- 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
Best Known For
Sydney Biddle Barrows is famous for running a high-class escort service in the 1980s.
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"My girlfriend and I were constantly Monday-morning quarterbacking, saying 'Why doesn't he run it this way?' One day we just looked at each other and said you know, we're as smart as he is, we're definitely nicer than he is, why don't we start our own escort service? So we did. I literally fell into it. That's exactly how it happened."
In 1979, Sydney Biddle Barrows assumed the alias "Sheila Devin" and founded three separate prostitution services: Elan,
Finesse and Cachet. She opened a basement office on New York's 79th Street to serve as her operation's headquarters, but all three services were "out-girl services" in which the prostitutes met clients at hotels or their private residences. Barrows soon set out to ensure her services were the most prestigious in the industry. She instituted a rigorous hiring process to ensure that all of her employees were not only beautiful but also educated and well-mannered. One of Barrows's former employees recalled that she was asked to come to her interview "dressed as if your grandfather were taking you to lunch." When seeing clients, Barrows required her employees to dress elegantly and modestly, and observe highly detailed rules of decorum. She then regularly phoned clients afterward to ensure that her employees had behaved as required. Another former employee said, "She always said she wanted the girls to be romantic ... ladylike ... loving ... and warm. You were never allowed to discuss money with a customer. The phone person did it. And you weren't supposed to collect till the end, which I've never heard of before. She had a lot of faith." Barrows also forbade her employees from asking clients to wear condoms, a rule that provoked the ire of many of the women who worked for her.
By the early 1980s, Barrows operated one of the most prestigious "high class" prostitution rings in New York City, boasting a clientele that supposedly included many powerful businessmen and celebrities. In 1984, though, her genteel sex empire came crashing down when Barrows was arrested and charged by the New York district attorney with promoting prostitution. The story soon became a tabloid media sensation, with the press dubbing Barrows the "Mayflower Madam" in reference to her storied ancestry. After months of hoopla, Barrows made a plea bargain, admitting her guilt in exchange for a lenient punishment of nothing more than a $5,000 fine.
Since shutting down her prostitution ring in 1984, Barrows has enjoyed a highly successful career as an author and business consultant. In 1986, she wrote The Mayflower Madam: The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows, an autobiography providing an insider look at the inner dynamics of the prostitution industry. An instant best-seller, the book was named one of Fortune magazine's 10 best business books of the year, and has since been used in the curriculum at Harvard Business School. Barrows has since authored three more books: Mayflower Manners: Etiquette for Consenting Adults (1990); Just Between Us Girls: Secrets about Men from the Mayflower Madam (1996); and Uncensored Sales Strategies: A Radical New Approach to Selling Your Customers What They Really Want—No Matter What Business You're In (2009). Barrows also works as a private business consultant.
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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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