Ten years ago, Taylor Tara was sitting in a Cairns coffee shop, thumbing through the personal ads.
Her heart beating fast and loud inside her chest, she dialled the number of a local brothel. Answering machine. She tried another. Someone picked up this time, and yes, they were open to new staff.
“Come down tonight, and we can take a look at you.”
That evening, Taylor Tara began a new career as a sex worker. She was 47 years old.
The things you want to know about escorts, answered.
Taylor, a mother of three and grandmother of seven, is now among the more high-profile women in her industry. The author of a series of memoirs, including the newly released Behind Closed Doors, she’s joining a small cohort of her peers seeking to demystify and destigmatise the profession.
“[Sex workers] should all be held in such high regard for the work that we do,” the now 57-year-old told Mamamia. “We deal with so many different styles of people, so many different sets of problems. It’s just endless.”
“I have never felt so sick and so nervous.” The first night.
When she first started her career, Taylor shared the misconceptions most have about sex work. That it goes hand in hand with drugs. That it’s for a certain type of person, with a certain type of look.
But after ten years as a single mother, she had a string of “two or three” bad relationships, the last of which stood her up for their first weekend away together. And she took a leap.
“I thought, ‘You know what. If you want it, you can damn well pay for it.’ Because that’s all the relationships seemed to be about,” she said. “None of the nice things. We didn’t go out anywhere. It always just seemed to be [sex].”
Her first night on the job in a Cairns brothel, Taylor was lined up with the other women on shift, ready for clients to choose.