Karrine Steffans was born into difficult circumstances in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Raped at 13, she later ran away, was briefly homeless, became a stripper, and soon got involved in hip-hop videos. Before long, Steffans was so in demand as a background dancer that she was earning $2,500 a day and was the undisputed queen of the hip-hop video scene. A massive groupie, by all accounts it would seem that she was as much in-demand for the services she provided off-camera as for those she provided on-camera.
Yet the parties came to a halt in 2001 when she overdosed, and Steffans realized that the celebrity men that had given her so much — money, gifts and attention — didn’t actually care about her well-being.
As a consequence, Karrine Steffans wrote Confessions of a Video Vixen, which hit the shelves at the end of June 2005 and became a surprise best-seller. The book seemed to spare nothing and nobody, blatantly naming the names of rich and powerful men who she hooked up with. TV hosts fell for it, hook, line and sinker: Tyra Banks, Bill O’Reilly and Oprah Winfrey all beat a path to her door.
In 2005, Karrine Steffans told Jet magazine that, following publication, the men she named weren’t angry — in fact, she said, some ex-boyfriends were asking why they weren’t in the book. A Newsweek book review suggested otherwise, but by then the book’s success had scored Steffans an additional three-book deal.
In March 2007, after just one book, Karrine Steffans decided to give back by establishing what amounts to her own literary agency. The imprint Steffans Publishing accepts manuscripts and synopses for review and reputedly recommends the best of them to the publishing houses with whom she has affiliations.
Her second book, The Vixen Diaries debuted later in 2007. It wasn’t quite the name-dropping, wall-to-wall sex and excess tell-all that her previous book had been, but it quickly landed on the New York Times bestseller list nonetheless, thanks in part to Steffans’ tirelessly aggressive promotional skills.
Karrine Steffans’ third book, a self-help guide to relationships for women, The Vixen Manual: How to Find, Seduce and Keep the Man You Want went on sale in the summer of 2009. Featuring graphic sexual depictions and no-nonsense language, Steffans told The Today Show that the book is meant to tell women of all ages the many things that Steffans wished she knew when she was younger. While the book does feature some intelligent advice, it’s also fraught with its share of those tedious turns-of-phrase we associate with self-help books, like: “If you don’t go within, you go without.”
Raising two young sons and currently in a relationship (she used to be married to Kool G. Rap), Karrine Steffans’ career is definitely on the rise. The Vixen Manual has been complemented by an internet dating site and its own community in the virtual world Second Life. Expect to see and hear plenty more of Steffans, whether you want to or not.