Sydney Leathers, the latest in a string of sexting partners for Anthony Weiner, is apparently taking advantage of every opportunity that the awkward public airing of his dirty laundry affords. After a foray into the world of raunchy photography, Leathers is now considering a move into the adult entertainment industry. In doing so, she becomes not the first to take advantage of the notoriety of public scandal, but merely the next in a long string of young adults willing to pursue short-term financial gain at the risk of future financial security.
According to the Daily Mail, Leathers began a relationship with Weiner in 2012, which quickly escalated from commiserating over his resignation from office into a long-distance sexual affair lasting several months. The pair exchanged racy messages, phone calls, and pictures until abruptly ending the relationship last November. After being contacted by Weiner and pressed to cover up evidence of their affair, Leathers decided to go public instead, condemning Weiner for his behavior and expressing a lack of faith in his ability to succeed as the mayor of New York City.
If her motivation to share the details of the affair was purely a lack of faith in his capability, Leathers is certainly justified in her actions. Weiner has consistently shown that he is more focused on garnering the attention and prestige that comes with occupying a public office than with producing results and building a record of progress. It is difficult to believe, however, that financial gain isn’t her primary motivation. Soon after expressing a desire to avoid the spotlight, she was featured in an exclusive bikini photo shoot for the New York Post, and meeting with Steve Hirsch, founder of the pornography studio Vivid Entertainment. Even if Leathers's recent actions are primarily motivated by financial gain, the issue is not so much that she wants to take advantage of the notoriety of her situation, but that she is choosing to do so through the adult entertainment industry, risking her long term career prospects.
Leathers, a political science student with an admittedly huge passion for politics and writing, has the opportunity to craft a compelling narrative from her experience which could further her professional options. If she were more strategic about the appearances she makes and the interviews she gives, she could very well pave a path towards advanced studies in political science or law, and possibly a career in political punditry. Pursuing a career in law or political journalism would be an interesting and understandable place to go after involvement in a political scandal like this.
Capitalizing instead upon opportunities in the adult entertainment business will not necessarily equate to sure-fire financial success, nor will it unequivocally provide positive and career-advancing publicity. For every Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian that toes the line flirting with the adult industry and succeeds, there is a Montana Fishburne who fails to capitalize upon these efforts and winds up worse off than when she began. Moreover, the cavalier attitude expressed by these semi-celebrities may in fact reinforce the notion that there are no tangible consequences in choosing to jump-start a career through the adult entertainment industry. In short, having the opportunity to make quick money and gain exposure should never be a substitute for developing a skill-set that would ensure a successful future.