As sex workers, trying to explain what we do for a living to others can sometimes be tricky — even trickier when you’re trapped in a small room, explaining your work to a potential future employer during a job interview. Let’s face it, interviews are designed to scare you. If I’m being honest, even with all my confidence and experience, I still find it to be one of the most nerve-wracking situations to be in, let alone adding the whole “sex worker” part to my resume.
I recently had a unique opportunity to do two interviews, one day after another, and I handled both slightly differently. The first was a marketing job for a small business, scheduled to open in a few months. The second was a school interview, at a college that I’m considering attending later this year. Even if I don’t get the job or don’t go to school, I left both interviews beaming with confidence (for once, haha)! I figured there was no harm in sharpening my rusty interview skills and getting some practice in.
Terminology is important when you’re breaking things down to someone outside the community.
It came time to update my CV. To my surprise, I almost had more relevant experience to write down than what fit on the page. All sex workers know the time and effort that goes into our work, but to lay it all out on paper was like, “Whoa! I do all that!” — which, in itself, was a confidence booster. Then, I practiced ways to express what I had written down in a way that I could control the conversation to benefit me, and not the other way around.
Some of the things I emphasized:
- Experience with brand creation using a combination of social media tactics, content and personality
- Advanced knowledge of multiple social media platforms used to promote and sell products and services
- Shot and edited large volumes of professional photos using Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC
- Edited promotional and full-length videos using Adobe Premiere Pro CC and other video editing programs
- Created promotional offers and accompanying graphics to engage new clientele, and entice existing ones
- Analyzed trends and engagement on various platforms and used that information to improve quality of service
- Constantly engaging the public to build new relationships, maintain a positive image and strong online presence
- Constant research to remain current in a fast-paced, competitive online industry (ex: equipment, location rentals, general market research, trends, etc.)
- Coordinated photo shoots where I was responsible for location, lighting, shooting, styling and make-up
When I was asked what field I worked in — I began by saying that I was going to be honest with them, that the industry I’m involved in is often misunderstood, but when it comes down to it, the adult entertainment industry is one like any other. In fact, it’s one that presents more challenges on a daily basis than many other fields, having to constantly navigate discrimination and exclusion on platforms that are vital to our success.
Terminology is important when you’re breaking things down to someone outside the community. At the risk of stating the obvious, try to choose words like “adult entertainment” and “performer/content creator” as opposed to “sex worker” and “porn star.” Despite how well we describe our work, people outside our community might get hung up on the words “adult entertainment.” So when you’re sitting down for the interview, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Take control. Own your relevant experience until “adult” is no longer part of the conversation and your skills become the main focus.
2. Don’t over-explain small details of your work, only give them an overview of what they need to know.
During my first interview, I was greeted and questioned by three people, which means triple the chance of one of them squirming in their seat at the mention of adult work, so I used my better judgment and positioned my experience not as a performer, but instead as someone who works behind-the-scenes assisting other models with all of the above (brand creation, running other model’s social media accounts, editing content for others, etc.). I made sure to show the relevance of my experience and how my skills directly relate to the job I’m applying for. I quickly noticed I was successful in steering the conversation, and I am certain at the end of the day, that the industry where I gained most of my experience was not the focus of the interview. I left feeling great about my performance, regardless of what they thought.
During my second interview (at school), I went in there with the built-up confidence of the day before, determined to be 100 percent honest this time. After I sat down and said my intro piece (about being a performer in the industry, etc.), they said I blew their mind and marketed myself so well, that I didn’t even give them a chance to market themselves first — to the point where they encouraged me to submit my CV for a formal interview for a marketing position opening up next month, working for the college! They also mentioned if that wasn't right for me at the moment, that to have someone with my skills and drive sitting in their classroom would be a privilege. Mission accomplished.
Bottom line is some people will judge you, but some will surprise you. The most important thing in all this is that you believe in yourself, your skills, the value of your work and what that can bring to your future — and theirs — and that you express yourself professionally in the face of adversity. I’ve learned and taught myself more while being a sex worker than at any other job I’ve ever had, and I’m sure you can agree with that statement.
So remember — you’re a sex worker, you’re a badass, you got this!