Ultimate Hollywood Insider Matchmakers on Dating Post-Weinstein
TV writer Jaydi Samuels and reality show producer Lauren Rosenberg — who work only with referred clients, including a current Oscar nominee — have unique insights into industry dating, including why they charge women for membership and not men.
Los Angeles-based TV writer Jaydi Samuels, 32, and reality show producer Lauren Rosenberg, 33, are running a referral-only Hollywood matchmaking service, made up of 70 percent entertainment-industry clientele that includes high-powered agents, Emmy-winning producers, actors, top-level studio executives and a current Oscar nominee. The two women were separately setting up industry friends and co-workers before finally incorporating LJMatchmaking last year. Their combined forces have yielded a database of approximately 500 highly vetted names and 24 successful happy couples to date.
Why Hollywood needs matchmakers
With social media and dating apps making spontaneous run-ins rare, and a lack of organic, casual contact for car-bound Angelenos, Los Angeles presents special challenges: "You don't meet people on the subway or on the street like you might in New York or other large cities," says Rosenberg.
The Harvey Weinstein effect on industry dating
LJMatchmaking saw an increase in post-holiday sign-ups this year with both men and women — but the rate at which female clients joined in January was much higher than usual. Says Samuels: "After these [assault] scandals, based on conversations we have had with clients, there is concern about meeting people through apps and online in the industry." Unless you have mutual friends, there is a "nervousness" about who you are meeting, she adds: "It's not that women are afraid of men. They just don't know where to turn to make sure these guys are vetted to a certain degree, and to ensure they are going to have a safe, nice experience."
The romance conundrum for successful women
"For women in this industry, especially those who are more established, it's hard because when men finally think about settling down later in their lives, they look for women 20 or 30 years younger," says Samuels — which is why they don't work with men hoping to match with someone much younger. "Statistically, it may be more difficult, but we only set up men who are serious about finding someone, who aren't intimidated by success, who are spoken highly of and are looking to date someone who is their equal in many respects," she adds. Samuels and Rosenberg always ask if entertainment members mind being set up with creatives, since there could be a potential conflict of interest, but typically, female clients are not apprehensive. "The concern of successful women isn't that people will use them," says Rosenberg. "They are worried they will find guys who are intimidated by them."
Why they charge women, and not men
Samuels says LJMatchmaking experimented with different price models. In the beginning, all members, regardless of gender, were charged, but the matchmakers found that when rates were increased for both men and women, the quality of women remained the same — but the quality of the men drastically declined. "It was fascinating," she says. "Many of the men willing to pay fees were unable to connect in real life and were socially awkward." The second reason women are charged an upfront, yearly fee of $250, but not the men? "No matter how successful you are," says Rosenberg, "dating as a man can be very expensive, and [LJMatchmaking does] expect them to pay."