[Quick Questions] Booth Girl World – Ashleigh Olivas
Some refer to them as the tools of a tiresome marketing stratagem. Others say they diminish the earnest gravity of the gaming industry. Everyone else quickly assume that they have it easy. Whatever your views may be regarding booth girls, none of the above universally applies as truth.
While at this year’s E3, I ran into one of many who has been awesome enough to share her tale. Here to set the story straight is one of Eyedentity’s Dragon Nest booth babes, Ashleigh Olivas, with a couple of answers to our (not so) Quick Questions.
Denkiphile: Hi Ashleigh! Thanks for stopping by. Did you have a great time at this year’s E3?
Ashleigh Olivas: Hi! I had an amazing time at E3 this year! It was my first time attending and hopefully not my last.
DP: Were you able to check out the floor? If you did, what upcoming releases are you looking forward to?
AO: On my lunches, I tried to eat as fast as possible to get some extra time to explore.
I didn’t see everything, but I did get to check out some pretty cool stuff. I am excited for Uncharted 3, Dragon Nest, Little Big Planet for the PS Vita, God of War: Origins Collection, Arkham City, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Fable: The Journey!
DP: A very promising list. So tell us a little about yourself.
AO: I am a 20-year-old college student who works days at a grocery store and plays World of Warcraft by night.
I began modeling last year when I was hired by Apotheosis Agency to work trade shows and conventions revolving around video games. This job has become the highlight of my life, allowing me to attend both Blizzcon and E3.
DP: How exactly did you cross paths with Apotheosis?
AO: The founder of Apotheosis, Jo-Jo Chen, offered me a position with her company after meeting me at Comic-Con 2010. It was my fourth year attending and I was dressed up as Black Widow. Jo-Jo was actively trying to recruit new cosplayers with a passion for video games. I never imagined then that being a part of Apotheosis would allow me to eventually attend E3.
DP: A dream come true. So what’s it been like working as a booth girl? A lot of people would be quick to assume that you ladies just stand around all day looking pretty.
AO: Other than the heels, being a booth girl is great! I love the atmosphere of conventions.
Just standing around looking pretty depends on the company you are representing. Generally, since Apotheosis prides itself on having knowledgeable gamers who can represent the product, I am expected to know the details of the company or game I am representing. However, I already know a lot about the companies.
DP: Would you say that being knowledgeable is a quality that all gamer booth girls should have other than looks?
AO: I believe that in most circumstances, when someone is truly passionate in what they are selling, it helps the company. There are many cases in conventions, such as E3, where attendees have questions and the girls are told to try and find the nearest person who can answer them, which can be a pretty successful method; however, when the questions are as simple as “What company are you representing?” or “What console is this game for?” and the girls can’t answer them, it looks bad on the company.
I think if potential customers could speak with a pretty girl who is passionate about the game they are representing, it would help pique the interests of the consumer.
DP: Indeed. So tell us a normal day of work during E3 week.
AO: E3 was hard for me because I was waking up at 6 AM, grabbing McDonald’s on my way to the blue line, and taking the Metro to the LA Convention Center.
I waited until I got to the convention to do hair, make-up, and then put on my costume so nothing got messed up on the transit. I got to the convention roughly around an hour before the exhibitors’ hall opened to give myself enough time to get ready; 11 AM on the first day and 9 AM on the following days.
On the floor, we got breaks and an hour lunch, which was a good amount of time to look around the convention hall, but not enough to try any games. As I mentioned, the worst part about being a booth girl is having to wear heels. By the time the exhibitors’ hall closed, I felt like I could barely walk. I am sure it wasn’t as bad for the girls who are used to wearing heels.
After closing time, I would take the tram home around 6 PM, get home around 7 PM, make food, sleep, and then do it all over again. Because it was such a large commute for me to get to E3, and I had to wake up so early in the morning, I didn’t attend any after-parties. Hopefully, next year I will be more prepared by having a hotel room near the convention. Overall, it was tiring, but I loved every second of it.
DP: Sounds just as tiring as my week, minus the heels. Thus far, has your booth girl work and modeling opened doors to future opportunities or a further step towards a goal?
AO: Many of the girls I work with are looking to break into modeling or acting. They are gorgeous girls and being a booth girl is a great way to become discovered.
My goal, for a number of years now, is to work for Blizzard Entertainment. Working as a booth girl has allowed me to meet a variety of different people in the gaming industry. Many of these people have been nice enough to give me advice on how I may be able to get a steady job in the industry and which jobs would best suit me.
DP: Speaking of being around a variety of people, a large number of them are, of course, men. So far, what has been your most amusing booth girl moment?
AO: At the more impacted conventions, such as Comic-Con, there are always a few guys who will try to rest there hand a little too low and things like that. Such actions have become expected, and most booth girls learn to ask politely that the person move their hand up.
However, when I was attending E3, there were many international attendees. And I found that many of the Asian men wouldn’t actually touch me when taking pictures. They would just have their arm around my back without contact. It so caught me off guard as to how respectful they were!
DP: That we are. When it comes to dealing with pervs, how do you ladies handle yourselves?
AO: It really depends on the booth girl. The longer the girl works in the business, the less sensitive she is. Many girls, in the beginning, won’t mention if something is bothering them. Once they have experienced more conventions, they learn to speak up about things like groping or guys trying to pick up on them.
It is fine to put your arm around a booth girl’s waist or shoulder when taking pictures. Going lower than the waist is probably not a good idea. The majority of attendees I have met have been more than respectful and always friendly.
One of the girls I had the pleasure of working with, during E3, had an attendee inappropriately touch her. A younger man, who was waiting in line to play one of the games, saw it and yelled at the guy for it. There will be some men who act inappropriately everywhere, I just love that there are some great people at video game conventions to counter them out.
DP: Good to know that there are attendees looking out for you ladies. So now that E3 is over, at which upcoming events will you be making an appearance?
AO: San Diego Comic-Con, I’ll be dressing up as Rogue from X-Men. I have been waiting to do this costume for years! Then GenCon. I’ll be working with Cryptozoic to help promote the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game. And of course, Blizzcon, I will be attending but I am not sure if I will be working yet or not.
DP: Sounds like you’re all set for this year! Finally, anyone you’d like to give shout outs to?
AO: Jo-Jo Chen, for her admirable beginning of an agency that will help bring consumers and companies together. And Edward Olivieri, for his continuous support in my video game adventures!