With an international movement of sex workers emerging, now is a great time to learn how you can be a better ally. Each week we delve into the lives of escorts, BDSM and massage providers and adult entertainers to help you gain a better understanding of their work, the challenges they face and what you can do to help. This week we chat to Blythe Rex about how she got started in kinky companionship, access to housing and how clients can challenge their prejudices. Tell us your story, how did you get into the industry and what has your journey looked like thus far I have always worked in mostly cash-based jobs--from waiting tables, to child care, and the cannabis industry in California; so sex work almost felt like a natural progression in to a higher paying cash-based trade. I started in pro Domme work, having gained curiosity and interest through listening to certain podcasts while trimming weed. I was invited to start training at a dungeon in my hometown when I ran in to an old friend across the street from the dungeon (I didn’t know it was there). I was babysitting at the time and walking around with two napping toddlers in a stroller when I bumped into this friend! Whenever I talked about my interest in being a pro Domme, friends and acquaintances were always very encouraging and said they thought I’d be great at it. It’s been almost four years, and overall it’s been an incredibly fun and transformative journey. My lifelong passions have been writing, photography, dance, and travel. I’m working on a collection of travel writing currently. I enjoy staying active by doing different sports and martial arts. Surfing, swimming, skating, wrestling, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are a few that I’ve stuck with. Staying active in my community is also important to me and I get involved by volunteering with different activist groups. 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 The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson was maybe the first book I read that made me say, “I wanna write like that.” It’s a collection of essays and articles that Thompson wrote while working for different publications over the span of several years. He covered some very bizarre and some politically relevant stories all around the world and I loved that. I’ve always been more inspired by true stories and documentaries than fiction writing. I’d say that my particular style of traveling and writing was, at least in part, influenced by the work of Hunter S. Thompson. As sex workers and escorts @ devozki, we face several challenges in our line of work. What are some issues you care about, and how do you think your clients can help sex workers I know that there are challenges in sex work that affect some workers more than others and supporting more marginalized sex workers is important to me. Stigmatization and racism in the industry are two huge issues that clients can actively confront in small ways. I understand that clients often don’t want to “out” themselves and call out slut-shaming or whorephobic language, but it truly is these small moments that generate greater trends. If you’re a client who doesn’t consider yourself racist, but you don’t book sex workers of color, or only book with light-skin workers, maybe reflect on that and ask yourself “Why”. One way you can support sex workers of color is to TIP and contribute a small gift every once in a while if you’re a regular. A lot of inequities in our society and the challenges they create can be softened with a little extra cash. What are some of your favorite kinks to cater to and why Feet and leg fetishists to the front!! Being as active as I am, a quality foot leg massage is seriously orgasmic. I adore slutty masochists and submissives who like to be pets. Oral strap-on play is a favorite of mine as well – who doesn’t like getting their pastel-colored silicone cock sucked off, am I right Session wrestling is also an arena I’ve grown to love, especially when my clients ask me to choke them with my feet. Why do you think it is important for sex work to be decriminalised and how do you think it would change the way you work Decriminalization can offer protection for sex workers in the event that something goes wrong and we may be looking to law enforcement agencies or first responders for help. It is incredibly vulnerable to know that if something went wrong with a client, you could not call for help for fear of being arrested. This is especially important when we talk about trans sex workers and sex workers of color who already get policed at much higher rates on and off the job. I think beyond how it would change how I work, decriminalization actually would have a greater impact on my life outside of work. It would allow me to access housing (and have more options for housing) much more easily, which is something I think a lot of people don’t realize. Unfortunately, landlords don’t appreciate a photo of my ass as “proof of income.” What do you think the public should know about the sex industry and sex workers I think it would be helpful for people to know that it’s truly just a job. I am an entire business, essentially, and I perform all the roles of running this business, pretty much by myself. I’ve found that when I explain all the different types of labor that I perform at work, people have a deeper understanding and respect for my work. I shouldn’t have to justify respect for my choice of work, but when the public doesn’t have information, they just imagine whatever they want or believe whatever some figure in their life told them. I would also like the public to know that sex workers are some of the most brilliant, creative, hard-working, caring, nonjudgmental, ingenious, and radically loving people I’ve ever met. When you're having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better I deal with anxiety, sometimes depression, and I also struggle with focusing and paying attention to tasks. My experiences with these conditions have made it hard to stick with civilian jobs or working for someone else. Bad days are common and working for myself allows the freedom to take time to sort it out. I talk to friends family, I take myself to somewhere in nature, exercise, or cook a meal with friends, or go out. Sometimes I write about it, or post something online to reach out to people for suggestions or advice. If I have an intimate partner who is available to support me then I will go get some snuggles. Sometimes when I’m having a bad go, I find that doing community outreach or helping out someone else in greater need can also help me feel restored and useful. As sex workers, we're often asked some fairly inappropriate questions by the public. In your opinion, what should non sex workers avoid asking sex workers and why Personally, I don’t get offended by genuine curiosity, even if the question is annoying or cliché. However, when someone asks me, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve done” my response is usually a pretty dramatic and dismissive eye roll. Or, “What’s the most amount of money you’ve made in one night” That’s also annoying. When I talk to people about pro Domme work, they seem to be really interested in the distinction of whether or not I have sex with those clients, if the person didn’t yet know I’m an escort also. People have said, “Oh, but you don’t have sex with them, right” As if that would affect how they view my work. In general, I like answering most questions just so people can get a more truthful idea about what sex work is like. What are your top three pieces of advice for workers just starting out I’d say to them to learn how to listen to your gut, and to trust your gut. More than your heart, more than your head, more than what your wallet needs…. Trust your gut. If anything gives you a weird feeling or a bad feeling, just listen to that and don’t do it. Also, reach out for help! If you’re struggling and have bills due, please reach out to me personally or find some support and mutual aid groups in your area. One of the most beautiful parts about being a sex worker is the incredible community I’ve come in to. I’ve had rough patches of really struggling and it can take some work to swallow one’s pride, but once I asked for help I found that there were plenty of people who were willing and able to send me just a little extra cash they had. Sex work takes a lot of emotional labor, and it can be incredibly hard to hold that space for clients when you’ve got bills overdue or insecure housing or issues with a partner. If there’s any kind of support a new worker needs to continue to work and support themself, I want them to know they don’t have to be afraid or too proud to ask for it! What would your dream date look like It would be a full day of some activities and some laziness. A long bike ride, swimming, or wrestling would be so fun. I also love to try new things on dates and would love to learn a new skill or try a new sport. The full day would also have to include some amazing food! I had a date recently where we got caught outside in the rain, and I gotta say, that is pretty fun and sexy. I love productive dates too, like fixing motorcycles together or painting a room. Something about building or creating together gets me really turned on. My favorite scent is something rugged, like engine grease and sweat, mixed with bergamot or cinnamon. My favorite restaurant is a small family-owned hole in the wall If you were to buy me a drink at a bar, you should buy me write this down, a Fernet with tonic in a pint glass with a lemon.