Just when you thought it was safe to peruse the internet, two new graduates of the Karrine Steffans Groupie Training Program have emerged. Kat Stacks and Montana Fishburne have been getting around (no pun intended) the net, attempting to get famous by capitalizing on their sexual prowess.

Twitter was on fire last week, discussing the antics of Andrea Herrera aka Kat Stacks. So far, I’ve managed to ignore her brand of crazy, but everyone in my timeline seemed to be going in on her all at once. Just like a bad car wreck you try not to eyeball, I couldn’t resist watching. Ms. Stacks released a video last week showing her hanging out with Soujah Boy at his hotel suite in Atlanta. In the video, she accuses him of being a cokehead, and shows what appears to be lines of coke, cut and ready to snort, on a desk. My first thought when I saw the video was, “why would anyone—knowing her history of publishing rapper’s phone numbers, addresses, and text messages via twitter—get involved with this girl?  Let alone give her access to his personal property?”  Things that make you go hmmm.  At any rate, my tweeps (and probably yours) were letting her have IT. Calling her every single name under the sun, except a child of God, and questioning her ability to raise her son.

Unlike Kat Stacks, who seems to thrive off of the constant drama her “career” (should we even call it that?) creates, Montana Fishburne just seems like a Black girl lost. The big news last month was that she planned to break into show business not by capitalizing on her famous father, Laurence Fishburne, but by going into porn. Apparently, she respected Kim Kardashian’s gangstga and her ability to turn a scandal into a stepping-stone. In a recent interview with “E!,” Fishburne mused,“Kim Kardashian’s sex tape was released, but she still got past that. Even though she got all that negative attention for it, she still has all these other ventures going on now. That is what I want to emulate: having a tape come out and still being seen as a positive person.” When has a Black woman in porn ever been seen as a “positive person?” Fishburne’s comments, and the video of her fellow porn performer, Brian Pumper, discussing the appeal of new girls while she stares awkwardly into the camera, hints at the fact that she is in over her head. Despite her posturing, Fishburne strikes me as a troubled young woman who has fallen into the clutches of a manipulative and cruel business that is all too ready to use and abuse women and spit them out when it’s done.

It’s easy to write both women off as hoes, make jokes about them, and question their morals, but how is that productive? I’ll admit it can be fun to see who can dish out the wittiest tweets, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t prevent young girls from becoming the next Kat Stacks or Montana Fishburne.

What do you tell a young woman who is mesmerized by the seemingly glamorous lifestyle attached to whoring herself to the latest baller-du-jour?

I posed this question to Thembisa S. Mshaka, media veteran, and author of the book, Put Your Dreams First. Mshaka, who has worked with everyone in hip hop from Lauryn Hill to 50 Cent, cautions young girls who might be looking to follow in Stacks’ grimy footsteps. She warns, “The ones you might look up to whoring their way to fame are the exception, not the rule. The so-called benefits run out.”

Few see what happens to the women who have been used and cast aside. These women simply fade to black, never to be heard from, or spoken of, again. Our culture celebrates, and even encourages, dysfunction. We love to watch celebrities and pseudo-celebrities rise and then crash devastatingly (and of course publically) into a scandal. Mshaka argues that young women see being a celebrity groupie as a viable career option because of the lack of alternative positive images. “It’s understandable. There are few images of integrity to balance out the negative ones. That’s why I wrote [Put Your Dreams First]; to shine a positive light.”

So what’s a girl to do? We are constantly inundated with images of women taking the “easy” route and capitalizing on their sexuality to gain fame, all-be-it short-lived—but what about those of us who want to make it to the top with our integrity intact? Mshaka agreed to share a few jewels that have kept her in the driver’s seat of her career.

Find a mentor: Working with someone who has your back—and is where you want to be—is as good as gold. The lessons you’ll learn, and the people you’ll meet, are absolutely priceless.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Always treat yourself as your biggest and most precious asset. If you don’t respect yourself, how can you demand respect from others? Also, always set explicit boundaries regarding the treatment you will and will not accept from others.

Mind Your Business: Making it to the top means you have to be smarter than your competition. Educating yourself about the mechanics and the inner workings of business, not just its end product, will ensure that you stay ahead of the game.

Get ready to work. Hard: Unfortunately, in some cases women must outwork their male counterparts just to be taken seriously. It’s not fair, but get over it. Realize that being successful will mean pulling long hours, sometimes working for free (interning), and juggling jobs and projects just to make a name for yourself.

Don’t mix business with pleasure: Or as Mshaka says, “don’t freak where you eat. If [the connection] is real, they’ll wait until the project wraps! Otherwise you put your reputation at risk.”

The road to the top may appear easier if you sell yourself for a quick payday, but true success can, and will, be achieved the old fashioned way: with hard work and a boatload of intelligence. While it might not be sexy enough for media coverage, the women who are climbing to the top while keeping their skirts down and their morals in place are the ones wielding the true power.

As you trek to the top of your field, ask yourself this: What kind of woman do I want to be?

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