Very important people Status and beauty in the global party circuit

Ashley Mears, 1980-

Book - 2020

"A sociologist and former fashion model takes readers inside the elite global party circuit of "models and bottles" to reveal how beautiful young women are used to boost the status of men Million-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera, and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today's New Gilded Age, the world's moneyed classes have taken conspicuous consumption to new extremes. In Very Important People, sociologist, author, and former fashion model Ashley ...Mears takes readers inside the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit-from New York City and the Hamptons to Miami and Saint-Tropez-to reveal the intricate economy of beauty, status, and money that lies behind these spectacular displays of wealth and leisure. Mears spent eighteen months in this world of "models and bottles" to write this captivating, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking narrative. She describes how clubs and restaurants pay promoters to recruit beautiful young women to their venues in order to attract men and get them to spend huge sums in the ritual of bottle service. These "girls" enhance the status of the men and enrich club owners, exchanging their bodily capital for as little as free drinks and a chance to party with men who are rich or aspire to be. Though they are priceless assets in the party circuit, these women are regarded as worthless as long-term relationship prospects, and their bodies are constantly assessed against men's money. A story of extreme gender inequality in a seductive world, Very Important People unveils troubling realities behind moneyed leisure in an age of record economic disparity"--

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Subjects
Published
Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press [2020]
Language
English
Physical Description
xv, 300 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780691168654
0691168652
Main Author
Ashley Mears, 1980- (author)
  • Prologue
  • We are the cool people
  • Daytime
  • The potlatch
  • Trafficking at model camp
  • Who runs the girls?
  • Started from the bottom
  • Closure.
Review by Choice Reviews

Sociologist Mears (Boston Univ.) exposes the dynamics of the elite club and party scene. Rich men surround themselves with beautiful women and large quantities of expensive alcohol to gain status, especially with other rich men. This "models and bottles" competition is "a ritualized form of wealth destruction," which, Mears acknowledges, "often seems ridiculous and disgusting" to outsiders. The club scene is hypermasculine and hyperfeminine for public display. Mears, a former model, became part of the crew of models and "'modelesque' ... good civilians" who were brought by promoters to clubs. As the author documents, clubs comp meals and drinks for promoters and models because the women draw in men—not the other way around. Given the intense competition among promoters to procure models, promoters spend their days befriending and assisting models. Mears is clear that what the models are offering is not sex, but sexiness; the promoters are adamant that they are not pimps. It is crucial to all participants that they are just friends hanging out together. Still, the material and status gifts exchanged are central to the institution. A fine ethnography of the poorer side of the table. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.--B. Weston, Centre CollegeBeau WestonCentre College Beau Weston Choice Reviews 58:05 January 2021 Copyright 2020 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A sociologist and former fashion model takes readers inside the elite global party circuit of "models and bottles" to reveal how beautiful young women are used to boost the status of men Million-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera,and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today's New Gilded Age, the world's moneyed classes have taken conspicuous consumption to new extremes. In Very Important People, sociologist, author, and former fashion model Ashley Mears takes readers inside the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit-from New York City and the Hamptons to Miami and Saint-Tropez-to reveal the intricate economy of beauty, status, and money that lies behind these spectacular displays of wealth and leisure. Mears spent eighteen months in this world of "models and bottles" to write this captivating, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking narrative. She describes how clubs and restaurants pay promoters to recruit beautiful young women to their venues in order to attract men and get them to spend huge sums in the ritual of bottle service. These "girls" enhance the status of the men and enrich club owners, exchanging their bodily capital for as little as free drinks and a chance to party with men who are rich or aspire to be. Thoughthey are priceless assets in the party circuit, these women are regarded as worthless as long-term relationship prospects, and their bodies are constantly assessed against men's money. A story of extreme gender inequality in a seductive world, Very Important People unveils troubling realities behind moneyed leisure in an age of record economic disparity"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A sociologist and former fashion model takes readers inside the elite global party circuit of "models and bottles" to reveal how beautiful young women are used to boost the status of menMillion-dollar birthday parties, megayachts on the French Riviera, and $40,000 bottles of champagne. In today's New Gilded Age, the world's moneyed classes have taken conspicuous consumption to new extremes. In Very Important People, sociologist, author, and former fashion model Ashley Mears takes readers inside the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit—from New York City and the Hamptons to Miami and Saint-Tropez—to reveal the intricate economy of beauty, status, and money that lies behind these spectacular displays of wealth and leisure.Mears spent eighteen months in this world of "models and bottles" to write this captivating, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking narrative. She describes how clubs and restaurants pay promoters to recruit beautiful young women to their venues in order to attract men and get them to spend huge sums in the ritual of bottle service. These "girls" enhance the status of the men and enrich club owners, exchanging their bodily capital for as little as free drinks and a chance to party with men who are rich or aspire to be. Though they are priceless assets in the party circuit, these women are regarded as worthless as long-term relationship prospects, and their bodies are constantly assessed against men's money.A story of extreme gender inequality in a seductive world, Very Important People unveils troubling realities behind moneyed leisure in an age of record economic disparity.