Ashley Mears is associate professor in the Department of Sociology and in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Boston University. She is the author of Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model. Her writings have appeared in the New York Times, Elle, and other publications. She lives in Boston.
"One of Amazon's Best Books of 2020 in Business and Leadership"
"Fascinating."---Helen Rosner, New Yorker
"The most colourful investigation into nightlife and gender politics since Gloria Steinem went incognito as a Playboy Bunny in 1963."---Mark Smith, The Times
"Riveting. . . . The results of her investigation are astonishing. Mears has amassed pages of enthralling, richly human testimony. . . . The anecdotes are hugely entertaining, in a throw-up-in-your-mouth way. . . . Mears's thesis-that nightclubs aren't exceptions to 'real life,' but a distilled, brutal caricature of it-gathers strength as the details accumulate. . . . Elegantly written and genuinely page-turning, with revelations about life that go far beyond nightclubs."---Iona McLaren, Daily Telegraph
"Mears is a very good reporter. . . . A fascinating read."---Lynn Barber, The Spectator
"Riveting. . . . Mears is an excellent storyteller, resulting in a book that's well-informed and critical but also animated and engaging." * Tatler *
"Very Important People was written before the coronavirus pandemic, but Covid-19 makes it more relevant. Lockdown has widened inequality as poorer households lose jobs and rely on their savings. Meanwhile, the rich are getting richer, leading to pent up demand for parties, girls and bottle trains among those who have already missed a season of it."---Ollie Williams, Forbes
"Very Important People depicts a complex world of exchange and exploitation, and warrants praise for doing so without passing predictable moral judgement. More than offering a mere window into the exotic lives of others, Ashley Mears emphasizes themes that should resonate with us all: the labour of marginalized others that lurks behind so much status-seeking consumption, the risks of conflating work with fun and friendship, and the sad fact that 'girl power' remains as oxymoronic as ever."---Alice Bloch, Times Literary Supplement
"Enlightening. . . . A fascinating glimpse into life behind the velvet rope."---Matthew Partridge, Money Week
"Compelling, vivid and curiously poignant. . . . Very Important People succeeds in exposing the intriguing and often distressing realities of a culture whose values seem both alien and unpleasantly persistent."---Lisa Hilton, The Critic
"Mears takes her readers inside the exclusive global nightclub and party circuit, from New York City to Miami and Saint-Tropez, in order to reveal a world constituted by spectacular displays of wealth."---Laurie Taylor, BBC Radio 4, Thinking Allowed
"Throughout the seven chapters of the book, Mears dissects the economy of " models and bottles " (p. 17), or the formula by which we designate those parties in which the super rich display their power by attending models and making flaunting their wealth by wasting money and buying many bottles at exorbitant prices.""---Giulia Mensitieri, La Vie Des Idees