I Listed Sex Work on My LinkedIn Profile. Here’s What Happened Next.

“Sex work is the oldest profession in history. If we’re talking about LinkedIn as a professional platform, sex work has the foundational place in it.”
Arielle Egozi LinkedIn
Collage: VICE / Images: Arielle Egozi (left) and a screenshot of her LinkedIn profile

In September 2020, at the peak of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arielle Egozi’s creative agency lost all its clients. It was during this time that the Brooklyn-based creative multidisciplinarian decided to pursue sex work.

 On July 13, they updated their LinkedIn profile with “sex work”. Egozi, who has more than 11,500 followers on the platform, stated in their post that they “charge exorbitant amounts” and have “no problem taking rejections from those who can’t pay it” because “I have nothing to prove.” 


What followed the post was a fusillade of digital media attention with their face splashed across various international publications, while their social media and email blew up with comments, messages, and follow requests. “I was sure that this would get more attention than most of my LinkedIn posts, because it’s a bit controversial,” Egozi, 31, told VICE. “I expected it to get like seven comments. But I’ve almost been turned into a face of some movement that I never meant to start.”

For Egozi, who identifies as queer femme, pursuing sex work was also a way for them to explore how it could heal their sexual traumas, and to take ownership of their body as well as their career. “At the moment, I felt that ‘this is good for me.’ It’s one of the first places where I have found myself, because I can bring all my experiences into a room, notwithstanding the safety and security concerns, which are very real. It’s not the career I intended to have, but it’s a facet that sits adjacent to all the other things I am doing.”

Egozi in a sweater that reads "pay sex workers. Charge cops".

Egozi in a sweater that reads: "Pay sex workers. Charge cops."

Having worked extensively in inclusion and sextech, where sex was spoken of without judgement and shame, Egozi said they approached sex work with a “normalised idea” and with the same professional intention as they would any other job. “There’s safety, security, and other aspects, which are awful and scary. But I was clear about what I was doing. I would take a step back whenever I felt my boundaries being crossed and reassess. I made sure not to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with.”

It is with this experience of sex work, a profession that is tabooed globally and one in which sex workers are mistreated and discriminated against, that Egozi decided to update their LinkedIn. “Sex work is the oldest profession in history. If we’re talking about LinkedIn as a professional platform, sex work has the foundational place in it. If you talk to a sex worker, they can help you understand your boundaries, how to set up contractual agreements, how to value yourself at work, set rates, and be clear in your communication. If I said I have 20 million Instagram followers, that might make people really proud. But if I say that I am in the top 5 percent on the world’s biggest adult-content platform, which I have been, they might look at me funny, but it’s the same tactics and creativity that go into it.”

But even in their effort to spark a conversation around normalising sex work, the virality of their LinkedIn post exceeded their expectations and control with people even trying to hack into Egozi’s social media profiles and bank accounts. While some reached out in support, appreciation, and encouragement, many channelled hate, judgement, and questioned their morality. 


“Is she okay?” “She’s going nuts!” “What’s wrong with her?” were a few of the comments flung their way. “This is a very dangerous game you are playing,” wrote one user, while another comment read, “You get money, but is it worth looking in the mirror and crying in the shower when you still feel unfulfilled trying to fill a void?”

A comment on Arielle Egozi's LinkedIn post updating their profile with sex work.

“A big reason behind why I made the post was to make clear that I want this to be known as a part of what I bring to the table, so that I can be more comfortable. But when it blew up, it felt like things were happening to me, rather than for or because of me. There were some 75 pieces of press coverage that got my story and pronouns wrong, used photos of me, my family and friends from my Facebook account, without my permission. It was all over the internet.”

Egozi is acutely aware of their privilege to be able to come out as a sex worker to the world. They said that they want to continue driving conversations around decrimimalising and normalising sex work to ensure safety and security of sex workers worldwide. 

“We need to see sex workers as human beings, not as objects, tropes and stereotypes of people who have no agency,” they said. “Sex workers are not necessarily people who are sex trafficked – that is so different. The more we can decriminalise sex work, the more space and safety people will have. And coming from America, where Roe vs. Wade (a 1973 Supreme Court case that legalised abortion across the United States) was overturned a few weeks ago, it’s just another reminder of how unsafe our bodies are. If something isn’t safe for sex workers, it’s eventually going to affect everyone else, too.”

A comment made on Egozi's post.

Following the initial post, which had nearly 10,000 reactions and over 1,600 comments at the time the story was written, Egozi followed it up with another post to address both the “messages of support” as well as those channelling “misogyny, respectability politics, and hatred.”

“My intention here was to bring all my pieces into the room. It was to hold myself accountable in celebration of the choices I’ve made, the decisions that make me who I am and make my work what it is,” wrote Egozi. They also clarified that they are not soliciting sex work services on the platform. “It wasn’t to inspire. it wasn’t to be radical. It wasn’t to make you upset. It was to make space for myself.”

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