"One big change is that I’ve had to hire an assistant to help me manage my busy schedule, help take care of all my animals, and do some of the editing that I've simply run out of time for. I’ve got a podcast called Coffee with Alice, a show on YouTube, and I’m doing sex toy and sex book reviews.
"That is an absolutely massive change. Whereas before, I might have been available in lineup, I'm now available by appointment only. I was getting so many requests that I had to make a business decision and say, okay, I can’t handle three or four appointments each day and still be able to do my work in a way that I can feel comfortable. I had to adjust my business model so I could still get days off and manage my schedule in a way that works for me."
"I would say I spend the majority of my time still working with my guests in a one-on-one context, but I've definitely taken some of my free time and dedicated it to my other projects. If I don’t have an appointment, I can finish up a sex toy review or get together show notes for a podcast. All of those little administrative tasks take up a surprising amount of time. In between that and social media photo shoots, I'm probably working a good 60 to 80 hours a week."
The reason why I talk about what I earn is because it's the only way that people will understand that legal sex work is a valid and real career.
"When I first started in the industry, it was just to see if it would be a good fit. But during that time I started to look at things from a different lens, switching from a short-term view to a long-term one. I saw potential for what [being a sex worker] could look like if I ran it as a full-time business. I set up what I called the 'Million Dollar Sex Work Business Plan.'"
What does that entail?
"I basically thought, If I wanted to book a million dollars in a calendar year in this industry, what would I have to do to accomplish that? I knew I would need a strong social media presence, since we can't advertise in a traditional way. I would have to make time for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Fetlife, as well as updating my own blog and writing for other blogs. It was all about trying different things, measuring how successful each thing was, and then determining where to best invest my energy to achieve my goal.
"Then I broke it down. A million dollars divided by 12 became a goal of $84,000 (£65,903) a month. If I have an overnight client every month, which is in the $20,000 (£15,691) range, that brings it down. Then I should have a range of five-figure parties between $10,000 (£7,845) and $15,000 (£11,768). If I have three of those, then I would only need to do so many $5,000 parties. I set time aside to build connections with my guests and arrange my schedule so I could meet that goal — and now I'm even exceeding that.
"We know, generally speaking, that the more successful individuals in our industry book somewhere between $400,000 (£31,3824) and $700,000 (£549,192) in a calendar year. I'm almost doubling their performance, and it's really astonishing."
Could you call yourself the most successful legal sex worker in Nevada right now?
"Even crazier: I can say that I am the most successful legal sex worker in America. Sex work is only legal in Nevada. But I'm not saying this to brag; the reason why I talk about what I earn is because it's the only way that people will understand that legal sex work is a valid and real career. People always think of sex work as something short term, a stop gap, but I'm not unique in the sense that this is what I do full-time."
By the time that you add up all my job titles ... I'd say I'm undervaluing myself.
"A lot of what I do is emotional labour. This is essentially where you moderate and regulate your own reactions, feelings, wants, and desires in order to take care of someone else’s feelings, needs, wants, and desires. This is something that is oftentimes used within therapeutic models, and psychologists, counsellors, therapists, and top relationship counsellors might charge well over $1,000 an hour. So start there as a benchmark.
"Then we add in the physicality aspect. I am interacting with people in a physical way that is unique to my industry. It doesn't just look like sex; it also looks like intimate touch, connective touch in the form of massage, cuddling, making eye contact, holding their hands out in public and giving that sense of normalcy and warmth that others get to enjoy but they haven’t been able to experience.
"Then you look at the communication aspect of it. Leading up to my meeting with that particular individual there have oftentimes been tens if not hundreds of hours of text communication, email communication, photos back and forth, and building rapport over time. The connection doesn’t just end when we’re not physically together. I continue to assist people, answer their questions, ask them how their day is going, so they feel warmth and support. Those kinds of things are all part of the services I offer.
"There’s also a huge educational component to what I do. Oftentimes, I am giving them advice. For my guests who are virgins I might be giving them some advice on where to meet ladies and some ideas for a first date.
"By the time that you add up all my job titles — essentially a sex professor, a psychologist, a relationship counsellor, a companion, an escort, someone who is doing physical labour — I’d say I'm undervaluing myself for the amount of work I’m actually doing. Sex work is so much more than just sex. And personally, I love my job, which is why I choose to do it. I do this because I love people, and I love getting to meet people and establish these new connections. Of course, the financials are very helpful. Those will allow me to achieve other goals I have for my future. But that’s not the primary reason why."
It would be unrealistic to say that looks have zero influence on success... you have to consider what aesthetics are most marketable to the industry.
"I have been privileged in several different ways. We have to acknowledge that there is a privilege in society that is associated with being conventionally attractive. It would be unrealistic to say that looks have zero influence on success. It is unfortunately an industry that, to some degree, looks for, and favours, certain features more so than others. If someone is looking to enter this industry, they have to think, Okay, how am I going to choose to present and market myself? You can change things like your hair colour, how you do your makeup, your styling, and the way you dress. You could choose to show your tattoos or hide them. Those are all business decisions that each person needs to make based off their own individual circumstances. You have to consider what aesthetics are most marketable to the industry.
"It’s also not just looks. It does pay to have an education. I am lucky because I am a member of MENSA, and when I was a freshman in college I chose to make sure I did everything to graduate debt-free and have my education covered by various scholarships. That involved applying to probably 500 different scholarships, writing at least 100 essays, several phone interviews, numerous in-person interviews, all sorts of different things. I ended up getting less than 5 percent of the scholarships I applied for. I just tried to play the numbers game for it.
"And of course, there’s also a financial aspect [of becoming a legal sex worker]. You have to fly yourself out to the Bunny Ranch, pay for your doctors expenses, pay for your license, and all of that comes out of your own pocket before you even start earning income at the ranch. You have to have certain financial abilities to enter this industry, too.
"I was privileged enough to take advantage of the opportunity. I think when I’m done with this and choose to retire from being a legal sex worker, I most likely will lobby and work on furthering legal sex work in other areas so others will have the opportunities I had."
But it's a specific career that works for you — it won't work for everyone, right?
"It’s not a career for everyone, and that's okay. I’m somebody who has a very high emotional IQ. I understand how I am feeling, and I'm able to control my emotions and feelings so I can better assist someone else in the process of handling their own feelings. That’s not a skill everyone has.
"It's also not a job of desperation. It is not a last-resort job. It requires a lot of business planning to be a successful legal sex worker. For example, I thought long and hard about how I wanted to portray myself, what kind of photos I wanted to share, what kind of individual I wanted to see. I sat down and did brand strategy and market research to determine what services I’m comfortable offering and not offering. If someone enters this industry from the standpoint of get rich quick, could you make a little bit of money right away? Absolutely. But generally speaking the long-term successful people in this industry, much like any industry, are putting in a tremendous amount of hard work."
I think a lot of discussion in the comments of your first Money Diary was around the question of whether you chose this career willingly, and why.
"The reason why people have this last-resort perception is because it’s such a stigmatised industry. I turned down a six-figure offer from a Fortune 500 company because I love the job I'm in now. That happens to be a privilege that I've had, but it goes to show that this is genuinely a choice for me. I could choose to do something else but I chose to do this instead."
I am a flesh and blood human being who loves my dogs and cats like any other person does.
"Recently, I had to ask a crew to leave the Bunny Ranch after not respecting my autonomy when I told them No, I’m not comfortable filming this on camera. I don’t want to blow little kisses at the camera. That’s inauthentic, that’s not who I am, and I don't want to do that.
"When they wouldn’t take no for an answer I asked them to leave. They were sitting there, trying to beg and plead with me, saying, Oh please honey baby, please help me out. This perception of sex work is so terribly skewed by all aspects of society. Even the media fails to understand us and interact with us in a way that’s respectful."
Can you talk about why that depiction is so problematic for you?
"I'm a professional in my industry. If you want to film what my job looks like, it looks like me doing field research on different scientific studies surrounding sex. It looks like me answering emails or doing a sex toy review. It looks like me doing a podcast interview. It does not look like me wearing skimpy sexy lingerie and shaking my booty back and forth or blowing kisses at the camera. That's representative of a Hollywood stereotype that I simply am not, nor does that stereotype actually exist. They’re trying to paint a fake story and to essentially take my professional business and pantomime it and mock it on film. It’s just so inappropriate.
"They wanted me to crawl around on all fours towards the camera like a dog while making flirty faces at the camera. There’s literally no other profession where someone would ask a professional to get on their hands and knees to crawl towards the camera. It’s just so grossly inappropriate and shows such a lack of understanding for who I am and what I do.
"I am a flesh and blood human being who loves my dogs and cats as any other person does. I have hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with my career. I spend a crazy amount of time playing Dungeons and Dragons and video games. My entire existence cannot just be summarised as being a sex worker, and they wanted to paint me as my profession rather than paint me as a person. And I'm so opposed to that that I refuse to let it happen."
It's the girls who are hurt by closing the brothels — it takes away their careers.
"General public in Lyon County has shown us their incredible and overwhelming support, but if [legislation] had passed, I would have had to change counties, get licensed in different locations, find somewhere new to live. It would have turned my life upside down; I’ve had to put my life on hold because of this petition, and it’s been very, very frustrating.
"It's the girls who are hurt by closing the brothels — it takes away their careers. It also hurts 134 staff members who certainly don't earn what I do and might not have the savings to weather it out in-between jobs.
"What happened with the petition blindsided us, but after [Awaken] has done this once and endangered our careers, we’re going to be ready for them next time. We’re not going to be caught off guard. I want to do some proper research on who is working in the brothels, why are people choosing to enter the industry, and I want to look at the financial impact of having so many people fly into the region. We've never done an economic impact report on what sex work does for society. There is already a bill introduced to potentially remove legalisation statewide, and in the next couple of years, this could turn into a statewide issue. Our industry is going to have to defend itself, so I think my focus is shifting to that next year."
We cannot undo the ills of the past we cannot take back mistakes, but what we can do is do better.
"I can only speak for my personal experience during my three years working here. I have never been pressured [by Dennis], I’ve never seen him pressure anyone, and I’ve never seen him assault anyone. It goes so far against what I know of him. If something of substance does arise I’m absolutely willing to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.
"Much of all of this is sex workers being used in a political forum. We just want to be left alone to do our jobs. I just want my life to go back to normal. I want to be able to focus on my business and not defending my business. I want to work on my book and my podcast. It’s ridiculous and unfair. It’s no longer good enough for me to say, Hey here’s my Money Diary. I have to now justify everything going on in my life, everything in the brothel system."
If evidence does come up that you believe, if something does arise, would that change your outlook on your work or career? Would you stop what you're doing?
"No. Dennis has passed on; he no longer even owns the brothel, so if anything arises posthumously, even better for having Suzette in charge in that case. At this point, the brothels are being run by a woman. That’s very empowering.
"We cannot undo the ills of the past; we cannot take back mistakes, but what we can do is do better. Let’s make sure we do better in the future."
Can you talk about what changes might be happening at the Bunny Ranch? What's next?
"I really think the sky is the limit. I think that this next year with Suzette at the helm of the Bunny Ranch, we’re going to see a lot of changes being made, updating some aspects of the business. I'm going to continue to be an advocate, but I'd like to formalise things a little bit more moving forward. One of my goals in 2019 is to establish a Nevada Brothel Association that acts as a legal advocacy group for the continual legalisation of sex work in Nevada."
This interview, conducted over two phone calls before and after the midterm election, has been condensed and edited for clarity.