HONY’s Tanqueray Is Now A Millionaire After Donations From Adoring Fans


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Fans of Tanqueray, a viral sensation from the blog “Humans of New York,” have raised over $1 million to help out with her health struggles

In a world filled with so much turmoil, Humans of New York is always a much-needed reminder that humanity exists. The photoblog and accompanying books, the brainchild of photographer Brandon Stanton, highlights people from different walks of life, featuring heartwarming — as well as heartbreaking — interviews and stunning photos of the subjects, showcasing their beauty, talents, and worth while explaining why they are who they are by telling their unique stories.

One of Stanton’s subjects, a 76-year-old woman named Tanqueray, has become one of the standout characters of the blog due to her juicy strip club tales from the 1970s in New York City. The viral sensation has recently been experiencing a decline in her health, and her fans have rallied together to raise over $1 million so that she can live the rest of her life out like the queen that she is.

This week, Stanton shared that his beloved subject, whose real name is Stephanie, was in need of help covering her expenses, revealing he started a GoFundMe dubbed “The Tanqueray Trust” in order to help her out.

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(15/32) “Carmine walked into my life on New Years Eve. I was dancing somewhere. Some place in Midtown—who knows. And he walked in with a group of friends. Everyone dresses on New Years Eve, but he stood out. He looked like Franki Valli. I remember thinking it was weird that he didn’t have a date. Carmine had a job at the General Motors factory, but he didn’t dress blue collar. He dressed like a Guido. Silk tie. Pressed shirt from The Custom Shop. French cuffs with cuff links. And perfect hair. Later on when we were fucking, I’d always try to grab his hair. And he’d say: ‘Please, Steph! Not the hair! Not the hair!’ But I didn’t even talk to him that first night. I might have smiled at him. But I smiled at everybody. So I’m not sure why he kept coming back. He started showing up whenever I danced. He was always alone. And he always dressed perfectly. It was against the rules for customers to flirt with the girls—so I don’t even remember how we started talking. But he was charming. He made me laugh. He didn’t have any college, but he never sounded stupid. I started to have a little crush on him. One night he got the owner’s permission to ask me out. And when I stepped off the stage, he offered to buy me dinner at any restaurant in Times Square. I chose Howard Johnson’s. I was a cheap date. I ordered the fried clam sandwich. I don’t remember what we talked about, but we started going out all the time after that. Carmine was always with me. I’d take him to the clubs on my nights off, and everybody was crazy about him. He even got along with the pimps. He could talk to anyone. And that boy could dance. We used to joke that Carmine had some black in him, because he had such good rhythm. All these women would try to pick him up because they didn’t know he was with me. And I wasn’t one to stop him. He never stopped me either. I could talk to anybody. I could dance with anybody: fast dance, slow dance, it didn’t matter. That’s one thing I loved about Carmine. I always had my freedom.”

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“Many of you will remember this young lady. Tanqueray caused quite a stir a few months ago when she dropped some truth bombs on us, while wearing a hand-beaded faux mink coat that she made herself. What you don’t know is what happened afterward. Tanqueray—whose real name is Stephanie—sat for a series of twenty interviews with me, during which time I transcribed her entire life story. And whoa boy, what a story,” he wrote in an Instagram post. He explained that plans to make a podcast out of the interviews were scrapped due to health complications.

“Stephanie’s health has taken a bad turn, and she’s in a really tough spot,” he revealed. “So I’m going to tell her story right here, right now. It’s the most ambitious storytelling I’ve ever attempted on the blog. It will unfold over the course of 32 posts. But if there’s anyone who can hold an audience for an entire week—it’s Tanqueray,” he continued.

“As her story is shared, we will be raising money to ensure that Stephanie can live the rest of her life in comfort and dignity. Stephanie has a lot of urgent needs, so her care will be expensive. But her story is priceless,” he wrote, urging people to donate to their cause if compelled by her story, which would unfold over the next seven days.

In the accompanying GoFundMe, he explained that while she’s experienced difficulty for quite some time, in recent months she has been unable to walk as the result of a major fall. “Ever since the fall, Stephanie has been unable to stand or walk. She is in a lot of pain,” he wrote. “We’ve hired a team of professionals to make her apartment clean and comfortable. We’ve gotten her a 24-hour home health aide. She now has a physical therapist coming to the apartment multiple times a week. And we’re working on handling the back rent and eviction notices. Her health is not improving as quickly as we’d like, but Stephanie remains absolutely convinced that she is on the mend.”

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Many of you will remember this young lady. Tanqueray caused quite a stir a few months ago when she dropped some truth bombs on us, while wearing a hand-beaded faux mink coat that she made herself. What you don’t know is what happened afterward. Tanqueray—whose real name is Stephanie—sat for a series of twenty interviews with me, during which time I transcribed her entire life story. And whoa boy, what a story. Stephanie is a born performer, so we were initially going to make a podcast out of it. But unfortunate circumstances have required a change in plans. Stephanie’s health has taken a bad turn, and she’s in a really tough spot. So I’m going to tell her story right here, right now. It’s the most ambitious storytelling I’ve ever attempted on the blog. It will unfold over the course of 32 posts. But if there’s anyone who can hold an audience for an entire week—it’s Tanqueray. As her story is shared, we will be raising money to ensure that Stephanie can live the rest of her life in comfort and dignity. Stephanie has a lot of urgent needs, so her care will be expensive. But her story is priceless. If the series adds any value to your life over the next seven days, please consider making a contribution to our fundraiser through the link in bio. ‘Tattletales From Tanqueray’ will begin tomorrow.

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So every day another bit of her story is being shared on his account.

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(1/32) “Tanqueray, Tanqueray, Tanqueray. When this photo was taken, ten thousand men in New York City knew that name. My signature meant something to them. They’d line up around the block whenever I was dancing in Times Square, just so I could sign the cover of their nudie magazine. I’d always write: ‘You were the best I ever had.’ Or some stupid shit like that. Something to make them smile for a second. Something to make them feel like they’d gotten to know me. Then they’d pay their twenty bucks, and go sit in the dark, and wait for the show to start. They’d roll that magazine up tight and think about their wives, or their work, or some of their other problems. And they’d wait for the lights to come up. Wait for Tanqueray to step out on stage and take it all away for eighteen minutes. Eighteen minutes. That’s how long you’ve got to hold ‘em. For eighteen minutes you’ve got to make them forget that they’re getting older. And that they aren’t where they want to be in life. And that it’s probably too late to do much about it. It’s only eighteen minutes. Not long at all. But there’s a way to make it seem like forever. I always danced to the blues. Cause it’s funky and you don’t have to move fast. You can really zero in on a guy. So that it seems like you’re dancing just for him. You look him right in the eyes. Smile at him. Wink. Put a finger in your mouth and lick it a little bit. Make sure you wear plenty of lip gloss so your lips are very, very shiny. If you’re doing it right, you can make him think: ‘Wow, she’s dancing just for me.’ You can make him think he’s doing something to your insides. You can make him fall in love. Then when the music stops, you step off the stage, and beat it back to the dressing room.”

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In the first of 32 posts, she held up a photo of herself dressed up in burlesque. “When this photo was taken, 10,000 men in New York City knew that name. My signature meant something to them. They’d line up around the block whenever I was dancing in Times Square, just so I could sign the cover of their nudie magazine,” she revealed.

“I’d always write: ‘You were the best I ever had.’ Or some stupid s - - t like that. Something to make them smile for a second. Something to make them feel like they’d gotten to know me. Then they’d pay their 20 bucks, go sit in the dark and wait for the show to start.”

In others, she talked about her childhood, how she ended up in New York City, and in prison.

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(5/32) “I knew my mother wasn’t going to let me come back home. So I decided to leave Albany for good. I was gonna go to New York and live a fantasy life like Esther Williams, with music and dancing and smiling people all around me. But first I needed to sneak back into my bedroom and get the rest of my clothes. I waited until late at night, when everyone was asleep, and I climbed inside the window. I started filling up my bag with all my dolls and my clothes. And I almost made it. I was just about to climb back out. When suddenly the lights flicked on and there was my mother—standing in her bathrobe, madder than hell. She called the cops and had me arrested for burglary. The judge gave me a choice. Either I could give the baby up for adoption, and go back to live with my mother– or I could do ‘one to three’ in Bedford Hills prison. I agreed to give the baby up. But I wasn’t going back to my mother’s. So I told the judge to send me to prison. The whole courtroom gasped. Three weeks later my son was born. The hospital sent him straight to St. Margaret’s Children’s Home, and I was shipped off to Bedford Hills. It was a modern prison. There weren’t bars on the cells or anything. But I was scared. I was only eighteen. I’d never been around criminals before. Since nobody from the outside was putting money into my account, I had to get a job in the prison factory. Back in the day all the bras and underpants were made by convicts—so that’s what we were doing. I’d always been good at art, so on the side I started making marriage certificates for all the lesbians. I’d use crayons to draw little hearts and stuff. Then I’d sign it at the bottom to make it look official. In return they’d give me cigarettes—which was money. Pretty soon I had a little reputation. I was like the artist of the prison. The warden even asked me to choreograph a dance for the prisoners on family day. Nobody had any problems with me. I was certain that I’d get paroled after nine months. But on the day before my interview, the warden called me into her office. ‘I’ve got some bad news,’ she said. ‘Your mother is fucking the head of the parole board.’”

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The amazing thing is, that just halfway through her story — with days to go — over $1 million has been raised by fans. One of her biggest, author Luvvie Ajayi Jones, shared the exciting news on social media.

“OUR QUEEN IS OFFICIALLY A MILLIONAIRE!!! 😭😭😭😭😭,” she wrote. “I truly hope she spends the sunset of her life in luxury and comfort and I hope this fundraiser allows her to live her last years/decades in ease.”

Tanqueray’s story will continue unfolding as the week progresses and the GoFundMe in her honor is still open for donations. Any money that is left over at the end of her life will be donated to The Association To Benefit Children, a New York charity dedicated to helping the city’s most vulnerable children, at Stephanie’s request.

Stanton, who has been paying for Tanqueray’s medical bills himself, is also featuring her story in his highly anticipated new book, Humans, being released on October 6.

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