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Too Sexy for Canada: Are Spokesmodels Inappropriate at Auto Shows?

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I spent last week at two auto shows — Detroit’s North American International Auto Show and Boston’s New England International Auto Show — reporting on the latest models. What we didn’t report on were the MODELS, the attractive young men and women who flank new car introductions. In an age of hyper-political-correctness, a Canadian automotive publication is asking if spokesmodels should be banned outright.

David Booth at thinks so. 

“It still seems a shame that a market-driven economy — where 51% of the consuming public is women — is lagging in something so obviously discriminatory,” he wrote in his piece for “Los Angeles, as I noted in last November 28’s Motor Mouth, was chock-a-block with scantily clad ‘booth babes.’ Ditto for Detroit.”

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Yeah, I was at both shows. I didn’t come across anybody I’d have described as “scantily clad.”

Were there attractive women — and men — assigned to complement the cars? Yes there were. And when Philip Ruth asked them questions about the products to help him run through the videos he hosted for us, they were uniformly knowledgeable about the products, and genuinely helpful when they didn’t have an answer at hand.

You might learn that if you bothered talking to them, rather than just starting at them, but I digress.

All of the photos Booth used to illustrate both of his columns showed women in dresses:


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Call me old-fashioned, but just because a woman wears a dress doesn’t make her sleazy or slutty. It’s attractive. So is the handsome dude in the well-tailored suit standing next to her. Nobody’s up in arms about him standing there, right?

“‘A motor show is a place where you go with your family,'” Booth quotes Belgium’s “equal opportunity minister” Joelle Milquet. “and we have to question the stereotypes we are passing on to children and young adults.”

Maybe the auto shows in Belgium were a little more risqué than those here. At LA, Boston and Detroit, the attire was either appropriate for a night on the town, or in Porsche’s case, a morning class at any university in America.

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In three auto shows in the past two months, there wasn’t a single model I would’ve felt uncomfortable with either of my kids interacting with.

Now, maybe it’s because I’ve been to SEMA in Las Vegas, land of plentiful strippers and showgirls who make a few bucks on the side standing next to carburetors, 22-inch wheels and valve covers (Example below shown for demonstration purposes only. Look away, Canadian journalists, for the love of God.)

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But that’s not what the models at any major auto show in America are wearing. They’re wearing nice clothes that any young woman in the United States might choose to wear to a semi-formal in high school.

I don’t see the big deal.

I’m all for attractive, well-dressed people complementing the latest models on the show floor. It’s bad enough you can’t board an aircraft without sitting next to some schlub wearing shorts and flip-flops.

Do you really want the People of Walmart showing off cars at the next auto show?

Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at


  1. Thanks for sharing; and, I agree. I generally find the uniforms the product specialists wear to be fairly tasteful and complimentary to the brands they are selling, but I also get the feeling that the heat is turned up a bit during the days the shows are open to the public. And when it comes to attending auto shows, personally, I always wear a dress or skirt. Expressing who I am and creating an inclusive feeling for all women who attend–that you don’t have to be in pants to fit in–is an important step to make all women feel welcome at the Auto Show.

  2. I disagree I’m going to the SEMA show in November with my Fiancé who is in the car business. I watched some YouTube clips on the SEMA “Models” if that’s what you call them. Most seemed to dressed like pornstars. If you need someone like that to sell your product then it must not be any good. It’s very degrading and insulting and not what I want to go to a car show for. We are looking for products not the next porn star.

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