Article written by French Journalists for Glamour France Magazine, which appeared in the February 2015 issue.
Reportage story within « She Spies Private Eye », a private women investigator agency in Texas.
Anji Maddox, 47, founded her private investigator agency in 2003 in Round Rock, Texas. Her specificity: she almost exclusively hires women; however, she does hire men for safety reasons and for certain types of surveillances.
She Spies Private Eye takes action mostly in spousal cheating and child custody cases. Their clients prefer women investigators as they are seen to be more empathetic, detailed and observant. In the field, Anji and her team do static surveillances (in their car in front of the “subject’s” house, or in a bar where the “subject” hangs out, etc.) and mobile ones (on foot, driving).
This profession is still very masculine. However, Anji feels “women go more easily unnoticed and are more creative than their fellow male detectives, who all go through the same training (they are usually former FBI, police or military)”.
Bree, 22, was 9 when her mom founded her agency. Bree assists her mom when possible due to growing up around the profession.
Anji and Bree opened a PO Box so their clients don’t know their home address, as most of the office work is done from Anji’s office near Austin, Texas.
Clients love to know that she is both a mother and a grandmother. They think she will be more committed than a male agent to their divorce /child custody case.
Last year, Anji got married to her soul mate. She works so much that John, her 34 year-old husband, in addition to his full-time job, will assist with taking care of the household tasks, as well as the babysitting of their two grandchildren.
For the safety of herself and her family, Anji chooses to be prepared for any eventuality. Recently, thinking that he was under surveillance, a man threatened one of Anji’s agents with a gun.
Registered in a fitness competition and due to the physical nature of her profession, Anji trains every morning with a coach.
On occasion, women employees of “She Spies Private Eye” team up to do surveillance on specific clients. Here, Jessica and Katie are working together in Katie’s car.
Agents spend hours hiding in their cars that they reorganize accordingly. Katie puts some elastic with curtains on the windows to avoid being seen from outside.
Agents spend hours hiding in their car.
Bree, alone in her car is assessing the situation. Katie is parked in front of the “subject” house. The subject is a man in his twenties accused by his wife of being unfaithful and an alcoholic. Bree and Katie will try to bring some proof.
Bree smoking an electronic cigarette. It’s been hours now that she is waiting for her subject to come out of his home so she can follow him.
She Spies undertakes a lot of undercover operations. Anji once worked undercover in a love relationship with a “subject”, only to prove his infidelity. Jessica pretended to be a wealthy client in order to obtain information on a retirement home that extorted its residents.
Unlike men, women can easily change their appearance. Whenever they follow a target for many hours in a row, Anji and her agents use different outfits, hairstyles and hats to avoid being detected.
Anji and Bree often spend their Saturday nights observing their “‘subjects” in some bars or night clubs. Weeks ago, Bree went to have drinks with a young father suspected by his ex-wife of being an alcoholic. During one of her under-cover operations, Anji had to go to a swingers club in order to prove the infidelity, and the “unusual” sexual practices, of a woman committing adultery.
Anji meets one of her former clients, Tracy*, with whom she became friends. Tracy asked her to prove her husband’s infidelity. She really appreciated the support Anji provided her to the hardship she went through.
*name has been changed
Anji added two men to her team. Whenever the situation becomes dangerous for her undercover agents, she sends her two male agents in for protection as well as looking like a “couple” for certain surveillances.