“Manhattan Madam” Kristin Davis bounded into an East Harlem storefront, her arms weighed down with plastic grocery bags.
“Is five bottles of champagne enough?” she said breathlessly, lamenting that there isn’t enough room in the mini-fridge for more sparkling wine.
Davis was busy putting the final touches on her nail art salon, “Bombshell Beauty Lab,” before its planned grand opening Friday afternoon – some two weeks after she gave grand jury testimony in the Mueller probe. Stocking up on champagne was apparently among those final touches.
“Everyone is looking at me at the liquor store like I’m an alcoholic!” joked Davis, a longtime confidant of Republican operative and Trump crony Roger Stone. She also claims to have supplied then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer with prostitutes a decade ago.
While Davis once ran what officials called a multi-million flesh-peddling ring—in which call-girls charged up to thousands an hour for illicit sex—aesthetic services at Bombshell Beauty Lab have a lower price point, ranging from $23 for a regular manicure to $100 for nail extensions.
There is also waxing (Brazilians and Bikinis are $50 and $30, respectively), as well as $20 Vajazzling services, in which decorative crystals are stuck to one’s genital regions with “medical-grade” adhesive.
“Valentine’s Day it’s nothing but initials,” Davis said of Vagazzling, clarifying, “It’s not like the actual vagina, it’s like above the bikini area.”
Davis, whose specialty is waxing, isn’t herself doing nails for the time being—manis and pedis will be handled by several nail techs, until she’s retrained, she said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve done it,” Davis said of nail artistry. “I’m not up to the standard that I’d want my clients to have.”
Davis did offer this reporter the chance to be a “nail art guinea pig” prior to Bombshell’s opening, however, and gave an extensive interview while nail tech Rosa Espada applied bubblegum pink lacquers and fake gems. (This reporter paid for the treatment.)
“She’s perfect. She’s amazing,” Espada said of having Davis as a boss. “Everything she touches—it blings with a lot of money.”
The interview ranged from Davis’ interest in the nail industry to how Mueller’s team allegedly owes her $1,400 for travel expenses.
Davis, who got her cosmetology certificate prior to a federal prison stint for a 2013 drug rap, decided to open Bombshell because Manhattan lacked “the kind of nail art that I like,” as well as quality practitioners.
“I used to get prison pedicures -- it’s like a real pedicure, they’re using a bucket and water and using implements … the metal callus remover, and pumice stones and polishes,” Davis recalled. “I’ve had some of the best pedicures of my life in prison.”
Davis, who lives in West Harlem, said she tried a “highly reviewed” salon only to end up losing two toenails in the process.
“I got a foot fungus that weakened my toenails and so they just came off,” said Davis, who spent some four months in New York City’s Rikers Island jail for the 2008 prostitution scandal. “I’ve had better pedicures in prison than I’ve had in West Harlem, and I thought that was sad.”
Davis, 43, used savings and a small loan to open her shop, located on East 111th St. between Second and Third avenues, at a cost of some $30,000, she said.
The ground-level space Davis picked—believed to have been a hair salon—was so dingy pre-renovation “I wouldn’t even pee in the bathroom,” she said.
Davis’s renovations have created an aesthetic of blinged-out girliness, with the heady scent of still-drying paint. The walls are white, and the floor is a checkerboard pattern.
Chairs for manicure patrons are upholstered in a shaggy, pale off-pink cloth. Wall art featuring haute couture brand names abounds.
“This has been a labor of love,” Davis said.
She said it will be “tough” balancing her business with raising her son, Carter Stone Davis, who will soon be 2 years old.
“Right now, he’s in California (with Davis' mother) because the Special Counsel only gave me four days [notice] with my subpoena,” Davis huffed.
“I said, ‘I don’t have childcare overnight in Manhattan. I’m a single mom,’” she claimed. “They said, ‘If you can talk to a reporter, you can figure out what to do with your son.’”
“I’ve racked up $25,000 in attorneys fees and expenses for this,” Davis claimed of the grand jury ordeal.
The experience, in Davis’ view, wound up being underwhelming.
“The room is like being in a small college lecture course,” she recalled. “Everybody that’s in there is in normal clothes... some people are in sweats.”
“It was rather... rather bland in the room,” she said. “I was expecting something much more grandiose [for a] grand jury.”
The Mueller team told Davis she could use her discretion to talk about the questioning “and of course every time I’ve said something… they’re extremely angry,” she claimed. “Why did I say I incurred $1400 worth of expenses for a trip you said you were going to pay for—twice?”
Davis admitted that as much as she wants to shirk her “Manhattan Madam” moniker, it works for now—and potentially could launch her into public service.
“Honestly, I think it will be good for business. I think [it’s] my reputation. I had high end girls,” Davis reflected. “I got a lot of them in and created them into what I needed them to be to make thousands and thousands of dollars.”
“A few years ago, when I was running for [New York City] comptroller, we were slowly segueing into ‘Kristin Davis,” she said, referring to the campaign that collapsed after her federal drug bust. “Maybe once I build up my fan base, here in this neighborhood, I’ll run for another office.”
In that capacity—perhaps as a state senator, she mused—Davis fancied herself a potential protector of the people.
“As I’ve gone through the biggest investigation in the world right now... I’m just disheartened in how they treat people and how the government can bully you,” said Davis, a self-described Libertarian. “I don’t like it. Prison advocacy has been my thing and now, maybe I should run for office.”
“I’m going to be the one who actually tells off the corrupt people... or tells off the people who think they can use government power against little guys,” she said.