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Today on the topless beat: From the blog Humans of New York (and photographer Brandon Stanton) comes a tale of two breasts and a man we all can’t help but associate with our childhood and hideous but fascinating sweaters. Yes, we are speaking of Holly Van Voast, the woman who recently flashed a courtroom while in court for being topless, and Bill Cosby, he of television sitcom and wild dance moves and Jell-O pudding fame. In town to promote his new book, I Didn’t Ask to Be Born: But I’m Glad I Was at the city’s Fifth Avenue Barnes & Noble on Wednesday, the 74-year-old Cosby got a surprise.
Brandon Stanton, who first met Van Voast on the street last week and had been invited by her to the store to “see what I do,” writes on his blog:
I had no idea what she meant by that. I expected to find her bare-chested, defiant, and forcing pamphlets into the clenched hands of tourists. But when I arrived she was fully clothed. She was rocking on her heels. She looked nervous as shit.
“I’m nervous as shit,” she said.
“Why? What’s going on?”
“Bill Cosby’s in there. ” Holly pointed at the bookstore. “He’s signing books. When he comes out, I’m going to flash him. That’s what I do.”
“That’s what you do?”
“Yeah, me and my friends are artists. I’m trying to get attention so I try to flash celebrities. I take off my shirt and run up to them. You know, like a topless paparazzo. That’s what I call myself — Holly Van Voast, Topless Paparazzo.”
After a bit of a cat and mouse — Bill Cosby disappearing into the store, Cosby’s Cadillac driver getting suspicious, and Cosby finally emerging through the emergency exit, “Holly ripped off her shirt and leapt into action.”
Stanton captured the whole thing, and tells us, “He just seemed really, really confused. He kept saying ‘What’s happening?’ and ‘Who is that?'”
Did they whisk him off into the Cadillac? “He was in the process of getting into his car when it happened,” and, their mission complete, “We just walked away.”