My REAL life as a call girl

(LifeWire) — Eight years ago, Natalie McLennan, a leggy brunette, moved to New York City from Montreal to pursue an acting career. At a cocktail party, she met Jason Itzler, the self-proclaimed “‘king of all pimps” and owner of the now-defunct New York Confidential jaipur girl escort agency. When Itzler suggested McLennan, then 28, work for him, she decided “dating” guys beat waiting tables while she continued looking for acting gigs.

By 2004, McLennan was earning around $2,000 an hour, sometimes more, seeing “two to three clients a day for at least two to three hours each.”

When it came to catering to the needs of her well-heeled customers, “I was always on call.”

Natalie — known as Natalia — had hit it big; in July 2005, she was profiled for a New York magazine cover story. Three months after the interview hit the newsstands, the agency was shut down. McLennan was arrested for prostitution, spending 26 days in jail.

Thirty-year-old “Celeste,” who didn’t want her real name used, says she started turning tricks in Minnesota at 15. For her, prostitution was a job, not a path to a celebrity lifestyle. In a good year, the young wife and mother saw up to four clients a day, men she describes as “just guys, like the ones you see at the supermarket or fixing something in your house” and earned up to $300 for 30 minutes of her services. She found her customers through online personals, chat rooms and telephone talk lines for singles.

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“I needed that money. I had debt, credit card debt. Then later, when I had a child, I needed the money to pay for food and things for my baby,” she says. In May of this year, Celeste says, she decided to quit for good after a client, a doctor, hurt her during sex. “I figured he of all people would know the limitations of a person’s body, but he didn’t and I thought I was going to die.”

McLennan and Celeste represent two sides of an industry that perennially generates headlines and pop culture buzz. Tabloid tales of high-priced call girls and politicians -have heightened interest in TV fare such as Showtime’s “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl.” There are also reports of a new series being developed for HBO based on the novel “Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl” and a proposed MTV reality series starring Spitzer’s favorite paid date, Ashley Dupre.

While these moments in the sun tend to glamorize prostitution, women in the sex industry and those who study them say a prostitute’s real life can also be difficult and dangerous. What’s harder to get agreement on is whether the sex industry victimizes women.

Risks and rewards

When Celeste met her first pimp at a gas station hang-out, she was vulnerable and alone. Her family had neglected her, she says, and she was often the target of psychological abuse. She “didn’t have enough self-esteem” to say no when her new boyfriend suggested she work for him. “He was very handsome and smooth,” she says. “I wanted him to like me and be my boyfriend. I was living on my own, mainly, and he took care of me.”

McLennan, on the other hand, felt more in control and says she enjoyed aspects of her former job, especially the money and the opportunity to “party with rock stars.”

“I never felt that I was a victim, as opposed to the girls on the street,” says McLennan. “There was definitely anxiety at the beginning, but it got easier almost immediately because the agency’s clientele mainly consisted of successful, well-mannered business men. We were marketed as princesses and the men who hired us treated us as such.”

Celeste was not so lucky. “I was always afraid, every single time,” she recalls. “I did this for 15 years and I never stopped being afraid. The job isn’t like in the movies.”


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