Interview: ROSIE AVERETT

Updated: Oct 24

INTERVIEW BY PENELOPE DARIO


This isn’t Rosie Averett’s first cover story: she graced publications all over the world in 2021. Since moving to the United States, Rosie has single handedly built a 7-figure business that

continues to grow each year. Petit Mort was lucky enough to steal a few hours of her time for a chat about brand development, boundaries, and the fight against stigma.


PETIT MORT (PENELOPE DARIO)

You have one of the most successful independent brands in the industry today. It’s clear that you could apply your talents in marketing and business development to any profession. What made you choose to invest in this field of work?


ROSIE AVERETT

Well, first of all, thank you very much! And second, I started in this field at 16 years old on a site for cam models. There was a website called friends.com, it’s not around any more, one of the very first sites which offered camming.


I found it through my friends in the Czech Republic. It was ‘an amazing opportunity to make a lot of money: all you have to do is sit for 12 hours in front of a camera and talk to people!’ At the time I thought, “oh my God, so much money!”


We didn’t realize that the website charged like two dollars per minute. We were so happy. The translator would be paid $10 per hour and the model $15 for a 12 hour shift. We were so happy, you have no idea. We didn’t consider it work because it was fun. All you had to do was hang out. You could drink and laugh. That was my introduction to sex work.


I did that for maybe a year or two on and off. I quickly realized that the money I could make was much more than the money my dad, who has a PhD in math and physics and was working in a university, could make. My mom was a Czech school principal and she taught English. Their salaries combined weren’t even close to the money I could make at age 16. Even though I was terribly underpaid, it was still amazing.


When I turned 18, I wanted to travel and see the world, so I started stripping. I worked in many, many countries: all over Europe, Paris, Switzerland, Japan, Spain, the Caribbean. But when I came to the US I wasn’t able to strip because I didn’t have papers. Reputable clubs here require social security cards.


So I never had the experience of working as a stripper in the US. In the US I’ve only done full service sex work. And before I came to the US I worked in Paris as a full service sex worker as well.


PM

What do you feel is the main difference working as a full service escort in Europe versus America?


RA

It’s a big difference. First of all, in Europe, there is no such thing as screening. It’s impossible. People won’t give their information and even if they will, there is no way to Google it. Also, there’s no such things as references there. I mean, you can try to do that, but it takes a lot of time and it probably isn’t workable. I escorted there for several months without any screening at all.


Second, the rates are very low. They haven’t changed much in 10 years. In France, it’s probably around 250 euro per hour. I don’t think those numbers even exist in the big cities in the US.


Third, in Europe there is no such thing as marketing. People use fake pictures all the time, it’s normal. There is something called ‘type pictures’, which means a picture of a person who looks like you, but is not actually you. So in Europe to start making money, you don’t need anything. You just go online, try to get pictures from the internet that resemble your type. You can start making money very easily. In the United States your bookings go through email or a website. In Europe, people don’t really use email. It’s all phone calls or text messages.


There aren’t many platforms that bring in money overseas; in Paris there are only two or three big websites for paid advertising and they are significantly cheaper than the Eros guide. There are advantages and disadvantages, but I think sex workers in the United States don’t realize how lucky and happy they are. Nowhere in the world are there such high rates as in the US. Nowhere in the world have I seen anything even close. That’s a big advantage.


PM

What do you think makes the US such a profitable market for sex work? Do you think that it has to do with the deep conservative nature of the country?


RA

In the US there is more money than any other country. That would be my answer. Conservative or not, I don’t think that’s the main reason. In the US the quality of life is much higher than anywhere else—salaries are much higher than anywhere else.


Also sex work is very close to show business in a way. Celebrities from the US make huge amounts of money compared to celebrities from other countries. Let’s talk about Kim Kardashian and how much money she’s making. What she’s doing is very much in line with sex work. Take a look at her recent SKIMS campaign- they could very well be escort ads.


PM

I think they are looking at people like you and Selene Kitt for inspiration. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were to go into Kim Kardashian’s Pinterest and see a few girls that we know in there.


RA

[laughs] Very, very possible. I think that’s a big part of it. In Europe there are no people like Kim Kardashian, who made money so fast, basically out of nowhere, exploiting the sex work narrative. In Europe it’s not like that.


PM

Tell me a little bit about the journey to becoming Rosie Averett today. When did the marketing start to happen and things start to come together? After you left Europe?


RA

So my first brand was Diana from Prague.


PM

Yes, I remember her!


RA

But branding didn’t really happen for me with that persona because I wasn’t able to work with an open face when I first came to this country. For many sex workers on the journey to getting their papers, working with an open face (or even with a blurred face) isn’t a good idea, but when your face is cropped there aren’t as many avenues for marketing. As soon as I got my papers and was able to show my face I started to experiment with branding and marketing.


You need marketing and branding when you feel that you are ready to go further. You have to stand out from the competition.


IF I'M GOING TO SCHOOL, I WANT TO STUDY SOMETHING THAT CAN BE HELPFUL IN GENERAL.

WHY NOT MARKETING?


PM

Was it being in this industry and wanting to understand how to make more money that made you want to go into marketing?


RA

No, marketing was always an interest I had. The funny part is that when I came to the US and needed papers I had to go to school for a student visa. I thought, okay, if I’m going to school, I want to study something that can be helpful for me in general. Why not marketing? It’s something I could apply right away.


PM

What has been the most significant lesson that you’ve learned working in sex work that you’ve been able to apply to your regular life?


RA

Definitely the biggest and the most important lesson was setting boundaries. For a long time, like many people, I thought I should please everyone. I should always be nice. I thought, ‘if I’m a people pleaser, everybody’s going to like me, it’s going to fix everything.’ This is actually not the case. Nobody likes a people pleaser; nobody really respects people pleasers.


It took me a very long time to understand that the more rules and boundaries are in a relationship the longer it will last. I used to think completely the opposite. I used to think the nicer, the more accommodating, the sweeter you are, the more clients you will gain. Same in your personal life: the more friends you will gain, the more things will come your way.


The reality is the more rules and the more boundaries you apply, the more people respect you. That helps relationships last longer: friendships and work relationships. I can’t emphasize it enough. For me it was absolutely life-changing, this understanding that you could set your rules and people would actually follow them.


PM

People want to know their limits. I didn’t learn that until people started paying me for my time as a sex worker. My clients were treating me with more respect than people in my personal life because they understood it was a service. It’s very interesting how that changes in your mind. It’s surprising but also very comforting to hear that someone who has achieved so much success also had that journey. I think a lot of people see girls that are doing very well and they think they always had it figured out. It’s really reassuring to see that we all have lessons to learn in this industry.


RA

It took a very long time to learn because I am a generally nice person. I’m very sociable, very outgoing. I love people. But at some point I just got burnt out. I got so tired. I felt constantly being taken advantage of and I thought, I cannot go on like this anymore. So I started, little by little, enforcing some boundaries.


I came to the realization that especially in business, the more boundaries I have, the better my business is. For example: a few months ago everyone was talking about references and how tiring it is to send out all those emails. So my policy now is that I provide one free reference per date. Every additional reference is $100. To be honest with you, I thought nobody would reach out for references. Everybody would think I was crazy. But surprisingly, it worked.


Another thing I came up with is a fee for same day booking. I used to receive a request a few hours out and start running around my apartment—cleaning everything, what should I wear, should I wash my hair? I wouldn’t even eat lunch because I was running around like a crazy person. I realized, I just don’t want to do that anymore unless people pay for it. And very few people are willing to, but people become more considerate and schedule in advance. It was incredibly helpful in this regard.


I’m not really trying to get the extra money. I’m trying to spare myself the crazy stress when I receive an email, ‘maybe we can meet today in a few hours.’ In my mind I always thought, “well: it’s money.” Then it starts: ahhhhh! And then before the date, I’m stressed out, I hate everyone…


PM

I know this so well.


RA

I was surprised that tiny changes like this actually worked to eliminate stress. Another thing I recently started applying is fees for outfit requests. They have to buy the outfit or get a gift card. So that’s not free either. It’s so good for me, not just money-wise, but because people start understanding where I am coming from.


PM

Yes, I always say that it’s fine if someone requests an outfit or style that I show in my photos. But if you are asking for a completely different look that I don’t advertise, that has to be an extra service fee.


RA

Lastly, if somebody wants a booking after 10pm it’s an extra $1,000 fee. Because I go to sleep normally at 10 or 11pm. Before I would be like, “well, maybe maybe one last time, let’s do it.” It was never healthy.


PM

So smart. These are things that I struggle with as well, It’s so much work. Do you do this if a meeting goes past 10pm? Like, say, somebody wants to book you for three hours and it starts at nine? Does that still count for you?


RA

Yes. Dinner dates don’t count because a lot of them go from 7 pm to 11 pm. But sometimes people want to start at 11 pm. Then the booking goes until 2 or 3 am, which means my whole schedule is messed up. I’m not willing to do that. If I get extra money, I might be willing to do that.


The best part is that people see this on my website and don’t want to pay it. They try to adjust their schedule so I don’t have to adjust mine. That’s the amazing part. How would they know that I don’t like late-night bookings? Some people take those bookings happily.

Clients are not always trying to inconvenience us, they are just not aware. They think, ‘why not meet in two hours? She’s probably sitting home doing nothing. She will be so happy to see me! I should definitely email. Maybe I should do it 30 minutes in advance! So it’s a surprise!’


PM

‘Surprise, thousands of dollars! You should be happy!’


RA

Exactly! So, all these tiny things work wonders. Now I think, what else should I implement? Because it’s so helpful. Again, not that I want to upcharge, but I’m trying to keep my schedule and keep myself happy.


PM

It’s very hard to do. Especially when you don’t come from a lot of money and you suddenly have the opportunity to make this kind of income. It’s so hard to set those boundaries with yourself and say, ‘no, I deserve to go to bed at a reasonable hour.’ This is so inspiring.





IF YOU DON'T LIKE SOMETHING, DON'T GET AGITATED, ANNOYED, OR IN A SOUR MOOD. JUST GET PAID FOR IT.




RA

Yes. A very important thing I learned through sex work is that if you don’t like something, don’t get agitated, annoyed, and in a sour mood. Just get paid for it. That’s it. I am in a very happy mood all the time. If something makes us uncomfortable, the best way is to get paid extra. Before I would think, ‘oh my God, how does this guy not know that I am crazy inconvenienced by this?!’ Now I just charge more. All of a sudden, I am not as frustrated.


It’s very important not to get agitated and go on Twitter. So many ladies go on and on about references or same day this and that. That doesn’t work. It hardly even makes an impact on the clients who read Twitter. But when they see that a same day appointment is $1000 more, they adjust their plans. They adjust to your schedule. And you don’t have to be agitated anymore.


It’s good for everyone. If he wants to pay, he will pay. If he doesn’t want to pay, less work for you.


PM

What do you think drives your work ethic? What makes you want to succeed and wake up every day?


RA

I believe that if you want to go far you have to want to succeed as much as you want to breathe. That was my experience. If you really, really want something, you have to work really, really, really hard because you always have to be ahead of the competition. The competition isn’t always waking up to do yoga. Maybe the competition is sleeping. So you should remember to get up early and ready to work.


Of course a bit of luck is important too. But I like to work, I like to do my best, I like to give my hundred percent. I’m a workaholic in a way because when I’m not doing anything, I’m depressed. I love to stay active and keep things going.


PM

What would you say is your ideal client?


RA

At this point my ideal client is probably the client who pays me well. Sometimes you get guys who, when they see you for the first time, ten minutes in they ask: “so what would you like? Tell me, what do you like?” In my head I think: “to get paid and that’s it.” I’m saying all this out loud now because I think they’re watching porn and getting these ideas that all women just want to rip their clothes off.


I like working with all kinds of people as long as they are polite and manageable. That is my ideal client because in any relationship you have to compromise, work relationships as well. If you set your boundaries any client can be an ideal client. It is important to show them how you want to be treated from the very beginning.


PM

What would you say makes you really enjoy this work and invest your life and your career into this work?


RA

I’m so fortunate to meet so many different people in all walks of life. It’s priceless to hear so many stories.


I truly believe every person has a story, and I am genuinely interested in hearing them. Some people talk about amazing things and some people are more simple. Both are interesting to me. If we look at literature, not every book is about something crazy or unbelievable. The mundane can still be intriguing. I like people in general and I like to talk to them, I just find it enjoyable.


Every person in the world has at least one quality that you can learn from. Some people, for example, have amazing leadership skills or may be very charming. There’s no one who has nothing interesting about them at all. You just have to ask them questions and try to open the box. If after a couple of dates with someone I still think that there is nothing interesting, that’s on me. I was unable to ask the right questions and realize what is special about that person.


On the other hand, some people need mental help. For some reason, they go to sex workers instead of getting help from professionals. It shouldn’t be like this. Sex workers are not rehab for emotionally unstable men, in any capacity. They should go to a therapist. I see on Twitter women saying that clients feel their sessions are therapy, how wonderful that is. I say no, no, no, no, no, no. Absolutely not. Therapy should be someone else, regardless if intimacy and communication with us is very helpful.


PM

Totally. I think we can be kind of erotic therapists in a way, through entertainment. The performing arts can help you on your journey and make you feel less alone in the world—but we’re not doctors. We create a space away from your problems so you can relax and have a little fun. That can be very healing, but it’s not about fixing those problems or telling you what you’re supposed to do with your life.


RA

Exactly. There are sex workers who actually have a background in psychiatry, they’re usually very successful. But those are few and I think they mention that in their profiles. Our clientele should be aware that most sex workers are not able or willing to provide those services.


PM

Absolutely.


You’ve spoken about charging for certain inconveniences, but how do you prioritize your personal time for your own mental sanity being that you are in such high demand? How do you balance your play time and your work time?


RA

This is a wonderful question. Three or four years ago, I got burnt out. I was so tired, so jaded. I didn’t work for a year because I couldn’t even think about it. Why did it happen? Because even though we all talk about self-care on Twitter, I thought it didn’t apply to me. I could just go, go, go. At some point it just wasn’t working anymore. I developed serious issues with my mental health and they were difficult to fix.


Not many people are willing to work with sex workers. It was not easy to find good mental health professionals. People think that depression is when you feel a little bit down, you go to a movie or you buy something to feel better. That’s not depression, that’s a bad mood. Depression is actually very serious because you might not even want to live at some point. It can be that deep.


Prioritizing work, play and personal time is very important. I take two months off a year for vacation. One in the winter and one in the summer. For that month I usually travel. We get so consumed by social media and emails, it’s very hard to get out of it. I struggle with prioritizing my personal time. I block off time in my schedule but then a fly me to you request comes in. In your mind, you think, ‘but with this money, I can do this, this, and this.’ It feels impossible to leave that money on the table.


For example: I was on tour on the West Coast and due to come back to New York a couple of days before my birthday. I had all my celebrations and relaxations planned. Then, one of my clients reached out to me for a three day fly-me-to-you. I said, ‘no, it’s my birthday. I made plans.’ He said, ‘I’m going to make it worth your while. We’ll go shopping. I’ll fly you in a private jet…’


I thought, ‘wow, this would be great content for Instagram.’ He knew that I would perhaps say no sometimes, but there are certain things I can’t resist! But it was a mistake. It was exhausting to work for an extra three days after a long tour. I realized I shouldn’t do this to myself. We think, “It’s money! I’ll survive. I’ll tolerate it. I am strong. I am rich! I am that bitch!” Then afterwards, “Why did I do that? Did I really need the money so much?” It’s a big problem. Sometimes you have to say no regardless of how stressful it is.


We should all learn how to set up those days or even weeks where we don’t have to work and we can feel happy about it. Because it’s horrible when you don’t take a job and feel guilty. “What if he calls somebody else? What if he never invites me again?” I still don’t know how to manage that feeling effectively—the guilt that we did something wrong.


PM

When you’re on vacation do you ever have a hard time just shutting it off and relaxing into it? Or do you feel like once you unplug you’re unplugged?


RA

If I go on vacation I schedule tours or some kind of activity because my mind unplugs itself when I am engaged in something stimulating. If I am by myself on the beach I will open my email and look at my Twitter. Then it’s not a vacation, it’s just a change of scenery. So I try to pack my time with events so there’s no time for sitting around and thinking. God forbid there’s a time waster in your inbox! Then the whole vacation goes to shit. I force myself to log out from social media and email and ask someone to help out with admin for a week or so.


Sex work is not really a job, it’s a lifestyle. A job is 9-5. But sex work is all the time. Sometimes we can sleep in, and we don’t have to be somewhere at a specific hour every day, but it’s still all the time. It’s close to entrepreneurship, but not quite. It’s a certain lifestyle. If we have free time we have to enjoy it.


PM

You already set a really high bar in the industry. What are your current ambitions personally and professionally? I feel like you’ve achieved so much. Where do you see yourself going from here?


RA

I’m trying to do more modeling and I’m surprised, it’s actually going pretty well. Even though stigma definitely exists, it’s easier now. It’s a very good time for sex workers to apply themselves in different capacities. Anything and everything is possible at this time.


Nobody ever imagined Kim Kardashian would be on the cover of Vogue and there she is. She’s done so many things. If you are really good at something, then for you stigma might not matter as much.


PM

Yes, especially if you are good at selling yourself. You can apply that in many ways.


RA

Talent and hard work can’t be denied. Things are getting easier for sex workers because on Instagram all the models are basically sex workers. Imitating us is a trend. I was surprised: a lot of women who have nothing to do with sex work still want to be on the cover of Playboy and do super sexy photoshoots.


PM

It’s so funny to me when I see regular women booking sex work photographers to do boudoir photos for their Instagram. Like: You’re doing this for free? Just for likes on Instagram? I didn’t touch Instagram until I was a sex worker because I wasn’t going to do all that work just for superficial validation. If it’s marketing, that’s a different story.


But it’s funny because people see all these sex worker accounts and don’t know we are promoting a brand image. They just think we’re hot women with all these followers getting flown around and meeting amazing people. They’re like, ‘I want to look like that and get flown out.’ They don’t know that they are actually idolizing and imitating sex workers.


RA

Yes, very true. I also don’t understand why people would want to do all this for free. But at the same time, it makes sex work more acceptable because an Instagram model could be a stay at home mom, a real estate agent, or a sex worker. There is no way to tell the difference! Sometimes the ones who aren’t SW’s have the most revealing photos.


The problem is that it sets the bar so high for our content. Now sex workers need to create excellent content and a lot of it. It’s time consuming and costs a lot of money. At the same time it does a lot to remove stigma. It’s good for the industry.


PM

I want Petit Mort to be a bridge between these worlds. Our colleagues are some of the bravest and most brilliant creatives working today but in most cases, people get out of the bubble and then they forget all about us. Cardi B has every right to go and just live her life, but I feel like if more people like FKA Twigs spoke out about us it would make a difference.


RA

The problem is that we don’t have good representations of sex workers. As you said, as soon as people are famous they don’t want to talk about their past and do everything they can not to be associated with it. I’m sure soon there will be people with a different approach.



PEOPLE HAVE BAD PERCEPTIONS OF SEX WORKERS BECAUSE OF MOVIES. EVERY EPISODE OF LAW AND ORDER I'VE SEEN TELLS THIS SAME STORY.


People have bad perceptions of sex workers because of movies, where sex workers are always on drugs, beaten by their husbands, killed. Every episode of Law and Order I’ve ever seen tells this same story. In my life, things are only getting better and better. People said, “You will end up on the street. You will end up taking drugs. Somebody will beat you up. You will get killed by a client. That’s how you’re going to end up.” The reality is that I am only making more money and I’m making it more safely. The possibility of ending up on the street feels further and further and further away.


Sex workers online are doing amazing advertising campaigns. Sex work aesthetics are the biggest trend. It’s slowly changing society. How many stories have come out recently where regular women start making crazy amounts of money from OnlyFans. It’s never been like this before.


PM

That’s why I felt like this was the right time to start the magazine, because the narrative is already getting out of hand. There are so many things like Hot Girls Wanted out there. All areas of the industry are misrepresented and misunderstood. In some cases producers or writers have the best intentions and sometimes they bring in a sex worker to consult. But most often they just want to publish tragedy porn and exploit our experiences for scandals.


It’s frustrating when you see a movie like Nymphomaniac and the actresses go on press tours and say things like, “well, we would do our scene and then the porn double would come, and you know, do that.” Like, why don’t they just hire the porn double to do the whole movie?


RA

Absolutely. Because then it’s not a “real” movie, it’s a porn movie—then it’s not eligible for the Oscars. If the porn star is the star of the movie and she has sex in it, it becomes a completely different thing.


PM

I think that division needs to begin to be removed. This needs to be seen as any other creative industry and it deserves a lot more respect.


RA

People want glamorous, interesting, exciting content, and we are ready to provide it to them. With all the platforms, all the videos and pictures, we are finally able to do that. And it gets easier every day. I thought for a long time that non-industry photographers wouldn’t want to work with us. That’s not the case if you have the resources. Anybody and everybody is happy to take your money.


THE SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR SEX WORKERS.


The sky is the limit for sex workers. I can’t stress this enough. So many sex workers feel like a little tiny mouse, like I did when I first came to the US. Just the simple act of hiding your face can make you feel like a criminal when, really, you aren’t doing anything wrong. It was very stressful and hard for me to lie to my friends and family. All the time, looking over my shoulder. Now, girls ask me, “how is it to be open faced”. I say, “it’s the best feeling ever because I can finally stop lying. I can finally stop hiding. I can finally be free and happy, instead of always being afraid of if somebody finds out this, or hears that?”


PM

I have to acknowledge that this is an intersectional issue and people have many reasons for not showing their faces and there are a lot successful escorts who do a remarkable job at showing multidimensional personalities despite the blur. But do I think that it doesn’t help the industry as a whole to be a mass of faceless women. It makes it easier for people to reduce us to nothing when we hide.


The more that we allow people to let us feel ashamed of what we do, the more that we support this idea that what we do is shameful. And the more that we are just able to say, no. This is what I do. It’s taught me so much and I’m a better person for it. I’m a better businesswoman. I’m richer, I’m freer, I’m happier—people can’t argue with that.


RA

At this point the job is very easy. In the beginning, it was a nightmare. Trying to figure out how things work, what to do, how to do it, how to deal with clients. I’ve gained so much priceless experience and I want to monetize it. I am not quitting sex work anytime soon simply because the more I know, the more money I’m able to make. The narrative that when you are 20 you make more than when you are 50 is absolutely not correct. It’s not about age, it’s about knowledge and experience- like any other job, right? If I were a lawyer for 10 years, it wouldn’t make sense to quit and start a different job if I already had a lot of connections and ideas.


PM

I guess this brings me to my last question: what’s next? I heard that you’re going to tour 50 states in 2022?


RA

I’m hoping to do it! Stars like Madonna tour all the states. Why can’t I? I used to pick and choose big cities but I came to the realization that with the right marketing I can be just as successful in places where most people don’t go.


I want to go further and see if it will work out for me to go to places like South Dakota, Alaska, Nebraska. I want to prove that high rates can work in different locations with good marketing.


I used to do one photo shoot per year, put it on Eros and the money came in easily and freely. It was wonderful. Many people are still mentally in those times, but they’re never coming back.


PM

That’s a big issue with the market, it changes constantly. People get tired of having to restructure their whole business plan every few years because the internet moves so fast and restrictions change. Do you thrive in that environment, do you feel you’re comfortable making changes quickly?


RA

Well, business-wise, the time of change is the most profitable time. When you do something new well enough and quick enough, you can get very lucky financially. Like they said in The Wolf of Wall Street, as soon as it’s in the newspapers, it’s already too late. You have to catch the wave early to ride it. The same goes for social media. It’s very difficult to gain any success on Instagram because it’s already huge. The platforms are saturated.

We should wait for a new social media where we can take our place early. I find it so interesting that sex workers love Twitter so much because no other businesses do. If you go to accounts of even big celebrities with millions of followers on Twitter, they have very little engagement. It’s an extremely difficult platform to work with. Sex workers like it because they can use it as a forum. But for promotion it isn’t the best choice. TikTok is much, much, much easier to use at this point.


I just started using TikTok and it’s going well. You have to follow the trends- like videos where you jump and change clothes. They promote those trends. If you post in trend, you get rewarded: followers, likes, a lot of engagement. But It’s a lot of work. Sex workers should try to expand themselves, go to more platforms, think out of the box, now more than ever. If you work with a closed face it’s harder, platforms and algorithms don’t like it.


PM

Any last words of wisdom that you really want to share with us? I know you just shared something. But is there anything else that you really want to communicate?


RA

I would like to remind sex workers and our readers is that our goal in life is to be happy in the first place and that’s what we should be working towards. It’s possible with sex work if you make the right decisions. The most important thing is to feel good about yourself and feel good about doing sex work.


We should be proud of ourselves: how pretty we are, how talented we are, how amazing our lives are, how many amazing things we experience because we are sex workers.

The life I’m living is because of sex work. Everything I have now, amazing clothes and bags and travels and a beautiful apartment in Manhattan, would never have been possible. I am immensely grateful to sex work. I could have stayed in the Czech Republic or even have come to the US and done another job, lived paycheck to paycheck and suffered, but I was able to do amazing things only because of sex work. Sex work made me who I am today.

I had a lot of drawbacks and problems like everyone else, but it’s one of the few professions that is very rewarding and you can do for a very long time. There is no other profession like it. If somebody wants to name one, please name it. I’ll wait.


As with any profession, some people make a lot of money, some people make less. It’s still an absolutely amazing job if you think about it. If you look at the numbers and everything you can do, there is no better profession. I thought many times about opening various businesses thinking that I wasn’t enough, so I could be included in society. But we are more than enough the way we are.


SHOW ME ANOTHER INDUSTRY WHERE THE AMERICAN DREAM IS STILL ALIVE.


PM

At the end of the day, you can walk out on the street and get hit by a car at any moment. Sex work does not mean that you are going to be faced with more terrible people than any other job. People say they feel bad for us but I feel bad for the person working at office jobs or even in high level positions that make a lot of money but have to deal with so much more bullshit and bureaucracy. There’s so much more independence and freedom here. Show me another industry where the American dream is still alive.


RA

I always thought, ‘my dad has a PhD and he’s a well-respected man. My mom has an education. I’m the only child and my grandparents were doctors. Not rich people, but reputable people. For a long time I thought, ‘How did I end up in this situation? All these smart people and I am kind of doing nothing.’ But it’s absolutely not true. Society makes us feel that if you are not a PhD then you are less. But I am not less. There is nothing wrong with doing sex work all your life. Absolutely nothing wrong. It just takes time to accept it.

It was a struggle for me for a long time. I couldn’t accept the fact that I was a sex worker. I didn’t grow up thinking that I wanted to be a sex worker, but it turns out that I don’t want to do anything else.


I would love to speak with women and empower them in sex work so they wouldn’t have to go through the internal struggles I went through. Many times I looked at other people moving up the career ladder and thought, ‘I could be there too.’ But to unlock opportunities we have to accept ourselves. That’s how it all comes together. I am almost 35 years old and I think I made a great decision.


I came out to my parents a couple of years ago. Before I wasn’t ready because I didn’t accept myself. I couldn’t expect them to accept me because I didn’t accept myself. As soon as I genuinely started feeling I was doing the right thing, making the right choice, coming out became easy.


I speak with my gay and transgender friends and they tell you the same thing: they go through so many struggles. Of course, society has stigma. Yes. But the worst problems we create ourselves, in our heads. We are our worst critics. We hate ourselves the most in every situation. But as soon as we get rid of this, as soon as we are happy with ourselves, it’s easy to come out to your friends and family. At this point I tell everyone that I’m a companion. I don’t use the words sex worker because for some people it’s too much. But I say, yes, I’m a model. I’m a companion. It is what it is. Being honest about it makes my life so much easier.


PM

Sometimes I don’t tell people not because I feel uncomfortable but because I know that even if they don’t have a huge reaction, they will start asking the same questions like: “How many of your clients are married?” And my favorite question: “Do you have to have sex with all your clients?”


RA

[laughs]


PM

“Sweetie, How do you want me to answer that? What’s going to make you feel most comfortable?“


Sometimes I don’t want to have to answer these questions because the public is so misinformed. I want this space to feel affirmative for us. I want us to see ourselves in something that feels real and celebrates who we are. But more than that I want people outside of sex work to see this and to get inspired. To get their wheels turning so they stop and think. Maybe they can begin to realize that this has nothing to do with what they were trained to believe. We are people living beautiful lives.


RA

Women accept us just fine. Men are the problem. Most men still want us for free. They still think that what we do is not a good idea simply because it’s not good for them. They benefit from women hanging out with them for free. They benefit from sex workers being underground, suffering, being killed. They benefit from the narrative that all of us die from horrible things happening because of sex work.


This is the main issue. I have had clients who saw sex workers and at the same time hated sex workers because they hated the idea of paying. They thought they should get it for free.

It’s going to take some time for them to understand that in a capitalist society you can pay someone to clean your house for you . You can pay for someone to have your baby for you. You can pay someone to have sex with you. It’s not that different.



ROSIE AVERETT INTERVIEWED BY PENELOPE DARIO

PHOTOS BY PENELOPE DARIO