My dear friend Endza is wise beyond her years, as brave as she is beautiful, and far more together than I was at her age (in those long-ago and far-off times of the 1980s, Best Beloved). You may be interested in following her (NSFW) Twitter feed or reading her “lackadaisically updated” blog, and she appeared with me (and many other sex workers) yesterday on the cover of the New York Times magazine (top row, first on the left). Oh, and I have a dinner date with her a week from today; eat your hearts out, boys and girls.
I am that annoying girl sitting in the front row of class who knows the answer to every question the professor asks. I am also that girl who had just finished washing the cum out of my hair before I got to school (I will never understand porn’s obsession with cumming on my face). For me that is an unremarkable day. I have no problem with carrying the labels of honor student and porn model; to me, they fit together like two of the many puzzle pieces that make up who I am. It is the rest of the world that demands these two labels be a contradiction. When I am at school I am allowed the label of “brilliant”. I am nerd who adores learning just a little bit too much. Yet, soon as I speak out in my public persona, as soon as it is mentioned that I am both a sex worker and a student. I become “a whore pretending to be an intellectual”. Every ounce of my intelligence is degraded by what I choose to do for work; people cannot seem to believe that I can be both intelligent and happy in this world.
Yet, I am very happy with what I do. I have an amazing job that celebrates my sexuality, facilitates me have amazing sex, and supports me in getting my degree. Sex and learning, that sounds like the perfect life to me. It is the stigma that makes these two worlds hard to coexist in. One day I am in San Francisco surrounded by a whirlwind of makeup artists, costumes, sex, and cameras; the next I am two states away sitting in a classroom, my hair hidden under a hat hoping no one will recognize me. You see, I have plans, plans that involve a grad school degree in medical neuroscience. If I was outed it could put all of my academic plans in jeopardy. Society is constantly trying to take away the autonomy of sex workers; I am fearful that someone may take it upon themselves to decide that just because I enjoy sex, it means I can’t handle a rigorous academic program.
And that is one of the best-case scenarios if I am discovered. Belle Knox, a lovely porn star who attended Duke University, received death threats when one of her friends let her secret slip; people were so offended by a porn star going to college they felt the need to threaten physical violence. I can’t even begin to understand the logic behind their threats; don’t sex workers deserve an education just as much as anyone else? As a result, I take measures to make sure I am not discovered. I look remarkably different without makeup or curly hair and that’s before I hide under baggy clothing. I do my best not to make any close friends at school, because I know I will have to lie to each and every one of them.
Now this is the point where most people ask me why I don’t just quit? Find a job that is less stigmatized and prioritize my academics? This is because I am stubborn. Porn is my chosen profession. I am a consenting, autonomous adult and my right to chose a job will not be taken away from me. Every time someone tells me I should quit, my resolve grows stronger. I love my job, and I am good at it. I refuse to let society’s opinion of my life change my behavior. I am a 23-year-old honor student who is managing to not only support herself but also follow her academic dreams. I adore my life. So here I am. I am just stubborn enough to stand and defiantly tell the world that it needs to change its opinion because I am not changing anything about my life.