Heart-Broker- What Constitutes the One? A Matchmaker Narrows the Field
By Susan Campos
Reprinted from Los Angeles Confidential Magazine
Pretty, 30-something women clad in short skirts, high-heeled strappy sandals, and skimpy tops file in and out of a posh Beverly Hills office building located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Camden. These model types aren’t sauntering up to the third floor to book jobs with a photographer or casting agent. Instead, they’ve come to reveal some rather personal information (such as bra size, weight, height, and religion) to a matchmaking agency owned by Craig Donaldson. Mr. Donaldson, a former mortgage broker, is definitely not your typical yenta. To state the obvious, he’s a man working in a profession dominated by women. Sure, men are running Internet dating services, but there aren’t that many male matchmakers, especially ones who stand 6 foot 3 and love to race off-road vehicles on the weekends. The philosophy behind the matchmaking company Model Quality Introductions (MQI), Donaldson’s company, is simple: rich boy meets beautiful girl. It may sound like he’s taking matchmaking – one of the world’s oldest traditions – and turning it into the world’s oldest profession, but the self-described “romantic” throws numbers at such attacks. Donaldson says he is responsible for lots of marriages and most of his clients eventually become involved in long-term relationships.
MQI’s Beverly Hills headquarters can best be described as Austin Powers meets the ‘80s. Near the entryway and surrounded by beige carpeting is a bar, and the eggshell-colored walls are plastered with pictures of glamorous-looking women. “All clients,” says Donaldson, swelling with pride. Some of those same women are splashed on top of the company’s provocative ads with a tag line reading, “If you’re looking to meet an 8, 9, or 10… call us.” And they do. “Men care about the physical first,” Donaldson says matter-of-factly. “I’m not a chauvinist, just a realist.”
By catering to the finicky upscale male (with an average annual income between $200,000 and $2 million), Donaldson can command handsome membership fees. Most women choose instead to put their personal details into the database in hopes of meeting Mr. Right. “I just ask that they bring in two of their best-looking girlfriends to qualify for membership,” says the unconventional matchmaker. Since its inception, MQI continues to flourish with many locations, including Beverly Hills, La Jolla, Irvine, San Francisco, Phoenix, Dallas, Chicago, Boca Raton, Orlando, Tampa and New York. Each office comes equipped with its own database of men and women looking for love. A few years ago, Donaldson personally tapped into that database and found his wife, Carolyn, a 35 year old real estate agent. He describes it as love at first sight, saying, “Men are simple, women are much more complex.”
One such simple client is Ron Krueger – a handsome divorced San Diego financial executive who credits the company with putting him in a number of “mini-relationships” over the past year. “You can name the age, size, and look,” the 42-year-old marvels. “It’s very impressive.” Men do seem to be rather satisfied with the physical appearance of their dates, which may be largely due to an interviewing process asking men for the following information about a potential partner: height, weight, hair color, breast size, dress size, ethnicity, intellect, personality type (conservative, extrovert, wild, relaxed), religion, education, child preference, previous marital status, and so on.
Krueger’s paper work called for an extrovert in her 30s, between a size 2 and 4, on the bustier side, with a sexy, sultry look. MQI apparently delivered over and over again. “Every woman is gorgeous,” Krueger says, but admits it’s difficult to “describe chemistry.” To get a better understanding of the exact type of woman the client wants, Donaldson asks clients to bring in pictures of their dream date, or photos of any ex-girlfriends. Of course, most bring in pictures of their fantasy girls. One man put a collage together of models including Stephanie Seymour, Rebecca Romijn, and Heidi Klum.
Then MQI gets to work. Three full-time matchmakers and a number of recruiters fan out looking for the “right women.” According to Lindsay, a recruiter and model, “We’re looking for girls who look like Hawaiian Tropic models – and have a brain.” (She does acknowledge, however, that the model/PhD combination is rare.) Recruiters go to the Playboy Mansion, modeling auditions, gyms and fitness classes, and even stand outside of women’s restrooms at trendy nightclubs. You will find us recruiting at the Phoenix open all the way to the Taste of Newport Beach.” Anywhere good-looking people hang out,” says Donaldson. They also frequent the makeup counters at Beverly Hills department stores such as Barneys, Saks, and Neiman Marcus.
On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Lindsay and her recruiting partner, a pretty redhead matchmaker, hit Rodeo Drive looking to round up candidates. MQI employees have strict orders to never approach anyone below what Donaldson would consider a seven and to “never go after girls bigger than a size six, since clients don’t tend to like [them].” From about 50 yards away, the duo spots a potential recruit, but upon closer inspection they decide not to approach. At a trendy boutique, they spot a cute shop girl hanging a shearling jacket. They approach her and say, “You’re so beautiful! Are you single?” The shop girl excitedly responds, “Kind of,” and then begins getting into the intricacies of her current relationship. They give her a card and tell her to call. Moments later, the focus is shifted to a petite brunette, but she isn’t interested in a matchmaking service right now. Undeterred, Lindsay says with a shrug, “Half the women need us and half don’t,” and keeps looking.
Those choosing to sign up still have to pass the strict MQI screen test. “I personally rate every girl who walks in on a scale of one to ten for physical beauty for my male clientele” says Donaldson. He never openly rejects women if they don’t pass the test. He just does that thing men sometimes do – never calls them back. It may sound brutal, but Donaldson says it’s business. “Men pay a lot of money for me to screen women for them,” he explains. “Our company materializes what most men whisper about.”