I noticed this short but light hearted interview with Tracy Quan in Shecky’s. Tracy has to be admired as one of our profession; ie a sex worker or former sex worker, who has become a celebrity. She confounds the popular image that exists about sex workers that they are either dumb or/and exploited victims. She writes and talks truthfully about her work and her experiences which has given her (and I think all sex workers) a unique understanding of human sexuality and of life in general.
We need more sex workers publicly talking and writing positively and truthfully not only about their personal experiences but about politics and life. It often seems a long, slow process but things are changing and eventually sex workers will gain the recognition they deserve within society.
Imagine this: You run away from home at 14. You eventually become a call girl in New York City. Although it might sound like the plot of a Lifetime movie with a bad ending, for one woman, Tracy Quan, it wasn’t. Tracy triumphed against the odds, becoming an acclaimed novelist and love guru for the likes of the New York Times, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. And, what’s more, she used her time as a call girl to skyrocket to success. Here’s her story.
What inspired you to start writing your Nancy Chan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl column for Salon.com?
I was a call girl with a Wall Street fiancé. He wanted me to become a corporate wife and start a family. But my scarlet past wasn’t compatible with that white picket fence, because I was still in love with my former self—a struggling escort building her own business.
The neurotic tension in my head unleashed a creative comedic streak. I invented Nancy Chan, a fictional hooker trying to keep up with a competitive, illicit industry and a sensitive, straight boyfriend. Nancy has much in common with the secretive, opinionated call girls I know, juggling career, love life, family and more. When I began writing her online diary, I didn’t know how the column would unfold. I wrote two episodes a week in real time, allowing my imagination to surprise me.
How did the column become the bestselling trilogy it is today?
Readers began rooting for my heroine, and there were haters who disapproved of call girls, but they helped me to refine my project. I didn’t realize how popular my Salon column was until the The New York Times business section interviewed me. Suddenly there was an avalanche. Agents, publishers, TV and film people wanted Nancy’s story to continue in a different medium. Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl was published by Random House because Doug Pepper, my book editor, was ahead of that avalanche.
I’ve used what I learned in the sex industry to build my brand as an author. Hiring Susan Schwartzman, an independent publicist, is the most important investment I’ve ever made. She runs her own business, something I can relate to, and we didn’t do a cookie-cutter book launch. It’s important to get it right the first time because you WILL make mistakes with your second book launch.
You’ve said before that your column was semi-autobiographical. Did you or do you ever feel overexposed by your own work?
No. Instead of being exposed, I’m deeply embedded. In Diary of a Married Call Girl, you have to look beyond the main character to find me. My most revealing novel is Diary of a Jetsetting Call Girl but it’s also the most fanciful. Go figure.
What do you think the biggest problem is facing modern couples?
We have the ability to invent our own rules, but have yet to outgrow the primitive desire to break rules, which goes back to a time when people had less romantic and sexual freedom, less control over their lives. Some of the most liberated individuals get tripped up by relationship rules that originate in that time and we can’t always see it. As the Love Guru at Expert Insight, I want people to break rules without breaking hearts or destroying lives—and I know it can be done.
What is your best girlfriend advice when it comes to dating and sex?
Figure out which novel you’re in. Play it to the hilt. (One caveat: no Stieg Larsson.) Or pick a movie, TV show, a great musical, as long as you feel entertained by your love life, your emotions and the boys you meet. Of course you’re central, but if you look at every new guy in terms of your goals and nothing else, you become insular and annoying. Collecting male characters to enhance your novel is more fun.
Whether it’s Bridget Jones or Don Quixote, I like the way you’re thinking. That’s why Expert Insight recruited me. Imagine your situation as a story or even a genre (be it tragedy, operetta or chick lit.) You’ll see a cast of characters, the big emotional picture.
READ MORE of the interview with links “HERE”