There are drama queens, and then there's Julie d'Aubigny.
You wish you could get on La Maupin's level. This swashbuckling opera singer caused more drama in 33 years than most people do in a lifetime. Born in 1673, her heroic journey to do whatever she wanted and WHOEVER she wanted began the way most do: by learning exactly how to cause trouble. She learned to fence and dressed as a boy from an early age, training alongside the court pages. Her dad was a gambler and spent a lot of time doing shady stuff, so pretty much all he was good for was "teaching her how to use deadly weapons, and using said weapons to drive off any potential suitors".
The French aristocracy weren't known for their parenting skills.
It was probably kind of a bummer that her dad kept challenging potential suitors to duels. So at age 14 she became a mistress of the Count d'Armagnac (her dad's BOSS) who had her married to Sieur de Maupin of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Because what better way to show your mistress you love her than by having her marry some other guy? Of course d'Armagnac had only arranged the marriage in the hopes that Julie would find some chill, since she was already a bit of a rapscallion. The good news is that shortly after the wedding (some accounts claim he was sent off the morning after the wedding), Julie's husband received a position that took him away from Paris. Which is where she stayed and started causing mischief.
No f*cks given.
Julie became involved with her fencing master Sérannes, who was wanted for murder (no big deal), so the two ran away to Marseille. Turns out being on the run doesn't pay the bills, so they started making money by doing fencing demonstrations. Some reports suggest she quickly surpassed her fencing instructor. In fact, at least once a man refused to believe she was a woman because she was just too darn good. Her solution? She opened her blouse and flashed him.
The truth is in the tiddy.
I kid you not, this story gets better. Eventually she dumped her wandering swordsman boyfriend. She began her singing career at the Marseille Opéra and seduced one of her fans: a merchant's daughter (Julie d'Aubigny had game). The young woman's parents were pissed (at the time stage performers were like, one step above hookers on the social ladder), so they sent their daughter to a convent. Julie was not deterred. She followed her lover and joined the convent. But since nunneries aren't known for getting people in the mood, they escaped. How?
One night after a nun died, Julie stole the body, put it in her lover's room and then SET THE CONVENT ON FIRE.
They went on the run, and Julie was sentenced to death "under the name sieur de Maupin, as the judges couldn’t quite admit the possibility of one woman abducting another – let alone from a convent." After three months, this was not enough excitement. Julie dumped the girl back with her parents, and convinced her first lover (remember the Count d'Armagnac) to get her a pardon from the King. She also joined the Paris Opera and became a huge star.
And this was all before she was twenty.
You'd be smug too.
Her adventures didn't end there (OBVIOUSLY). Here are a few highlights:
+Another opera singer (Dumenil) was talking sh!t, so of course he was gonna get hit. Julie challenged him to a duel, but he was a wimp. So she beat him with a cane instead. And robbed him for kicks. The next day she heard him claim his injuries were from a band of thieves. She returned the items she stole to prove she'd been the one to kick his butt, and probably embarrassed him in front of all his friends.
+While wandering the countryside the Comte d’Albert challenged her to a duel after unsuccessfully hitting on her (guys: “I’ve listened to your chirping, but now tell me of your plumage” is the worst pickup line ever). She won. And then she did him a solid by nursing him back to health and decided to hook up with him anyway. Because why not, right? After their short lived romance they were apparently lifelong friends.
+She went to a palace ball dressed as a man and flirted with a young lady (like one does). The young lady happened to have three other suitors, who were pretty ticked off when Julie kissed her. So Julie met the three of them outside and beat them in a duel. Dueling had been outlawed by the King, but apparently he was so entertained her later pardoned her (Julie: 2 Rule of Law: 0). She did however run away to Brussels where...
+She became the lover of the Elector of Bavaria (which is a fancy title for 'important person'). Julie stabbed herself onstage with a real dagger (METHOD ACTING) and that was apparently too much for this dude. He offered her 40,000 francs to leave him alone. According to some accounts, she not only threw the money back at him but kicked him down the stairs.
+Her pal Thévenard was the one that helped her join the Opera, and while they were good friends they had frequent fights. One evening she bit his ear so hard he bled. So someone call Mike Tyson and tell him he owes Julie royalties.
She eventually kind of settled down a little.
Julie d'Aubigny fell in love with Madame la Marquise de Florensac in 1703. The two women lived together "in perfect harmony" for two years until La Florensac sadly died of a fever. Heartbroken, Julie spent her final years peacefully with her husband (who I'm sure we all forgot about) and died at age 33. Of course, her name lived on in infamy. Théophile Gautier wrote a novel inspired by her life that was banned by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice in 1835. Because even in death this lady was starting drama.
Julie d'Aubigny = #LifeGoals
I wish I had her confidence (though maybe not her penchant for convent arson). Honestly if anyone asks me what I want to be when I grow up I'm just going to say Julie d'Aubigny because nothing else can ever come close. Definitely a woman to remember! (And fear, let's be real).