Book 19 of 2015, 2nd memoir of 2015
Well, I went from one trashy book to another.
Confessions of a Video Vixen is a memoir and a cautionary tale of a woman named Karrine Steffans, detailing twenty-five years of her life. Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about her before reading her book— other than that she ‘worked’ her way to the top of the R&B and rap music video industry by sleeping with several A and B- List rap stars.
Steffans starts off the book by describing her horrid childhood. Emotionally (and sometimes physically) abused by her single mother, Steffans was always looking to be noticed and praised. Because of this upbringing, and despite attention from boys in her earlier teenage years, Steffans continued to spin in a downwards cycle of self-loathing and lack of confidence.
From rape and homelessness as a teenager, to becoming a stripper, getting involved in abusive relationships and moving across the country, it’s hard to believe that Steffans even made it to the age of twenty. So when I read about her “sex-capades” with everyone from Dr. Dre, Usher, Shaq, Ja Rule and Xzibit, to Iced T, Vin Diesel, Fred Durst and Puff Daddy, I was a bit less judgmental than I otherwise would have been; this girl had a really crappy upbringing and it clearly lead her to her poor decision-making as a young adult. She was lost.
Steffans had experienced many highs and lows. She went from starring in a movie, consuming hard drugs and pleasuring Jay Z in one night, to stripping for rent money and having to live out of her car with her baby boy the next. And while her story was very poorly written, I still couldn’t put it down. With all of Steffan’s name dropping and the guts she displayed on various video sets, I was constantly picking my jaw up off the ground as I read. Her lifestyle was so varied, shocking and sad, and I felt so terrible for her son and at times, yes, for her.
I don’t think Steffans is a hugely stand-up, moral human being, but I do admire someone like her who truly knows hardship and overcomes it. She seems to have pulled her act together and has custody of her son. Her story ended somewhat abruptly; but then again, she was quite young when she wrote it and still had (or presumably has) a lot of mistakes to make before she really becomes the woman she dreams of being. This book is about second, third and fourth chances and learning from your mistakes. She was lucky to have all of the chances she did as her life could have ended as abruptly as one of her friends.
If you’re looking for a fast read with some major music industry intelligence, that includes everything from behind the scenes sexism and abuse of women, to the ridiculous celebrity situations that Steffans often wound up in, this book will be a good beach read. I guarantee your jaw will drop at least once.