Published June 11, 2010
They use a mattress as a springboard to fame and fortune.
With the concept of shame out the window and infamy guaranteed by one phone call to US Weekly, the options for the mistresses of Tiger Woods, Jesse James and other high profile philanderers to make bank these days are many. Some participate in cash prize beauty pageants, some sell their stories, text messages and pictures to magazines and television outlets, and some, like porn stars Holly Sampson and Joslyn James, have used the scandal to reinvent their careers in stripping and porn.
"[A sex] scandal provides a short term spike in interest and these mistresses would have to be crazy not to try to capitalize on it. Their fame and fortune may not be enduring but if they can turn 15 minutes of fame into a year of income, they can walk away with about a million dollars," explains Nelson Gayton, executive director of the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports at UCLA's Anderson School of Management. "There is money to be made here so we are certainly not going to see less of this going forward."
Indeed the growing supply of women telling tales of sleeping with married celebs has yet to outstrip demand.
"America is fascinated with the mistress right now. They have become a commodity. We don't see them as names, just as juicy stories that can give us some insight into the character of the celebrity they slept with," explains "Cult of Celebrity" author Cooper Lawrence. "As long as there is an appetite for them and what they represent then we will see more people paying more money for them to do things."
Sampson and James joined forces this week with Jesse James' alleged mistress Melissa Smith to make an appearance at the "eXXXtacy 2010" adult film convention in Chicago July 16-18. Joslyn's manager Gina Rodriguez, herself a self-proclaimed mistress of actor David Boreanaz, is hoping to book the women at various conventions and strip clubs across the country for a kind of traveling mistress minstrel show that could translate into fees of $10,000 per girl per appearance.
Rodriguez told Fox411.com that she's also in the process of shopping a reality television show for the three girls, herself and January Gessert, the woman who reportedly came between Reggie Bush and his one-time reality television love Kim Kardashian. The reality show would pay the women $3,000 - $5,000 per episode.
While Sampson, James and Smith are collecting smaller payments here and there, some mistresses find it more lucrative to make a large chunk of change all at once by posing for Playboy. This option is available only to the very high profile mistresses, like Ashley Dupre, the call girl who brought down New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Dupre posed nude in the May issue of the magazine. Playboy also made an offer to Rachel Uchitel, mistress number one in the Tiger Woods scandal, who will appear in the magazine in an upcoming issue.
There has been speculation that these women were paid up to $1 million to pose. While Playboy never confirms the amount it pays women to pose, it does say that the numbers floated in the media are an exaggeration. Insiders say that Dupre and Uchitel were paid closer to the range of $100,000 to $300,000 to pose nude for the magazine.
Uchitel, who increased the value of her brand by remaining mum throughout the Woods scandal (and reportedly got millions from Woods for keeping quiet), also received a fee for working as a correspondent for the entertainment news show "Extra."
But its not just the women making money from their bad behavior. The online dating company Ashley Madison.com, a website that distinguishes itself from traditional online dating fare by encouraging married people to cheat, has been at the forefront of capitalizing on the mistress market.
Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman fronted the cash for radio shock jock Howard Stern's "mistress beauty pageant." Three of Tiger's mistresses, Jaimee Grubbs, Loredana Jolie and Jaime Jungers competed for the total cash prize of $100,000. The winner, Jungers, got $75,000 as well as a black diamond ring from Stephen Singer Jewelers valued at $25,000. The runner-up, Grubbs, received $15,000. Grubbs had previously been paid $10,000 for selling text messages between her and Woods to US Weekly magazine.
Even the woman in last place, former escort Jolie, received $10,000 from the Stern beauty pageant.
The investment paid off so well for Biderman -- the site saw a 22 percent increase in revenue and a 27 percent increase in signups -- he later enlisted the help of the woman who ruined Sandra Bullock's marriage, Michelle "Bombshell" McGee, for a summer advertising campaign. The tattoo-covered McGee struck a deal between $1,000 and $1,500 and a cut of the site's increased revenue to strip in commercials for the website.
"From our perspective, there were three people involved in this affair, and the one who is least accountable for the demise of Sandra and Jesse’s marriage is Michelle. It’s called accountability, and it is sorely lacking in the coverage of this story to date," Biderman explained to Fox 411.com about his reasons for bringing McGee on board.
As long as they keep generating publicity and sales for his brand, Biderman says the mistresses will always have a home with Ashley Madison. And as long as the general public is interested in cheating celebrities, Biderman should have plenty of mistresses to choose from.