Most people who have been to a trade show are familiar with “booth babes,” beautiful young women who promote everything from brandy to ballot initiatives. Their bubbling enthusiasm—or, in the words of one critic, “demoralizing personal objectification”—is a staple at car, tech, and video game shows, as well as almost any other industry gathering imaginable.
In the cannabis world, one response to the “booth babe” stereotype is the cannamodel. We asked two active smoking models—@indicaluv96 and @not.jodi—about their work in the unique world of weed. They answered as one.
How does one become a cannamodel anyway?
We got started in the “weed scene” in New York by accident—someone trying to take our weed. A bouncer tried to take a full ounce, each, off of us. People are still unfamiliar with the idea that someone would carry that for personal use.
We started smoking, and still smoke, for medicinal reasons believe it or not, for pain management (scoliosis) and an autoimmune disease. We’ve both developed a very high tolerance, so to get high, it takes a lot. So we started modeling in part just to pay for the cannabis we need. And it helps with discounts.
Anyway, we explained this to the bouncer, and he understood. He introduced us to a plug in the city, and that’s where we got our first modeling gigs.
What does being a cannamodel entail?
We’re a different take on what the clubs call “atmosphere models.” The club management will sit us at tables with their highest-paying clientele. So we’ve been placed with Cardi B, Pardison Fontaine, Chris Brown, James Harden. … We’re the go-tos for tables where they’re smoking. We’ll roll blunts. We’re chill. Oh, and we don’t get red eyes. That’s important for photos.
Do you get along with these high rollers?
We get along with each other. It’s typically so loud that we can’t talk to them. More of a Hey, how are you? Then we’ll roll, mostly. Minimum grams, but we roll 10 grams often enough. The thickness of it is like an egg roll.
Are there any male cannamodels?
Yes, but not at the clubs. They can’t get in. They do shoots and gallery events.
But this is work, not fun?
Yes, it’s fun work, but it’s work. We will have, minimum, four jobs set up in a day to make it worthwhile.
How is it that you can smoke in clubs? I thought that was illegal?
Some clubs are chill. Most are strict, especially the high-profile clubs where we do most of our work. The table pays the bouncers, and it’s about two grand to smoke.
Do you have to smoke more, in general, to do this? To keep up?
No, we smoke about what we always do. At the clubs, we actually smoke less.
Flower’s our thing. Rolled in fanta [fronto leaf]. And vapes aren’t really a part of the scene. Sometimes edibles make an appearance, but they’ve got to be strong. And everyone at the table will take multiple. We’ll slam edibles all night, but never start with edibles. Dosing is important. We recommend, with edibles, that people take a tiny bite—just the tip.
I can’t hang out with you.
No you can’t. That’s part of the Indica & Sativa experience. When you’re with us, that’s what you get, standard. We usually will roll one blunt, and that’s enough. We’ve had people ask us to be their personal blunt-rollers, so that’s a thing and part of the job.
Are you sponsored?
We’re sponsored by Rock N Roll Fronto out of Boston. In Boston, it’s easier because we can post about the brand and even that there’s going to be weed at an event. You don’t have to worry about it the way you do in New York. Once the club scene here fully catches up, cannamodeling and sponsorships will be hard to ignore. New York is super hush-hush. It’s like, speakeasies. That’s the vibe.
Where’s your favorite bud grown?
Different places. California, Seattle. A few Massachusetts-based. The New York supply can be pretty bad, but the good stuff is exceptional. Some of the New York bud, you’ll break it up and it’s all seeds. Prohibition is the limiting factor in everything we do right now. And the prices are still crazy. If I can’t smell it, I don’t want it.
Let’s talk about branding. What are your feelings about the cartoonish design look that’s popular underground vs very clean corporate branding?
As someone who promotes brands, I want people to realize what’s real and what’s branding. Because you can put anything into nice packaging, and say it’s whatever quality, and people will buy it for the branding. There can be good or bad weed in a bag no matter how it looks. We’ve had hyper-sexual weed brands approach us, and if you’re going to sell with sex, it shouldn’t be trashy.
There are some industry OGs who don’t think that cannabis brands should sell desire, do you agree with that?
The way that Snoop has been going about it recently, with Martha Stewart, is the way to do it: showing everyone that it’s possible to incorporate cannabis into their life responsibly and still have fun doing it. When we talk about our ambitions in this industry, we want people to look at us not as a couple party girls who are always getting high. We want them to realize that an important part of advocacy is destroying stigma. So what if it looks like we’re having fun? Fun is normal.
You have weed models who are posing with a bong, half-naked, and that’s porn. Those are weed baddies. That’s not weed modeling to us.