Fantasy Girl: One year later

Escort Emily Marie is proud of her profession, stigmas and all

Miss Emily Marie doesn’t represent the typical image we think of regarding sex work.

Miss Emily Marie doesn’t represent the typical image we think of regarding sex work.

Escort Emily Marie is proud of her profession, stigmas and all

Miss Emily Marie doesn’t work your typical nine-to-five gig. She pulls 12-hour shifts, pours much of her cash into work-related expenses and, these days, travels so much for her job that she hardly gets to enjoy her new half-million-dollar condo she bought earlier this year.

It’s the dream for many and a detestable existence for others, but Marie, one of the highest-paid escorts in Victoria and B.C., is proud of what she does. So proud, in fact, she’d rather sacrifice having close friendships than lie about her occupation.

Behind the veil

Since Monday spoke with Marie one year ago, a lot has shifted for this paid companion — not the least of which is her expanding wallet. While the economy has hit rock bottom for many, Marie is making close to a doctor’s wage. And while she won’t get into specifics, she says it’s enough that she’s now hired her own accountant and bookkeeper.

Still, Marie, who advertises age 28 this year, has had to travel to where the money is calling. Her independent Victoria-run business has expanded to locations around B.C. and Alberta — she now spends as much of her time “touring” as she does working at home. Of course, that takes advertising dollars, hotel expenses and advance bookings, but Marie has been requested across the interior.

It doesn’t take more than a few moments of hearing Marie’s story before realizing that this woman doesn’t represent the typical image we think of when we hear about sex work — she’s the fantasy. She isn’t standing out on a corner, or sifting through the nickels in her pocket or even trying to find her way out of a world of abuse, drugs and johns. Marie is the first to tell you there are countless women suffering through that right now. Marie’s work story, however rare, is by choice. She has a college degree, she worked a professional business job for years, but it just wasn’t making her happy. And while she knows the glamorous sex-and-money trade off is not a choice everyone would make, she says she could never imagine a better job for herself now.

“I think the main thing that’s changed for me this year is that I am now planning on doing this indefinitely,” she says, noting that this year she made the decision to start showing off her face in her advertisements. “This is who I am.”

Marie still has plenty of challenges to overcome, including the harsh opinions people are quick to adopt when they hear what she does to earn her living. Last year’s story, “Companion for Hire,” has remained one of Monday’s top website hits for the year. But while it seems everyone is curious about how this industry works, the comments range from celebrating Marie’s bravery to down casting her for stealing men. She’s heard it all.

Since becoming a paid companion two and a half years ago, Marie’s relationships with her parents and siblings have also been rocky at best, and she’s no longer with the partner she had last year. But while Marie knows that being part of one of the oldest industries in the world comes with a closet full of heavy skeletons, she’s made her own peace with people’s stigmas. For her, it’s a position she’s proud of.

“If anything, this year I think I’ve become more Emily and less my old life,” Marie says. “I think we’re the same girl now, because I really didn’t have to pretend to be anyone else to do this job and become Miss Emily Marie — just live my everyday life.”

From diets to diamonds

Marie says the lifestyle she was leading before becoming an escort was the perfect set-up for her move. She lived alone, didn’t have a lot of friends, loved to spend time socializing with men and was ready for something more exciting.

Since she decided to be independent from the get-go, she learned a lot through trial-and-error about “trusting your gut” when it comes to selecting clientele. She no longer advertises her prices online, because she knows that someone who wants to talk money first is a red flag.

To set the financial range straight, along with her rates, there is an expectation in the industry that men bring their companions anything from flowers to expensive clothing and diamonds.

But while the men have to follow their own set of unwritten rules, Marie is faced with the same — she’s currently spending time and money on a personal trainer, a strict diet system, mani-pedis and a continual supply of new linens and lingerie.

“There’s always going to be challenges with any job you take on, but if you’re lucky you’re willing to put your all into your work because you love it,” Marie says. “I meet the nicest men, and I really do have so much fun myself that everything I do is worth it for this.”

Since last year’s article, Marie did experience a boom in clientele, as well as an onslaught of young women contacting her for advice on getting into the industry. A word of warning: don’t ask, she says — it’s illegal for her to offer tips.

While Marie plans on escorting well into the future, she’s matched her talents in other areas as well. She’s been able to afford to keep up her work as an artist in textiles, and she’s started writing her first book, which she says will be a paid companion’s confessional.

“People want to hear about businessmen on a lunch break, about the virgin’s first time — yes, I had one — about the experienced gentlemen, about what I do on my time off,” she says. “This is an industry that’s been around longer than any of us and, whether we accept it or not, it’s not going anywhere.”  M

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