If the modern-day cougar, as Emily Nussbaum recently wrote in New York, is classically defined as a "vain, horny, lacquered, mouthy" older woman, unapologetic about getting what she wants, then Danielle Chiesi is a prime example of the breed, according to today's oddly slut-shamey Bloomberg article on the 44-year-old New Castle analyst, who was recently charged as part of the Galleon insider-trading ring. According to her friends and former co-workers, Chiesi was the life of the party, a brash, "blond, blue-eyed former beauty queen" with the mouth of a truck driver. She flaunted her sexuality. For instance:
When she worked at New York brokerage Furman Selz LLC in the early 1990s, she would show up in a tight red suit with red fishnet stockings, says a person who worked there at the time. She dated a man on the trading desk and didn’t try to hide it, the person says.
And she wasn't above using her looks to get what she wanted — namely, insider-trading information to funnel to Raj Rajaratnam.
According to a colleague, Chiesi "used her sexuality to build sources at male-dominated companies" by wearing "short skirts and low-cut tops, according to people who saw her over the years. One ploy was to go barhopping with a group, and then peel someone off to talk to on the dance floor, says a person who attended conferences with her."
But like many cougars, on the inside, Chiesi was vulnerable and insecure, FBI wiretap transcripts show. For instance, this conversation she had with one associate:
“I swear to you in front of god, you put me in jail if you talk. I’m dead if this leaks. I really am. And my career is over. I’ll be like Martha f—ing Stewart.”
Now that we've gotten to know her a little bit, we'd wager a guess that Chiesi wasn't just fearing jail here. She was fearing dowdiness. And she was right to, says Bloomberg. Since her arrest, Chiesi hasn't fared even as well as Martha. In fact, she is looking increasingly like ... Chastity Bono.
In photographs taken outside FBI headquarters in Manhattan on Oct. 16, her blond hair is cut short, she’s wearing a baggy white sweater and she appears haggard.
Prosecution for insider trading: It's like the anti-Botox. Let this be a lesson to us all.
Woman Who Sank Galleon Was Beauty-Queen-Turned-Analyst Insider [Bloomberg]
Related: The Cougar Moment [NYM]