With a movement of sex workers growing globally, now is a great time to learn how you can be a better ally. Each week we delve into the lives of sex workers from around the world to help you better understand their work, the challenges they face and what you can do to help. This week we chat to Atlanta escort Lola Rivera about how she got started, the impact criminalisation has on mental health and her eclectic taste in music.
Tell us your story, how did you get into the industry and what has your journey looked like thus far?
I was 19 at the time and going down a Tumblr rabbit hole. I came across a link to this documentary called Sex, Lies, and Rinsing Guys. It was essentially about these UK sugar babies and I was instantly curious. I followed some sugar baby blogs and advice online. Within a few months, I was involved in my first of many arrangements. After awhile, I began to feel as though I had no control and I was completely financially reliant on my arrangements. I began the transition into Lola. I could have the best of both worlds. I can be financially independent while also building a brand and establishing relationships with people whether that be romantic or friendships. In my previous arrangements, I felt I had to be someone I wasn’t in fear of losing them. Being Lola is simply an extension of who I already am and I can be shamelessly myself in a supportive community.
What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I very much enjoy reading. When I was in high school the guys called me library girl because I would spend my lunch period and any chance I got during the day just getting lost in books. Someday, when I buy a house I want a large library inside. I also like being out in nature. I’m truly a southern girl at heart. I like to fill my time outdoors hiking, walking my dog, practicing yoga, or in the summer I like to go out on the lake here in Georgia. I’ll even sometimes get in my car and take a long drive up some back roads while blasting my tunes with the windows down, always!
As sex workers, we face several challenges in our line of work. What are some of the issues you care about, and how do you think your clients can help sex workers?
I am very passionate about the discussion of mental health amongst sex workers. While this industry is very diverse and supportive, it can also be extremely lonely. When you add on the fact that criminalization and censorship is present, it can cause one to feel alienated and ostracized from society. I think many of us feel the need to put up an appearance that everything is fine when in reality we all experience burn out or stress just like every other profession. Treating any sex worker in your life as a human with rights is fundamental.
Is there a book, tv show, or movie that has had a significant impact on your life? What was it, and what did it teach you?
I just finished a book by Jennie Allen called “Get Out of Your Head”. It’s about changing any of your negative thinking patterns or thoughts and realizing your god given power to exercise your mind to think differently. I’m not a textbook Christian but I am spiritual. This book has taught me to relinquish the control my anxiety can have over me and to understand that I am fully capable to let go of any clouded thoughts.
Why do you think it is important for sex work to be decriminalised and how do you think it will change the way you work?
I think it’s the first step in telling society that sex work isn’t taboo or wrong when it’s consenting adults. Sex work is like therapy for many people. I would feel less worry when traveling on tours, being fearful of potential law enforcement, and having to lie to those I love around me simply because they see it as an illegal act or “not a real job”.
Is there anyone in the industry you consider a role model or someone you looked up to when you first started your journey?
I entered the industry kind of like a lone wolf. Most of the research I did was on my own. Now that I’m apart of the industry, there are countless inspiring sex workers I look up to and admire. Whether that be their branding, work ethic, etc.
What kind of music are you currently listening to?
I’m a big music fanatic. I truly don’t understand people who don’t care for music LOL. I have pretty eclectic music taste. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of the Kali Uchis new album Sin Miedo. Her cover of La Lupes song Que te Pedí is pure heaven. Portishead is one of my favorite bands. I play them year round. I’ve also been blasting the Janis Joplin “Cheap Thrills” album.
I don’t think I have a favorite genre of music but I’m heavily influenced by the 60/70s.
What do you think the public should know about the sex industry and sex workers?
It’s a very diverse industry. People often have a very skewed idea of what they think a sex worker is. Sugar babies and strippers are seen as less “taboo” but in reality they are sex workers as well. We are everyday people who come from many backgrounds. You can’t always judge a book by its cover because more often than not it’s the people who you’d least expect to be in the sex industry.
What are your top three pieces of advice for workers just starting out?
I generally hate advising others because I am a firm believer in YMMV. What works for me might not work for you. But overall trusting your intuition, know your boundaries, and being yourself will take you very far. You don’t have to put up a facade. Most people see right through it. Much of what you see just like social media is smoke and mirrors. It’s easy to get caught up in the attention but never lose sight of who you are and why you entered this industry.
What would your dream date look like?
I don’t like to fantasize over the perfect date. I find putting those expectations will only leave me disappointed. I will say I have things I’d love to explore on a date. Overall, I think having a connection and good conversation with someone who respects you is a win! I am very much attracted to generosity. If a lover is willing to treat me and go that extra mile to ensure we have an amazing date, then they will get all of my attention and affection.
My favorite scent is: Lily of the Valley
My favorite restaurant is: I don’t have one. I enjoy trying new ones!
If you were to buy me a drink at a bar, you should buy me: French 75 or Champagne
My favorite thing to be gifted is: Books or Vinyl
A social cause I care about is: Anything involving animal rights activism