Published on March 24, 2008
It's auto-show season and good-looking women are queuing to become "pretties" - the sex-sells face of fast cars.
It's a dream job. Increasing numbers of "event girls" are working shows, product laun-ches and exhibitions.
Some 200 recently vied for just four positions. The pay is handsome, they tell the Daily Xpress, with 10 days' work plus training paying as much as Bt50,000.
But ogling and groping come with the territory. And it sometimes goes beyond that. Most are lucky enough to avoid or elude direct harassment, but the overwhelming sentiment is that they must endure constant cat-calling and "inevitable body contact" from opportunists.
Many worry this country will go the way of Japan, South Korea and China, where competition for the positions is so intense that some girls offer their virtue.
Pornrawee "Know" Tantivet-jakul, a Chulalongkorn Univer-sity senior, asserts she was called after one recent event by someone who asked her to be his mistress for a monthly payment. "I don't know where he got my number, but I turned him down," she says.
She's been selected as a presenter for Mercedes-Benz at one of Bangkok's big motor shows, starting soon.
Know's proud to get the job from such a prestigious manufacturer. It will be her only chance at this, because Merce-des hires just nine new faces every year.
She believes it's her height that got her the job. She used to be a cabin attendant but quit.
Know says the hardest part is remembering the details of the cars she's employed to present. "Being a Mercedes presenter is a good chance to get future work," she says. Mercedes pays Bt3,500 a day and a Bt1,500 allowance.
Wiratcha "Jib" Winyayong will be a Lexus girl at the show. She was in the Benz arena last year.
Jib says she got the part because she's articulate and has good diction in both Thai and English. The 24-year-old says it's tough when show-goers or others put the moves on her. She takes a diplomatic approach and talks herself out of trouble.
"I'll admit in this business you have to be diplomatic."
By Thossaporn Wongwaikolayoot