real life

Samantha X was once Australia's most high-profile sex worker. Now she's quit.

Content warning: This post discusses suicide and might be triggering for some readers. 

Australia's most high-profile escort, Samantha X, is saying goodbye.

For years, Samantha has talked openly about sex and what happens when a client requests her services. She's spoken adamantly about how sex workers can save marriages and she has never shied away from discussing why she upped and left her job as a magazine journalist in favour of escorting - and how it affected her relationships with those closest to her.

But now, Samantha X is passing the baton back to her "real" self, Amanda Goff. A decade ago, Amanda created Samantha as an alter ego; a sexy, confident woman who didn't conform to society's rigorous rules.

Yet, the mum of two admits she always felt "a bit like a fraud" as Samantha X. She didn't feel inherently like her true self. And after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder 18 months ago, she finally knows why.

"I'm evolving," Amanda tells No Filter host Mia Freedman. "When I was diagnosed as bipolar, it was a massive relief for me. And now I'm medicated. The professor, Gordon Parker [who was treating her], said to me, 'You will finally know who Amanda is'. And that just jolted me because I thought, 'I don't know who Amanda is'.

"I had a conventional life, a conventional relationship. I walked out of that, and I created this character, and I created this life... and I didn't feel like me. It wasn't me."

Listen to Mia Freedman's full interview with Amanda Goff on the No Filter podcast below. Story continues after audio.


Becoming sober four years ago set Amanda down the path of finding out she was bipolar. "I was the champagne party girl. My behaviour was becoming out of control. I used to black out. Once I started drinking, there was no filter. There was no predicting what was going to happen. And I couldn't stop."

When friends would try to intervene or speak with her about her abuse of alcohol, Amanda would disregard their concerns. But then she had a lightbulb moment.

"I went to a school barbecue at a friend's house, full of mums and dads in Bondi, and I got so smashed. It was during the day, and I remember going there thinking, 'Don't drink, don't drink, don't drink, don't drink, don't drink, don't drink'. Of course, I drank," Amanda recalls.

"And I just remember one of the mums saying that was a pretty inappropriate thing to say. I don't remember what I said. I still don't remember what I said, and I don't want to know what I said. But anyway, she said, 'You need to ring this mum and apologise'. So I did. I said, 'Oh, you know, such and such, I believe I said something inappropriate. I'm really sorry', thinking she'd say, 'Oh, we were all trashed'.

"She said, 'Amanda, your behaviour yesterday was the reason I've been sober for 10 years'. That made hairs go off on the back of my neck. I thought, 'Shit'. And she said, 'I can't tell you what to do with your life. But I was like you. I was the party girl until my boyfriend jumped off the gap'. Even then I thought, 'God, yeah, yeah, yeah'. But I went to a recovery group."


Going to AA saved her. But while she got sober - and hasn't had a drop of alcohol in four years - her behaviour remained reckless. 

"I was sober, but my life was still unmanageable. It was still chaos. I was still making really poor choices, like walking into a BMW garage, in a bikini and denim shorts off the beach, and getting a convertible BMW, just off the cuff, when I had no money. Or going to pick up dry cleaning and coming back with a Great Dane, an aggressive dog from a rescue centre," she explains.

"And then I'd have these episodes - I was really, really high and happy and manic, and I'd make decisions like that. I'd be very creative and have lots of ideas. And then I would slump. I wouldn't be able to get out of bed and I'd feel suicidal. I'd think everyone would be better off without me. And it just used to cycle."


After mentioning her suicidal thoughts to her psychologist, Amanda was referred to a bipolar psychologist who then referred her to Professor Gordon Parker. After an hour of speaking with her, Professor Parker told Amanda that while he was usually 80 per cent sure his patients were bipolar after meeting them, with her he was 100 per cent sure.

"I was like, 'Oh, god, that's what it is'. And I burst into tears," Amanda says. After all this time, she could finally put a name to what had been happening to her. She felt immense relief.

Amanda Goff writes: 'I believe escorts save marriages. But I'm relieved to no longer be part of the deception.'

According to Amanda's understanding, bipolar is a condition where you have cycles. There's bipolar one and bipolar two - bipolar one is where you have extreme mania, where you're up all night talking to yourself, hallucinating, and the lows are pretty bad. Amanda has bipolar two, where it's less severe.

"Bipolar can be a gift, because you're very creative. You can achieve a lot, and I wrote my books really quickly. But in a manic state. And I reckon most of Samantha's life was a manic state," she says. 


"Where now I'm getting better. I look back on that life and I don't recognise that woman. The Channel Seven interview [on Sunday Night in 2014], I can't even bring myself to see it. But when I do, when I see it on online, a still from it, I feel for that woman."

While she can't speak for everyone, Amanda does think that most sex workers create "characters" to help them in their profession and to provide protection. It's just that most sex workers don't go on national television to tell the world about it.

"I think that's part of my mania, to be so out about it. And that's the thing I cringe about now," she says.

"It's not necessarily that I regret creating [Samantha] - she saved me. I truly believe that she saved my life many times. There were times where, as Amanda, I couldn't get out of bed. If I had a job that I didn't really want to turn down, especially my dear clients that I knew for a very long time, I would force myself to. Just to be with another human being. Just to have a conversation."


Once under proper medication, Amanda's moods began to stabilise. It was then that she realised she didn't feel the need to escape from her life anymore.

"I wanted to know who Amanda was; I've never really known who Amanda was. And as long as I kept creating this character Samantha, I would never know who Amanda is. And I started to feel more like Amanda. Changing the way I look, not having the filler... and there's nothing wrong with filler, if women want to go and get filler, I certainly am no stranger to it. But I didn't need to do that so much," she says.

"I wanted to do different things with my life. I was getting very, very tired, emotionally, of giving everything to someone else. And the money; money comes and money goes. I don't have 100 grand saved up. That's another thing, I never worked that much. So I wasn't working eight hours a day. I wasn't even working every week. So I wasn't making oodles and oodles of money. I was making enough to sustain a lifestyle, which I did. And I'm very grateful for that. But the money is not important for me anymore. As important."


So, what's next for Amanda?

"I've been thinking about what I want to do. I'm excited about the future. I'm doing a coaching course, an executive coaching course, because I would love to still offer that safe space for men and just do it with clothes on," she says, laughing.

"I don't want to shave my legs anymore. Well, I will. But I'm just sick of it. I am so tired of, of having to be... not sexual, but sexy. I just want to be me. And this is funny. Well, I think it's funny. But I went and bought five tracksuit pants, and I wear them in succession now. And it's so nice not having to get dressed up. Not that I would really, but I don't feel the pressure.

"I just can't wait just to let it all go. I'm so excited to just be Amanda."

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If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Feature image: Instagram.

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