TT promo girls are positive ambassadors for the event.
That’s according to Jorden Rafferty, a promo girl for the TT and Classic TT of three years and a trainee advocate with Gough Law.
It comes after Formula One managing director Sean Bratches announced a ban on grid girls ’so as to be more in tune with our vision for this great sport’.
Jorden, aged 23, said: ’There is absolutely a place for them at the TT.
’At the end of the day it’s a job. We are hired to represent and promote the brand we are working for.
’It is only a positive thing if the fans and tourists can interact with as many people at the TT as possible and that includes smiley, presentable brand representatives like promo girls.’
She said Formula One’s decision, and comments about the grid girls no longer being in keeping with the sport’s values given, were both sad, adding: ’ I think this makes the job sound dirty which is ridiculous.
’These are professional intelligent women choosing this career path.
’I think it’s scary that in a modern society groups, like the Women’s Sport Trust, and men are speaking for women, rather than listening to them.’
She added: ’Times have changed. Gone are the days where girls are walking around in tiny bikinis.
’Sometimes we work in jeans and a T-shirt. Promotional models are professional young women working a respectable career, usually simultaneously to other work or studies.’
Jorden, who lives in Onchan, is a first-class law graduate who was called to the English and Welsh Bar in November.
She now has her sights set on qualifying as a Manx advocate and as a US attorney.
Jorden explained it was another promo girl that originally encouraged her to take part.
’A friend of mine who has been working as a promo girl for the TT for a few years asked me if I would do it as they were short of tall brunette girls that particular year.
’I said: "Definitely! Count me in!".’
For Jorden, the highlight is being on the start line of a race.
’Standing on the start line you could cut the tension with a knife as the riders line up to head off. The noise, atmosphere and the view is amazing. Especially as I am into bikes myself.’
She also enjoys the social aspect of the role.
’We are talking to the tourists, our sponsors, the racers and teams at the Grandstand all day,’ she said. ’It really feels like you’re part of the event.’
When asked to explain what the role involves, she said: ’It depends which brands we are working for and what jobs we are doing.
’For instance, if we are working on the start line for the race we arrive a good hour before the race and meet the brands/sponsors we are working for and this is usually the point we see our outfits for the first time which can be nerve racking!
’Then we do the start line, socialise with the fans while the race is on before returning for parc ferme and the podium for photographs with the racers.
’Then once all the photos are taken we return our outfits and that’s it. It’s a full day pretty much but we love it.’
She added: ’It is a huge time commitment. We give our availability to our bosses and then the schedules are created. TT lasts about 10 days for us and we work race and non-race days. Some days are only half days where as others we may work 9am to 5pm and then a second shift in the evening 6pm to 9pm.
’We love it though. The girls take time away from university and use holidays at work just to do this.’
Lauren Anderson, aged 23, of Onchan, has worked as a promo girl for the TT for a number of years.
And in 2016 she travelled around Europe working for Rizla and Yamaha for the World Superbikes Championship (WSBK).
She explained: ’For the TT the role is mainly working on the start line and wandering around the paddock promoting the different brands and taking pictures and chatting with the spectators.
’The WSBK involved being on the grid with the riders protecting them and the bike from the sun/rain, being present at pit walks, speeches, paddock walks and doing photo shoots for the brand.’
Lauren said she has ’amazing memories’ of her time in the roles.
’I’ve met such great people, some of the best riders around the world, I’ve been to crazy parties, seen places I never imagined I’d see,’ she said.
’I absolutely love the bikes so getting a chance to work inside the heart of it all and getting to watch so many different races is an unbelievable experience.’
Lauren described the decision to drop grid girls from F1 as ’really unnecessary’.
’They bring an extra bit of fun and an added attraction to the sport which a lot of the people love,’ she said.
’Most of the girls are studying and this is their only form of income and the rest is their full-time job which they clearly need and enjoy.
’To me it’s just not right taking that away from them without good reasoning.’
She added: ’Every girl I have met has never had any problems and love their job.
’I have been treated with nothing but respect from all the brands I have worked with and I always been 100% completely comfortable in any outfit I’ve worn, and I can guarantee the same with the other girls.
’The dresses we wear are no shorter or more revealing than that of a going out dress.
’It’s not a sleazy industry and everyone treats us so nicely. It’s upsetting we can’t just support each other and if someone is comfortable and treated well in their job and especially enjoys it then why can’t they keep that? It’s baffling.’