Finally, in February, Banasewycz's complaint concludes, Sadik-Khan "abruptly terminated the relationship, telling her he was 'through with her.' " Curiously, Gvordetskaya disputes that, saying Inga broke up with him. "She wanted to do things; she is very ambitious; he was controlling her; so that's all," she says. "She just got sick of it. She was like his second wife. So it's like any divorce. It just wasn't an official marriage." But Banasewycz didn't sue until after Sasha Khazin's funeral.
Inës Misan has just one brief scene in her only movie, Inside the Goldmine, but it's a doozy, opening a story that revolves around her character's murder. She plays a Russian named Scarlet Rider, who's seen in a belly-button-baring black lace-trimmed top, talking between kitten smiles to Josh Evans, who both made and starred in the film.
"Want me to take you home?" she asks him. "You scared? Don't be scared. I'm just a whore."
"Don't talk like that," Evans scolds her. "I don't like whores."
"I bet your mother is whore, too," Misan says.
"Don't talk about my mother," Evans snaps back. "You're a fucking whore. That doesn't make my mother a whore."
"We're all whores," Misan concludes.
Three years later Evans says, "I thought she was perfect for the part."
Misan comes from a little town outside Riga -- "a small place even for Latvia," says a Latvian. She married a man named Broujika but ran away to Moscow at 19 to seek her fortune as a dancer. Her next boyfriend was a Moscow gangster, now dead. She would later describe him as a man who would hand her stolen credit cards and passports and say, "Go get some Armani."
Inës wasn't content as a mafiya moll. She was also singing and dancing with Laima Vaikule, a nightclub entertainer, when Moscow opened up to foreigners in 1988. "It was so focused then," says one of the pioneers. "It was 50 or 60 people going to three or four places where foreigners met. Inës was a very prominent girl in a small group. She never accepted money. It was gifts and trips."
The man who took her farthest was Imre Pakh, a Hungarian-born, Leningrad-educated businessman who'd moved to America in the seventies. Between his two marriages, Pakh, who trades in fertilizer and chemicals from the former Soviet Union and lives in an apartment at the Galleria that he bought from Eric Clapton's ex-lover Lori del Santo, was quite a ladies' man.
Pakh declined to speak on the record, but according to several acquaintances, he brought Misan to Paris, sponsored her for a U.S. visa, and then paid for her East Side apartment. She called him her manager. If Pakh had feelings for her, that didn't stop Misan from walking into New York clubs (she would boast), picking out the hottest guys, and taking them home. One choice became her second husband, David Townley, a model and California surfer who'd just hit town from Milan. (Townley refused to be quoted, but a source quite close to him told his story.)
Townley, who thought Misan looked like Paulina Porizkova, soon found out that she was something of a legend. "Her promiscuity was awesome," says a man who had a two-day fling with her around the time she met Townley. "She made it clear not only to me but to a handful of my friends that she was an easy conquest."
Says another ex-lover, who seems relieved to be rid of her, "She's a man. She hates other women. Her attitude is a man's: 'I'm going to fuck that guy tonight.' But Inës is not evil. She is not a hooker, even if some people don't agree."
Misan told Townley she was a singer, and introduced him to Imre Pakh, telling Townley that Pakh paid her a draw against her future earnings. But once Townley and Misan got together, she was on her own, and the ensuing affair left Townley penniless. When she was tossed out of her apartment (or at least said she had been), he let her move into his sublet. Then he took her home to Malibu. He decided he'd make her a model, paid for tests and a portfolio, and introduced her to agents and photographers. After a month in Malibu, she gave Townley an ultimatum: If he didn't marry her, she'd find a green-card husband. Worried he'd never see her again, Townley married her in Las Vegas in August 1989.
After the wedding, Misan was nice enough when they were alone, but around other guys she'd be impossible, treating Townley like furniture. She spent his modeling money as if it were water, dragooned him into driving her everywhere. When he went to Milan to model for two months, he kept hearing reports from home about his wife's wild behavior. In June 1990, he flew home and told her he wanted a divorce.
Townley didn't see her again until her new boyfriend called him a year later. Her green-card application had hit a snag; she was going to be deported unless he came to court and convinced a judge their marriage was for real. Townley didn't want to go, but she had all his furniture and he wanted it back. When they started bickering over where honeymoon pictures were taken, the judge said, "You were married all right." Misan got her green card. Townley -- now a waiter in Hawaii -- never saw her again.
Misan's new boyfriend was TV actor and former Calvin Klein model Justin Lazard, son of ABC foreign correspondent Sidney Lazard, grandson of the founder of the Lazard Frères investment bank. After a long romance and a brief engagement, Misan returned to New York in 1995. But she kept her Lazard connection, moving in with Justin's parents and holding on to his checks and one of his credit cards, which she used to pay her rent and buy a VCR. Lazard wouldn't comment, but a friend of both says, "He wanted her to know that no matter what, he'd be there." Despite Lazard's loyalty, Misan was playing the field again. She telephoned a friend one day and said, "If Justin calls, last night I slept at your place."
Misan continued her modeling career, but the work was sporadic; she switched agencies, to Ford. "Inës is a really fun-loving, great girl, full of life, and it came across in her pictures," says Katie Ford. "But she was not a serious model." Within a year, she was gone.
She kept collecting admirers, though, among them several megabucks Manhattanites; a few sons-of, like Anthony (son of Bob) Guccione; actors Armand Assante and Val Kilmer; and Michael Bush, who asked to be described as "a handsome young lawyer."
"After we stopped dating, she was going out with six people at a time," says Bush, a handsome young lawyer, who remained a friend. "I realized she was a very dangerous woman."
Even her defenders admit that Misan is liberal with her affections. "We live in a world of unbearable hypocrisy," says photographer Peter Beard, who recently accompanied Misan to Latvia, where she owns a share of a model agency. "When Inës is friends with two or three people at one time, it's not cheating, it's just communicating."
She's quite a communicator. One East Side investor who met Misan at a charity event gleefully describes how she had the table in stitches telling filthy jokes and dropping berries in his lap and plucking them out with her fingers while his stunning wife watched, incredulous, from across the table. Luckily, the wife -- who confirms the story -- was amused. "I've never seen you stay at a dinner so long," she told him.
Another rich young man met her at a luncheon, where she asked if she could join him and his friends. "Her car had been towed," he recalls. "She tried to come with us so we'd go to the impound lot to 'help' her get her car out. When I wouldn't, she said 'You want to make love with me, don't you?' I haven't seen her since." He laughs. "I think we left it open."
"Inës needs to show everybody how great she's doing," says a Russian model we'll call Ludmilla, who knows but disapproves of the Ultra-Natashas. "She needs to show other Russian girls, 'You're like everybody else, and I'm a princess.' She doesn't think she's a prostitute. She thinks she's so great and beautiful, men just want to give her money. But there is some work involved as well." Indeed, when Michael Bush saw Misan in a new Mercedes and asked how she got it, she replied, "I've been working very hard lately."