Citroen, Toyota, Peugeot, Skoda, Renault, Audi… The World of the automobile, which runs until 14 October in Paris, not a stand without its crowd of students, dressed head to toe in the colours of the car manufacturers. Here, as many men as women. But this parity is exceptional in this environment at a very largely female. Armed with tablets, all busied themselves around the vehicles.

Their job ? Welcoming and informing visitors. “We provided a day of training. One is able to answer basic questions on the power of vehicles or their availability at the dealership, ” says Chloe*, a law student, who officiates at the stand of Audi.

Anna*, lipstick bright and hair pulled back, working on the stand of Peugeot. A way, for this second year student in school of communication, earning money and occupy his time in between classes : “Hostess, nobody wants to make it her career. But it is a good way to learn how to express themselves, to have the right attitude, be comfortable working with the public, ” she says.

today dispatched by the company Charlestown, she works for different agencies, depending on the opportunities. This poses no problem : the missions, such as the working conditions do not vary much. Fixed-term contracts exclusively, paid around 11 euros per hour, the minimum wage plus paid sick leave. A job that has a huge benefit for students, the need for flexibility.

“it’s no use being a hypocrite, it is a business of image”

The agencies ensure they do not hire on physical criteria. “What counts are the language skills and the availability,” says a recruiting Penelope. “Girls should be masked, with hair attached, but it has held up to size 44 “, bids one of his sisters, Charleen. Beautiful words of which he is doubtful.

In seminars, general meetings, corporate events and other trade shows, the hostesses rarely have extra pounds. And those that are not near the 170 centimetres are exceptions to this. The World of the automobile does not escape to the rule : porte de Versailles, and the young of small size or overweight do not run the aisles. No wonder to that consulted the websites of the agencies. To apply online, applicants must always submit their CV and one or more photographs, or even specify their measurements.

” We are not the modeling agency. But no need to be hypocritical, it is still a business image. You are not looking for top models, but it is necessary that the hosts and hostesses have the charm, the presence, that they are aesthetically pleasing to look at, ” agrees Barbara Halary, associate director of the agency Trinity. “Some customers, especially in the luxury sector, have strong requirements in terms of appearance. Even if they don’t write because it’s forbidden “, complete a recruiting City One.

practices tues, that the candidates have nevertheless fully integrated. “At the time of recruitment, we pass the group interviews. But, honestly, they don’t care about what’s being said. What counts is the physical, ” says Leah*, who has performed contracts for Mahola, Marianne international and France’s Prestige. “On some manifestations, it works by two. And we class them by size, by color of hair and skin, ” adds Myriam*, just graduated of a master 2 in communication and human resources.

The boredom is much more painful than the overactive

The World of the automobile, the days are gruelling. But at least the hostesses have the feeling of doing useful work. Because in this job boredom is much more painful than overactivity. “We often wonder what it serves, it is a little out there for the decor. This is a recurring topic of discussion among girls, ” explains Agnes*, a veteran of the events at the Grand Palais of Lille.

” Sometimes, we do nothing at all. It remains planted at the entrance, smile and say hello dozens of times, perched on heels that are too high. People look at us with condescension, it is quite degrading “, abounds Myriam*. To avoid this kind of inconvenience, Anna* makes the sorting in the proposals. “It is necessary to choose its missions. If it comes to the flower pot, skip your turn “, she advises.

Another source of hardness, the dredgers. Hear the hostesses, the wave #metoo nothing has changed, the attitudes of machismo and gender-based violence continue to persist. Especially when there is alcohol. “In cocktails, there is always a that you guide, and you made some inappropriate comments. Once, a guy a little drunk I was even gripped by the waist to force me to dance, ” says Agnes*.

Another witness, Louise*, who has officiated for a year at the entrance of the VIP boxes at the Bollaert stadium in Lens. “The reflections of the kékés 20 years, we have all the time. But the more unsettling, this looks are insistent of mature men, who te matent like meat, ” says this student of lille.

The well-known behaviors of the agencies, who are warning their hosts. And invite them to call their chief, their colleagues or the security guards in the event of a problem. Trying, if possible, to keep the smile.

Stéphane Béchaux

*at the request of the parties concerned, the names have been changed.

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