The last we heard of Humans of New York’s breakout star Tanqueray, her published life stories as a 70s era stripper had social media at the edge of their seats. With her health in fast decline these days, the blog is in dire need to tell her story and raise money to help pay for her medical bills.
After going viral last year, the tales of Tanqueray, born Stephanie, were initially intended to become a podcast series, but plans were halted once her health took a turn for the worse. Luckily she sat and shared her life story over a series of twenty interviews with Brandon Stanton, the founder of Humans of New York, giving him the idea to transcribe and publish them over Twitter instead. The hopeful storyteller wanted to raise awareness of her compromised health and help pay for her growing medical expenses through a GoFundMe fundraiser.
“Stephanie is a born performer, so we were initially going to make a podcast out of it. But unfortunate circumstances have required a change in plans. Stephanie’s health has taken a bad turn and she’s in a really tough spot. So I’m going to tell her story right here, right now… As her story is shared, we will be raising money to ensure that Stephanie can live the rest of her life in comfort and dignity. Stephanie has alot of urgent needs, so her care will be expensive.”
The captivating stories continue to unfold in a 32-post #TattletalesFromTanqueray series on Humans of New York’s Twitter account. The first tells of Tanqueray’s time as a Black exotic dancer in Time Square.
“When this photo was taken, 10,000 men in New York City knew that name. My signature meant something to them. They’d line up around the block whenever I was dancing in Times Square, just so I could sign the cover of their nudie magazine,” she said.
“I’d always write: ‘You were the best I ever had.’ Or some stupid s ** t like that. Something to make them smile for a second. Something to make them feel like they’d gotten to know me. Then they’d pay their 20 bucks, go sit in the dark and wait for the show to start.”
The other posts tell of her teen pregnancy, her turbulent relationship with her colorist mother, breaking into the Times Square club scene in 60s era New York, and working with the mob. But first, acquaint yourself with her earlier tales, like the time she was almost picked up by a Hasidic rabbi who was cruising for a night with a drag queen—catch up on those stories here.