Chris Hanna, head of the TSM modeling agency (whose clients, according to the Bloomberg article, include “one of the largest search engines in the world”) told the news agency that demand for models contractually obligated to pretend they’re guests—as opposed to serving food or checking coats, as requested in previous years—is unprecedented.
At a time when the news cycle is flush with sexual harassment scandals, Silicon Valley’s use of guests-for-hire is in stark contrast to how other industries are approaching the holiday-party season. Vox Media, hit by a sexual-harassment scandal in October, is doing away with the open bar and limiting guests to two drinks apiece. And some companies, if they’re not sanitizing their parties, are canceling them altogether. According to an annual poll of HR executives by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, Christmas, about 11% of offices are skipping holiday shindigs altogether, versus 4% last year.