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November 21, 2017

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Photos: ‘Model Employee’ premiere on VH1 features tears, tantrums, claws and catfights


VH1’s “Model Employee” at Mandalay Bay.

Model Employee

VH1's 'Model Employee' at Mandalay Bay

VH1's Launch slideshow »

Despite tears and tantrums, sharpened claws and near catfights on Wednesday night’s premiere of VH1’s reality TV series “Model Employee,” execs at Mandalay Bay were thrilled.

“The true star is Mandalay Bay and Las Vegas,” judge Patrick Miller told me at the private viewing party last night. Patrick was the VP of marketing at Mandalay during the filming but has since become the new GM of sister casino resort Monte Carlo.

“Viewers — and our employees — have already formed opinions of their favorite contestants and villains. But nobody was eliminated this first debut week. People here who watched it at Mandalay Bay loved the show. There was a lot of cheering,” he added.

“The reaction was really positive, and we are very happy with it. It’s funny and definitely must-watch TV. It’s bittersweet to return to Mandalay Bay to see what we filmed — I’m almost sorry I got promoted! In fact, I think I missed the meeting when they decided which executive would be a judge. I thought our (Mandalay Bay) President Chuck Bowling would be the judge.”

However, Chuck did make an appearance on the show to explain to the eight models what he was expecting as they competed to become “the face of Mandalay Bay.” He told me: “I am so proud of our employees seen on the show. It’s a great representation of telling our story of the new-look Mandalay Bay as a true resort destination.

“It’s a reality TV show that works showing the uniqueness of Mandalay Bay and Las Vegas as not just a gaming experience.”

Eight models compete for a $100,000 prize and a yearlong contract as spokeswoman for the resort, but they have to work from the bottom up to learn everything it takes to run a successful resort.

“Eight weeks from tonight, we’ll know who the winning girl is,” Patrick added. “It’s a dream assignment for a full year. She will be a regular on our MLifeTV, shoot promos and make appearances at events all over the property.”

He’s sworn to secrecy as to the outcome of the show hosted by supermodel Chrissy Teigen, singer John Legend’s fiancee. “All I can say is that in the end, we have an amazing-looking model with great character,” he teased.

On last night’s 1-hour premiere, the model mob faced challenges of cleaning up after a messy ballroom banquet of leftover food and drinks. Four winning girls went on to become “flying wine angels” at celebrity chef Charlie Palmer’s Aureole at Mandalay Bay, and four losing girls had to work as servers at an executive’s wine tasting.

All were grilled by MGM brass. It’s hysterical to discover them not knowing what a sommelier is or does, how to pronounce the names of wines and how easily nails break on dishwashing duty. What takes a Mandalay crew to do in 20 minutes took the girls twice as long and only half completed.

“This is work,” snarled one, adding the winning line of the night: “I don’t do work!” The list of their vacuous faults as their privileged, luxury lifestyle is stripped away is longer than this weekend’s 5K run on the Strip.

“Next week, we start to really ratchet up the pressures,” Patrick told me.

“There’s going to be a real drama backstory. I’m seeing the video of their reactions for the first time in the actual show, so that part is totally new to me.”

The glamour girls face a recycling challenge in the trash dumpsters, cutting up food and serving it underwater in the Shark Reef Aquarium and playing housekeeper in cleaning hotel rooms. There’s no question that this is “fish out of water” as the models fight compete.

“A true dichotomy of beautiful people who have never worked a traditional job a day in their lives,” Patrick summed up. Or as I would put it: No champagne and caviar in this lifestyle.

“Model Employee’ moves to its regular 11 p.m. timeslot next week. The two other judges are model Vanessa Branch, the first Orbit Gum Girl who fabulously cleaned up dirty mouths for eight years, and Amusement Park Entertainment CEO Jimmy Smith.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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