1980s tabloid fodder: the Mayflower Madam

Back in 1979, 28-year-old FIT graduate Sydney Biddle Barrows decided that her fashion industry career wasn’t cutting it.


So the blue blood descendent (a Pilgrim ancestor came over on the Mayflower) embarked on a more lucrative career path: she started an escort service. 

The story was almost tailor-made for the New York tabloids. Called Cachet, her escort operation catered to mega wealthy, successful men. Barrows supplied attractive, well-groomed girls who she reportedly paid well and took great care of. 

Supposedly Cachet raked in a million bucks a year (this is 1980s money, of course).

Until 1984, that is, when she was busted. She spent a night in jail, plead guilty, and got off with just a fine—and a catchy new nickname.

But she never revealed the names in her so-called little black book. In subsequent years she co-wrote her autobiography, authored tomes on marketing, and has run a consulting business.

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One Response to “1980s tabloid fodder: the Mayflower Madam”

  1. Jill Says:

    Ha! I actually worked for her brother in the late 1980’s (I can’t remember but they shared either a mother or a father but I can’t remember which, probably father). That family was about as screwed up as you can imagine, and absolutely broke by the way, yet they really did believe that their blue blood roots made them special. Wackjobs.

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