Courtesy of Sofia Tindall
5min readCulture 06 June 2019
When September comes around, so does the Monaco Yacht Show. This tiny country to the south of France is a year-round haven for the lavishly rich; in fact one in three residents are millionaires. But it's the famous yacht show that really brings in the cash.
This show is a veritable playground for millionaires and billionaires who are in the market for their perfect yacht. Sofia Tindall, a freelance investigative journalist for Cosmopolitan UK, had the (un)fortunate opportunity to experience this annual trade show first hand. As a writer drawn to complex gender issues, Tindall's fiery piece on the yacht show for Cosmo UK was full of poignant observations. But in a recent conversation with SWAAY she was able to give us even more details on this patriarchal party capital.
"It felt like a completely different planet."
Though Tindall is no stranger to "wealthy environments," the degree of luxury on display at the yacht show was "overwhelming." As soon as she walked out of the train station, everything was about the money. The tradeshow showcased 121 yachts, the most expensive of which is valued at over $200 million euros with a weekly charter cost of $1.75 million, and the wealth ran even deeper than these massive ships. The tradeshow attracts an unprecedented number of wealthy professionals as a "super-charged environment to grow your business."
For many attendees, the Monaco Yacht Show is the place to spend money, but for some, in particular young women, the show offers a uniquely lucrative opportunity to earn it. Tindall recalls that "there were seven men to every three women," and generally these women weren't there to buy yachts. Amidst the thralling crowds of grey-haired men (the median age of attendees is 45 to 55) you are likely to find a few statuesque "twentysomething women." Some of these women are permanent features in Monaco but many more are simply trying to jazz up their resume with something "glamorous" and drink a few (or more) glasses of free champagne along the way.
With the gender representation skewing so distinctly male, it should come as no shock that the environment would be somewhat sexist, but what Tindall experienced there was truly otherworldly. And not in a good way. Though prostitution is legal in Monaco, at the Yacht Show this carried a different meaning for the women who worked at the events. One of the only two women entrepreneurs she met there advised her to be wary as a young woman entering this strange new world, "almost like a pre-warning,"
"This is a place where women are transactional, where women are like currency. And that was defined by the way people, especially men, talked about the women and why they were there." Tindall shares. "It almost became a sport for people to point out who they thought was a prostitute." This kind of interaction and behavior defined the atmosphere and set the tone. Even the working women were "treated [like] an attraction."
The majority of these women were simply hostesses, stewardesses or promotional girls. Tindall herself had taken on some promotional work on the last day of the show; all she had to do to qualify was tell them about her hobbies, share her Instagram handle, and submit her dress size. Though the form she filled out only gave the option of sizes 6-12.
The women of the Monaco Yacht Show are valued almost solely on their appearances. If the yachts are the gift, the women are the bow on top. At one point, Tindall played this part herself, though incidentally. Having been invited to brunch with Roberto, a yacht broker with "salt-and-pepper hair" reminiscent of an "old Italian grandfather" Tindal was guided by his arm around her waist and introduced as an "international diplomat." She spent hours with him and his clients, without ever truly understanding why she was even there. Before they all boarded a "dazzling four-tiered yacht," Roberto whispered in her ear: "Help me sell this boat." And to do that, all she had to do was pose for a few pictures and try to maintain a smile.
That was one of many experiences that was far different from what she was used to. Though she immersed herself in the wealthy lifestyle, working as a promo girl gave her the opportunity to also learn from her fellow women, later describing them as "incredible, smart [and] business-minded." She goes on to say how difficult their jobs were; on top of her responsibilities as an employee, Tindall found it exhausting having to constantly deal with different forms of harassment. "Guys would be grabbing you as you're walking along, pressing their business cards on you," she mentions. "It was almost like an offensive thing to say no." Additionally, it was extremely common for men to come up to women and ask what "price" they are. And despite all of that, these women, who are often categorized or seen as currency, worked hard.
"They were pushing for change in the ways that they could," she says. "I met women that were entrepreneurial in their own rights, their own fields."
Overall, the interactions between men and women were nowhere near what she was used to in London. But despite the circumstances (and the rampant sexism), Tindall clarified that she had a great time at the show. Her experience enlightened her to the fact that "the further you go up into wealth, the more institutionally patriarchal it becomes." And though the women she met there were all uniquely powerful, in the future she would love to see more women in the position of actually buying a yacht rather than acting as "window-dressing for the boat."
When we asked her about advice on how women can handle these types of situations at the Monaco Yacht Show, she provided these three tips:
- If you're going to go on a boat, or want to go to a party stay on one that is docked. When you're further out at sea, that's when it can get a little bit more dangerous. It shouldn't be the case, but we have to watch out for our safety.
- Make sure that you're with other people. A lot of the guys I met there, I [could] never have been with on my own. That would've worried me. A good safety tip is to make sure with people that you trust.
- If you're trying to extract yourself from a situation with a guy, be firm. No means no.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.