Getting Paid to Party - Party Week on BTR


Photo by Stinkie Pinkie.

Given that the US job market is in the worst state of depression since, well, the Great Depression, it’s safe to say that people are willing to work whatever job they can to make ends meet. In fact, unemployed Americans waited in line by the thousands outside of a McDonald’s this past April for the food corporation’s first ever “National Hiring Day” just so they could apply for positions as fry cooks and cashiers. Whether or not you consider that a real indication of our country’s economic state, it looks like Americans are not afraid of getting their hands dirty (or greasy) in order to make a couple extra bucks.

In stark contrast are reality television stars who rake in dough by the thousands simply by making a single appearance at a bar or nightclub. Jersey Shore cast member and professional fist-pumper Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino famously made 1 million dollars on nightclub appearances last year alone. Simply put, Sorrentino and his fellow cast members made a fortune off have taken their popularity and found a way to be paid for their party-animal reputations.

While his tendency to refer to himself in the third person might be infuriating to some, truly frustrating is the idea that the only lines that The Situation waits in are lined with velvet ropes that lead to VIP sections with complimentary bottle services. A far cry from waiting for a job as a fry cook at MacDonald’s, job hunters might be tempted to look at celebrities who get paid to party and wonder if they should hit the tanning salon and go by a flashy but nondescript nickname. Before they turn to such drastic measure (or worse, move to Jersey), there may be options for non-celebrities to pull off the “paid to party” scheme.

Lauren Hawker, a video journalist here at BreakThru Radio, says before she worked for BTR, she made some serious money promoting the carefree party lifestyle at New York based clubs in the Meat Packing District.

“I had just moved to the United States from Australia, and it was a great way to meet people and make some money.” Just how much money? Hawker said, “As a bottle waitress, I was allocated three tables a night, and sold champagne and spirits at prices of $500 and up. I got 20% of whatever price I sold them for, and that was my tip.”

“It was a great way to make money because your ‘work’ was to have fun and be social with customers,” Hawker said. “On top of upselling bottles of champagne, I drank and partied with the men, keeping them company at their tables. I would work shifts from 10pm to 4am and come home with armfuls of cash, which was on average $600 a night, and on a good night I made up to 1200 dollars in tips.”

Still, Hawker’s bottle waitress/party girl career only lasted a month. “For me, the job was a means to an end. Plus, I have a boyfriend now, so I don’t go out as much,” says Hawker. “Honestly, it’s great for a while, and I even know girls who go so far as to make a real income out of it. They work four nights a week and are living like queens on what they make.”

If you’re a night owl who thrives on all things hip and ultra-exclusive, then this might be the job for you. Yet the reality of working as a bottle waitress is that the job is really a lifestyle commitment. Being the life of the party for four nights a week can be exhausting, and even Hawker admits, “staying out all night really ruins your day.”

To bring the party is one thing, but there are other party-goers who can cash in on spreading the word once they’re had their fun. “Researchers,” as they are called at the website, are hired to write about and photograph the best nightlife attractions in their area, which then get published to the social media site. Party Earth shares their stories to promote the best places to go in local US and European cities, while researches enjoy the benefits of being paid to party and make a name for themselves as published journalists.

“There are tons of perks,” says Paul Feinstein, who is the Content Manager of Party Earth. “Our writers make contacts at venues all over their city as they interact with owners and managers at all the venues they visit.”

Feinstein says that researchers work for Party Earth on a freelance basis, and they look for the right balance between social butterfly and street smarts. “It shouldn’t matter what your background is,” he says, “but we only hire people who have a vast wealth of social knowledge and are able to identify all different kinds of scenes with all different kinds of people and be able to understand who would enjoy any particular venue.”

“With that said, some of our best writers have been bartenders, artists, waiters, lawyers, publicists, and we’ve even had some med students,” he adds. For Party Earth researchers, The key to getting paid to party is a case of working smart more so than working hard. Even when it comes to going out on the town, you really do need to know your stuff. “These writers are tastemakers and need to have their finger on the pulse of all things cool in a city regardless of venue type.”

While an appearance from The Situation might attract only a specific clientele, Feinstein says that Party Earth universally looks to “tell our community what a venue is like every night of the week – not just the one time Kim Kardashian decides to pop bottles… The Jersey Shore can get people to come to a club on a single night, but what we do is tell people why they should keep coming back.”

In a recent, ironic twist of fate for “ya boy Sitch,” while nightclubs have shelled out the thousands for his association, other companies are willing to pay him as much to stay away from their brand. Abercrombie & Fitch recently offered Sorrentino money to stop wearing their clothes, as the juiced-out guido could often be seen sporting A&F’s clothing both on the hit MTV show and in real life. According to a press release from the clothing company, this was “contrary to the aspirational nature of [A&F’s] brand” and potentially “distressing to many of our fans.”

Fame is fickle, and its tides can turn faster than you can say “Jersey Shore,” but that does not change the fact that there is serious money to be made on the party scene. In fact, the entire concept of Jersey Shore promotes the party lifestyle, and where a normal person would pay to have tapes burned of their drunken debauchery, cast members sign up and charge others to promote them on national television. Drunken antics notwithstanding, there’s nothing to stop regular people from getting in on the game, and if they’re smart about it, getting paid to party can be really fun. No nickname or fake tan required.

Written by: Mary Kate Polanin