Hustlers: Real Story VS The Movie

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If you hear the rhythm and lyrics of Cardi B’s song ‘Money’ ringing in cinemas recently you can be sure it’s none other than the film Hustlers.

Hustlers movie is based on a true story and was released recently with a sizzling cast that included Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart, and Keke Palmer. Now, many people wonder about this true story and if the film really gave us the whole authentic truth. The answer is, not exactly.

Jennifer Lopez, Mercedes Ruehl, and Constance Wu star in HUSTLERS

The true story involves a group of New York City strippers who come up with the idea to scam their clients out of large sums of money. Where do the lines of truth blur? We explain that below.

  • In the movie, the ringleader of this operation is played by Jennifer Lopez. She is a single mother who tried to quit work as a stripper to work a retail job at Old Navy. But this doesn’t cut the bills, so she goes back to dancing at the club.

In real life, this ringleader is Samantha Barbash, and she was ‘supposedly’ a stripper. She was a single mother with a son (not a daughter as depicted in the film). Samantha who refused to take part in the film’s production had a lot to say when she finally watched it.

“I wasn’t really that impressed,” Barbash said. “I was impressed with Jennifer. She was incredible. Her body looked incredible. She had it down to a T, but it wasn’t factual.”

“She had the birthmark that I have,” Barbash continued, referring to the character Ramona. “I used to have a piercing on the top of my lip. She had it on the bottom. She had a tattoo on her finger. I had it on my wrist.” She also went further to say that she was never a stripper during the time of the event but the film depicted otherwise.

About the friendship between Destiny and Ramona in the film, Barbash also said, “She wasn’t a friend—she was a coworker… There was no sisterhood — it was business, and that’s it,”

  • In the movie, Constance Wu played the role of Destiny. She lived with her grandma and became a dancer in the club to pay the bills. Ramona taught her to manipulate men. She eventually got pregnant but still returned to dancing.

In real life, Destiny was Roselyn Keo, aka ‘Rosie’. She lived with her grandparents and brother and worked as a waitress before becoming a dancer. And yes, she did get pregnant and have a daughter, but unlike Samantha, she was a part of the production.

  • In the movie, the other dancers Annabelle and Mercedes were played by Lili Reinhart and Keke Palmer. Their roles were to entice clients to come to the club. In real life, Karina Pascucci and Marsi Rosen fulfilled the same role.

The hustle which was termed ‘marketing’ by Samantha in real life was the same in the film. Rich men/clients were lured from bars and other places to the club to wear out their card. The ladies drugged any who resisted making them comply. They later received a commission of the spending from the club.

Read more from I On The Scene: HERE.




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