If you are a fan of Humans of New York, you'd surely remember Tanqueray and her many anecdotes about her truly fabulous life:
She had so much tea to spill — right from drugs, pornstars, presidents, and the time when she was a stripper — that we were all enthralled and wanted to hear more.
In fact, her story was so wild that she got as many as three instalments on HONY!
People just couldn't get enough and wanted her life to be made into a movie or a book:
Here's me lapping up all the tea spilled by Tanqueray:
Followers of Humans of New York were in for a surprise when, on the 21st of September, 2020, Brandon Stanton revealed that he had actually conducted as many as twenty interviews with Tanqueray — who's actually called Stephanie — and was going to tell her prodigious story over the course of 32 posts. ‘Tattletales From Tanqueray’, the series, would also help him raise money for Stephanie who had unfortunately fallen on hard times due to her ill-health:
And people were ready, with bated breath, to listen (and help):
And thus began the adventure. In the first story, Stephanie spoke about her many fans who'd often line up when she was dancing in Times Square, just to get her signature on the cover of their "nudie magazines":
She then went on to speak about her childhood — how she was brought up in a not-so-nice neighbourhood and how her mother, who dressed impeccably and looked like a movie star, was often abusive towards her:
Here she talks about her first crush, the private Catholic school she attended, and how her parents were essentially in a loveless marriage:
Then she shares this heart-breaking anecdote about Birdie, who we now collectively hate:
The story gets sadder as she talks about how her mother got her arrested for burglary followed by her time in prison:
Stephanie then spoke about the rigmarole of parole and a soothsayer called Roberta:
Here, Stephanie talks about New York — how she got a room at the Salvation Army, her roommate, her job at a clothing factory, and buying brand new leather shoes:
She then tells a compelling story about her love for dancing and ends the narrative with this hard-hitting line: "I knew the clubs wouldn’t hire me. Because Gogo Dancers had to be perfect. They couldn’t have stretch marks. Couldn’t have tattoos. And they couldn’t be black.”
This one is wild: She talks about hitting the clubs every night and rubbing shoulders with the mob!
Here she name-drops like a pro:
Wait up! Because there's more name-dropping:
"Nice to look at – but no thank you!" will probably be your anthem after reading this reminiscence:
Here, she talks about getting her own room at the Times Square Hotel, her truly shitty boss at the factory, and the time she (successfully) auditioned to become a Gogo dancer:
She then shares this heartwarming story about Oscar:
We then learn about Carmine — her one true love — and his perfect hair, french cuffs, silk tie, and pressed shirt. With him, Stephanie always had her freedom:
This anecdote about Carmine, the love they shared, and how he made her feel the happiest she had ever felt in her life will honestly make you cry:
And this story about how Carmine made Stephanie feel like she finally had a little family will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside:
Well, all good things do sadly start coming to an end:
Carmine, I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!
This is where Joe Dorsey comes back into the picture and Stephanie's story starts sounding like Martin Scorsese's next movie:
And here's when Stephanie became Tanqueray and we learnt about Oscar's terrible fate:
She then dishes about a certain 'Monica Kennedy' who douched with Listerine and shot hot dogs out of her coochie!!!
This anecdote will make you go: "What's in the box?!!?"
"There was a full-blown rumor in the community that black girls make chocolate milk. And I just let them run with it."
This story about Stephanie's friendship with a girl named Ronnie Bell will make you go "What Thelma & Louise?":
Then there's this anecdote about her wonderful friendship with a pornstar named Gloria Leonard. This is where 'Tattletales From Tanqueray', the name of the series, finds its roots:
This is where Stephanie opens up about loneliness and you'll honestly feel a pang of emotions towards the end of the post:
"But whenever I started to fall apart, I’d pull myself together and think about how lucky I was to be Tanqueray...But Tanqueray never came home with me. She always stayed out on the stage. It was Stephanie that walked out the back door, and nobody cared about her."
Stephanie then talks about survival and it is perhaps the most inspiring thing you'll ever read:
She then tells us about how New York has changed and how it is difficult to survive alone in a city full of people: "Sure, New York is more family friendly now-- but not everyone has a family.”
We're nearing the end and she talks about Carmine again — her toxic relationship with him and his passing: "Carmine was the only one who ever loved Stephanie."
Prepare to cry because this post is the last of the series and Stephanie ends it with something so very poignant and perfect: "And I might not be able to dance but I can talk like I need to talk. To make people smile. And laugh. And to keep them looking at me—so I can feel like I exist for just a few more minutes, before the lights go out for good."
She really has!
You can still contribute to The Tanqueray Trust here.
UPDATE: Brandon managed to find Stephanie's son, Mitch, and reunited the two!
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