Surprises happen in Vallarta when you least expect them, like when having dinner at a nice restaurant, say. And suddenly, four gorgeous women in capes glide in, appearing before you smiling broadly. Then, with a dramatic flourish, they whip their capes off in unison to reveal not only perfect skin and posture, but also clothes and accessories to die for.

You have just met the Viva Girls.

Dressed head to toe in Viva merchandise, these women are the brainchild of owner Mary Sue Morris, whose hip designer fashions make anyone look like a million bucks.

“We’re OPCs in pareos, our job to get people into the store,” says six-year Viva Girl veteran Jackie Vaca, spokesperson for the other core members of this university-educated team: Mar Maciel, Diana Hernandez and Fabiola Gonzalez. “All of us are very proud to work as Viva Girls and we love our jobs. And why wouldn’t we? We get paid to look beautiful and have fun!”

“A couple of years ago, Daiquiri Dick’s invited us to participate in their Celebrity Scavenger Hunt by standing at various locations around town, with clues pinned to the inside of our capes. And famous personalities like Christopher Reeve and Kelsey Grammer had to reach in to read them, laughing a lot. And they wanted their pictures taken with us — as if we’re the ones who are famous!”

As it turns out, these ultra-elegant ambassadors for the Viva store are real people like you and me, with anecdotes about being in the line of duty. And that means making the rounds of 18 venues two nights a week, as well as greeting cruise passengers and showing up at special events.

“We’ve walked into places and heard people joke that the Taliban just arrived. But they quickly change their tune! Truth be told, at one of Viva’s anniversary parties a few years ago, one of us, how shall I put this, ‘came undone.’ Well, actually their sarong did. Just for a second, but long enough to be embarrassing, that’s for sure!

“None of us is the least bit competitive and we’re actually great friends. We call Diana our Red Power Ranger, because she looks wonderful in that color and gets a lot of attention. Don Luis, our driver, is a doll. And I met my husband doing this! A waiter at De Santos, I slipped him a note one night and we’ve been married six years now and have a little girl. (Two of the four are mothers.)

“Restaurants enjoy the aura of glamour we bring. And we enjoy smelling all those delicious cuisines! But if we go to work hungry, it’s torture. And what usually happens at the end of the night is that we go home and have a big bowl of Fruit Loops.”