Love Boat: Yacht Girls and the Cannes Film Festival

celebrities Cannes buy anything these days.

celebrities Cannes buy anything these days.

Forget June gloom. I always get depressed in the middle of May, while I’m still reeling from the money I had to send to the IRS in April. Waiting for June to hit so it can officially be summer. And sitting at home on my couch while the glitterati of the world attend the Cannes Film Festival. I wouldn’t want to go unless I had a reason to be there but the thing that depresses me most is that I don’t have a reason to be there (yet). And the intrigue gets to me.

Every day I’m refreshing my web browser to see the latest photos detailing who wore what on the infamous stairs at the Palais des Festivals and of celebs living it up on yachts. It’s the one time of year when anyone in the film industry can live like Diddy (is it Diddy or is he back to Puff Daddy?).

But a few years ago I came to learn about another huge part of the Cannes Film Festival. It’s not another party or an event, it’s one of those dirty little secrets that’s out in the open and that people quietly acknowledge but don’t talk about– like an illegitimate child or a bad case of psoriasis. Should I dish? Alright, you don’t have to twist my arm! Two words: yacht girls.

Sounds innocuous enough, right? By the powers of deductive reasoning it would seem like yacht girls are the equivalent to landlubbin’ bottle service girls in clubs. Wrong. Very. Wrong. A more accurate definition of a yacht girl is that she’s, essentially, a maritime call girl. Yep. Dana Kennedy’s article in The Hollywood Reporter from 2013 explains it best:

“Women installed on yachts in Cannes during the film festival are called ‘Yacht Girls,’ and the line between professional prostitutes and B- or C-list Hollywood actresses who accept payment for sex with rich older men is sometimes very blurred…”

So, not only are these ladies of negotiable affections, but some are actresses that you and I have probably heard of who are looking to cash in. It’s been said that some yacht girls can make up to 40 grand per night and after the festival is over some don’t have to work at all for the rest of the year. One question, though: how exactly do you declare that on your tax return?

For some reason it’s almost socially acceptable to recognize that this exists and is a big part of this event every year. While there was an arrest made back in 2007 – a swashbuckler named Elie Nahas who ran a large prostitution ring – it feels like most turn a blind eye to the fact that the oldest profession in the world is seeking refuge at Cannes. I know that it’s France and they are much more lax about sex, but come on!

I’m beyond fascinated that this goes on. The richest, most powerful, and most handsome people in Hollywood don’t seem like they would need to partake in this type of activity. I’m sure there are exotic, beautiful women at these parties that don’t charge by the hour or the night, yet they still opt for the yacht girls. The best things in life are not free, obviously.

I can’t be the only one wondering how this has not been the basis for a movie yet. Wait, forget I said that. Don’t steal my idea! Let’s just say that Yacht Girls really give a whole new meaning to the phrase, “I’m on a boat.”

+ Leave a Reply