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At Centre of Gravity in Toronto, Oct 25 2014. Jess Desaulniers-Lea photos.

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Jillian Lauren’s Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

Jillian Lauren, author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem.

Jillian Lauren, author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem.

Book review – Jillian Lauren’s Some Girls

– by Jennifer Laidlaw

Most girls discover themselves through harmless rebellion. Maybe a two-litre pop bottle full of shit mix, a cherry popped in the cab of some older boy’s truck, experimentation with girls, boys, girls and boys, a few pills, a joint here and there, a diet, piercings, tattoos and some broken curfews. Some girls find themselves thousands of miles away blowing the Sultan of Brunei, once the richest man on the planet.

Jillian Lauren was an 18-year-old NYU theatre school dropout, making ends meet while she skipped from audition to audition by stripping and performing tricks in upscale New York hotels. Her alarmingly skewed drive to be rich and famous led her to accept an invitation to hop aboard a plane to Borneo to entertain rich businessman for a mere twenty thousand dollars a fortnight. That combination of her drive and barometer for cool – calmly asking herself what would Patti Smith do when faced with tough decisions – convinced her to take a path most of us would politely refuse, yet always wonder “what if?”

Trailer - Jillian Lauren‘s Some Girls:

Lauren’s memoir Some Girls is a glimpse behind the gold-plated curtains of a world so carefree and extravagant that it seems more like an R-rated fairy tale than a true account of one girl’s life from the ages of 18 to 20-years-old.

Lauren ended up spending 18 months over two separate trips amidst the real-life harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, youngest brother of the Sultan of Brunei. The girls – American, Thai, Filipino, Indonesian and Malaysian – would gather in a large party room each night where they waited for the Prince and his guests to arrive. The goal – to climb the ladder of popularity to one of the two “girlfriend” seats on either side of the prince, and/or to be invited to leave with him when he retired for the night. The higher a girl climbed, the fewer friends she would have back at the house with the rest of the harem, but the more attention and luxuries she might receive.

Luxuries included trips on private jets to palatial, suites in Malaysia and Singapore, helicopter rides and outings in Lamborghinis and shopping trips where it was not uncommon to blow unimaginable amounts on designer threads:

“What was my limit anyway?” I asked the bodyguard when we were in the car. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t hit it.
“You didn’t have one. No limit only for some girls. Only for very special girls.”
“Well, how much did I spend then?”
He told me a number that left me speechless. The number far exceeded the down payment on the house I live in today. I felt drunk.

Jillian Lauren as 'Sparkle Diamond'.

Lauren’s current house is in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband Scott Shriner, Weezer bassist, and their son, Tariku, adopted from Ethiopia. While her harem days are over, the author certainly doesn’t shy away from her past in her book, which paints a romanticized picture of being, what is ultimately, a sex-trade worker. Heck, it is one great way to travel the world, see the insides of five-star hotels and be a real-life princess of sorts.

But in reality, Lauren seems to look back on this time with disappointment with a tiny side of regret. Whatever the case, she has certainly lived a rock ‘n’ roll fairytale, one that has elevated her from poor hooking student in Greenwich Village to Mrs. Shriner, best-selling author. Complete with a toothy dragon tattoo down… there.

Jillian Lauren and Scott Shriner

Jillian Lauren and Scott Shriner

 

Jenn Laidlaw

About Jenn Laidlaw

Born in Van and raised in Seven Potatoes (aka Nanaimo), Jenn Laidlaw is one-part urban arts & culture junkie, one-part hippie islander and two-parts nerdy librarian. She can be found scribbling must-see concerts onto brightly coloured post-its, dreaming up adventure travel itineraries and practicing her patented cross-country ski dance on local sidewalks. Her first ‘career’ job entailed flying above the city in a Cessna for six terrifying months as a radio traffic reporter, in which one flight came much too close to a helicopter (if you can see the other pilot’s sunglasses, you should probably put on your parachute and find the nearest exit). To this day she still has to take drugs to fly.
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5 responses to “Jillian Lauren’s Some Girls: My Life in a Harem

  1. Pingback: Girls night cooking ideas? | girls cooking

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  3. Pingback: Fashion Harem Girl

  4. 1 year ago  

    Book turned into fantasy for me. The Maori people live in NEW ZEALAND! Only a few tattooists use the traditional methods, painful but also a hygiene thing. Other peoples in other places certainly tattoo the old way e.g. Samoa. But as far as I know Maori have not moved to Asia!!!!!!

  5. 12 months ago  

    In response to Lin : I too thought that when I read the book (being a born & bred New Zealander) – however a little research can go a very long way ;)

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