Officials from this weekend’s Formula 1 race targeted female UT students to work at the Circuit of the Americas track and based offers of employment primarily on appearance, according to several female students involved in the casting process.
Race employment officials set up a stand in the Union last week to cast female students for service positions and hired them as greeters at the front gate, merchandisers or hostesses in the VIP clubs.
Rachel Nicole Francis, an applied learning and development junior, said she was hired to work in the VIP Paddock Club at the race but decided not to take the job after the briefings before the race made her uneasy.
“They only took pictures of us and did not ask about our previous work experience,” Francis said.
Textiles and apparel junior Lexi Smith said she thought casting was centered on appearance because she was approached to try out when walking around campus.
“I was just walking into the PCL … and they stopped me and asked me to try out,” Smith said. “They didn’t ask any other information about me, which was weird, and they told me to bring my friends to the casting.”
Public relations junior Reagan Lognion, who worked in the VIP Ferrari Club Lounge at the race, said it was “the experience of a lifetime,” and after she interacted with her coworkers, she felt the casting was determined more by personality than looks.
“When I met the other girls working in my position … I realized that we all had very similar personalities,” Lognion said. “We had to be talkative and outgoing to be able to do our job well. I think that was the deciding factor more so than looks.”
Madison Lasris, an aerospace engineering and linguistics junior who has worked at the race for the past two years, said an appearance-based employment hierarchy is normal at the event.
“It was totally worth it,” Lasris said. “I did see, though, that while they definitely looked for girls who spoke different languages to work the race, they specifically told us in our job, ‘You’re working here because you look better than the girls in the other position.’”
Formula 1 race officials, including the female students’ supervisors, declined multiple opportunities to comment.