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“It is about a search, too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.”


“I love the fact that there are very few jobs where every single time you go to work, you know that you’re making someone’s life a little bit better, even if it’s just for a little while, even if it’s just for an hour.”

Ava St. Claire works like most people: “I go; I do what I do; I get paid, and I leave it there.” The critical difference, however, is that Ava is a professional escort. She chose to work as an escort, which is legal in Florida, in part because men, she explains, “feel so entitled to women. They’re entitled to your time and they get mad if you don’t want to give them your number or smile at them. So I felt like I was taking control and saying: You know what, you can have all of those things but you’re going to pay me for them.” And they do: Ava makes upwards of $500 an hour with clients—all taxable income that she declares under her LLC.

Ava’s work provides much more than financial stability, however: “I don’t have a boss; I don’t have anybody that I have to answer to; I make my own schedule; I make my own rules; I set my own rates. And that sort of feeling is hard to come by, especially as a woman, and especially as a woman of color.” As a business woman, then, Ava both strives to serve herself and to make her clients happy. As she explains, “It’s a job. I’m not doing this because I don’t have the intelligence or the moral compass to do something ‘better.’ This is not my last resort. This is something that I love, and that I enjoy doing, and that I make a lot of people happy doing it.”