This post was originally published on Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/matchmaker-wealthy-clients-la-what-job-is-like-2022-1
- Gina Hendrix is a private matchmaker for wealthy individuals and celebrities in Los Angeles.
- She charges clients up to $100,000 a year, and she’s been flown by private jet to Paris to meet one.
- Here’s what her job is like, as told to the writer Claire Turrell exclusively for Business Insider
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Gina Hendrix, a private matchmaker in Los Angeles, about her job. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I act as a gatekeeper for billionaires and celebrities.
The men whom I work with have no problem meeting ridiculously gorgeous women everywhere they go, but I look out for their best interests. A woman might be beautiful, but my role is to ask, “Is she smart and kind, and are her interests legitimate?”
I charge my clients up to $100,000 a year to make sure they’re serious about finding a match
I’m hired by men to find prospective partners on their behalf, almost as if I’m their PR. I have clients who stick with me for one or two years, but I prefer not to renew their membership after three years. I think they need to take a break from dating and come back with fresh enthusiasm and energy.
The women I seek out are over 21 and successful in their sphere. Since I launched, I’ve seen the couples I’ve matched marry and have babies.
I used to be a celebrity stylist for red-carpet events or magazine shoots
I worked with Sharon Stone, Courtney Love, and Denise Richards. In fact, I was Courtney Love’s personal stylist for some time. I also worked as a stylist on several Hollywood movies, including one with Sharon Stone, Val Kilmer, and 50 Cent.
There can be a lot of downtime between jobs, and with styling, I was always at the mercy of producers hiring me, so I began to think about what else I could do.
I’m a natural connector — I love to connect people to people, houses, events, or jobs
I’m also in love with love. I decided to marry the two and launch a private matchmaking company.
In 2008, I took out a business loan and placed advertisements for my matchmaking company in the back of Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Business Journal. I started with private events and speed-dating nights, which I ran while hosting a dating show on LA Talk Radio and holding down my styling job.
I also made a wish list of the world’s most eligible men. I would show my list to the women in my database and ask if they knew these men and if they could share contact information. I would give the woman a referral fee if she connected me. I would never tell the man where I got my details from.
As time went on, I started to attract wealthier clients
In 2010, one of my friends suggested I rebrand and focus on finding soulmates for VIPs. I started working on my own, but now I have model scouts and casting agents working for me.
One of the smartest moves I made was working in this specific niche because it’s recession-proof and dating-app-proof. Most of the guys I work with are very private. Some of my clients own sports teams or are on one of these Netflix shows you’re watching at the moment, and they’re not comfortable with going on dating apps because people will sometimes share who’s on there.
The average age of my clients is 43, but my youngest client, whom I’ve just signed, is a 25-year-old bitcoin investor. He’s tall and good-looking and went to an Ivy League school, but he likes to stay private and under the radar. He doesn’t use any dating apps.
I begin my day at 7 a.m., and I even work weekends
I start by feeding my dogs, and then I check my texts to see how any dates from the previous night went. I ask both my clients and the women to text me and let me know whether they’re keen to have a second date.
I’ll then log onto my computer at 9 a.m., read my emails, and touch base with my three scouts to see if they’ve found any potential dates for my clients. I prefer to work with model scouts or people who already work in casting. They know how to be resourceful.
If my clients have any first dates scheduled, I’ll also arrange them
I coordinate the first date for privacy reasons, and I’ll usually choose a fine-dining restaurant. I want the woman to feel comfortable and know that they’re in a safe environment. I’ll share photos but not full names or contact details for either my client or the woman.
The men arrange the second dates themselves. For the second date, I’ve had a client fly a woman via private jet to the Met Gala, and others have flown out their dates to their private yachts. One guy spent $100,000 to fly a date by jet to his home for dinner.
I always meet the men before I take them on as clients
They also need to be referred. Many of them have homes in Los Angeles, so I’ll meet them here, but I had an international client who hired me before the holidays who splits his time among Paris, Dubai, and Morocco, so he flew me to Paris, where we met.
I also ask them to fill out a profile, which is an important part of the vetting process. We start by looking at the exterior of a person, as you do in real life. For instance, they’ll tell me if they’re attracted to tall Nordic blondes or petite brunettes. They can also highlight sexual orientations, but so far I’ve only worked with heterosexual men. I make it clear to new clients that I look for soulmates, not arm candy.
During the pandemic, I followed the lead of my clients
In the beginning, a few had virtual dates, but no one wanted to meet face-to-face. But after a few months, some clients said they were comfortable meeting in real life, while others said they wanted to make sure their date had been tested for COVID-19.
I had one female date early on who pushed back on this request, and my client decided she wasn’t for him. I was disappointed, as I thought they would really hit it off. Some clients also didn’t want to date in a pandemic, so I just put a hold on their membership.
I work with only seven or eight clients at one time
Over one year, I’ll offer a minimum of eight introductions to each client. I usually don’t set them up with more than one or two dates at a time. If they have a lot of fires going, people’s feelings get hurt, and I like to keep this clean and fair.
My scouts and I approach successful women through their Instagram direct messages. My clients want to meet someone who’s accomplished something they’re proud of, whether that’s an Olympic athlete or someone who has a master’s degree or started their own company.
I use LinkedIn, too, but I mainly use Instagram because everyone is on there. It’s a great way to see into their lives. But these women are also getting DMs on a daily basis from movie stars, rock stars, and professional athletes. I’m competing on behalf of my clients with all of these other guys for their time and attention.
While I might message a woman on behalf of my client, I make it clear to the client that I don’t have any control over how soon a woman will respond to my message, if she responds at all, and whether she likes them or not.
When I message women to ask if they’d be interested in a date with my client, they’re usually not offended — but they might be wary
The most challenging thing about this business is trust. We live in a time of scammers. People tend not to believe you have access to these types of people.
Once they’ve worked with me and know me, they let their guard down. I’m fully transparent about my client’s height, age, and looks, and I share a photograph of him.
I also vet the women to make sure they’re looking for a solid relationship. For example, if they tell me they’re willing to date anyone I know, they’re not ready for a serious partner. I prequalify them, as I do the men whom I represent.
As soon as someone comes into your life, you need to be willing to make room for that person — and if you’re not available or willing to, maybe you’re not ready to be in a relationship.
My friends thought I’d lost my mind when I told them I was going to stop styling the stars and start a matchmaking company
I didn’t see success of any note until about three years in, but then I increased my profile with the help of the radio show and built my business with my billionaire wish list. I’m now looking at raising my rates and reducing my client roster even further.
Had I not been so passionate and determined about wanting people to find love, I would’ve given up. Now fifteen years later, I have a successful business that I love, and helping people find the one never gets old.