Looking for Hot Female

The girlfriend is in the “industry.” In LA, that means movies. Or at least she used to be… she did wardrobe consulting for many years (plus she was an extra a few times and a body-double (no nudity!) on occasion). She has an MBA and a lot of experience as a small businesswoman and is now planning on switching into commercial real estate. I think it’s a good move – she can sell almost anything to almost anyone, but she’s ethical enough not to make the sales that are not win-win. (Anyone who might have advice for her, please drop me a line.)

Anyway, I’m starting to learn bits and pieces about the industry. One thing of interest are the “casting calls.” These are the “help wanted” notices of the industry.

Here’s a quote I pulled from one, verbatim. “Also Looking for Hot Female Union and Non Union for waitresses, Bartenders and clubgoers.” (Union means member of the Screen Actor’s Guild.) This is not an unusual quote by any means from what I’ve seen.

I was wondering about this… how can it be legal to discriminate on looks? I understand that fewer people might watch a movie if the leads are unattractive, but presumably, a company will make fewer sales if they send an unattractive advertising executive or sales engineer to meet potential clients. I’ve also noticed that restaurants may be doing something similar to what the studios are doing; more often than not, the woman working at the front of the restaurant is young and good-looking. And yet, my understanding is that if a company (in the US) placed ads for “hot managers” or “sizzling executives” they’d quickly find themselves in trouble with the law.

So what’s going on here? How does this work?