Nobody really seems to like company holiday parties. But Silicon Valley has a hack to make them better: Bloomberg reported Thursday that a record number of tech companies are paying modeling agencies to send beautiful people to their office parties as fake guests. (If this sounds familiar, it's because this exact scenario occurred in the first season of HBO's Silicon Valley.)
Bloomberg notes that the real Silicon Valley has a history of hiring models for work events, but the hired hands are usually deployed at trade shows and product launches where tech companies want to associate their products with good-looking people. But now, companies are increasingly interested in "ambiance and atmosphere" models, Bloomberg explains, who are there to add a general je ne sais quoi to the experience.
As Chris Hanna, the founder of modeling agency TSM Agency, told Bloomberg: "Traditionally … if people requested these types of models it was more for specific responsibilities. 'Be a hostess.' 'Show them the elevator.' Now they're trending more towards the fun, the atmosphere."
Models get paid anywhere from $50 to $200 an hour. In some cases, they are legally confined to pretend they are genuine guests for the duration of the event, barred from disclosing that they are paid models and not, in fact, unbelievably good-looking software engineers. And even if you do hit it off with an unusually beautiful tech company employee, many models hired for such parties are forbidden from exchanging contact information with party guests — so don't get too excited.