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.
Ashley Mears is a VIP for writing this. Reading a book like this is an exercise in exploring just how vast one’s sea of ignorance is on basically any given periphery. There’s much that goes into setting the VIP scene. The science, culture, economy, and disparity that composes high class night life is investigated by Mears in this work, revealing a picture of the modern world that may from certain angles appear as evolved from our recollection of the “old” world but upon closer viewing is still much the same. Encircling the possessing class are women acting as sex & status objects, courtiers hoping to join the inner spheres, and people of minority ethnic ancestry serving… rich white folks… or should I say folks that are rich & white. We can’t address what needs to be improved in society until we’re brutally honest about where we are, not just how far we’ve come. This book gives a good idea of where we are, especially when it comes to how the super rich relate to the rest us, which they avoid doing whenever they can help it. That said, no way they’re bringing their own bottle of champagne to their table or personally calling a bunch of models to fill out that table, so here we are.