Vivienne is a 26-year-old escort who lives and works in Sydney, Australia. She began working as an escort alongside her day job in hospitality four years ago, where she would juggle bookings before, after, and during work breaks by sneaking off to hotels down the road. These days, Vivienne works as an escort full-time and states that loving her work is the key to her success.
We touch on loads of topics, including:
Amelia: Hey Vivienne, do you just want to start by introducing yourself a little bit and letting readers know about your experience in the industry?
Vivienne: Yeah, so I started about four years ago. In high school, I lived quite a conservative life – very studious, kept to my own friendship group and didn’t want to mingle much. When I turned 18, me and my high school boyfriend broke up. And then I was exploring the world outside the suburb I lived in. I started online dating. And this was like, before Tinder. This is like, RSVP.com, I think.
Amelia: Old school online dating!
Vivienne: Yeah, exactly. I loved meeting new people. It was really exciting. So, I was online dating for maybe three years, and the guys I was meeting were different from who I normally would hang around. They were older guys, people that didn’t live in Sydney, people who are from overseas, or whatever. So, it was quite a change for me to kind of get out of my circle. When I turned 21, I finally moved out of home, and me and my girlfriends were talking about sugar daddies. We ended up Googling it and we found Seeking Arrangement. I don’t know if that’s still around?
Amelia: I think it is. I think everybody went through the Seeking Arrangement stage!
Vivienne: Yeah, I went through a Seeking Arrangement stage when I was 21. It was good. It was interesting. That’s kind of how I look at it.
Amelia: What was that experience like?
Vivienne: I think I kind of looked at it as dating at first. I didn’t actually expect to be paid money, like I do now. I literally just met people for coffee and just said hello. I wanted to see what it was like. It was a bit stressful and a bit weird. I started meeting older men who wanted to see me more often and I didn’t know how to tell them what I wanted. I didn’t actually know what I wanted.
Amelia: So there wasn’t any expectation setting? You were kind of just going in it to see what it would be like?
Vivienne: Yeah. I think my first impression of Seeking Arrangement was a relationship with extra benefits or friends with benefits, but with extra benefits. That’s what I was expecting.
Amelia: Did you have experiences on Seeking Arrangement influenced you to get into escorting more formally? How did that transition play out?
Vivienne: Yeah, I think the first man I had sex with on Seeking Arrangement just made an offer. I didn’t ask; I didn’t negotiate. He just said he wanted to give me 400 bucks for an hour or two. And I said, “Okay” and I went to his hotel room. He booked some dodgy Sydney hotel. I looked back, and I’m like, “Oh my God.”
Amelia: I think we all have those things where we look back and think, “What was I doing?”
Vivienne: I think so. I think after the first time, I was like, “What am I doing?” I was walking back to my apartment being like, “Oh, my morals.” I just wasn’t sure. I was like, “Do I want to do this?” I was having a whole dilemma about it. And so that man, I never saw him again, because I think I was having my dilemma.
Amelia: For sure.
Vivienne: So yeah, there was a range. There were people who did give me like, I think they call it pay-per-meet? That type of arrangement. So that felt fine. I didn’t mind it. I saw a few people on Seeking Arrangement who just wanted a coffee. They told me clearly that they weren’t going to give me anything, so I was like, “Okay, then I won’t have sex.”
Amelia: So, you kind of started figuring out what your boundaries were and what you were wanting?
Vivienne: Yeah, yeah. That was definitely the case. On Seeking Arrangement, I was just trying to figure out what made me comfortable and what didn’t. So, there were more pleasant guys and more generous guys, and there were people who didn’t want to give anything at all. So, I met the whole lot, I think. But then I think I stopped after maybe seven or eight months. I met a guy in my personal life and had a relationship for about a year. And this man that I was dating and the experiences with him kind of opened my mind. He was a lot older than I was – I think I was 21, and he was 45 at the time. I was with him and his co-workers at a Christmas party, and one of the guys actually hired an escort in the hotel room that I was also staying at with my partner at the time! So, she turns up, and he introduces her to me and my partner. And my mind was just like, “She’s so normal. She’s such a normal girl. She looks so nice. And she was so nice.”
Amelia: Oh, that’s hilarious! So that gave you an experience that perhaps escorting was different in real life than what you had been imagining?
Vivienne: Yeah, I think so. Because I think I was meeting men from Seeking Arrangement, and some of those men would say a lot of shit about escorts. They’d say they were transactional, they cost too much money, and you don’t get anything, that they were completely mechanical. That’s what they were telling me. Yeah, so I was probably a bit naive.
Amelia: And I mean, you hadn’t had experience in the industry, so how would you possibly know?
Vivienne: Exactly. When I met this particular girl, she was just a normal girl. A nice, normal person. She wasn’t in stilettos, she wasn’t in a tight party dress – there’s nothing wrong with that anyway – but like, she was literally just wearing normal clothes and sandals. She was just someone you’d usually see on the street every day.
Amelia: And so then how did that evolve into you dipping into that side of the industry?
Vivienne: I think it was about three months later. My partner broke up with me and I was heartbroken and upset. Then I got bored and so I Googled “Sydney escort” and I started browsing websites. I actually applied for a few agencies first and got rejected for all of them.
Amelia: Wow. Okay, that’s interesting. Did they give you feedback? I’ve never worked for an agency, so I don’t really know how that works.
Vivienne: Yeah, they pretty much said I wasn’t up to their standard. I didn’t apply for Asian agencies, I applied for the Western ones.
Amelia: Wow. So like, a bit of racism happening there?
Vivienne: Their requirement was a certain height. I’m like, 149 centimetres, I’m tiny.
Amelia: Oh, I find that interesting. Like, why would height matter? That’s bizarre. It’s not a modelling agency.
Vivienne: Yeah, so I think they had height limits – they wanted a certain look and for you to have some sort of experience. I think you needed C cup boobs or bigger?
Amelia: Yeah, okay. My mind is blown by that. Maybe my mind shouldn’t be blown by that, but that just seems bizarre.
Vivienne: Yeah, like, I didn’t want to apply for the Asian agencies because they would just look at me and just assumed that I don’t speak English. Even to this day, I have that happening to me where people don’t book me because they think I don’t speak English, when this is the only language that I can speak.
Amelia: That’s a really interesting point, though. Because the Western agencies want a certain look, which you don’t fit. But then the agencies that are catering to Asian workers are making presumptions, which you also don’t fit. So, then what do you do?
Vivienne: So, then I was like, “Okay, I give up,” and then I did some research. I think I found Private Girls, I saw Escorts and Babes, and Scarlet Blue. This was February 2017. And I think I just clicked on Scarlet Blue, and I saw that it’s independent. And I was like, “What does that mean?” So, I read this fact page, and it literally just looked like you just make a dating profile.
Amelia: Yeah, I mean, and I guess that is pretty close to what it is. It’s just a dating profile with rates and fancy pictures.
Vivienne: Yeah, so I kind of delved into some modelling prior to that time anyway. So, I had some random photos that I could use. And then-
Amelia: -off you went!
Vivienne: And never looked back. No regrets.
Amelia: And so, you’ve been working for about four or five years now?
Vivienne: Yeah. Four and a bit. I’ve been doing it full time for over two years.
Amelia: So that was one of questions for you – I’ve been following you on Twitter for several years now and I remember you posting about resigning from your day job, and starting to escort full time. I’m curious about that experience and how you made that decision.
Vivienne: So, I was pretty much doing both. I did university at the same time as well. So, in 2017, I was doing uni, I was doing hospitality, and doing escorting at the same time. So, it was quite a lot. I think I had a lot of energy at the time, so I could do it. I don’t know.
Amelia: You just powered through. Okay, so you were doing uni, as well as working your day job, as well as escorting. I didn’t realise that. That’s intense.
Vivienne: Yeah. So, at the time, my day job was full-time working hours, but I was working in fine dining, so it was night shifts.
Amelia: Okay, so you weren’t working nine to five?
Vivienne: No, just random hours. Sometimes about 40 hours a week. So, I quite liked that job. I’ve been working in hospitality since I was 17. So, in 2018 I got promoted in the hospitality job to being an event manager. And that became nine to five, and sometimes evenings or sometimes weekends, on top of escorting. And during that time, I ended up finishing my university degree in design. I think I was working so hard, and I was dying.
Amelia: Well, that’s not surprising. You just get burnt out and exhausted, right?
Vivienne: Yeah, I was literally fitting in bookings during my lunch break. I’d run to the hotel down the road and back. Or 7am, or 8am bookings, and then I’d tell the people in the office that I’m running late, and I’ll be in the office at 10 o’clock, and then I’d stay back to make up the time.
Amelia: And what was your motivation at that point? Like, was that motivated by wanting to save extra money? Or was that motivated by really enjoying doing the escorting on top of everything else? Because it sounds like a hectic schedule to maintain!
Vivienne: Yeah, I think at that time, I think I still had a slight stigma against myself about being an escort. I’ve always been super open about it and confident about it. But I think it was about my future. I was concerned about it, so I think I wanted extra backing in case I couldn’t do this anymore. Because I think that’s what people ingrained in me at the beginning – that I couldn’t do this forever. But now I’m like, “I can.”
Amelia: Okay, so escorting was maybe more what you wanted to do, but it felt like you couldn’t at that point?
Vivienne: Yeah, exactly. Even after I started escorting full time, I still felt a little bit of stigma, which is kind of gone now. But I think that’s why I stayed in my hospitality job.
Amelia: Ah, okay, that makes a lot of sense. And then you kind of got to a point where you were just feeling super burnt out, and you kind of had to make a decision as to how you were going to manage?
Vivienne: Exactly. I was dying. There was a point where even I fell asleep during a booking after having sex. I was so tired. So I pretty much just ripped off the bandaid. It was so scary. I was like, “What do I do now?” My job was gone. And my personality has always been very go, go, go. So then as Vivienne, I went go, go, go. So I started working on the marketing, and that’s when I start doing Patreon as well.
Amelia: So you really threw yourself into it?
Vivienne: Exactly. And no regrets.
Amelia: How have things changed over the past couple of years now that you’ve been working full time?
Vivienne: It’s been really good. I think over the years I started to take this really seriously. This is literally my career. And I think it took me a few years to say that this is actually my career. There’s nothing lined up after right now. But I think what’s changed a lot as well is that I have so much more flexibility to do other things. After quitting my day job, I finally can work on my body. I work out, I started exercising, started doing Pilates and yoga. I can’t do that with a day job. You don’t have time to fit that in. So, the difference is that it’s actually so much better. I truly take care of my physical and mental health now. Which actually leads me to be a much better escort. I have energy to give. And of course, financially, it’s much better. I think like, four or five times the salary.
Amelia: You said that in the past couple of years, you’ve been able to focus more on marketing and like the business side of things, and I noticed you do quite a few photoshoots. Is the photographer you use one of your friends? It seems like you guys have so much fun.
Vivienne: That’s correct! It’s my best friend, Justin Fox. I actually discovered him from Model Mayhem where I was seeking more modelling photos. And over three years later, we’re still shooting and having fun.
Amelia: Yeah, I get the vibe from your photos that it’s pretty genuine and fun.
Vivienne: Yeah, I think that’s really important. He’s actually made such a huge contribution to my career and everything, and I’m so thankful to have met him.
Amelia: Can you speak a little bit about how you approach photoshoots? How do you think having professional photos impacts your income?
Vivienne: I think I do have an advantage that I do show my face. So what worked for me is the fact that my personality comes through the photos. Most of my photos with Justin have been close ups – my smile, my eyes and my face, rather than a full body. I find that has really worked for me. I find that doing a super, super professional shoot don’t always work – sometimes there is no energy to the photo.
Amelia: Okay, so you feel like having those more natural photos that show personality is more important than a super polished, professional photoshoot?
Vivienne: Yeah, I think a balance of both is good, but I don’t need the super professional shoots every single month. I might need them maybe one to two times a year. I think the professional ones are more important for maybe the first impression. I feel like the personality ones are the types of photos that convert the business.
Amelia: Yeah, that makes sense. Because if you’re on Scarlet Blue, for example, and there are a million photos on the page, you want a photo that really like pops and stands out.
Vivienne: Yeah, because I’m assuming some clients will open a whole bunch of pages and go through each of them and maybe only decide on a couple. So, I think yeah, the first professional photo really counts. And then after that, I think you’ve got to show your personality. For the people who I find I attract, they just want to be comfortable and to feel good. They want someone friendly and easy to be with. And I think I show that through my photos.
Amelia: That’s such a good marketing approach. The other thing I wanted to touch on was your opinion on laws around sex work. You live and work in Sydney, where sex work is decriminalised. Sometimes there’s this view that because Sydney has decriminalisation, that there’s no stigma. What are your thoughts on that?
Vivienne: I don’t think it’s any different. There’s stigma everywhere, no matter how decriminalised it is. When I was still working at my day job, I wasn’t hiding it. Everyone in the company knew I did what I did, even the general manager. At first, HR was kind of like, “What do we do?” Because it’s not working with the company. And then my manager approached them saying, “She is allowed to sell cookies as a part-time job on the side, how is it different?” Nowhere on my contract said I wasn’t allowed to have another source of income. So, they actually couldn’t do anything. I think that gave me more confidence. I didn’t hide it anyway, but I was also free to talk about it. And at that time, it was interesting – I was educating some of my colleagues, because I had a few people ask me, “How do you get away with it?” And I’m like, “It’s not illegal.”
Amelia: Yeah. That’s so nice that you were able to build your confidence a bit.
Vivienne: Yeah, like I was in hospitality, so no one really cared. They all sleep with each other anyway. They’re really like, “You do you,” and I have that attitude as well. But I can’t say what other industries are like. I’ve met other girls who say “I can’t be honest in my industry, I just can’t.”
Amelia: Yeah, yeah. And I guess it depends on the workplace and the culture where you’re working as well. But it’s so awesome that you had that experience where your job wasn’t impacted.
Vivienne: I even got promoted after that.
Amelia: That’s so awesome. Do you have any words of wisdom, or things you’d like to share, with sex workers who are reading or maybe just starting out in the industry?
Vivienne: Yeah, I think there are a few things I wish I knew at the beginning. I literally started on my own and did everything myself, and I was a bit lost. I think what’s important is investing in yourself. I think that took me a while to learn. I tried to get free photoshoots from amateur photographers who were still trying to learn. Invest in your mental health and physical health, and I feel like that will really help in terms of managing a successful business. Because you’ve got to take care of yourself before you take care of the business. And get a good accountant as well.
Amelia: That is excellent. One of my biggest regrets of waiting several years to figure out the accountant stuff.
Vivienne: Yeah. I think for me, what works is just loving what you do. I think if you just love what you do, and you love the process of it, the success will follow. If you look to the money only, and that’s all you’re focusing on, I feel like you guarantee you’ll be unhappy. If that’s all you’re looking at. Rather, if you just love meeting your clients, you love doing the marketing, then you’ll get you somewhere. And if you don’t love it, either get someone to do it for you – pay someone to do what you don’t love – or get rid of it. I got rid of my OnlyFans a few months ago. I said to myself, “This is taking me downhill.”
Amelia: Yeah, I think that’s so true in any industry. If you’re just focused on the money, you’re going to end up so unhappy.
Vivienne: Yeah. I think another thing I learned was that it’s okay to take a break. I made myself feel so guilty for only seeing one client in two days. I’m like, “What am I doing? Why am I being lazy?” I still do it to an extent.
Amelia: Yeah. Taking breaks is so important for longevity, right?
Vivienne: Yeah, and I think the marketing is so important as well. Something I think I do really well is that I pump out the content. You never know when one amazing client will see your post, and if you don’t post for a week, you could have lost that one. It is a lot of work though and sometimes sucks. No one pays us to do our marketing. We’re doing it for free. But I feel like being very active and showing yourself through your marketing is quite useful. People who have never met me feel like they know me. And geotagging the crap out of places. Back in the day, I did that overseas as well. Just posting that I was in Hong Kong and geotagging Hong Kong. I’ve actually got clients from Twitter. But overall, just take care of yourself. Just be yourself, I think works for me, at least. I’m just myself. Everyone’s different, though. Also, don’t compare yourself too much. I used to think I needed the Louboutins in my photos. But you don’t need it. Like, we aren’t trying to sell lingerie or expensive things. We don’t need to do that.
Amelia: Yeah, I agree. If that’s your thing and you want to do it, and that’s your genuine personality, and you love buying super expensive lingerie, then go for it. But yeah, I feel like there’s like this weird expectation that you need those things to be successful, which I think is just among sex workers and not actually among clients. Clients don’t actually care.
Vivienne: Exactly. Yeah. So, I think for photoshoots that’s one really important thing. We’re not trying to sell the lingerie or the shoes or the jewellery in the hotel room. I have very successful photos sitting in my photographer’s house.
Amelia: Yeah, I think sometimes we overcomplicate photos. I can see where it comes from because you scroll through Scarlet Blue or whatever and you see all the different photos and you’re like, “Okay, cool. This is the standard. This is what I need to do.” We’re comparing our lingerie or whatever against each other, but at the end of the day the fancy lingerie isn’t what the clients are looking at.
Vivienne: I find minimalism works for me as well, because I think some men are very simple creatures. I think a very simple photo in white cotton underwear can drive them crazy. I think don’t stress out too much about the curation and the planning. Just put your personality in there. That should be enough.
Amelia: So true. Thank-you so much for your time. I really appreciated it and I’m sure the readers will too!
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