On the 9th of December 2009 Liza Minelli settled her lawsuit with her former bodyguard. The suit was for $100 million dollars and alleges that Manelli threatened her bodyguard with the loss of his $238,000 if he did provide her with an inappropriate relationship.
According to this report the former bodyguard for Minelli was paid an above average of over $200,000 a year but was battered when he refused to become sexually involved with her. The lawsuit that originally was filed in 2004 was settled in a sealed settlement agreement.
This begs the question. Would Minelli have done the same to a female bodyguard? There is a certain amount of intelligence when the option of a female bodyguard over a male bodyguard just seems to be the best course of action in some cases.
It was close to midnight. Sarita Mehra, a senior executive at a multinational company, was driving back home from the office. Suddenly, two men on motorbikes zipped by her, making obscene gestures as they sped by. “It had been going on for days. These men always harassed women drivers,” Mehra told DNA.
The next night, however, Sharma was prepared. As soon as she spotted the culprits, she pulled up by the side of the road. The bikers stopped and menacingly approached the car. What the goons weren’t expecting, however, was the woman seated in the passenger seat getting out and fighting back. She kicked one in the groin, while punching the other’s face.
“We had called the police earlier, and within minutes the men were nabbed,” said Jyoti Singh, the woman who rained down the pain on the eve teasers. Singh belongs to a growing breed of women bodyguards who are trying to make the city safer for other women.
With incidents of sexual crimes on the rise, security agencies are cashing in on the idea of providing personalised security services for women, by women. “Our clients feel comfortable around female bodyguards,” said Deepak Monga, head of marketing and communication, Topsgrup security agency.
However, the service does not come cheap. Priced between Rs 35,000 to Rs 50,000 per month for an eight to 12 hour shift, it is affordable only to high profile clients.
Despite steep rates, the demand in Mumbai and other urban areas is growing. According to industry estimates, there are nearly half a dozen security agencies in the city, employing 30 to 50 women bodyguards each. “We started out a year ago with only a small number. Now we have 60 women bodyguards working actively across India, 45 of which operate in Mumbai alone,” Monga added.
Women bodyguards are also ideal for ‘covert security cover’, when clients don’t want to bring unnecessary attention to themselves.
“A man with bulging muscles will not only scare away potential molesters, but also colleagues and acquaintances,” laughs businesswoman Leena Shah, who has a woman bodyguard posing as her personal assistant. Others like Swati More and Deepa Patnaik guard children of the rich and the famous at schools and playgrounds while pretending to be nannies or maidservants.
Meanwhile, security agencies are busy touting the idea of female bodyguards as a solution to crime against women. “Once the trend catches on there will be a drop in incidents of harassment, and rape,” feels Monga. That remains to be seen, but efforts to make Mumbai a safer place for women seem to have begun.
But this week, the stunning Loginova became a victim of the criminals she made sure could not get to her millionaire clients. She was killed trying to stop a thief stealing her own car on a busy Moscow street.
As a glamour model, 29-year-old Loginova often appeared on the covers of Russian magazines, scantily clad. She fronted advertisements for high-profile brands in Russia, like the German carmaker BMW.
But behind the glossy images, Loginova had another profession: She was an experienced bodyguard, trained in martial arts, commanding high prices to protect Russia’s wealthy elite. One notable client was Russian boxer Kostya Tszyu. Watch editor describe how she never had fear »
Having a female bodyguard is more than just a status symbol in Russia. Industry insiders say women bodyguards are not recognizable and, thus, allowed to sit at tables with their clients during dinners and other events — unlike their male peers who are usually forced to wait in the lobby.
Those who knew Loginova say she was passionate about her double life, saying she saw no contradiction between her femininity and her dangerous job as a bodyguard.
“She was kind and sweet, not like a terminator, not like Sigourney Weaver in ‘Aliens,'” said Igor Cherski, editor of Maxim magazine’s Russian edition, which commissioned her last glamour shoot.
“But I feel that she was not afraid of anything. There was no fear in her eyes,” he added.
It seems that fearlessness may have gotten her killed. On a busy street in southeastern Moscow on Sunday night, police say they recovered her battered body after she tried to prevent her Porsche Cayenne from being stolen — clinging on to the high-end SUV as it sped away. The vehicle was later found abandoned.
“According to eyewitnesses, an intruder just threw her out of the car,” explains Oleg Pavlov, a special police investigator in charge of the investigation.
“She grabbed the door handle, but when the car took off and picked up speed, she let go.”
No one has been arrested in connection with the killing.
Russian media have been giving the killing prominent coverage, with witnesses expressing their shock that this kind of crime could happen.
But luxury car theft in Moscow is not uncommon, and Loginova herself was no stranger to it. In her last magazine interview, she described how she foiled another carjacking just four months ago as she parked her car outside a flashy Moscow fashion boutique.
“So while I was closing my car, a guy of 30 years old or slightly older jumped on me,” Loginova said. “So I did a jujitsu move — I bent his hand that grabbed mine, and struck him in the face with my elbow. It was a total surprise for him.
“As he was leaning back covering his face, I pulled a pistol from my bag and aimed it at him. He obviously realized that was no joke,” she said. “Then a car immediately pulled up nearby, something like a Honda, a dark car, and he jumped into it. And I still stood there with my pistol. I was actually spooked too.”
That experience apparently emboldened Loginova to defend her car for a second time. But she was overwhelmed. Even the formidable skills of Russia’s most famous — and glamorous — bodyguard couldn’t save her.
By Lauren Thompson
BIG DEAL: Britain’s first female Beefeater at the Tower of London
A PHOTOGRAPH of Prince William’s new bodyguard – who happens to be a woman – featured on the front page of the Sunday Times this week.
The headline read: “Girl Power: William gets close protection”.
“Prince William leaves the Embassy club in London… accompanied by his two new female police protection officers,” read the caption.
Is it really newsworthy that a royal bodyguard is female? I doubt there would ever be a headline entitled “Boy Power” to point out William had two male bodyguards. Perhaps the fact that the bodyguard pictured was a young, attractive blonde woman helped to get the story on the front page.
It got me thinking about other women in traditionally male jobs that have featured in the news this year – and the prejudices and criticisms they have faced.
Britain’s first female Beefeater at the Tower of London, Moira Cameron, hit the headlines in September for shattering 500 years of tradition. When interviewed by the press, she said: “I had one chap at the gate who said he was completely and utterly against me doing the job.”
In April, Jacqui Oatley became the first woman commentator on TV’s Match Of The Day. An internet campaign to fire Oatley, imaginatively entitled “Woman Commentator On MotD – Go Back To The Kitchen,” gained 3,172 members in one week. Many sexist commentators, including Jimmy Greaves in The Sun, appeared to be dumbfounded by her appointment and lamented back to an age when “Men were men, women were women and we knew who each other were.”
Another Jacqui, Britain’s first home secretary, came under fire in the first week of her job for – god forbid – having breasts. Several derogatory remarks were made about Ms Smith’s (barely visible) cleavage when she addressed the House of Commons regarding the Glasgow airport terror attack. She rightly told such journalists to “get over yourselves.”
We may have female bodyguards and football commentators, but the controversy surrounding their appointment shows how far women still have to go.
by Anthony Kuhn
Some wealthy Chinese are seeking a measure of protection by hiring private bodyguards. There are some occasions, though, where it can be awkward to have a burly guy with a buzz cut and shades by your side. So some businessmen have begun hiring female bodyguards.
Zhao Xin, 23, grew up in a family of athletes in Changchun city in North East China, a region traditionally known as Manchuria. She’s heavy-set, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and her right roundhouse kick slams into the heavy punching bag with a meaty thud.
“Before I got into sports, I was rather introverted,” she says. “I didn’t dare to talk much. But once I started practicing martial arts, my character started to change. I became more outgoing… just like a boy.”
At sports school, Zhao trained in full-contact sparring. She recently joined a training program for bodyguards at the Tianyu martial arts school. The course includes instruction in driving, computer skills and self-defense-related laws. Zhao says she has already found work.
A local executive, who had received threats that his child would be kidnapped, hired Zhao to escort his child to and from school.
Zhao’s classmate Jiang Meng, 22, says she can’t wait to graduate from the bodyguard course and go on her first assignment.
“In traditional China, education didn’t do women much good,” Meng says. “They’d just find a husband, get married and lead a stable life. That’s not what I hope for. I like danger. After all, we only live once. I want to show everybody what I’ve got.”
Zhao and Meng’s teacher is Xing Tianzhu, a veteran martial artist, former special forces soldier, and a former bodyguard.
One company in southwestern Yunnan province recently hired one of Xing’s bodyguards, a woman named Sun Linlin. The company’s president spoke on the condition that he be identified only by his family name, Zhao. He notes that Chinese have long prized Manchurian bodyguards for their physical size, loyalty and bravery, and female bodyguards have advantages of their own.
“I think that women tend to work more carefully and their powers of observation are sharper than men,” the company president says. “My company also has three or four male bodyguards, and I find it works best when we use men and women in different combinations, depending on the task.”
He confirms that his female bodyguard handily fended off four assailants who harassed his wife in a local restaurant in January.
China’s government has not recognized the bodyguard profession’s legal status, so for the moment, Xing calls his bodyguard firm a “business etiquette” company. Some law-enforcement officials believe the protection business should not be left to the private sector. But Xing says that firms like his need recognition and regulation.
“Every dynasty in China has had private security firms,” Xing says. “They fill a definite need within our society. After all, the government can’t send troops and police to give private entrepreneurs personal protection.”