There aren’t many female hosts in the Las Vegas nightlife industry. “It’s a very demanding job. You have to have a thick skin and be able to put up with a lot,” says Natalia Badzjo, senior manager of VIP services at one of the country’s most profitable nightclubs, XS at Encore. “As a female host, you can’t play by the same rules as a male host. It just doesn’t work that way. Many females try themselves out in this industry and don’t last, but there are great ones who paved the way for the ones still here.”
Badzjo isn’t going anywhere. The Russian dynamo originally landed in Las Vegas to finish her education, and after her first gig cocktailing at Tabu at MGM Grand, she dove into management and operations at Studio 54. She and her husband, Brian Buechner, also worked for Station Casinos implementing the popular Red Rock Retreat promotion before Badzjo began hosting at Encore.
“My job is never boring,” she says. “I love walking into the club and seeing the huge energy at midnight, right before the main DJ comes on, and then getting texts from customers saying they had an amazing time and can’t wait to come back. Working for Wynn has taught me a lot that I’m using now in opening my own business.”
Indeed, Badzjo and Buechner just debuted Big B’s Texas BBQ in their Henderson neighborhood last week—and sold out of food on their very first day. Considering Badzjo’s knack for driving business and taking care of customers, that will likely become a regular occurrence.