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If you have spent any amount of time on the Las Vegas Strip the last twenty years or so, I am pretty sure you have seen the billboard trucks advertising escort services. Or the “Girl to your room in 20 minutes” enterprises. The photo posted here is one of the more popular ones and it has a little story to it.
First of all, did you know that the image is over 30 years old? Still being used and apparently still working. It’s from either 1989 or 1990. All three models were actual escorts working for the service they were advertising. Each of them was offered $2,000 for the one time shoot.
Two of the girls signed the model release form, took the money, and they were out of there as soon as the shoot was complete. The one in the middle, she knew the images were worth more than the one-time fee she was being offered. She wanted a better deal.
Before signing her release form, she asked to be paid annually, not just the one time. The owner of the agency agreed. I found out in 2005, that she was still getting those yearly checks while raising her three daughters in Colorado!
The Story as I was Told
One early morning when I was chauffeuring on the Las Vegas Strip, I was sent off to one of the gated communities in Las Vegas. My client needed us to run to the airport, pick up a friend, and bring him back to the estate. Simple run.
He was not what I was expecting from such a wealthy, gated neighborhood. Definitely younger than the others I have picked up there before. His dress didn’t match the social status, that was for sure. Very relaxed in his jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers. Meeting him, my mind went straight for an image of the comedian George Carlin.
Why George Carlin? Because at about the same time as this was happening, George Carlin was a resident of Las Vegas and was making news because of his casual dress and his audacity to be out in public ( gated community) dressed like that. On top of dressing like that, he was caught changing the oil in one of his classic cars, in his own driveway!! A clear violation of community standards if there ever was such a thing!
He just didn’t fit his surroundings and he seemed to like being the gated community rebel! It might also be the fact that his female partners who joined us in the ride were a couple of hot ladies, like him, they were not exactly dressed for the community picnic!
The drive to the airport as I remembered it was pretty casual as well. After meeting his friend at baggage claim, they decided breakfast was in order. So we had a change of plans and I was now booked for the entire day instead of just the airport run. That was followed by him handing me my tip, in case he forgot later. He rolled off 3 very fresh and very crisp C notes from his pocket. (3 one hundred dollar bills). This would be on top of the already built-in 20% tip for the all-day rental. It was a nice day all the way around!
Sitting in the best restaurant on the Strip, the Peppermill, we had a corner booth to watch all the action inside the restaurant as well as a good shot of the traffic on the Strip. For those of you who have been to the Peppermill, you are probably smiling at that.
When one of those Billboard Trucks rolled by with the image of the three escorts on it, the airport guest smiled, then laughed. Not believing that they were still using “That” image. He then asked my client if the one girl was still getting paid? She was. I was a bit curious. Only one out of three got paid?
Know Your Worth
My client was all too eager to share with me the story of how that image got to be and the fact that it’s still being used today. Some twenty years after it was taken.
The lady in question, he said, knew her value. She also knew how to do business. She was good at what she did and she knew she was good. She knew she or maybe the image itself, was worth more than the one-time fee the other two girls settled on and were happy to get. She also knew the owner was going to make big bucks off the use of that image. So when she was handed her model release form, the document that states who owns the images and what money(if any) was exchanged in order to create the images, she said she wanted an annual payment for the use of her likeness. Without much of a discussion, he agreed. Making it a $2,000 annual fee.
Think about that. Here we are, thirty years later, she is still getting paid (to the best of my knowledge) for that one photo you see going down the Strip every night. It’s not much if you think about it. $2,000 a year for a photo that is probably making them millions. However, taken over time, it did pay for her kid’s college education! Whereas the other two girls probably blew their one-time check in a matter of a couple of days and forgot all about it.
So now you know the story behind the image you see driving down the Strip every night. not earth-shattering, but it makes seeing the trucks a little more fun. It’s also a simple lesson in knowing your worth. Not being afraid to let those you are working with know your worth and never being afraid to speak your mind before you sign an agreement. You too could be getting paid every year for thirty years for something you did in one afternoon!