“Melinda” is a 23 year old woman from Illinois who now works as a professional escort in New York City. She is a COVID-19 survivor and long-hauler, and suffers from clinical depression. She is writing about her experiences as a sex worker and what led her to that path in the hopes it will help to dispel some of the stigmas and misconceptions around sex work in the United States, and humanize the world’s oldest service industry.
1. Who is Melinda?
I'm a 23 year old woman who grew up in a Chicago suburb, then moved to New York City at age 18 instead of going to college. I wanted to try to make it on my own, and I was actually doing okay until the pandemic hit. Melinda's not my real name, it's a name my manager chose for me the first night I worked for him. I probably would've chosen a different one, but I'm used to it by now.
2. What is your memoir titled and what's it about?
It's called "Tales of a NYC Sex Worker." The first several parts are about how and why I became involved in sex work, and then afterward I get into talking about the work itself.
3. Why a memoir about your sex work?
I think a lot of people have serious misconceptions about sex work, and sex workers seem to carry a stigma around with them. We're not all trafficking victims, we're not all underage, we're not all drug addicts. Of course those are real problems that need addressing, but sometimes a sex worker is just a woman who made a choice that this was how she could best accomplish her goals. I wanted people to see that we're real, and we have real lives, and real hopes and dreams and disappointments.
4. I have never written or read a memoir. What is it like writing one and does the subject matter make it easier or harder to write given that sex work has this negative stigma around it?
I had never written memoirs until now, either! It's a bit like opening a window into your life and inviting the whole world to look in. I had to make a choice at the beginning whether or not to include things about my life that embarrass me. But if you want the reader to know who you are, you have to be willing to show every side of yourself. I'm not proud of every decision I've made in the last five years, not even remotely - but each one is part of who I've become now. The subject matter is almost unimportant, I think - because by the time you even get to the sex work itself in part 8 or so, how you feel about me should depend a lot more on my life up until then than it does on what I do for a living. Or at least I hope it will. All I'm really worried about as far as writing about sex work is making sure it doesn't sound too much like I'm writing porn. You are writing a memoir about your life as a sex worker. Names will be changed if you speak about a client.
5. Aren't you still nervous that a client may find out that you are talking about them in your memoir?
I'm a little nervous about it, but I don't think it's that big a deal. I'm not just changing names, I'm also changing details - so if I make sure nobody can identify them and I don't speak ill of them, I'm not sure what they'd have to worry about or be upset about.
6. Any helpful hints you can give someone writing a memoir or anyone in the sex work industry?
For writing a memoir, I would just say be honest. Don't try to sugarcoat anything or make yourself look better. There isn't really much point in telling your story if it's not really your story. Then just write as if you're telling your story to a good friend. For sex work, I would say the most important thing is to work with people you know you can trust. My manager and the guys who work for him take my safety incredibly seriously, and as a result I want to do the best work possible for them. Sex work can be dangerous if you're not careful or if you trust the wrong people. I knew I was working for the right people when they showed me over and over again they had anticipated problems that had never even occurred to me when I thought about getting into this life.
7. When does book come out?
I don't know that it'll ever be a book! I might not stop writing until I stop doing sex work, which hopefully won't be for a long while. But for now you can find the ever-growing story on my profile on Medium, https://medium.com/@MelindaByNight
If you want to start with part 1, that's here:
8. Final thoughts you want to give your fans out there and where can people follow you on social media?
Always be kind in any criticism. Someone’s book may not be to your liking, but a lot of love and work has gone into their creation. I always put some positives into my reviews, even if I did not enjoy the book.
9. Where can people get in contact with you if they are wanting to have you review their work?
Thank you for reading, and for keeping an open mind to what I have to say about sex work and the women involved. I welcome comments and feedback from anyone, as long as it's not mean. On social media, they can find me on Twitter as
Published Date: September 26, 2021