Euphoria’s Chloe Cherry lost friends because of her sex work. I know what that’s like

Euphoria’s Chloe Cherry lost friends because of her sex work. I know what that’s like
‘My mom said to me that sex work is the lowest thing a person can do,’ Cherry said of her earlier career

Euphoria star Chloe Cherry — best known as Faye — has taken over the small screen in the past few weeks, with a growing fan base across all the usual social media platforms. That includes one you may not expect to see your favorite HBO actress on: PornHub.

For those who may not know, Cherry is a former sex worker. On the podcast “Call Her Daddy”, she recently detailed how she left the porn industry prior to starring in Euphoria, but she doesn’t regret the time she spent earning money as a sex worker. Despite not regretting it, however, she says that there have been social and emotional consequences: doing porn caused her to lose a large chunk of her female friends. In her own words: “The only thing that sucks about working in porn is the way that people will treat you outside of the industry.”

As a sex worker myself, I understand what Cherry experienced. Almost all sex workers do.

Women outside of the sex industry often view the women in it as debased victims who need to be saved, whether from trafficking or our own poor morals. When we don’t want to be saved, we become “not worth saving anyway”, and are portrayed as being uneducated, desperate for attention, or a “gender traitor”. And even if we do leave sex work. we never lose the stigma — one only has to look at the treatment of Mia Khalifa to realize that, or perhaps read comments under the line on many of my written articles, where angry people talk about how “the hooker is writing again”. Can’t some of us be happy whores?

Cherry elaborates on her personal experience, in particular “the way that, suddenly, my friends that I was friends with in high school didn’t want to be friends anymore because they thought I was going to f**k their boyfriend. It’s like, I don’t want anything to do with your boyfriend.”

Unfortunately, these kinds of assumptions aren’t uncommon. Many sex workers have lost friends, family, financial security, housing and work opportunities due to such prejudice. It’s a common fear that we’re hypersexual succubi who want to sleep with your father, husband, boyfriend, or brother. Needless to say, that’s almost never the case.

Kaiia Eve, an award-winning dominatrix and porn star, makes an important point when she talks about the real-life consequences of such biases: “I’m not usually someone who gets down on people not approving what I do for work, it’s none of their business. But it does get tough when that approval translates to opportunities. I graduated college with the intention of going into social work. I was going to be included on some future research projects, [but] had to step away due to complicated family matters. I started sex work, and when I went back to further my career in social work, I essentially was told there was no space for me any longer and good luck. I can’t say for certain I wasn’t invited back because I was a sex worker, but that’s the only thing that changed professionally.”

Brielle Day, an award-winning cam model, added another disturbing dimension to the conversation: “When I first started in the adult industry, over a decade ago, my boyfriend was irrationally angry, saying that I should have asked him permission to embark on this career. Having to ask ‘permission’ to do anything, let alone to start a well-paying job, was ludicrous. I chose my career over our relationship. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Kaila Eve noted that she turned to sex work due to her husband at the time sustaining an injury that left him unable to walk: “[He] married me when I was a sex worker, but I also left because my sex work career became a daily fight. I started doing online sex work from home because my family needed the money and me physically at home to provide care. As time went on, I realized I was making more money than I ever would as a social worker. However, as my name became bigger in the industry, this man went from marrying me to screaming in my face that I’m a dumb whore for a chance I took on to save our family.”

People routinely abandon sex workers as friends, peers, and family due to their “morals”, which seems incredibly hypocritical. Almost everybody has sex, so what exactly is wrong with doing it on camera or for cash? Do people who work for Wal-Mart get questioned about their personal morals each day?

“My mom said to me that sex work is the lowest thing a person can do,” Chloe Cherry said, while elaborating on her career history. “And that’s the one thing I’ll share that I disagree with so deeply. And I don’t know if there are other people out there that agree with that but I think trying to put down your own family is lower.”

I agree with Chloe. When I first spoke to my mother and explained I was a professional dominatrix, she wasn’t happy by any means. Thankfully, she came around in time. Most people do when they see that sex workers are just like everyone else while they’re not “mattress acting”. The reality of the situation is that sex work is work, and we can separate business from pleasure. We don’t make porn or do sex work so your boyfriend can see it or hire us — we do it for the same reason others work in corporate America. We do it so we can put food on our tables. Attention and orgasms don’t pay the bills.

It pains me that Chloe Cherry failed to get the level of support and acclaim she deserved from her first acting gigs, but there’s an army of sex workers behind her who are thankful for her honesty and her willingness to de-stigmatize our work. She may have lost a few friends along the way, but people like me are ready to befriend her, and support her in whatever she chooses to do in the future.