is without overbearing condescension is the sign of a competent journalist.

    If you’re looking for criticism, it’s there between the lines. Just because the writer doesn’t point out how stupid what a company rep says is, or how upsetting a model’s account of the working conditions is, doesn’t make them any less so.

  • Amiz4Eva

    I don’t know…I can understand the complaints if they are genuinely being sexually assaulted or treated like crap. Sure, they’re there to look pretty. But I’ve seen plenty of men trying to get photos up their skirts, trying to grab their boobs, shoving them into photos. A lot of people seem to forget that just because the girls are there to advertise a product, doesn’t mean the attendees can manhandle them like inanimate objects. They should treat them as they should treat any other human being.

  • Traveler

    Seriously? Did you even glance at the photos?

  • Randy Singer

    It would be interesting to see a study done to find out if having models in your booth leads to increased sales of your product.  You can attract more men into your booth with models, but that doesn’t mean that any of them will be interested in your product if they weren’t inclined to be interested enough to visit your both without.

    I’m a healthy male, and I like looking at beautiful women as much as the next person.  But the booths that attract my attention most at Macworld Expo are the ones that display interesting products, especially new products that I haven’t seen before.  I’d much rather that a vendor put the money that they pay models into creating a booth that shows off their products’ features more prominently.

    Whatever happened to selling products at dynamite prices to attract folks into booths at MWX?  I can go any number of places in San Francisco if I want to objectify women.  But only a manufacturer can sell you an example of their product that is lower than the lowest price you can find on the Web.  Not only that, I believe that a vendor who does that at MWX creates more brand loyalty that way.  I don’t remember who had the best booth babes at MWX eight years ago, but I still remember and think highly of the company that sold me a microphone to go with my voice recognition program for only $10!

About the author

Traci DauphinTraci Dauphin is the office manager and all round organizer at Cult of Mac. She keeps the trains running on time. Traci also writes product reviews and shoots great galleries of events like Macworld.

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