At tryst we like to celebrate and amplify the many Sex Workers that make up this thriving and vibrant community. Our interview series "A tryst with..." takes a deep dive into the lives of Sex Workers from around the world to help you better understand, not only how to be a better ally but also the realities of Sex Work. Today we chat to Philadelphia escort Amorous Angelica about her love of the tv show Harlots, what impact the decriminalisation of sex work would have on her life and working in a post FOSTA/SESTA world.
Tell us your story, how did you get into the industry and what has your journey looked like thus far?
I feel like since I’ve been an adult, I’ve done some form of sex work. I started as a sugar baby when I was around 19 years old. It was okay in the beginning but I quickly realized how vulnerable I was. I was young and naive and the men who saw me knew this and exploited that. Wanting to change this, I went on Backpage to look for job postings in the adult industry and came across a few. A hostess position for a swingers club was one of them. I was the receptionist for an AMP and other sensual massage place for a bit. Then I was a professional cuddler and that was an interesting gig! I was one of the “top” cuddlers in NYC with the company and decided “Hey, I could do this solo and make more by offering extra services!” So I did and that went well for a while but I wanted to do more. In 2018 is when I started to offer my escorting services and take my business to the next level. It felt amazing to have this new comfortable income and independence. I enjoy being my own boss and take pride in the fact that I can financially help those who I care for. Sex work allowed me to experience times without financially struggling which is something I was not used to. I got my own apartment and while there has been challenges in this industry, overall being a provider has been beneficial to my mental and financial health.
How has the industry changed since you started?
A few months after I first started was when FOSTA/SESTA was enacted. This was detrimental to us. I was super new and had a valuable resource taken away - Backpage. I remember this being super difficult for me to deal with because that was a major advertising platform. But sex workers adapt, innovate and support each other. With all these new challenges came an opportunity for us to change the narrative of a review focused work environment. Review boards became less popular with the rise of Switter. When Tryst was introduced - it was an affordable option. I get most of my business from Tryst compared to these pricier platforms which is great. I have always offered a Girlfriend Experience and when Covid-19 hit, I had to change my health safety protocols. With the support of my industry friends and community I’ve been able to feel less alone with all these new changes.
What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I absolutely love my cat - I feel like she’s my top interest and most of my time and love goes to her! I’m really into cozy video games like animal crossing and cattails. I’ve been gifted game systems and merch from clients to feed this nerdy side! I’m also a big music lover so karaoke and playing guitar are fun. I’m a huge foodie so visiting new restaurants (or getting takeout) in NYC, Philly or anyplace I’m at is something I’m usually doing!
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?
One of my TV shows is Harlots. It sparked my interest in learning the history of sex work. Watching this show was almost cathartic and I saw many parallels between myself and these characters. It’s a great show and I recommend that you watch it!
As sex workers, we face many challenges. What are some issues you care about, and how do you think your clients can help sex workers and become better allies?
Decriminalization of course matters a lot to me and sex workers have been over this many times. When I think of something that affects me the most though is society not having basic respect towards sex workers. The change starts with you. If someone in your job is making a “hooker” joke - correct them about it. Teach your kids the importance of respecting people from all walks of life. Share articles to your vanilla social media’s that are pro decrim and paint sex workers in a humane light. Don’t be ashamed to say that sex work is WORK. Tip sex workers when you can.
Why do you think it is important for sex work to be decriminalized and how do you think it would change the way you work?
If my work was decriminalized I would have the basic protections most workers have. We would be able to get the help from the law if discrimination or violence were to ever occur. Police would no longer be able to abuse workers with no consequences. There’s also small things that would be a privilege which most people do not think about. For example, I would be able to take a cab without fear of them being suspicious of me and possibly reporting me to the police. I wouldn’t be worried to exist in my rented apartment because the potential of being kicked out due to me simply doing something adults do all the time. I’d feel less stressed doing my job which would result in a better time for everyone!
What do you think the general public could learn from Sex Workers?
We are very knowledgeable about sexual health and I think we can help promote safer sex practices. Since sex is our business - we know how to please really well and I think there are many people who would love to learn a thing or two about making their partners happy! I’ve definitely taught people how to eat pussy much better so there’s that.
What’s one myth about Sex Work or Sex Workers you’d like to bust?
“Sex work isn’t work - it’s trafficking”. Trafficking and Sex Work are not the same. Often times it’s a job that even the people you would least expect do. We are average people just trying to get by like everyone else.
What are your top three pieces of advice for workers just starting out?
1. Trust your gut 2. Screen, screen , screen! 3. Everyone has slow periods so save when you can
What would your dream date look like?
A dream date for me would be with someone who’s really kind and romantic who takes me out on a week long all expenses paid for trip to Puerto Rico . I’m Puerto Rican and used to visit often (we have a family home there) so I’m a pretty good tour guide!
My favorite scent is: Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
My favorite restaurant is: Ulivo in NYC
If you were to buy me a drink at a bar, you should buy me: A Stella
My favorite thing to be gifted is: Money or gift cards to Starbucks, Amazon, or Playful Promises
A social cause I care about is: I feel that everyone deserves safe housing, access to clean water and food and more than enough of a liveable wage.