'Real Housewife' Danielle Staub on Being an Escort, Exotic Dancer and Mom

Filed under: Celeb Parents, Books for Kids, In The News, Celeb News & Interviews

Danielle Staub with her daughters Jillian Staub, left, and Rachelle Hruska. Credit: Jeff Gentner, Getty Images


You know Danielle ... she's the New Jersey housewife everyone loves to hate -- especially the other housewives.

Who can forget the infamous table flipping dinner? Lots of rumors swirled around her: She had changed her name, been involved in cocaine distribution and been an informant.

Now, she's penned a book called "The Naked Truth," in which she comes clean about her background. Yes, she was a call girl, exotic dancer and was arrested, but pleaded the charges down. (According to Staub, the charges were trumped up and a big misunderstanding.) She also writes of being adopted and abused as a young child.

Meanwhile, this season on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," Staub has continued feuding with the other gals while overseeing her daughter Christine's nascent modeling career. She spoke to ParentDish about her book and the other Jersey women -- although not always in complete sentences. An edited version of the conversation follows.

PD: You worked as an exotic dancer. Did it make you hate men?
DS: I don't like that word, but I can say it did make me want to abuse them emotionally. When I was doing that, I'd already been very abused by that point. I was extremely tortured about what love was supposed to be. I'd already gone through several engagements where I just did it to get back at people who abused me. I'm not saying I did the right thing. I'm just saying that in my mind I was very twisted about what men's roles would be other than to help me have a baby.

PD: You were a call girl. You write that it's not the same as a prostitute.
DS:
I think anyone who has done what I've done will realize what it is that I speak of. You are paid according to your looks. You get to define yourself according to your looks. I don't like to talk about this as a person because I think everyone is beautiful, but in this business, if I have to answer questions about that, about being a call girl as opposed to a prostitute or street walker ...

None of them are horrible things, everyone who has done them were in a position where they don't have other choices. I'm not making excuses for myself. I'm making a selective reason behind why people do make certain choices in their life.

The only difference is how you look and that's it. You don't get paid a lot of money if you're not smoking hot or if you're not really cute or not sexy or voluptuous. There's a different look for every man's desire and, let's face it, they come in many different shapes and sizes. But if you're not at least one of those desirable things for men that have a lot of money, you're not going to get paid a lot of money and be called to service a man just by being on his arm and being arm candy.

It doesn't make me any better than anybody else. The difference is I didn't have to walk up and down the street saying, "What can you pay me?" It's obvious what you're going to get paid for. I got to decide by the end of the night if I wanted to walk away.

Did they want it? Yes, but you have to be smart enough to work it that you don't have to do what it is that they want you to do, yet they feel so fulfilled and you leave them wanting more. That was always my thing, leave them wanting more, give them everything right out of the gate and they don't want anymore.

PD:
You were adopted.
DS:
The issues that I believe I dealt with through adoption I believe are universal. Everyone I've ever spoken to who's been adopted has abandonment issues. ... [E]specially when you grow up and become a mother, it's really difficult to understand how anyone could give up a child.

But when you're growing up, of course, you don't know once you are grown up that there are choices that are made, circumstances that surround other people in your life, like my mom was said to be 14 when she got pregnant and 15 when she gave birth. I didn't understand that as a 9, 11 or even 23-year-old. I didn't understand that until I was a mom, myself, that it really wasn't her choice. I had to start believing that she wanted me desperately.

PD: Your daughter Christine is a model. There are a lot of pitfalls in that business.
DS: I'm not worried because she's got a good head on her shoulders because I've given her that foundation of security and love. Right now, before she turns 18 and maybe has a mind of her own about it, I can definitely guide her in the right direction.

PD: Did it get you down last year being the outsider on the show?
DS: In season one it definitely did affect me, not just emotionally but physically. I got ill from the way I was treated because it reminded me too much of being abused as a child.

Being attacked verbally and getting things thrown at you and people using language disrespectfully in front of my children without giving me the option of saying, "Is it OK if I swear at you and call you names that your kids have never heard and toss a table at you? Would that be OK if I did that?" It wasn't OK, so yes, it nearly destroyed me.

It broke my spirit so deeply that I was crushed. I literally did not get out of bed for -- I don't even want to quote how long. It was troubling to my children. It left me a broken woman, and I had to decide if it was going to take me down for no reason or if I was going to go, you know what, I have to get up now. I've got to make reason of this and I've got to fight for a season two and I've got to make sense why all this had to happen to me on international TV. And I did and that's when the book deal started happening and that's when I pulled myself up and to teach my kids to never let this happen to them.

Remember I don't have family around me. I still make mistakes, but I'm a human being, and now, in season two, I don't f---ing like them either and I don't really care.

PD: Are you hopeful about love?
DS: I'm very hopeful and optimistic about love. I know through this journey of writing my book how hard it was going to be, but I also knew there was going to be a lot of light at the end of the tunnel. The light for me is I really fell in love with myself in a very spiritual way, and I think through loving myself I realize how that feels, how it's supposed to feel. Now I can be loved the right way.

PD: Want to comment on reports of a sex tape of yours that has surfaced?
DS:
At this time, no.

Related: Bethenny Frankel Has a Baby Girl; Jill Zarin Apologizes for Premature Announcement

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.