- NAME: Sydney Biddle Barrows
- OCCUPATION: Criminal, Writer
- BIRTH DATE: January 14, 1952 (Age: 62)
- EDUCATION: Rumson Country Day School, Stoneleigh-Burnham, Fashion Institute of Technology
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Hopewell, New Jersey
- AKA: Sheila Devin
- Nickname: "Mayflower Madam"
- Full Name: Sydney Biddle Barrows
- AKA: Sydney Barrows
- ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn
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Sydney Biddle Barrows is famous for running a high-class escort service in the 1980s.
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A descendant of the Mayflower Pilgrims, Sydney Biddle Barrows was born into am affluent family in Philadelphia. After losing her job in New York's fashion industry, Barrows worked the phone for an escort service. She opened her own escort service, and gained a reputation for providing high-class prostitutes. She was arrested in 1984, and has since become a best-selling author of business books based on her experiences.
"I was in the make-people-happy business, you know? You have no idea how grateful these men were that I had the kind of business they could call up and get a nice, well-educated, lovely, pretty girl to come over and spend time with them in a way that made them feel safe. They were thrilled."
"I can't tell you how many times they would call and say, 'I can't imagine ever doing business with anyone else ever. You guys are great.' ... And that was a really good feeling. I don't get that from what I do now. I get other things from what I do, but that was very special."
Sydney Biddle Barrows was born on January 14, 1952, in Hopewell, New Jersey. A true American blueblood, Barrows's mother and father are both descendents of the original Pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock on the Mayflower in 1620. Her mother was named Jeanette Ballantine, and her father, Donald Barrows, Jr., worked in publishing. Barrows's parents divorced when she was only 4 years old, and she was raised primarily by her mother and her stepfather, Dr. Felix Molzer. Molzer was a former conductor of the Vienna Boys Choir and founder of the Monmouth Conservatory of Music in Rumson, New Jersey.
Barrows attended Rumson Country Day School, and then continued on to Stoneleigh-Burnham, an elite preparatory school in Greenfield, Massachusetts. At Stoneleigh-Burnham, Barrows distinguished herself as an equestrienne and an active member of the glee club, and was reportedly well-liked by her classmates. "She was always a great person to be with," one of Barrows's contemporaries at the school later recalled. "Very spunky. She had a great zest for life and a wonderful sense of humor."
After graduating from high school in 1970, Barrows moved to New York City, where she spent a year working as a receptionist. A year later, she enrolled at Manhattan's Fashion Institute of Technology to study fashion buying and merchandising. She graduated in 1973 and received the school's prestigious Bergdorf Goodman Award, which included a $1,000 prize for academic excellence. Barrows then landed a position in the executive training program at Abraham & Strauss, and worked for five years in the famous store's jewelry department. In 1978, she accepted a job as the divisional merchandise manager at May Company, the owner of Lord & Taylor. However, Barrows was fired several months later, she says, for refusing to participate in a corporate kickback scheme.
One day in late 1978, Barrows was waiting in line for her unemployment check when she met a young woman who told her she worked the phones for an escort service to make extra money. The woman offered Barrows a job answering calls for the same service, and Barrows, desperate for money, reluctantly accepted. "It was paying $50 a night off the books and unemployment was only $150 a week," she later explained. "It was a lot of money back then." Barrows was simultaneously intrigued by the moneymaking possibilities of the sex industry and frustrated by the way the particular service she worked for was run. "It may have been the world's oldest profession, but it wasn't being run very professionally!" she remembered.
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In entertainment, where the line between fiction and reality is often blurry, names are a crucial part of a celebrity's image. Stage names are often chosen to make an actor or musician's name easier to pronounce or remember, or simply to make it sounds more attractive. Here are famous celebrities who have changed their names.
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