Artwork by Alan Walsh

Things we don’t talk about in Monaco

Have you ever considered why singles are not so welcome to attend UHNW events? The truth is that falling in love in Monaco is easy, however, finding a long-lasting relationship can be challenging. Great respect for those few exceptions.

Zsolt Szemerszky
Zsolt Szemerszky, chief editor of the Monaco Residents’ Magazine

What always amazed me in Monaco besides its ultra-glamorous lifestyle, is the quantity of beautiful, gorgeous women from all over the world. I have never seen so many beautiful women all in one place before; it is almost as if there would be  a Miss Universe competition going on day and night,  especially during summertime. 

On the other hand, it was not really surprising to see this either since I always knew that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. I think many of us remember the famous performance of Marilyn Monroe from 1953 in the film called “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. 

Spending more and more time in the Principality of Monaco and the French Riviera, I got acquainted with the term “socialite”. I never heard this term before I came here in 2010, or I just never paid attention to it, because I have never experienced it in my  life. However, it is incredibly real. 

The socialite refers to the “it girl”, which is a term for a young woman who possesses the quality, “it”. This is the quality of absolute attraction and with “it”, they are able to win all men. The expression reached global attention in 1927 with the movie called “It”, starring Clara Bow, however one can find early uses of “it” as well. One of the great examples can be seen in a story by Rudyard Kipling: 

“It isn’t beauty, so to speak, nor good talk necessarily. It’s just ‘It’.” 

The writer William Donaldson observed that having initially been coined in the 1920s, the term was applied in the 1990s to describe “a young woman of noticeable ‘sex appeal’ who occupied herself by shoe shopping and party-going.” 

Artwork by Alan Walsh
Artwork by Alan Walsh / Walsh Gallery Monaco

Nowadays, the “it girls” are commonly young females in the world of fashion or entertainment. However, in Monaco, the definition of “it girls” goes much further. Many young women come to Monaco to catch their dream husbands to secure a relaxed, work-free, and wealthy existence for the rest of their life. I consider these socialite women to be gold diggers, because they only date extra-wealthy partners since their sole intention is to be beneficiaries of their wealth. 

To avoid any misunderstanding, let me highlight that socialites and gold diggers are not prostitutes, they are just trophy collectors. In most cases, their husbands are not able to attract them based on their sexual interests, only their wealth, business, or social status. 

Interestingly, this is also the main reason why single women are usually not invited to high-caliber social events in the Principality of Monaco.The image of a good, almost perfect family is extremely important (even if the marriage is broken behind these social curtains) in high society. The outside image is everything, therefore, the fear that a single woman will seduce someone else’s husband is high. 

These women are extremely dangerous because they use their emotional cards to attract men, and as soon as they see a better option, they switch with cold blood, without any emotions involved. They are the best actresses in the real-life theatre of Monte-Carlo. 

However, it would be unfair towards the socialite women not to mention the man edition of the gold diggers.  Some men are also involved in this quick fortune-hunting in the Principality of Monaco. Interestingly, as I experienced, these men are not looking for fame as their counterpart women, they are just trying to get a big piece of cake from the ultra-rich lifestyle. 

The typical difference is that while most women are looking for a better life for themselves,  most men aim to involve their partners also in a financial transaction-related business. One can see many couples where the woman is older and she is heavily investing in the business ideas of the boyfriend.

Obviously, having a younger life partner is exciting for both women and men because it can make them feel alive. Sometimes true love can happen. The trap is that single people are often desperate to find love, so it is much easier to influence them and play with their desires. When we combine this emotional weakness with a great financial resource, it is easy to understand why gold diggers are coming to Monaco to secure their lives.

The other difference between gold digger women and men is provided by mother nature. In the old times, women aimed to get a rich husband, while nowadays most of these women have a different plan. They don’t want to be married to the old guy, and especially to live with someone who they are just using. The new goal is to get pregnant and move back to their home countries with a child alimony settlement. A harsh and cruel way to use men.

This is why most of the wealthy in Monaco live a very private life. Also, relationships are formed usually outside the Principality. 

One of the greatest movies about the gold digger scenery of the Principality and the French Riviera was also made partly in Monaco and is called “Priceless” (French: “Hors de prix”).

Priceless movie banner / Source:

The base of the story goes like this: Irène (Audrey Tautou) loves nice things and loves to have wealthy men paying for them. One night, she mistakes Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a poor bartender, for a potential client and spends the night with him. The next morning, Irène realizes her mistake and leaves, but poor Jean is smitten with her. Later, when a rich dowager mistakes Jean for a veteran gigolo, Irène agrees to tutor him in the art of fleecing wealthy lovers. Jean continues to prove himself a skillful gold digger. He and Irène steal away from their patrons every chance they can.

The harshness of Monaco’s social life is wrapped into a funny movie, where two gold digger hustlers are playing games of tainted love. If it would have been a Disney movie, then they would sing: Mirror, mirror on the wall, show me the money and I will take it all…

Interestingly, the comedian and actor of Priceless, Gad Elmaleh was in a relationship with Charlotte Casiraghi, the second child and only daughter of Caroline, Princess of Hanover, and Stefano Casiraghi. Charlotte, who is 11th in line to the throne of Monaco, and Gad were together for nearly four years, from December 2011 until June 2015 and they have a son, Raphaël, born in December 2013.

On a positive note, Charlotte Casiraghi finally found love again and married film producer Dimitri Rassam in Monaco’s Princely Palace on 01 June, 2019. 

In October 2018, Charlotte gave birth to a second child, a son named Balthazar, who is 12th in line to Monaco’s princely succession, after his mother.

The first child is not included in the line of succession to the Monégasque throne, since Raphaël’s parents were not married.

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