Cigarette girl, in Europe and the United States, generally refers to a person who sells or provides cigarettes from a tray held by a neck strap. They may also carry cigars and many novelty items like lighted roses, candy, snacks, chewing gum, lighted jewelry, and lighted yo-yos on their trays.
The most common uniform is a red and black short saloon-style skirt above the knee dress accompanied with a matching pillbox hat, but different colors and styles are possible. Another title for a cigarette girl is candy girls.
Aside from serving cigarettes and other novelties, the attractive girls acted as eye candy and were often employed to flirt with male customers as well. Cigarette girls usually consented in the hopes of getting tips from wealthy businessmen.
Popularity and decline
The modern image of cigarette girl developed in the 1920s with the urbanization of America. Though largely not seen other than in speakeasies and supper clubs, cigarettes girls were frequently shown in Hollywood films and soon became well-established among the general public. The cigarette girl of the nightclub became a staple figure of film and theatre.
Cigarette girls were a common sight in restaurants, clubs, bars, airports, and casinos in the 1930s and 1940s in the United States. From the end of World War II to the 1950s, cigarette girls further expanded into sporting events and the lobbies of theaters and music halls during intermissions.
With the rise of cigarette machines in the mid-1950s, however, venue owners no longer needed to seek out cigarette girls who worked for a paycheck, and the girls largely vanished from the public eye. There were still some casinos and nightclubs that still use cigarette girls today, especially in the Las Vegas Strip.
In popular culture
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- "History of the Cigar Girl". famous-smoke.com. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
- Nathan, George J.; Angoff, Charles (1974). The Theatre Book of the Year, 1945–1946. p. 148.
All the boys and girls, along with the old night club setting, are again in evidence: the dumb-cluck minor mobster, the love-lorn cigarette girl in the abbreviated costume, the oily head-waiter, the imperturbable night club boss....
- Stieg, Bill (10 March 1988). "Cigarette girls bring back romantic flavors". The Hour. Norwalk, Connecticut. p. 2. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- Beumers, Birgit (2009). A History of Russian Cinema. p. 63.