We recently wrote about Chinese girls who are paid to party at clubs around town. The story got such a response that we decided to cover the other end of the paid-eye-candy-spectrum in Shanghai–Western girls who earn thousands of yuan to sit and give face to high-spending club-goers.
Faviola Dadis, age 23, has only been in Shanghai seven months, but she’s done it all, from working the tables at Muse to fashion photography. Her nights involve endless games of dice with businessmen making guanxi and copious amounts of Champagne. Dadis says her main clients are, “Chinese people who want to have Western models to sit with them and entertain them. That doesn’t mean doing anything shady, just having drinks and making them look good.”
Book a table at a club, pop a few bottles and then you can request the manager to invite some girls over. Asian models are less expensive and willing to do more. Western models are pricier and generally sit around the table as a display of wealth, like a bottle of Dom Perignon.
Sable Blake, 19, from Toronto, came out here with a modeling contract and found herself making RMB300-400 per table to hang out and make conversation in clubs. “I’ve been offered up to US$20,000 to go home with a client,” she says. “I told him ting bu dong and didn’t accept, even when he told me to name my own price.”
The models are booked through different agencies, Don Nico PR being one of the most prolific with clients that include the Muse clubs, No. 88, M1NT and Bar Rouge. On any given day, Dadis, who handles most of the models for Don Nico’s firm, is co-ordinating models, “giving them a wide variety of pretty girls who can speak multiple languages–Russians, Americans, French.”
Not that it’s all night club work. Models in Shanghai experience traditional runway shows that can be bizarre in their own way. Dadis tells us that, “recently, we had to bring our own clothes to a fashion show and [the booker] didn’t want to pay up. He got rowdy with the girls and punched one of them in the stomach. All the models had to choke him and take him down.”
Are there any expat women out there working this scene? Share your stories below.
About The Author...
Shanghai is crazy, there's neon everywhere and beautiful women, great food and the friendliest people I've ever not been able to communicate with.
Jack, i think their mothers would be so proud to see their photos as a 'NEW STORY' on City Weekend. Well done on your good work Jack!
If they haven't told their mothers what they do for a living, then consenting to an interview and photo was pretty dumb. I don't know why you're blaming the writer, though. It's not like this was a hidden camera expose.
@poofmag - maybeI didn't write it clear enough but it's specifically mentioned that these girls are not prostitutes - in fact they turn those situations down.
@pressedproductions - these girls are models, they were completely aware that these photos an articles were written about them (how do you think we got names and ages) and since it's a piece about how they are hired to sit at tables in Shanghai nightclubs and hang out there is nothing for them to be embarrassed of - and yes, I checked, their mothers do know.
@Jackthelad & foodiedave.
Ever heard of Lucie Blackman lads? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joji_Obara Why dont you post that link to their parents and ask again...As a responsible media outlet you've taken it upon yourself to interview two young girls and to come with this fascinating story. That must have taken real thought and courage. You can now call yourself a real journalist. Foodiedave, c'mon, journalists have a duty to be responsible examples. They make a decision to publish a story. Don't defend irresponsibility.
This industry exists, regardless of any stigma or tragedy attached to it. Everyone in the UK of a certain age knows the story of Lucie Blackman **and yet this industry continues to thrive**.
You might well rail at Cityweekend for their positive coverage of the Expo: we all know what it took to stage it and how many negative things could be said.
If you believe that journalists are the only available and credible source of information in the world, then you deserve ignorance.
@pressedproductions- the women agreed to be interviewed. They are of age. The story is, despite your protestations, actually interesting. Are you suggesting self-censorship?
@Narfweasels. I think you you answered your own question. If you can criticize s#itty weekend for poor coverage on Expo then why cant the reader criticize a weak and poor story thats badly covered. The article 'types in bold' a phrase on how much can be earnt in one night by sleeping with a guy. Try quality phrases like 'she's done it all' or 'asian models are less expensive and willing to do more' or 'western models are generally pricier'. Its poor journalism that takes a perspective from one side, doesnt highlight the dangers of the industry and through the way its written (how much money can be made) glorifys what these girls do. Thereby possibly encouraging young girls to partake in something potentially damaging, both mentally and physically. As journalists they should take the responsibility to highlight the dangers not just carry out News of the World type articles. You know the more the reader analyzes this bottom feeding content and actually understands the implications of writing such trash in the way its written then the more these so-called journalists will be held accountable. The more you lap up such lack of creativity and poor writing skills the more ineptly written articles we will get. Well done for defending trash journalism. SW is putting two young girls who probably dont know any better in the spotlight. You have a choice to do that if you are a media outlet. S#itty weekend and its board of highly qualified editors chose to publish the story so it so it doesnt matter they agreed. I think thats wrong. You think thats ok. @Dave, please tell me what fascinates you about this story. What interesting facts did yout learn from this piece that you didnt already know. Maybe its the fact they can earn big money. Wow, that's news! Or perhaps you are shocked that one of the girls is so young? Or maybe that they just get paid to sit there and do nothing else. Im intrigued...an intelligent person like yourself cant imagine any of the facts of this story without having to actually read it. Perhaps youve been living in Shanghai too long and have got used to this poor media effort. More leadership, less readership. Not censorship, just leadership to publish stories from the correct angle and written in the correct way knowing your media publishings are read by young girls and others who need to understand the dangers as well as the greatness of this job. Use your loaf and critisce this rubbish. Narfweasels does occasionally. I've noticed it. Its the only way we are going to stand any chance of improving Shanghai's media who time after time get away with writing weak one-sided articles.
Your quotations, taken in the abstract context you made them are potentially misleading. The rest of the article makes it clear that this kind of thing is generally off-limits with the girls.
I read the article and not for a minute did I believe it was advocating or giving exposure to prostitution. I will concede that the quality of the article is hardly Pulitzer-worthy, but I didn't get any sense of what you are saying.
@narfweasels: Understand your perspective but my comments are not based on yours or my own interpretations but on what a young female reader may well read into. In my opinion the way the article is written is misleading, whether taking those phrases or the general gist of the article. I beg to differ - there is little or no counter-perspective. Even a punch in the stomach ends up being glorified with a 'all the models had to choke him and take him down'.
First, I would like to comment by stating that I’m very surprised at the amount of controversy/attention this article has stirred up. I can understand that if you are not familiar with the concept of nightclubs paying models to party and host tables, then this could sound misleading to some. In a narrative, it is always hard to capture what is experienced by someone firsthand. I have traveled the world modeling; having now lived in about 10 different countries. In almost every major city I have visited, the top nightclubs pay models to hang out at the club and create a nice atmosphere. Club promoters, VIP Hosts, dancers, and models all play a role in making a venue look good. Let’s not get it twisted guys… it’s a marketing scheme, just like every other flashy part of a “hot nightclub.”
And in response to @pressedproductions: “SW is putting two young girls who probably dont know any better in the spotlight”… “Thereby possibly encouraging young girls to partake in something potentially damaging, both mentally and physically.”
I am well aware of what I am doing. Like a lot of the other models in Shanghai, my money goes towards my studies and my future. I am a Biochemistry major, and the money I earn through PR work and modeling has paid for my undergraduate studies, and will also pay for medical school. Furthermore, everything is completely above board with the clients—obviously it is a dangerous world and things can happen, but do you really thing the nightclub or PR Firm we work for wants to put us in jeopardy??
And just to set the record straight…our parents are well aware of what we are doing.
Thanks for taking the time to respond Faviola. This topic has seemed to cause quite a stir. I don't want to open up a whole new can of worms but I feel as though if the article was written about male models it wouldn't have received such harsh criticism. @pressedproductions: I think you should give more credit to our "young female readers".
@Favioladavis Thanks you for your time to write your reply as the article is mostly about you and your friend i believe. My comments are not directed at you but at CW for their poor coverage of this topic. I am sure you are aware of dangers but it would have been nice if you had insisted on letting younger girls know the dangers of this job in the article or at least telling CW to include them when agreeing the interview. Again, they are the lead in this story so should make that decision themselves. @ Clairebared Another weak response from CW. I seem to remember you have a kids magazine section so your readership covers all ages. I think many 12-16 year old girls may have enough 'credit' to read your magazine and website but not enough 'credit' to be swayed from your 'celebritizing' this profession in the manner you do. In addition by not warning girls of the dangers of 'daterape' and pills in drinks you are merley focusing on readership and not leadership. Men don't tend to get dateraped. Seeing as your article is about young girls you should also understand that your target audience may be younger girls, so try to be more society aware and less 'hands off'.
Some added dangers i feel obliged to point out to young readers...The payer of this service may feel he has the right to do other things whther he has been told to or not. People behave differently under the influence of drugs and alcohol and inhibitions are lost. Some people become more loose when under the influence. Can you control this beahviour even with a university degree, especially if that person feels they have paid for a 'self-perceived' service? Im sorry to say but a PR agency is happy to make money out of this and also cant completely control what happens to you. Imagine the girl is touched inappropriately. How can you stop that? Thats a high risk more dangerous profession.
I do understand the point you are making @pressedproductions, but I still feel that with general sensibility it is possible to overcome many of the dangers associated with working in a nightclub. I can’t tell you how many times I go to a nightclub and get harassed or groped by drunk men, but the difference is that when I am working PR, I have a security guard present to oversee that nothing bad happens to me. Models who work PR at clubs are employees and are treated as such; if we are uncomfortable with a situation, we simply leave. To reiterate, there is a great deal of liability on the hands of the club and PR firm, so every precaution possible is taken to ensure that nothing inappropriate happens.
I do want to point out to any club-going young ladies that it is always important to watch your drinks, and to ask for a manager or security guard for help if you feel like you are in any kind of danger. Stay in groups and make sure if you go to the restroom or make a call outside alone, you let someone know where you are going. And do not leave the nightclub with people you don’t know; a situation that seems ok in a group setting can get out of control very quickly when you are no longer in public.
Perhaps Sable and I should have stressed that there are dangers associated with working in a nightclub, but let’s face it, we have a fun job. I think the spirit of the article was meant to be fun and I apologize if it was misleading to some. I hope that this clarifies things a bit more.
@favioladadis I commend your additional comments as they are important. It is a pity that CW didnt take the lead in this, but what does one expect...
@pressedproductions - really?
I'm a freelance writer and so I don't speak for City Weekend but really? All your puritanical gripes and rants have been addressed by not only myself originally, Faviola the centerpiece of the article has posted multiple times as well as one of the editors of City Weekend. That's a pretty good response to the over hyped allegations you've made while quixotically being the mouth piece for the young and impressionable girls of Shanghai. Now that your points have been shot down your only response is to criticize the forum itself - a forum as I just noted that took time to "take the lead in this."
In internet speak, Pressedproductions - epic fail.
@jackthelad You sound quite upset. Your response illustrates my point fairly well. One sided reporting. Last time i checked writing an article on City Weekend kind of makes you represent them Jackster. Thats what these blogs are for no? - to get a reaction? Even if you dont like the reaction you have to be ready for it young man. Highlighting an important issue that you may not care about but perhaps someone there in your office of CW editors should. Happy freelancing Jack!
I think Pressed, you need to just back off now, yeah? You made your point, it was semi-conceded and semi-rebuffed.
You've made a lot of assumptions and a lot of assertions, they were in some cases well made, in others not so. Now is the time to settle for the draw.
God, listen to me sounding like an adult... well, it is my birthday soon! Are you free for a drink, Faviola?
We have the answers! Submit your questions to our team of Shanghai experts and get a response within 24 hours. Anything is fair game!