I first met Diane Passage back in 2006 at the 21 Club. She was as hot THEN as she is NOW.
I looked across the room and walking towards my direction was a beautiful brunette with an incredible body. After she passed by, a man’s voice said, “do you like that?”. I turned and said “yes” to Ken Starr, her husband, who is now incarcerated over the next several years for financial crimes. The following years I would run into the couple at various social events and charities.
Diane during those years had begun the production of her show Pole Superstar, which was launched initially with a charity that supported single parents. Pole Superstar grabbed attention from Sony and Las Vegas producer Tim Molyneaux. The show had momentum and offers were being drafted for financing, television broadcasts and various other outlets for exposure. Of course, all of that disappeared after Ken’s arrest in May 2010. “The most devastating thing that happened to me was the demise of Pole Superstar as all the investors backed out. No one wanted to be affiliated with the show since Ken had pieced it together with me. The show was scheduled to go live in Las Vegas in July 2010. Tim tried to help but the investors were gone, the momentum stopped. Sony went away and all the offers for Pay Per View and live broadcasts disappeared. It was really hard for me. We had just started and it was broadcasted in over 20 different countries. Such a shame.”
For those who aren’t familiar, Diane had previously been an exotic dancer at the famed SCORES, a gentleman’s club. Pole Superstar was a performance showing talented women, dancing on and around the pole. Diane might have actually been responsible for creating the pole dancing momentum all over New York at the time. Housewives and college students were putting poles in their homes and apartments.
She dropped out of site until recently, embarrassed by the negative press and humiliation of her husbands crimes against various celebrities. Naturally, she went through several personal and financial problems. A single mother, not knowing where the future was going and what would happen to her as the security of her plush life had been ripped away. Her life was content, although she did say, “I don’t miss the lifestyle. I thought that I would but I don’t. I mean, it was crazy. We would go to events like the Vanity Fair Oscar party every year. We would have extravagant vacations. I had everything I wanted. But the most important components were not there. My son was practically a stranger and failing private school and we rarely spoke about anything. Perhaps because he had his nannie and I had my assistants. There were so many people between us that would take of the day to day issues. On top of that I used to have panic attacks. One time I went to the emergency room because of a panic attack. I was crying with mascara running down my face. The doctor was very handsome. I guess it’s always that way right? He looked at me and said that I was not crazy but there was something wrong in my life and I should find out what it was and fix it.” She also mentioned to me that Ken was like a best friend who showed her a lot and pushed her to be a more sophisticated and better person. “I had a drinking problem and he helped me get through it. He showed me a different side of life. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today if it wasn’t for him.”
And where is she today? She is going through several reality show offers (turned down a role on the concept-in-development reality series “Wall Street Wives”), working on creating her own show again, has the strongest relationship ever with her son Jordan (who is in the top percentile of his class and attending one of the top public schools in the city). “We realized that we had to stick together, my bond with my son is incredible. It is the best thing that came out of the whole ordeal. I wouldn’t give this up for anything.” She also changed much of her social circle. “My friends are also my real friends and with me because of who I am not for what I could do for them. So many people were just pretending to be my friends before because of my husband and his connections. Most of them all disappeared after the arrest as well. His family, I have to give them credit, at least 50% of them were still there for me as I was for them.” Then there were also people pretending to help her with her husbands legal issues and potentially help her existing businesses that were failing. One specific example was the notorious “Devil’s Advocate” Giovanni Di Stefano, who raced to help Diane with her husband’s case. His true intentions soon came to surface as he began to write love letters, sing to her and proclaim his romantic intentions towards her. “Speaking with Giovanni became less and less about business and more personal on his side. He started sending me love letters and singing to me. It was bad enough that all of that had just happened and I was caught up in all of my husband’s family issues dealing with the crisis. Then Giovanni just appeared pretending he wanted to help but didn’t.” Presently, she surrounds herself with authentic individuals who are true friends. In a sense, the inexperienced at problem solving and non-street smart girl became a very sharp woman capable of handling life’s speed bumps. She has a clearer and stronger outlook on life. Thus goes the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I would say she has definitely become more titanium laced. “I thought my life was perfect, tons of attention from my husband and all that I mentioned before. But looking back, although he was like my best friend, we were so different. Even my friends now I have so much in common with just in regular life things like seeing a movie or traveling. I guess I overlooked the bad stuff. I couldn’t go to concerts by myself or if I wanted to go with my friends he had to always come with me. His teenage daughters were allowed to go to concerts by themselves and I wasn’t. Can you imagine that?” I see Diane as still being in the mix but the ingredients have changed, better quality ingredients.
Diane enjoys a late afternoon lunch with friends at MPD in the Meatpacking District.
Diane surrounds herself with more “quality” now and her best friend is her son Jordan. She doesn’t know where tomorrow will take her exactly but she plans and prepares accordingly. She wants to continue working with charities, especially those that focus on single parents, similar to the one her former show Pole Superstar sponsored back in 2009. She is stronger in character and possesses a clearer perception on life and people who she lets in to her circle. Diane hasn’t had a panic attack in over two years. We hope she will continue to be positive and take her confidence to the next level.