Sydney Biddle Barrows
|Born||January 14, 1952|
|Other names||Sheila Devin|
|Alma mater||Fashion Institute of Technology|
|Occupation||Madam, management consultant and writer|
|Spouse(s)||Darnay Hoffman (1994–?)(divorced)[needs update]|
three Mayflower passengers
Sydney Biddle Barrows (born January 14, 1952) is an American businesswoman who became known as an escort agency owner under the name Sheila Devin; she later became known as the Mayflower Madam. She has since become a management consultant and writer.
In October 1984, her escort service was disbanded, and after pleading guilty for promoting prostitution, Barrows wrote a 1986 autobiography, Mayflower Madam: The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows. A TV movie based on the book starring Candice Bergen was broadcast in 1987 under the title Mayflower Madam.
Barrows comes from the Biddle family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is descended directly from Mayflower passengers William Brewster, John Howland, and Thomas Rogers. Her father is Donald Byers Barrows, Jr. (born 1926) and her mother is Jeannette Ballantine. She is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, located in New York City. After graduation, she worked in 1975 as an assistant to Alan Snyder, bath buyer for Abraham & Straus. She was introduced to the world of high-class prostitution and started her own escort service named Cachet, which existed in New York City from 1979 to 1984. Some of its clients included industrialists, high-powered business executives and lawyers, foreign diplomats and Arabian oil sheiks.
In October 1984 her escort service was shut down, and she was charged with promoting prostitution by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. The name "Mayflower Madam" was coined by a New York Post reporter, Peter Fearon, who broke the story of her Mayflower connections. After her guilty plea, she published a best-selling autobiography, Mayflower Madam: The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows (1986). Barrows appeared in 1987 on the late-night television series Saturday Night Live, with a parody of her book; the sketch included Candice Bergen, who played the role in the 1987 made-for-TV movie Mayflower Madam. Barrows subsequently wrote two books on sexual etiquette.
In late 2008 Barrows finished Uncensored Sales Strategies: A Radical New Approach to Selling Your Customers What They Really Want - No Matter What Business You're In, co-authored with marketing expert Dan Kennedy. Since the mid-late 1990s Barrows has run a consulting business with a focus on customer service and experience. She is divorced from the late Darnay Hoffman, a high-profile lawyer.