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The world according to Heidi Fleiss

After her sensational trial in the 1990s, which threatened to engulf le tout Hollywood, the celebrity madam Heidi Fleiss dropped right off the radar. Now she's back, the proud owner of a launderette in the Nevada desert, with plans to take the sex industry in a dramatic new direction

It would be difficult to overstate the thing with the parrots. It's not that Heidi Fleiss has loads of birds, the way some people have, say, four dogs, or seven cats. It's that she lives in the middle of the Nevada desert with 24 parrots her own wildly coloured flock. Every few minutes one of them squawks at an alarming volume. If you use her lavatory, you find yourself face to face with an African Grey that has the unnerving habit of plucking off its own feathers with its beak and whining.

About a third of the house has been converted into a parrot friendly habitat, misted by hoses and decorated with climbing ropes. Some of the parrots sleep in Fleiss's bed with her, and her sheets, which she says cost $4,000 (2,bulgari b.zero1 necklace replica,000), are pecked to tatters, as is the T shirt she changes into the minute we arrive.

Earlier in the day, when we were at the opening of Fleiss's new launderette called Dirty Laundry in Pahrump, about an hour and a half from Las Vegas, where camera crews from all the major American television networks were filming her, she looked much more the way you expect a celebrity of her ilk to look: instantly recognisable, surgically enhanced, impossibly thin, dressed in stilettos and tight, stretchy clothing. In fact, she looked and sounded very much like the version of herself that appeared on television in the American version of Blind Date a few years ago, looking for a rich boyfriend.

But here in her house, in tracksuit bottoms, with her parrots, Fleiss, 42, is something utterly specific and unprecedented: the former 'Hollywood Madam', the woman who made millions of dollars in her early twenties providing 'f buddies' for Charlie Sheen and sending call girls to Bush (the elder) fundraisers on the arms of senators, the daughter of a Jewish paediatrician, who grew up affluent in Los Angeles and was sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion and is going to make a comeback any day now, she says starting the world's first legal, wind powered brothel for women with exclusively male hookers (and a spa), who only wants to talk about birds.

Well, and money. Business, money and how she's going to make more of it remain exciting to Fleiss. She is convinced she will clear $30,000 (15,000) a month from the launderette alone many people in Pahrump are too poor to own washing and drying machines, and Dirty Laundry will require minimal staff. And once Fleiss sets up her turbines to harvest wind power on the 60 acres of scorched desert she owns in nearby Crystal, Nevada, she is sure she'll never have to work again.

'Except so many women say, "Come on, Heidi, you gotta do the brothel for us. Don't let us down."' Heidi's Stud Farm will be her gift to the women of the world, and for Fleiss herself it will be something new, a fresh frontier in the sex industry. 'It would be kind of fun opening up an exclusive resort, and I'll make it really nice, like the Beverly Hills Hotel,' she says. 'The only problem out here is the climate it's so brutal.'

It's tempting to interpret the heat of the Nevada desert as a punishment for all the sin that takes place here. Prostitution came to Nevada with the gold miners, but Las Vegas shut down its red light district in 1951, citing brothels as a public nuisance. Prostitution remains legal here in Nye County, however,bulgari serpenti bracelet replica, and that is why the Hollywood Madam has moved to Pahrump.

After Fleiss got out of prison in 1999, 'every place where the sex business is legal contacted me for some kind of venture,' she says. She had offers from Turkey and Australia, where she accepted a short term gig publicising a legal brothel. Then a few years ago she got a call from Nevada. Joe Richards, a man she now refers to as 'the 200 year old pimp', wanted her to come and revamp a brothel for him. 'So I came out here to do some research,' she says. 'And then I realised, "What am I doing? I'm Heidi Fleiss. I don't need anyone. I can do this."' So she bought her own land and cut the 200 year old pimp out of the deal.

It's the kind of ruthlessness that made Fleiss a very rich woman. Before her conviction in the mid 1990s Fleiss's home was a mansion that was previously owned by Michael Douglas in Beverly Hills. 'I was probably worth $10 million [6.3 million] at the time,' she tells me. According to a coffee table book she published called Pandering, her hookers regularly received $100,000 (63,000) tips and trips to Cartier from satisfied clients. In the book Fleiss advises, 'If you're going to run an illegal business, you better be driving the best car, living in the biggest house, f ing the best looking people and spending every dollar you make, because sooner or later you're going to get caught.'

Fleiss says she doesn't miss those days. 'I was 22, 25, at the time? It was fun then, but now I wouldn't want to deal with all that bullshit the girls and blah, blah, blah. But the money was really good.'

Fleiss tells me that she likes to live alone these days. She doesn't have a boyfriend. 'I'm single and I love it,' she says. 'I'm not one of these girls who needs a guy to survive.' Her last boyfriend, the actor Tom Sizemore, was convicted of assaulting Fleiss in 2003. When you walk in Fleiss's front door, you are met by a large white poster of a devilish red man under the words MALE AGGRESSION NOW PLAYING EVERYWHERE. Out of his crotch shoot a missile, an arrow, a gun and a dagger. 'Guys are kind of a hindrance to me,' Fleiss says. 'Certainly I have no problem getting laid or anything. But a man is not a priority in my life. I mean, it's crazy, but I really have fun with my parrots.'

It's an interesting question: why aren't there any brothels for women? Is it because men have always had the money and the power? Because male aggression is now, as ever, playing everywhere? Is it because women want more of a connection with their sexual partners than you can achieve in a paid encounter? Or is it because women, from the time they're girls, are told in a million different ways that sex is something they should be begged for paid for, if they're that venal or desperate not something they should ever have to ask for, let alone fly to Pahrump to purchase?

Fleiss is convinced that there are plenty of women women like her who have lost patience with romance and want to get in and out of sex with the kind of expedience only money can buy. 'Everything has changed so much, with women making more money and being in control,' she says. They will come for bachelorette [hen] and birthday parties, for the novelty and the bragging rights, or simply because they have the time and the money, and they want to get a manicure, pedicure and sex.

Fleiss is a businesswoman, a hustler, and has always had a talent for noticing a corner of the market any market that has failed to be exploited. When at the age of 15 she worked for a florist, Fleiss was sent to sell 40 roses for $5 each at a Julio Iglesias concert and dutifully returned $200 to the shop. The following day she went to the flower market in downtown LA and was back at the next concert with 200 roses that she sold for $10 a stem, pocketing the profits. 'I just pick up a hustle really easily,' she tells me.

As a 19 year old waitress, she met a local 60 year old billionaire called Bernie Cornfeld, 'who looked like Santa Claus'. Fleiss worked for him briefly and then became his lover, travelling with him to Europe and living with him for several months on Grand Bahama Island in a penthouse once owned by Howard Hughes.

But she grew restless in the Bahamas and decided to return to Los Angeles and get rich on her own. Unfortunately, it was at this point in her life that she met and started dating Ivan Nagy, who had been convicted for illegal bookmaking and was nearly 30 years her senior. 'I think that Heidi wanted to try her wings pretty early, and I think that she met some people who sort of took all her potential and gave it a sharp turn,' Fleiss's mother, Elissa, a schoolteacher, said in a 1995 BBC documentary about her daughter.

Nagy introduced Fleiss to the reigning queen of sex for sale in Hollywood, Elizabeth 'Madam Alex' Adams. 'She knew nothing,' Adams says in the film, which was shot during Fleiss's trial. 'She was like a little parrot who repeated what she was supposed to say.'

With Nagy's encouragement, Fleiss joined Adams's staff, turning tricks for a year and a half and learning the business. Then Fleiss saw an opportunity. Between the contacts she had made through Adams and the wildly wealthy people she'd met in her time with Cornfeld, she put together a competing prostitution ring. Fleiss was determined to bring a previously unheard of level of discretion and cachet to LA prostitution, and for a while she did. Her clients were 'the richest in the world', she says. They knew that there would never be a hassle or a disappointment. Charlie Sheen, one of the few clients of Fleiss whose identity was revealed during her trial (not by Fleiss herself), said at the time that when you pay for a hooker you're not paying for sex; you're paying for her to leave when you're finished.

Fleiss has seen a lot of the ugliness that can follow sexual relationships, particularly from men. After she was busted by the police in 1993 and put on charges of pandering and possessing cocaine for sale, it came out in court transcripts that Nagy was one of the people who'd informed on her. He'd become jealous of her success and was attempting to start his own business. It makes a certain sense that Fleiss now reserves her affections for the feathered and flying. 'If you live out here, you've got to hate people. You've got to be pretty antisocial,' she admits.

But as hard as Fleiss is in her assessments of the world and her fellow humans, she has a funny sense of duty. At the Dirty Laundry opening, person after person testified to her generosity. 'She's just a super duper person,' said her neighbour Bill Jackson. 'I don't even want to say how many rents she's paying in this town. I've got two huge dogs that I've taken for a ride every morning that I've ever been here. Well, my van broke down and I just didn't know what to do. I woke up one morning, she had a van sitting there in my driveway. She bought it at a police auction in LA, drove it back herself, parked it in my driveway. Said, "This is for the dogs."'

'She'll succeed,' a woman in a pink tracksuit said of Heidi's Stud Farm. 'I'm looking forward to it! All my friends want to go and try it out. What's good for the geese is good for the ganders.'

Later Fleiss shows me some emails she has received from men interested in working at the Stud Farm. There are a few photos from greased, beefy guys, and then one from a man who looks like he should be out with a pushchair, walking the dog. 'You know it took a lot of nerve for him to write this and send his photo,' she says, smiling.

'Some of them are really cute, and then the ultimate nerdiest guys on earth apply. I'm not kidding the nerdiest f ing things I've ever seen in my entire life! Come here, Pauline,bvlgari replica rings collection, you stay with me,' she says to a parrot who is getting a little aggressive. 'Don't make everything hard, baby. What am I gonna do with you? Where you wanna sleep at the Stud Farm? You gonna sleep in my bed?'

I wonder why Fleiss doesn't just do something with birds for a living, and ask what it is she finds so compelling about the sex industry. She gives a little snort. 'I don't like anything about the sex business,' she says. 'It's just something I know.'

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By riovgi bionia
Added Oct 26

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