If you’ve ever seen a movie star mobbed by shrieking fans and muttered, “What’s she got that I haven’t?” the answer may be Cindy and Mindy. As owners of Cindy and Mindy’s Rent-a-Fan Club in Los Angeles, Lissa Negrin (a/k/a Cindy), 26, and Mindy Greenfield, 23, rent themselves out as screaming, chanting, near-hysterical fans. For a minimum of $100—the fees rise depending on how long you want them and how weird you would like them to be—Rent-a-Fan will tailor an act that includes screaming your name, begging for your autograph and applauding the mere anticipation of your presence—”like the way people met Elvis or the Beatles,” says Cindy.
Clients include both the not-so and already famous. Cher hired them for daughter Chastity’s 12th birthday, and Burt Bacharach was once mobbed, courtesy of an anonymous pal. Businesses use them too. “We were fans for Monsanto,” says Cindy of a convention gig. “We’d go, ‘Oh, that fabric’ and shriek.” And of course they are employed by struggling actors who want a little attention at places like the star-studded Beverly Hills Hotel.
The two fans became friends four years ago when Los Angeles-born Mindy caught New York-born Cindy’s act at the Comedy Store in L.A. Cindy, who had studied drama for four years in England, was reliving her days as a Beatlemaniac onstage, a passion shared by Mindy. She introduced herself to Cindy afterward, and a friendship blossomed. “I was a born fan,” says Mindy. “Rather than wanting to be a star I was more interested in pursuing them.” Rent-a-Fan got started a year later when the pair decided to “do something wild” while meeting a friend at the airport. They caused such a stir that by the time their pal Marilyn Wilson arrived, everybody in the waiting area was asking, “Who is that?”
Rent-a-Fan’s adorational style dates back to the ’50s. “Fans were so incredible back then,” says Mindy. As for Cindy and Mindy themselves, their biggest fans are ordinary people. “You’re making them stars and showing them that they’re loved and adored,” says Mindy. Next could come Rent-a-Fan franchises. “We’d been fans all our lives,” says Mindy. “Suddenly we’re getting paid for it.” Oh, wow!