Manifestation : Heart of Babylon (Memoir Excerpt)
Creative Direction/Fashion Design: N3VLYNNN, Photographer: Johanna Ghebray

It wasn’t my first Merry-Go-Round with Stripping. For the past few years, my relationship with sex work was like an abusive boyfriend—a dark shadow that followed me everywhere I went, always luring me back to that same old life. Every time I sniffed the scent of desperation, the idea of sex work would reappear as a friendly foe, sweet-talking me back into its devilish embrace. 

…And I felt vulnerable to its call. 

I had worked as a webcam model for a few months back in Brooklyn, and I considered doing other things, including Escorting and Stripping—but it never quite worked out. In my experience, there was too much trauma on the job as a webcam model for me to sustain a living. It wasn’t worth it. 

Okay. I don’t give a damn what sex workers say about it being “empowering”, “real work”, blasé blah. Like yes—of course sex work is real work. In fact, it’s labor and it’s draining as hell. Do what you gotta do to live, but maintain perspective and don’t try to glamorize it just because it’s stigmatized. The Life ain’t cute! I recognize that there are levels, nuance, and meaning to everything—and just like literally any other life experience, sex work can play an integral role in people’s survival, and even personal or spiritual development. 

However, at the end of the day, Sex Work is rooted in a toxic industry that reproduces unhealthy human relationships. The clientele who visit sex workers are trying to fill big, gaping voids within their hearts, bodies and spirits through a fantasy transactional experience. And it doesn’t heal—because its rooted in one person serving an idea of their sexuality to satisfy the desires and projections of another, in exchange for money. It’s not love. 

I always felt deeply drained in any form of sex work, because I had to numb myself out in order to work at full capacity and maximize my earnings. I always knew that I would have to backpedal my healing journey in order to make room for sex work in my life. And yet in times like this, sex work constantly made a haunting appearance, asking for just one more dance. There was something strangely alluring about it—like an addiction. 

To be very honest, I felt like my relationship with sex work was karmic. Born from the trauma of this life, and beyond. 

I swear I was a hooker in a past life. I needed to get this ho’ing out my system. 

Given all of this background, it’s easy to say that I was deeply conflicted about my choice. But in terms of employment, that was truly my best chance. I began to research all the Strip Clubs in L.A., narrowing my options down to the ones that were most accessible by public transportation. Then, I made a schedule to audition each one. 

The night before my first audition, I dreamt that I had walked into an empty, dimly lit Strip Club for my audition. The manager, a frumpy middle-aged Latino guy, informed me that I was going to learn a lesson from my experience there. 

“Oh you’ll learn alright,” he said.


This was an excerpt from my memoir, “N3VLYNNN: My Path to Healing & Creative Liberation.” 

Chapter Title: Heart of Babylon.

Read Full Story & Purchase Book here.

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