Sydney Leathers is everywhere, and that's exactly how she wants it. Never before has a political mistress been so brazen about her desire to maximize her post-scandal profits, and, in a way, that's something to admire. Keep doing you, Sydney Leathers.
It's not typical for the "other woman" in political affairs to have so much agency over her post-scandal career. You may cringe when you see Sydney Leathers posing in a bikini for the New York Post or taking her clothes off for Vivid Entertainment, but at least she's owning the spotlight the scandal has given her. Leathers writes that she's "made certain choices, some of which involve my sexuality," on XOJane this morning. That she's exploiting a narcissistic politician for her own ends is a fascinating development in the sex scandal narrative, because that's not usually how this story plays out.
It's impossible to discuss the modern political mistress without mentioning Monica Lewinsky. She was Bill's other lady, but she was Sydney Leather's polar opposite. Monica never wanted to be in the spotlight. She wanted to go to school, have kids and settle down. None of that happened. She made some money off her scandal, sure, but she also turned down millions more that was left on the table from places like Penthouse. She could have taken the Sydney Leather route and cashed in, taken her clothes off, did all the embarrassing endorsements she could. Instead she went with a memoir and a failed Jenny Craig campaign. There were rumors she was going to write a $12 million memoir last year because, well, she was broke and out of options after the Clinton scandal dramatically changed her life's course.
Sydney Leathers is a bit of a revolutionary in comparison to Lewinsky. She can go out and probably make somewhere close to $1 million from Vivid Entertainment (an estimate) for taking her clothes off and masturbating on camera. She can get paid an undisclosed sum to pose in a bikini for The New York Post while the tabloid makes fun of her appearance. She can reach out to a company that sells leather skirts to be their new spokesmodel, because, duh, of course Sydney Leathers would advertise leather. She can get paid, based on estimates from the Who Pays tumblr and fellow writers on Twitter, between $50 and $150 for an XOJane essay about seducing politicians. Sydney Leathers can share an agent with Tan Mom because Sydney Leathers wants to be a D-list celebrity, and she's getting exactly what she wants.
Now, we're not saying Sydney Leathers isn't gross for wanting to be a D-list celebrity like Tan Mom. No one should ever look up to Tan Mom for anything. But at least she's doing something with the opportunity that she sought out. In a past era, someone with her aspirations would have posed for Playboy or Hustler -- it's the same motivation, there are just new, Internet-enabled ways to be infamous. Aiming low, with reality TV as an inevitable fallback plan, and, at worst, a spot on some miserable Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab knock-off as a last resort, is her chosen destiny.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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