In their BlackBerrys, VIP hosts lovingly store all of their clients’ birthdays, children’s names, sports teams, preferred vodkas. (Some of them also note which types of girls their clients like: loose brunettes, intelligent blondes, C-cups, real, and so on.) These are the things that make a good host. “And a good friend!” says Lynn Freeman, another former host whom Uchitel refers to as “the only other girl who knows her shit.”
It is a kind of friendship. The hosts are much closer to their clients than almost any other service provider in a wealthy person’s life. Money isn’t exchanged directly in most cases, so it can genuinely feel as though the host is taking care of you for no other reason than because she wants to. In return, she—or he; most hosts are actually men—is a part of the entourage, a trusted confidante.
“We’re not madams,” continues Freeman, because she’s sensitive about it too—the scandal has changed what people think of the position. But they do introduce the men to women they can have. “What we do is we bring a bunch of girls and guys together. If we worked at a bank and we brought a bunch of friends together for happy hour, and then two of them went home and had sex, nobody would think anything of it.”
Uchitel says the most she’ll do is go over to the bar and find a group of girls and say, “Hey girls, do you want to come and drink for free at this guy’s table?” When girls are brought to a client’s table, there is a twofold benefit for the club. First—and this part is called the honey trap—the girls consume alcohol so that the table will go through bottles faster; second, and more obvious, the girls keep the men entertained. Are the guys sometimes married? Uchitel answers, “None of our business. We are not there to judge. It’s not a synagogue.”
Steve Lewis, the former director of Life and current club designer and keeper of the nightlife beat for BlackBook, says this is half-true. They are not exactly pimps and madams, but the VIP hosts know which girls are loose and will place their clients with them. They know which girls will keep quiet. Lewis and others say that VIP hosts will often fly girls they know to events like Sundance for their clients. “Sure, there are girls in Utah,” says Lewis, “but not girls they can trust.”
To be a girl who is trusted, you need a track record of having slept with famous men and not talked about it. It’s an unwritten résumé. Talking about anything that goes on at the clubs is called “burning the athlete” or “burning the celebrity.” Privacy is prized invaluably in an age when the National Enquirer performs police-quality stakeouts and the video capabilities of cell phones have turned every banquette kiss into a YouTube trailer. It’s a wonder celebrities think they can get away with cheating, but if they do, it’s because of people like Uchitel. People who understand the value of future returns.
“You treat the celebs the way they want to be treated, you give them privacy and ensure no press, and then they’ll say later, ‘Yeah, I’ll have my after-party here,’ ” says Uchitel. “That’s why we’re so valuable.”
Uchitel won’t talk about Tiger Woods. Partly, it’s that omertà. But there are also rumors that she secured a deal from Woods’s camp. She announced a press conference in early December, as though she were going to tell all. Suddenly the press conference was canceled amid reports that Uchitel’s boldface attorney, Gloria Allred, was seen leaving Woods’s attorney’s offices. Allred’s own daughter, attorney Lisa Bloom, told The Early Show, “That can only mean one thing: As we say in the law, Mr. Green has arrived.” TMZ has reported that the amount is in the neighborhood of $10 million, to which Uchitel responds, “Clearly I have no comment.”
There is speculation that Uchitel must know truly devastating details to warrant that kind of agreement, though in texts and e-mails between Uchitel and Woods that have already emerged, the golfer sounds like a man having an affair with one woman, not fifteen: “I finally found someone I connect with, someone I have never found like this. Not even at home,” he allegedly wrote. “Fuck. Why didn’t we find each other years ago. We wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Uchitel has had previous relationships with famous men, Derek Jeter and David Boreanaz, according to friends and gossip that she will neither confirm nor deny. But people who know the score (as opposed to “scumbags who like to get close to the scandal,” as Uchitel describes the other set of talkers) say that the hosts don’t generally get involved with the clients. There are one-offs, yes, things happen, people develop crushes, they fall in love. But for the most part, women in Uchitel’s position don’t sleep with their clients. They don’t have to. There are plenty of willing girls. Younger girls and drunker girls.