Sunday, April 24, 2011

The economics of British glamour models

A friend who spends his life negotiating with the agents of glamour models explained to me the principles of “boobonomics”. Let's assume a pretty girl, who has been snapped in her bikini for a local newspaper, seeks a big-time career. Her agent phones a men's magazine and proposes for a given sum, say £3,000, that she pose in lingerie.

If she's a hit with the readers, her agent will then suggest that for a greater sum, say £5,000, she will pose topless, but with her nipples concealed by her cupped fingers (“hand bra”). Subsequently her fee will rise for each coy permutation: “hair bra” or “girl-on-girl bra” (two models face to face shielding each other's breasts). Eventually, once this dance of the seven thongs has been exhausted and readers are believed to be slavering with anticipation, the agent will propose that for a huge sum — say £50,000 — the girl will finally reveal all.

But the harshest principle of boobonomics is that after this shoot, the value of the girl's assets — which is what they are in a technical, business sense — collapses. From this point she will only receive £20K for full topless, a sum she only recently received for showing far less. Her product life cycle is reaching an end. Now, however, agents have a new strategy for reviving the brand, rather as when Kit Kat launched peanut or orange-flavoured variants. He proposes that his client have a breast enlargement: would the magazine be interested in the first pictures, you know, when the scars have healed? The going rate for new knockers will never match her initial “reveal”, but raises her value momentarily to, say, £35,000. Jordan, the Milton Friedman of boobonomics, has amassed a great fortune increasing her breast size by increments in three operations.
--Janice Turner, Times of London, on assets that are passing away

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