What an exhausting week! Whenever there is an Awards Show taking place in LA it is easy to wear yourself out going to all the various events and parties. This past weekend was no different. By the time Saturday rolled around I could not move out of my bed. I literally stayed in the bed watching Lifetime and Bravo all day with the exception of heading out to Trader Joe’s to pick up a bottle of Kono Sauvignon Blanc (one of the best wines for a great price). How in the world did I allow myself to run out of a bottle?! Anyway, I digressed. I had an interesting interaction with a blast from the past over the weekend. And it stayed heavily on my mind. I met “Sharon” shortly after I moved to LA. I was 23 at the time. “Sharon” never divulged her age. I suspect she was in her late 30’s when I met her back then. We met at a party at The Gate. I confess… in my 20’s I was a party girl. No surprise there. Now let me elaborate on that because in this day and age when you say “Party Girl” people envision Lindsey Lohan, snorting drugs, and doing all kinds of crazy shit. That is certainly not what I mean. For me, I went out 5 days a week. I looked forward to Thursday nights at The Gate and Sunday nights at The Garden of Eden. Back when I was in my 20’s those were the Black Hollywood hot spots. I knew all the bouncers. There’s nothing more exhilarating for a 20 year to walk past a long line and hug the bouncers as they opened the red velvet rope to allow you access to the hottest party in town. The Door Men in LA are treated like “Gods.” They have the “power” to elevate your social status or send you into a depression by not letting you in. I have seen it happen on many occasions. A young girl who might be slightly overweight or unattractive gets dissed at the door. To give someone that kind of power is astonishing. These men are just Door Men. Get the fuck outta here! Looking back on it now it is so damn silly. I would go out and get home around 3am in the morning and be up for work the next day at 8:30 and not miss a beat. If I did that shit now I would pass out. I had complimented “Sharon” on her fabulous Manolo Blahnik shoes. When we discovered we both wore a size 11 we instantly bonded. We Big Feet girls have to stick together.
Me: I have looked all over for a size 11 in those shoes! (I failed to mention even during the Neiman Marcus yearly sale at the reduced price of $250 my budget still could not afford it at that time)
Sharon: Oh honey, I have to get my shoes customized!
Me: How much did those cost to get them custom?
Sharon: Just $1200.
Me: Go guuuuurl!
Sharon: We big feet girls gotta stick together. I have a table you should come over and join us for a drink.
With that I followed “Sharon” to the VIP section of the club. She happened to be with a very famous real estate developer in LA. There were endless bottles of Perrier Joulet Champagne. I was in a sea of fake hair, oversized breast implants, skin tight short dresses, overly plumped lips, and ridiculously made up faces. The club scene in LA comprises of various categories of women. Actually this is LA in generally inside and outside of the club.
The Video Vixen
These are the women who make a living out of showing off their ASS-ets. Typically they had their first child in high school and have another child with an unsuspecting rookie star athlete. They have the long weaves, big asses and breasts with a tiny waistline. They know they have Coke bottle bodies and make it a point to show it off. They roll with a crew of Video Vixens and typically know all the athletes and rappers in the club. They are constantly on the grind to be featured in the next hot new video. Refer to Draya from Basketball Wives LA. She is the epitome of a Video Vixen.
The Hollywood Starlet
These are the women who are currently in a TV Series or Reality show. They aren’t exactly A Listers but they are on their way. They walk into a club or a restaurant with an air of “You should know who I am.” They are bigger in their own minds than in reality. They all are carbon copies of each other. The long weave, the overly made up camera ready face, the trendy clothes. But don’t hate on these up and coming starlets. 2 out of 10 of them just may make it big and become A -Listers. Going out for them is a business it is a job to make sure they are being seen on the scene. In their minds they figure being out on the scene they bump into Russell Simmons or Mara Brock Akil and get offered their next role. Refer to Nene Leakes (circa RHOA Season 1) or Meagan Good (circa 2006 before she got married to the preacher)
The main difference between The Groupie and The Video Vixen is really quite simple, they do not try to front like they are on a grind. The mission of the groupie is to land a star athlete so they do not have to work anymore. 7 times out of 10 these are hairstylists who work in smaller salons and do not have celebrity clients. (Don’t ask me why, but they are. I’m just saying don’t shoot the messenger.) They go to the club on a mission. These are the women when the second a star athlete walks into a party with their entourage suddenly they make it a point to dance seductively in front of them or go to the bar near them all in an effort to catch their eye. They will sleep with one of these guys for a handbag or some small piece of jewelry. They will rock the latest fashions and carry the largest designer handbag. Refer to Evelyn Lozado from Basketball Wives she is the epitome of a groupie who fucked her way to stardom (no judgment).
The Has Been
These women are the antithesis of the Hollywood Starlet. They were once on a hot show or reality show. They long to be back to where they were in their hay-day. They are typically in their late forties but still try to dress like they are in their 20’s. That’s the thing about Hollywood; you are only as good as your last movie or hit TV series. The hard thing for a lot of actresses is once you are on a hit TV series or been a star of a hit movie, if you cannot keep on your grind and land the next project you are kind of screwed. Lots of these women do not have a fall back plan or they end up being in a bunch of D list straight to video Indie movies. Or they land on a reality show thinking it will revive their career or do all kinds of crazy antics to remain relevant in the press. Refer to former Miss USA Kenya Moore or Claudia Jordan.
The thing I love about The Executives is because they are behind the scenes at first glance people do not know how they are unless they are in the industry and have worked closely with them. So when the Video Vixens, The Has Beens, and The Hollywood Starlet walk past the table of executives sitting at an event or a party and do not say anything, little do they know they passed up the potential opportunity for work. These women are classy, low key, and exude a confidence that shows. They sit in board rooms and multimillion dollar productions of major studios. They have power. Refer to famous executives like a Shonda Rhimes or a Tracey Edmonds. As well as low key executives like a Robbi Reed who has casts most of the famous black actresses in Hollywood in their first movie roles.
The Universal Down Chick
These are the women who actually go out to have a good time. They are professional women. Some are up and coming executives, doctors, lawyers, and business women. They know how to trade in the scrubs and business suits and rock a short skirt or a tight dress. They have a natural beauty to them; short haircuts, naturally long hair. They know lots of people in the industry and are typically very friendly and class acts. They are the everyday professional women. They take care of themselves and are independent. They like the finer things in life but they also have no problem rocking something cute from Zara’s. They buy things based on how they look not necessarily the name brands. But don’t get it confused they will rock a designer handbag and some high Louboutins in a heartbeat. Don’t get it twisted these woman could pull the best of the best men. They are what men refer to as “marriage material” because they are sincere and do not have a hidden agenda. Refer to… Me!!!
The Kept Woman
These women take being a Groupie to the next level. These are women who only deal with multimillionaires/billionaires. I’m talking $300million plus. Dating an athlete is beneath them. They do not have time for new money men. They want old and solidified money. Typically the men the deal with are married or have a significant other. That doesn’t bother these women as a matter of fact the wives usually know they exist and just deal with it. Their lifestyle is being funded by these men. This includes their high end condos, expensive cars, clothes, and just day to day living expenses. They are at the mercy and becking call of these men. They take trips to St. Tropez and other exotic places. They are living life to the fullest on the dime of these men who have the money to spend it.
“Sharon” was a kept woman. She and I became close because she trusted me with a lot of her secrets. I was always amazed with how she would just spend money like it was nothing. We would have lunch at the Polo Lounge, dinner at Crustaceans. Her life was fascinating. She lived in an amazing condo in the Palisades that over looked the ocean. She has a personal shopper at Neiman Marcus and Saks. Here I was struggling at that time in my life. I had just moved out to LA with a dollar and a dream. But I had this thing called independence. I never wanted to be dependent on anyone. And then you had “Sharon” who was living the high life. However, I remember the times when “Sharon’s” “sponsor” would get mad at her and she had no idea how she was going to pay her rent or car note. That’s the thing with being a Kept Woman. The lifestyle seems so glamorous and so enticing but a man can wake up and change his mind and what are you supposed to do then? What is your fall back plan?
And that’s exactly what happened to “Sharon” one day her “sponsor” woke up and changed his mind and she was left with NOTHING! She fought him on it and threatened to tell the press his deepest darkest secrets and write a tell all book. He ended up giving her a settlement and made her sign an NDA which shut her up for good and she couldn’t go back and ask him for more money. She ended up leaving LA for a while. I had no idea where she went and we lost touch. Fast forward to last weekend when I ran into her. She had definitely aged. Her weave was looking tired. As a matter of fact you could see her tracks. She had on an older Herve Leger dress. The sparkle that once existed in her eyes when we used to hang out a decade earlier was lost. It was quite sad. She gave me the biggest hug. We promised to get together for dinner later that week at Riva Bella. This was one of the newest restaurants by the same owner of Boa (Definitely one of the Hollywood hot spots of the moment).
Just like old times the bitch was late!!! And not just a few minutes late, try 1 fucking hour late! I was completely annoyed and close to bouncing out. Luckily, the host knew me well from my various client meetings I had there so she was able to get me a table. I looked outside and saw “Sharon” had pulled up in a Honda. It was quite a switch from the comfortable Jaguar she used to drive. I was stunned. When she finally made her appearance she was frazzled.
Sharon: Girl I am so sorry I was late. I wasn’t sure what to wear. My friend said this dress wasn’t fancy enough but I thought it was fine….
Me: You look fine but your ass was about to get left.
Sharon: I know, I know there was so much traffic.
Me: Where were you coming from?
Sharon: Ladera Heights.
Me: Ladera Heights? What were you doing there?
Sharon: I’m staying with a friend there.
I was shocked. Ladera Heights is often referred to as the black Beverly Hills or the Hills above the Hood. A lot of professional blacks live in that area. The houses are beautiful and reasonably priced. But it is a few traffic lights from Inglewood and not really my cup of tea. I prefer to live in the actual Beverly Hills a few traffic lights away from Bel Air. That’s just me. There was once a time when “Sharon” said she wouldn’t be caught dead in Ladera Heights and now she was living there? When we finally got to the table she hadn’t stopped talking. She was now interested in managing talent and was in the process of finding “clients.”
Me: What have you been up to in the last few years.
Sharon: I ended up living in Barbados for a while just to get away.
Me: Have you spoken to——
Sharon: Girl once. I had called him and asked him if I could get more money. You know he gave me a settlement but that wasn’t enough to live off for a long period of time.
Me: Did he send you more money?
Sharon: Guuuurl no! He hung up on me and blocked my calls.
Me: Damn. I’m sorry to hear that. So now what?
Sharon: Next week I am taking a break and heading out St. Tropez. It’s time to find another sponsor girl!
Me: How in the world are you going to afford to go to St Tropez?!
Sharon: A friend of mine got me a ticket and I am staying with him for a while. We deserve to live the glamorous life.
Me: Why not stay here and build your management firm? You don’t need a sponsor you need to start depending on you.
I tried not to sound judgmental or too motherly. But hadn’t she learned her lesson? She once had a sponsor and lived the high life and that got her absolutely NO WHERE but broke and penniless and here she was damn near 50 and still up to the same shenanigans. It was sad. There was once a time when I looked up to her lifestyle. All I saw was this glamorous life she lived. At that time I had no idea the price she had to pay for that lifestyle. It is so easy to get caught up in that lifestyle and living for the moment instead of the bigger picture. LA is a city where if you aren’t grounded you can end up in orbit and not know how to return to the stratosphere. Lots of times us Universal Down Chicks look at the Groupie, The Video Vixens, The Kept Women, and The Has Beens and we can find ourselves wondering What am I doing wrong? Why do they always seem to get the “good” guys? Maybe I should get a weave or change my wardrobe… We look from the outside and not the reality of what’s really going on. At the end of the evening I ended up paying for our dinner and gave her a hug as I left. Hey, if she likes it I love it. It was defeintely a full circle moment. I love the lane I am in an don’t plan on switching. There is certainly something to being the Universal Down Chick and The Executive. Nice girls don’t always finish last.