PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Gothic hip-hop artist who called herself "the Michelangelo of buttocks injections" testified at her murder trial on Thursday that she got into body sculpting 20 years ago to help transgender friends and has since performed thousands of procedures.
Padge-Victoria Windslowe, who also rapped under the name Black Madam, is charged in the death of a college student she injected with low-grade silicone at a Philadelphia airport motel in 2011.
Windslowe said she thought the 20-year-old London break-dancer was in distress afterward because she had been drinking alcohol. She checked on her through an intermediary the next day and learned she was dead with the words: "R.I.P., Baby."
"The way she said it was just ... really cold, really indifferent," Windslowe said. "I say that because 'R.I.P,' that rang through my soul for four years."
Prosecutors say Windslowe's reckless injections injured numerous clients, several of whom testified of debilitating injuries after their procedures at airport hotels and "pumping parties." Windslowe ordered silicone by the gallon and syringes by the case.
Windslowe, 45, said she was trained by the doctor in South America who performed her 1994 sex-change operation and another in Thailand.
She said she ultimately opened a medical tourism business with the Thai doctor called The Secrets of the Orient, organizing group trips for Americans.
Windslowe described herself as a serial entrepreneur, with forays running an escort service; making Gothic rap music under the Wrath Entertainment record label; running Svengali music management services; opening a bail service for adult entertainers called The Risque Group; and doing skin care work under the banner BioBeauty Labs.
Some of the funding, she said, came from a suburban doctor who used her escort service and became her lover. Windslowe said he gave her $100,000 and the down payments for two luxury cars and wrote prescriptions for some needed medical supplies. The doctor has said he was blackmailed.
"Can I talk more about Jim?" Windslowe asked dreamily Thursday afternoon.
Her lawyer cut her off, and the judge called it a day.
Windslowe first did enhancements for a transgender friend in 1995.
"She (the friend) did it to help sculpt the secondary male characteristics into female, to help transsexuals pass more on the street and basically not get harassed," Windslowe testified. "So that's where body sculpting came from."
She did such stellar work, she said, that people of various genders and occupations started demanding it.
"Everyone was calling me the Michelangelo of buttocks injections," Windslowe said at a pretrial hearing last week.
Police around the country have investigated at least two similar deaths involving people suspected of being faux surgeons. In a Las Vegas case, a Colombian couple charged with murder pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in late 2011 and received up to eight years in prison. A third-degree murder conviction in Windslowe's case could bring a sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison.
Windslowe also is charged with aggravated assault, accused of injuring an exotic dancer at a Philadelphia pumping party on New Year's Eve 2011, when she injected a group of dancers on a dining room table. The woman spent two weeks in a hospital.
A woman from New York testified about spending months in a hospital with respiratory crisis, and others said they feared what problems lie ahead.
Windslowe said it was all about self-esteem.
"I just wanted to ... help as many people as I could because a lot of people had self-esteem issues," she testified. "I made money, but it wasn't so much money."
Clients, ranging from exotic dancers to a hotel reception clerk to a construction company assistant, paid $1,000 per 1,000 ccs of silicone and sometimes came back for more.
"I loved the camaraderie of being with the girls and hanging out," Windslowe said. "They called me their fairy godmom."
She is set to return to the witness stand Friday.