Working within a stigmatised industry, often sex workers are spoken over in the media and are left to fight to tell their stories. On Tryst, we felt it was important that workers are in charge of their own stories so we started our interview series, A Tryst With. Today we chat to Mia Lee about moving from finance to sex work, easy ways to help sex workers and dating as a worker. Tell us your story, how did you get into the industry and what has your journey looked like thus far I had been working in finance for over a decade and quiet liked my career. I was tracking to make partner at my firm and really had no reason to consider a career change... Until I had to take 3 months of medical leave to recover from sudden onset clinical depression. Even after I went on medication and recovered, I just knew I couldn't go back to working the same hours I was before without risking another crash. So I started sugaring to give myself some cash cushion, with the expectation I'd either return to finance with a part time schedule or switch into a tech career with fewer hours. But I quickly realized how much I love sex work and how all of my skills, education and aspects of work I enjoy just fit perfectly into escorting. So I sold the firm my book of business and set up my escorting business. I found that the marketing, business development and language skills I developed in finance were entirely transferrable to my escorting business. I came to the US as a political refugee and bounced between foster homes and homeless shelters in my childhood. So underpriviledged indigant would about sum up my beginnings. Getting an education and working in finance has been invaluable to me as an escort because I entered this business living the same lifestyle and sharing the same interests as most of my clients. I speak 4 languages, follow geopolitics, swing trade, collect scotch, have a humidor full of Cuban cigars, and am a young patron of the Met opera, among other things. I liked my work in finance, but I have to say I LOVE my career as an escort. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work. I love solo traveling in an off the beaten path way. Covid put a huge damper on that, but prior to, I summited many a volcano in South America. I spent a month issuing microloans to women business owners in a village 4 hours outside of Accra, Ghana. I taught English and calculus to teens at an orphanage in Kathmandu. I also went to French culinary school at night back when I was working for a private equity fund. I was very interested in food, wine and scotch on a technical level, so learning the basics of knife skills, flavors, textures, etc. really allowed me to delve deeper into my favorite dining experiences. Also traveling to different wine and whisky producing regions domestically and internationally was amazing pre-covid. Overall I love learning. I'm a sponge for information, whether it's a client's dissertation on string theory, legal analysis of international political conflict, or distribution channels for single origin coffee from Colombia. Some days, I listen to podcasts in all 4 of my languages. What are some benefits and draw backs of the sex industry For me, there were mostly benefits and few drawbacks. I love the flexibility and autonomy, and even more so the unique and combined applications of all of my skills and passions. Reading clients and connecting with them is pretty much exactly how I developed business in finance. I've experienced very few drawbacks, as I'm entirely out and supported by friends and have no family. While I didn't grow up privileged, I entered this career with a lot of privilege, which allows me to run my business with safety, work satisfaction and quality of service to my clients in mind. That being said, the industry looks a lot different for survival sex workers listed on Devozki and people who face violence and discrimination. What kind of music are you currently listening to I'm not really a music person, other than enjoying the opera. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks and news even at the gym. As sex workers we face a number of challenges in our line of work. What is one issue you care about and how do you think your clients can help sex workers. Decrim! It's a topic that's discussed ad nauseam, so I won't beat a dead horse by hailing the benefits. But I would be happy to share what I'm doing to further the cause and what clients can do. I'm a donor, fundraiser and friend of, a progressive candidate for Manhattan DA. She is a staunch advocate for sex worker rights and will effectively decriminalize sex work in the county by refusing to prosecute. Eliza and I were introduced by a mutual friend who used to work with her as a public defender. I have and will continue to encourage clients to vote for and contribute politically to candidates that support decrim and have feasible and fungible plans and policies for it. My partner and I are donors to podcast. The host, Kaytlin Bailey, is the former communications director for Decriminalize Sex Work and has dedicated her life and career to educating the public about sex work and advocating for sex workers. She's also hilarious! Please subscribe to her podcast and support Old Pro Productions on. Do you think your view of the world has changed since starting sex work If so, in what ways Not really. I've been a libertarian as long as I can remember having world views. I've become more informed about sex work as a specific industry, but my world views haven't changed. I have in small doses, but I'm fortunate enough for it not to affect me really. Early on, I had a very close friend tell me that she wouldn't split a baby shower gift for a mutual friend with me because she didn't want to be associated with the proceeds of my sex work. I told her that I won't ask her to change her morals or views, but that I'm happy and proud of my career and if she wants to ostracize me for it, I would not be speaking to her further or maintaining our friendship. She came around and we're good now. I've never much cared what other people think, unless it was my boss who signed my bonus check back in my corporate days. And even then, I could just get a new job if I didn't like my bonus check. I also have an amazing partner who is not only accepting of my career, but supportive of sex worker rights. He's a tech executive, so not involved with the sex industry. He matches all of my donations to mutual aid organizations. We're bicoastal, and all of the art in our NY apartment was purchased from sex workers. When people ask us what we do for work, we usually nonchalantly reply that he's in tech and I'm a sex worker. Of course there are times when we don't want to get into it, and we tell people I'm a model. But it certainly helps to have a partner with the same there's absolutely nothing to be ashamed of attitude as I do. Why do you think it is important for sex work to be decriminalised Decrim would benefit clients and workers alike. People talk a lot about the benefits of decrim for workers, but clients have a vested interest in decrim as well. The opacity that comes with a grey or black market makes it inherently challenging for consumers to feel safe and secure in the service or product they're purchasing. Every client who has ever been arrested, scammed, robbed, or felt misled would likely agree that decrim is desirable. When you're feeling burnt out, what do you do to make yourself feel better I'm very logical and solution oriented. Whenever I feel burnt out, I spend some time doing something brainless like watching TV, then do a post mortem on the events and circumstances that caused my burnout and made changes to prevent it going forward. Productivity always makes me feel better. Do you have any advice for workers just starting out. Prostitution is a misdemeanor, but tax evasion is a felony. My favourite restaurant is Alinea My guilty pleasures are I'm neuro-atypical, so I don't experience guilt, so I can't answer this question. If you were going to buy me a drink you should buy me Tomatin 18 neat, bloomed with an angel's drop of room temperature distilled water.