LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A local woman with dreams of becoming an attorney says she’s received gifts from dozens of men she met online and isn’t shy about her status as a “sugar baby.”
Michelle Garza says she’s gotten designer sunglasses valued at $1,000, as well as perfume, gift cards and money from men she’s met through SeekingArrangement.com, a website that promises to match women and men with successful benefactors, promoting the so-called sugar daddy-sugar baby relationship.
“There’s millions of rich, successful men who want to spend their money on young girls that are pretty,” she said.
Though Garza says she’s been a sugar baby for four years, she says the lifestyle is just temporary.
“It’s just like right now. It’s a little boost to like get me going and help me pursue my dreams and my goals,” said Garza, who aspires to become an attorney.
The 23-year-old says she’s a business and economics student at UCLA though the university could not confirm her status as a student.
Garza says the gifts from men will help her achieve her goals.
“I’m concentrating on school and bettering myself everyday, working on my future and yet I’m not in all this debt and I’m taken care of by people who care,” she said.
Garza is not alone.
SeekingArrangement.com claims to have nearly 4 million members and touts itself as the world’s largest sugar baby-sugar daddy website.
As KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii reports, the number of students who use the site grew last year by 42 percent to 1.4 million and the site ranked the fastest growing sugar baby schools with UCLA coming in 10th with almost 200 student members.
“School is expensive. I’m debt free and I’m proud to say that I’m debt-free,” Garza said.
But Beverly Hills relationship psychotherapist Fran Walfish says sugar baby-sugar daddy relationships are detrimental.
“These young women are forfeiting their power because true, genuine self-esteem is reaped from paying your own way,” Walfish said.
Garza, though, claims she’s empowered by choosing who she goes out with.
“Don’t take me as an item. Don’t think of me as property. I demand respect from everybody that I meet,” she said.
She also says she has a no-sex policy and site spokespersons say they monitor their members for any prostitution.
But Walfish says sex or not, young sugar babies are harming themselves.
“The string that is being attached is you are forfeiting a cornerstone of self-esteem and a sense of self,” she said.
Garza admits that it was difficult telling her father she’s on the site.
“He’s old-fashioned and it’s not exactly what he was taught or what I was taught but at the end of the day he’s still going to be my father,” she said.
But as she reads, new invitations go out, and she has no plans of stopping.
“It’s like a new experience every time. It keeps me interested. I’m like, ‘OK, what can this guy do?’ “ she said.