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02.23.10

Socialite, Reality Star—or Thief?

Nightlife fixture Kashmir Snowdon-Jones is a self-styled socialite who brags of modeling gigs and MTV shows. Now prosecutors believe that she is a credit-card grifter. Peter Davis on the club scene’s enigma.

Nightlife fixture Kashmir Snowdon-Jones is a self-styled socialite who brags of modeling gigs and MTV shows. Now prosecutors say they believe that she is a credit-card grifter. Peter Davis on the club scene's enigma.

Donning her signature second-skin black leggings and blinking her deep blue eyes, sometime model and aspiring socialite Kashmir Snowdon-Jones stood up at her table at the exclusive New York nightclub 1Oak last Friday night. She had an important, life-changing announcement.

"She wanted the whole table to know she was getting a reality show [on MTV]," says a woman who was at the table. "She was drunk as a skunk. She was dancing and laughing."

“She sleeps every day until 8 p.m., then goes out all night and just goes crazy.”

My sources at MTV aren't aware of any such show (an MTV PR executive did not return a call for comment), but Snowdon-Jones was sitting on another momentous personal update, one the 22-year-old chose not to share: She had just been charged with for grand larceny and identity theft. On February 10, Snowdon-Jones turned herself in to authorities after her former best friend Jennifer Hirsch filed a complaint with the New York Police Department alleging that Snowdon-Jones, her classmate at Oldfields, an all-girls boarding school in Maryland, had stolen and used her mother's credit-card number to the tune of almost $4,000. ("I made the credit-card charges to get back at my friend," Kashmir told police, according to a New York Post report about the complaint.)

These dueling personas—the aspiring model with the long blond hair and the fancy name versus the alleged grifter who bilked her best friend—has Manhattan's privileged club-hopping set buzzing.

The child of Peggy-Sue Honeyman Scott, who lives in Los Angeles, and Manhattan interior designer David Snowdon-Jones, who claims to be the grandson of renowned photographer Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret's husband, Kashmir Snowdon-Jones boasts that her godfather is Eric Clapton and that she's named after the famous Led Zeppelin song.

At Oldfields, Snowdon-Jones had a reputation as a real-life mean girl. She eventually left to attend the Professional Children's School in New York, a private high school for children actors or models that counts Mischa Barton and Jordana Brewster as alums. Now represented by the Los Angeles-based modeling agency Nous, Snowdon-Jones boasts often about upcoming modeling gigs, though she doesn't seem to have gotten much work (an acquaintance remembers seeing her in a Champion ad).

Snowdon-Jones hits the town almost seven nights a week, numerous contemporaries say, a regular at spots like Southside, Butter, 1Oak and The Eldridge, though she counts a scant three photographs on patrickmcmullan.com, a New York bellwether of social status. "I don't really count going to 1Oak as being a socialite," sniffs a woman who refers to Snowdon-Jones as her "frenemy." "She likes to be the center of attention. She's a pretty hard partier. She keeps up with the best of them." Says another 1Oak regular says, "She sleeps every day until 8 p.m., then goes out all night and just goes crazy."

Snowdon-Jones' legal problems began last May, when Hirsch flew from her home near Washington D.C. to New York to visit her. Snowdon-Jones was living in her father's loft, and after a few party-filled nights in the city the pair continued their revelry in the Hamptons. At some point during her stay, Hirsch says, her mother's Chase Visa, which she had been using, went missing.

Hirsch says that in September, she noticed some suspicious charges on her mother's credit card. Going back through old records, Hirsch says that between June 6 and September 21, 2009, more than 45 unauthorized charges were made, for everything from multiple deliveries from Domino's Pizza and Benny's Burritos to designer dresses from ShopBop.com.

"She tried to do a $2,865 shipment the day before I found out," Hirsch claims in an exclusive interview. "She was attempting to buy a total of 17 items—leggings, jewelry, T-shirts, studded gloves, platform shoes, a bra and other stuff. I called ShopBop and they said everything was in her name, except for the billing address in my mother's name. They were able to cancel it." Hirsch says that purchases were mailed to a UPS Store near the East Village apartment of Snowdon-Jones' father, signed for by "Vincent" and "Crystal."

After the news of Snowdon-Jones' arrest hit the New York junior social circuit, Kashmir rumors started piling up faster than Domino's pizzas. That Snowdon-Jones borrowed a $20,000 necklace from popular DJ Jus Ske. (When contacted for a comment, Jus Ske emailed: "Keep me out of it.") That an ex-boyfriend, Ignazio Cipriani, the shy scion of the Cipriani restaurant family, may have allowed her to spend wantonly. "We were in a store and she charged thousands of dollars on Ignazio's credit card and signed her name as Kashmir Cipriani," says someone who was friends with both Snowdon-Jones and Cipriani. (Cipriani did not return an email asking for comment.)

Adds still another acquaintance, "She can be very nice and she can also be very, very cruel to her friends. She goes through friends so quickly. Every six months she has a new best friend."

I emailed Snowdon-Jones repeatedly and she was at first eager to speak. "I think it would be good to tell my side of the story," she wrote. "I'm 99 percent sure I want to. I really want my side told." Later, when pressed with an interview deadline, Snowdon-Jones got cold feet. "I don't want to keep things going with people who threw me under the bus and add more fuel to the fire," her email read. "I've got a lot going on and I'm very overwhelmed."

Others stepped forward in her defense. "She showed me the ropes," says photographer J.T. White. "I heard she was a blueblood. That whole lifestyle—I got introduced to all that through her. She's a fun girl, always the life of the party." White often photographed Snowdon-Jones, dancing wildly or flipping her middle finger, for the society-obsessed Web site GuestofaGuest.com. White recently ran into Snowdon-Jones at a party thrown by DJ Mess Kid at the Rivington Hotel. "I hate to see her in a position like this," he says. "I am sure she did not think of the consequences at the time. She's never gotten in trouble like that before, where she intentionally tried to hurt someone or take their money. She spent it on burritos. It's silly."

"I know her dad really well," adds GuestofaGuest.com Editor Rachelle Hruska. "He is really great. He is all around supportive of her. I am sure this is one of those things where we all make mistakes when we are teenagers. This is a pretty big mistake, but it's not for lack of parenting."

Hirsch says that she contacted the police after Snowdon-Jones refused to meet with her and her mom. "We were in New York in November and my mom called her mom and said we would like Kashmir to meet us in the lobby of the hotel we were staying at to talk about everything. She never came." Hirsch also says that her parents contacted David Snowdon-Jones to discuss the situation regarding his daughter, and his response was: "How much should I write you a check for?" (David Snowdon-Jones is said to be traveling in Europe and could not be reached for comment.)

"I told my parents that it wasn't going to end. She is going to get away with it like she always does with everyone else's money. I didn't want her to hurt anyone else as she had done to me. So that's when l said, let's go to NYPD."

"It's not like this money is going to set my parents back at all," Hirsch explains. "It's the principle and how long we've known each other. It blows my mind. Imagine your best friend doing this to you?"

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Peter Davis is the editor at large of Paper, his articles on style and celebrities have been published in Vanity Fair, The New York Times and The New York Observer.