It is not often that a 22-year-old earns at least $4,300 in less than two hours. Ashley Alexandra Dupré (née Ashley Youmans) is the notorious Emperors Club hooker who pleasured New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, caused his resignation, and captured my 20-year-old impressionable heart.
Her MySpace photos tell the story of a narcissistic good-girl-gone-bad with an affinity for Zoolander pouts, double peace signs, and oversized sunglasses. Despite being the center of a media frenzy, Ashley remains unabashedly proud of herself: "I made it. I'm still here and I love who I am," she writes on her still-public profile. An unlikely candidate for role model of the year, America's Sweet-Tart may not have the best track record. A former cocaine addict, she left a broken home near the Jersey Shore at 17. Her mother, Carolyn Capalbo, described Ashley to the NYT as "a young kid with typical teenage rebellion issues." After moving to New York in 2004 to pursue her music career, Ashley was at one point broke and homeless. But Ashley bounced back and found herself rubbing elbows (and probably more) with high society.
On Feb. 13, Ashley reportedly slept with Spitzer at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, arranged through prostitution ring, the Emperor's Club V.I.P. Never mind that prostitution is not exactly empowering or doing much to transcend ancient gender roles. Or that Ashley is only four years older than Spitzer's eldest daughter, Elyssa.
She is only two years my senior, but I consider her on the path to greatness. Besides hobnobbing with attorney generals and helping to crack worldwide prostitution rings, Ashley -- or Kristen as we came to know and love the busty brunette of "I am not a ...moron" fame -- is an entrepreneur. The high school dropout used the spotlight to launch her music career. Her two hip-hop jams ("What We Want" and "Move Ya Body") have already made an estimated $200,000 from downloads on music site, AmieStreet.com. Each download is going for the maximum 98 cents, of which she earns 70 percent. Both Penthouse and Hustler have offered her at least $1 million dollars for naked spreads in each magazine. And this is not including potential book deals or TV appearances. Girlfriend is making bank!
The pairing of a high-profile politician with a younger attractive female is by now a familiar trope (call me, Bill!). And no doubt, such a pairing has questionable power dynamics and emotional -- if not physical -- consequences. But this is really the story of a small-town girl from Jersey making it big! Like her poetic fragments on MySpace tell us, she "left and learned what it was like to have everything, and lose it, again and again. Learned what it was like to wake up one day and have the people you care about most gone." She is a survivor! Like Oprah!
And it seems like Ashley is taking the advice of her 1946 MySpace friends, many of whom wrote on her wall, "screw the haters" and "keep ya head up!" The call-girl even offers her own advice on the site: "I can honestly tell you to never dwell on the past, but build from it and keep moving forward. Don't let anyone hold you back or tell you that you can't...because you can." I won't let anyone hold me back, Ashley, I won't!
Most of my friends are spending their college years working themselves to a caffeine overdose in the hopes of securing that summer internship at Goldman Sachs. I know better. And if there's anything Ashley taught me, it's that I should be really careful about my MySpace photos -- turns out the Post pays a lot more for unpublished pics. My boyfriend, though, is still having trouble adjusting to my new fake name. And the hourly fee.