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An Interview with Valerie - Is the Media's Portrayal of Sex Work Accurate?

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Welcome to another Lyla interview, this time with our longstanding member @FunValerie on how sex work is depicted in movies, series, books etc. Is it accurate? If it's not, is that damaging, and how so? I hope you enjoy reading her thoughts and please comment with your own. ❤️ 

 

Q: Hey Valerie. Thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview with me! Can you start by telling me a bit about yourself?

A: I have been in the sex trade for a very long time as in over ten years.  I am a fairly normal person.  I like to say that I am short and cute.  I have auburn hair. I love my hair color. I don’t smoke anything and I don’t drink alcohol. I am an omnivore. I love a well-done steak with a side of vegetables.

 

Q: Before you got involved in sex work, what exposure did you have to it?

A: Absolutely none.

 

Q: I feel like the media has an interesting relationship with sex work. It’s sometimes glamorized but also shamed at the same time. What movies/books/series spring to mind?

A: Home  wrote several books and she made is sound glamourous and fun but her intention was to sell as many books as possible.  Her priority was book sales and not truth.

 

Q: What movies/series do you think have the most inaccurate portrayal of sex work?

A: Pretty Woman  This is totally absurd. Rich men do not marry poor women.  Money marries money. The Roberts character does not speak English correctly. In real life, a friend of mine who had worked as an escort married one of her clients. They both have about the same level of post-secondary education and they both speak English equally well.

 

Q: Can you think of any that are pretty accurate?

A: Not at the time of typing this.

 

Q: Let’s talk about the dangers of misrepresentation of this industry. Such as the “savior” complex. Julia Roberts seemed to be doing pretty well imo, yet she still got “rescued” by her Client.

A:Yes, I know. I get offers from people who want to rescue me. I do not want to be rescued from anything. I do not feel bad. I do not feel trapped. All those would be rescue types never seem to want to pay me and they want me to provide free services to them because money somehow demeans me. Actually, I would much prefer it if these rescue types would pay me and also tip me. Money is not demeaning. Money is a blessing.

 

Q: Can you think of any other dangers of misrepresentation?

A: I find that young women sign up for this job expecting to earn a high income. The misrepresentation about income attracts all kinds of women and some men to this job. I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say, “I was sure that I would earn lots of money in a short time.” I personally have never seen this actually happen because client screening does not pay and is totally necessary to this job. 

 

Q: What do you think is the best way to have accurate portrayals of this industry?

A: Someone should follow me around for an entire work week.

 

Q: We’ve seen “content creators” really boom in the last few years - so many people are now getting their entertainment and information from TikTok, Instagram etc. as opposed to just the media. Do you think there’ll be many influencers in the sex work space and do you think this will be beneficial?

A: I think there will be some influencers in the sex work space. Content creation can be easier and safer than having to deal with real clients with real needs. Content creation is more predictable and more controllable than having to address the real needs of real clients.

 

Q: So, Valerie… if a production crew came up to you and said “give me an accurate portrayal of sex work to help us with our movie”, what would you say?

A: I would tell them to follow me around for an entire work week. I would have to ask any potential client to consent to this because client privacy is important to me. I suspect that the production crew would give up from boredom and/or fall asleep on or about day #2. The title could be “Come Sleep with Me.” No one is really interested in the story of an ordinary-looking depressed ninety-year old windowed pensioned stroke survivor with mobility issues..

 

Q: Thanks so much for your time. Anything else you’d like to add?

A:  The media vastly overestimates the income potential of the companionship business.  The media provides a huge amount of free and false advertising for the companionship trade by vastly exaggerating profit margins for client dates.  In reality, potential client screening is very time-consuming and draining and essential. Fake client bookings are a huge and enormous problem which cost a huge amount of time and resources. It is very easy to lose money while working very hard at this job. If a companion goes to on a client date and the client refuses to pay her, she still has to pay her driver and she still has to pay for the advertising which lead to the bad unpaid date.  

The media and others underestimate the amount of disability and health challenges in the companionship business. My average client has one or more health conditions like diabetes, chronic pain, arthritis, etc. Many clients have survived cancer and/or strokes and/or accidents. Most clients are on one or more prescription medications.

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Excellent questions and very honest answers.  The best interview of 2021 for me.  Thank you for both, my daughter @lydiahardwood and @FunValerieThe general assumption of getting easy money by being an escort, especially for mature providers in this very saturated, highly competitive industry is totally wrong.  Although, for those who can market themselves correctly (especially for the younger providers), they still can earn substantially well compared to general population's income.

There are men who literally come to see a provider, excuse my french, to fuck. "The hot, cute, barbie doll, young and petite" kind of girls. I have heard stories from clients that these kind of girls are literally queued by several men daily, having 8-15 clients daily.

For those of us who are mature, physically, there is no way we can see those amount of clientele daily,I wish lol 😅.  We will probably be sore after the fourth clients lol

Our life is different compared to those girls.

For us, mature providers, we cater to those, mostly mature men, who want companionship, to be pampered, having a nice conversation, and on a rare occasions, few younger men who are into older women.

Unfortunately, those type of clients, the ones who are mature and in need of our services are very few.  Therefore, the prospect of having great income diminish over time for us, mature providers.

Valerie has expressed that. Thumbs up for her honestly.

 

We definitely have to diversify and have another profession as a back up.  Unless there is a miracle in the field of medicine and science, it's inevitably that we are all getting older and the prospect of having a sustainable income as a mature provider diminish overtime.

C'est la vie

Allie

Edited by Allie Zeon
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