Often, Humans of New York shares a stranger’s story that is so heartbreaking, it brings everyone it reaches to tears.
Other times, the man behind the project, photographer Brandon Stanton, shares uplifting stories – or funny ones, or adorable ones, or motivational ones.
Very rarely though will the portrait series introduce us to a character so badass and full of life that everyone who sees it wishes they had lived even a smidgen of the life they have lead, although that’s exactly what happened recently.
Enter: Tanqueray – her stripper name – who reminisced about her life in the 1970s over the course of three pictures. She started off by telling how her mum threw her out of the house when she was 17 for getting pregnant, only to then get her arrested when she tried to pick her clothes up.
The elderly woman’s next words? ‘Then she fucked the head of parole to try to keep me in jail. She was some prime pussy back then.’ As you can see, Tanqueray doesn’t pull her punches – something the page’s 9.7m followers couldn’t get enough of.
Luckily she did eventually manage to get out of prison, getting a scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Technology before making costumes for ‘the strippers and porn stars in Times Square’.
Tanqueray frequented the New York City drag scene and boasted about having ‘the best wardrobe’ – consisting of mink coats, five-inch heels and stockings with seams up the side – thanks to a friend named Paris who she says sold stolen clothes from Bergdorf Goodman.
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“My stripper name was Tanqueray. Back in the seventies I was the only black girl making white girl money. I danced in so many mob clubs that I learned Italian. Black girls weren’t even allowed in some of these places. Nothing but guidos with their pinky rings and the one long fingernail they used for cocaine. I even did a full twenty minutes in the place they filmed Saturday Night Fever. But I made my real money on the road. Three grand on some trips. Every time Fort Dix had their pay day, they’d bring me in as a feature and call me ‘Ms. Black Universe’ or some shit like that. I had this magic trick where I’d put baby bottle tops on my nipples and squirt real milk, then I’d pull a cherry out of my G-string and feed it to the guy in the front row. But I never used dildos on stage or any shit like that. Never fucked the booking agents. Never fucked the clients. In fact, one night after a show, I caught another dancer sneaking off to the Tate Hotel with our biggest tipper. Not allowed. So the next night we put a little itching powder in her G-string. Boy did she put on a show that night. Didn’t see her again until ‘The Longest Yard’ with Burt Reynolds. So I guess she finally fucked the right one.”
But that was only the beginning. She went on to describe her life as a stripper, explaining how she was ‘the only black girl making white girl money’ in clubs run by Italian mobsters.
Talking about her moves, Tanqueray said:
I had this magic trick where I’d put baby bottle tops on my nipples and squirt real milk, then I’d pull a cherry out of my G-string and feed it to the guy in the front row.
The goss didn’t stop there though, with the inspirational woman spilling the beans on some rather prominent individuals – including a Hollywood A-lister and the President of the United States. Yikes.
While Tanqueray admitted to putting ‘a little itching powder’ into the G-string of a dancer who later appeared in The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds, after she broke the rules by sleeping with their biggest tipper, the perhaps more juicier gossip revolved around a certain president.
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“The scene was different back then. All the adult clubs were mob controlled. It all flowed up to some guy named Matty The Horse. Honestly the mob guys never bothered me. They were cool, and I liked how they dressed. They wore custom made suits. And they went to hair stylists, not barbers. These guys wouldn’t even let you touch their hair when you were fucking them. Not that I ever fucked them. Because I never turned tricks. Well, except for one time. I took a job from this woman named Madame Blanche. She controlled all the high dollar prostitutes back then. She was like the Internet– could get you anything you wanted. And all the powerful men came to her because she never talked. She set me up with a department store magnate who wanted a black girl dressed like a maid. I thought I could do it. But when I got to his hotel room, he wanted to spank me with a real belt. So that was it for me. I was done. But Madame Blanche set my best friend Vicki up with The President every time he came to New York. And don’t you dare write his name cause I can’t afford the lawyers. But he’d always spend an hour with her. He’d send a car to pick her up, bring her to his hotel room, put a Secret Service agent in front of the door, and get this: all he ever did was eat her pussy!”
‘Madame Blanche set my best friend Vicki up with The President every time he came to New York… he’d always spend an hour with her… and get this: all he ever did was eat her pussy,’ her final picture ended with.
Incredible. Obviously, the internet went wild for Tanqueray with many demanding her to get a book deal or her own movie. Jennifer Garner even got in on the action, commenting on one photo: ‘Why is this not a @Netflix series?’
We agree, why hasn’t this happened yet?
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).