For this week's First-Person Shooter, a friendly sex worker named Alissa reached out to us on Twitter after we posted a call for new people with unique hustles to burn through two rolls of film.
Part of the reason we like this column is that it gives us a brief vantage into world of someone with a distinct and specialised lifestyle, one that the average person might not have insight into otherwise. Alissa's photos of Sheri's Ranch, the legal brothel in Las Vegas where she's been working for six years, are no exception, as they illustrate that the life of a sex worker is certainly non-normative, though not something to stigmatise or be horrified by. If anything, the environment looks clean, safe, and honest. Below, we talked about what life is like at the brothel, as well as how she got into sex work.
VICE: What you get up to on your day?
Alissa: First, my day starts with a an early workout in our gym then I make sure my room is set up with all my supplies I need for the week: Condoms, toys, cleaning supplies, lube, and more are set up and outfits are picked out. I like to switch between lingerie and sexy dresses—heels are required!
When my hair and make up is finished, I go check my emails for scheduled appointments and potential clients. I meet clients who don't book appointments in advance at our sports bar or through a line-up with the other girls before luring them back to my room. Once there, we negotiate pricing and discuss the details of our time together. The payment is brought to the shift manager in our office and I input the "party" information in our computer system—a "party" is what we call our sessions together at the ranch. At the end of our party, I bring my client back to our parlour where our hostess assures they had a good time and they go back to our sports bar or back to their car or our limo service with a smile. I clean up and wait for the next client. I end my day back in my room and wind down with a good book or conversations with friends who are working that week.
How long have you been doing sex work? And how long at Sheri's Ranch?
I have been a sex worker since January 2010, first working illegally as an escort in Seattle. Eight months later, I learned a safer and legal way to work and have been at Sheri's Ranch ever since—it's been six years now.
How'd you get into the sex industry?
A friend who was escorting on the side mentioned it was a way to make fast money. Being a promiscuous girl, I was enamoured with the sensuous lifestyle. Another escort friend informed me about legal brothels in Nevada, specifically Sheri's Ranch. I looked at their website and submitted my pictures. The next week I was on a plane to Las Vegas.
Are there specific rules at Sheri's Ranch?
To keep our environment safe and regulated there are lot of rules at Sheri's Ranch. No recording equipment or cameras are allowed to protect the privacy of our customers and ladies. (I totally broke the rules, with permission!) No weapons or drugs. We book all of our earnings and receive a paycheck the following week, so we do not keep money on us. If you are caught stealing or using drugs you are immediately removed from the property. Condoms are mandatory for ALL activities—safety first! No soliciting outside of the brothel. We are considered a lockdown house so once we arrive and start working we are not allowed to leave till our contracted end date. That also means customers cannot take us out of the brothel.
How many people work there with you?
We can house 25 ladies at a time, and there are usually at least 17 scheduled a week. There is a constant change of over 100 ladies every week. We also have our other staff that includes housekeeping, 24-hour security, shift managers, hostess, cooks, maintenance, and bartenders. There is a manager for the back of the house staff and our Madam who is in charge of us ladies.
What was your most memorable experience at Sheri's?
My most memorable experience would have to be a client that came and stayed a whole week with me. We stayed out in our bungalow suites with champagne, drinks, and food served all week, bringing in different ladies every night to play with us. I even got to play with my girl crush! We'd spend all day and night playing different sex games and just hanging out watching movies. We got to use all of our specialty rooms including the jacuzzi room and S&M room, enjoying everything Sheri's had to offer.
What are the house specials? Do you do all of these?
Our House specials is our sex menu listing all the activities that can be provided at Sheri's Ranch. I provide most of the activities depending on the price they can pay. The most popular is half and half, which is sex and a blowjob—not creamer for your coffee. Some of my favourites are Girl on Girl Show, Bubble Bath Party, and Role Playing.
What do you do during your downtime?
During my downtime I hang out in the bar with the other ladies, customers, and locals. We drink, play pool, listen to music, and sometimes catch a lady dancing on the pole! On Thursdays, one of our locals like to dress up and host karaoke; we have a lot of fun. I also have a YouTube show that I created and film called Sheri's Cribs I interview each of the ladies as they give me a tour their bedroom. It's a great way to meet all the ladies.
Do you have any advice for somebody who wants to get into the sex industry?
I would suggest to keep it legal! Brothels are the only safe and sane way to work in the sex industry. You can make more money, have fun, and be safe!
If someone wanted to come visit you at Sheri's Ranch, how would they arrange the visit?
They can visit my profile on the Sheri's Ranch website. Send a DM. You can also follow me on Twitter and YouTube.