Pool season in Las Vegas starts on Facebook: This just in—“Come try out for the hottest job in town, bring your résumé, your best swimwear and a head shot—oh and by the way, we are only accepting the first 100 people, so get here early!” Almost instantly, the Las Vegas Athletic Club parking lot gets tighter as girls rush around town getting spray-tanned, Botoxed and bleached. And then, before they know it, the big day is here.
The line begins to form at 9 a.m., even though auditions for coveted “model/cocktail server” positions don’t begin until noon. Anxious girls dressed in their best business-casual-with-a-skanky-twist pass the time doing what girls do best. “I heard this year they are only hiring blondes,” one says.
“Oh no, no, no,” the size-zero brunette three girls behind chimes in. “I know Rick—ya know, Rick as in the general manager here—and he said that they were looking for girls with a more natural look this year.” “Really?” the triple-D, bleached-blond knockout next to her asks.
The name-dropping, one-upping and storytelling continue until the flood gates finally open. Then it is every woman for herself.
The audition process is as methodical as it is degrading. Applicants are told to line up, 10 at a time, and strip down to our bikinis to be photographed. Hopefuls turn in résumés and head shots, then prepare to walk the runway. Yes, you read correctly: the runway.
Apparently, to be a pool party cocktail waitress in Las Vegas you must be able to double as Heidi Klum.
The seasoned pros strut their stuff down the catwalk as the clueless newbies like Annie from Wichita, Kan., watch in amazement. (No, you’re not in Kansas anymore, sweetheart.)
“Girls, we need you to tell the panel what modeling and cocktailing experience you have, and please try to speak clearly into the microphone and look into the video camera while speaking,” the leader of the selection committee says.
A shoo-in named Ashley confidently explains that she has six years’ cocktailing experience, two of which were at this very venue. She has done extensive print and promo work for Jack Daniels and Coors Light, too, and winks at her buddy the nightlife director before spinning one last time for the panel.
Poor little Annie doesn’t have a chance. She reports that she has “no real modeling experience” but has been serving at the local pancake house back home since she was 18. She chokes over her words and says she’d be good at the job because she “works real well with others.” “Thank you for your time, ladies, we will be taking numbers 37 and 39,” the Simon Cowell of the pool party selection committee says. “The rest of you are free to go.”
That’s how the first round in the battle for pool-serving positions is fought.
Annie and the other rejects quietly get dressed as Ashley and her BFF Crystal go to the judges table to say hello to the four jurors, whom they have known for five years.
The second round comes later and that’s when the gloves really come off.
Everyone who is invited back is either smoking hot or knows somebody who knows somebody (or both). It’s the Las Vegas version of American Idol: Competition is fierce, and hearts are broken as rhinestone-encrusted Blackberries receive callbacks and others do not.
Crystal pouts and stares at her motionless phone when Ashley receives her call. They are at Golden Spoon, ready to toast the start of their summer with a round of bikini-friendly, low-calorie ice cream—but Crystal’s reason to celebrate never comes. Only the best of the best-looking get hired, and apparently Crystal enjoyed one too many calorie-loaded cinnamon dolce lattes in the off-season.
Alas, when it comes to working at a pool, it is survival of the fittest—or, in some cases, the skinniest. Yet nobody said making it in Vegas was going to be easy—and just like on American Idol, there is always next season—unless, that is, you’re over the age of 28. Then it’s game over.