"Did you bring prop cash?"
"What? No we have real cash."
(Shout out to the manger at Vanity for letting us use a bunch of their singles... we had brought $1200 but they really turnt it up.)
I am at dinner, on another date. Eating another seafood tower. Staring at the hands of another man cut his New York Strip.
“Put yourself out there,” they said.
The way he cuts into his meat is weird and fierce and sharp. His hands identify as hands I do not want on my body. “It’ll be fun!”, they said.
“So, tell me more about your business”, he says; “It’s clothing, right?”
Ah, yes. And so it begins. The date conversation, where you go over all the compatibility requirements and have the same conversation you’ve had dozens of times.
“Well, yeah. Kind of. It’s very little clothing… I design work outfits for strippers and cam girls. All industry girls, really.” I look up from his weird hands to his face. He ponders on what I’ve said.
“Oh, haha, wow! Well that’s smart. Sounds fun!”
The conversation carries on, and he finally says it.
“You should market to housewives, I bet they’d love to dress up with this stuff!”
I smile, but not really. All the women reading this know the smile. Not to mention the fact that he has never run an e-com, has no expertise in market targeting, or the fact that I hadn't asked for his advice- this is a bad marketing move.
“Oh. Why would I do that?”
Pocket Draining Baby, this was my prime.
He is confident in his reply. He has no idea how much of a stupid idea this is.
“Well you know, bored housewives probably want to feel sexy! To dress up for their husbands, spice things up..” he suggests. His eyes twinkle with naive joy, similar to a sheep that escapes the slaughterhouse only to meet coyotes in the woods.
“Oh okay… right. Well… this company is not for housewives, and we did well over $600K in sales last year with very little resources. We’ve barely begun to tap into our actual market, I don’t see why I would commit brand suicide by marketing to people who have nothing to do with what my company actually represents.”
He pauses. They always pause. You see, he is the fourth man to make this type of suggestion to me and believes that it is novel. The way they present this is always a little different.
“Oh my buddy’s girlfriend takes pole classes! They’d love this stuff!”
“Haha wow! My ex wife and her friends dressed up as the characters from ‘Hustlers’ for Halloween… there’s big potential there.”
My date’s face scrunches up the way our faces do when we’ve been presented with something that just… doesn’t make sense. This always happens. It took me some time to understand why men like him were always so confused by my reply. At first, I thought maybe they were jealous. However that didn’t make sense – these men were all way wealthier than I was. Then it hit me.
Thank you for doing so much for me A, you'll always be my fave <3
Doing half a million in sales at a company that is exclusively for (and has only ever been marketed to) sex workers means that we exist.
Now, I don’t mean to “toot my own horn” here or be a show-off (maybe a little, ya girl is proud of herself). This revenue is peanuts to some e-coms. There are e-coms that do double that per month. Angel Candy is but a seedling in a jungle – but that seed has sprouted. If there’s money, then there’s customers. We. Exist.
This realization sends men reeling.
What do you mean you wake up and go to Starbucks? Don’t you just… disappear when the club closes? I!!! Go to Starbucks!
I know, just as you know, that most people – civilians, as we like to say – are fulfilled to cast us in their minds with the all the unpleasant things that they know exist somewhere, that happen to someone – but never to them.
Home invasions, getting struck by lightning, and strippers.
The cartel tossing people out of helicopters. A neighbor’s teenage daughter's percocet addiction. Hookers.
The shriek that pierces the air 30 seconds after gunshots break the silence. Poverty. Girls who piss on people for a living.
They do this even with the porn stars they watch, plastered on their screens – they only exist within the confines of their TV. Not in line next to them at the grocery store.
" I could never do that, I value myself too much!",says a woman who is fucking a man who makes her Uber herself to his house
In media, we are portrayed as both A) a stereotype, and B) a threat.
The stereotypes about us are abundant: we’re all drug addicts, we all come from broken homes, we are lazy and taking the “easy way” out, we aren’t smart enough to do something else, we’re too insecure to try anything else, we are promiscuous by nature – and the list goes on. And do those things exist in our industry? Yes, just as much as they do in… every industry. Yet the public uses these (often false and simplified) ideas to justify their belief that we are somehow less human, less real, and less deserving of autonomy and grace than them.
In movies, we are notoriously portrayed as a threat to the “happy home” or the “real relationship.” We are personally held responsible for breaking the contracts of relationships that have nothing to do with us. The wives of some guy named Dave, some loser named Scott, some jerk named Mark – all blame us for the ways their relationships have failed because it’s easier than admitting that they chose poorly. It’s easier than accepting that male attention is not in and of itself a reward, while seeing women be paid for all the things they were taught were only precious if they were free – their time, their bodies, their love – shatters their worldview. We stand united in being polite societies’ most convenient scapegoat.
My date quickly looks at me and then goes back to cutting into his steak. “That’s interesting…”, he says.
What he doesn’t say is “Why would you want to keep claiming that market? Don’t you know that now, since you’ve had some success, you can leave all that behind?” It’s as if they think I have Stockholm syndrome. Like I was a broken-winged bird whose wing has healed, but still fears the sky.
In lieu of a skincare routine at this time, I had Vodka clubs and red light
Players Club, South Hackensack NJ
I started stripping at 18 in 2007 and was terrified to talk about my job because I knew it could be weaponized against me. And it was. For the privacy of some loved ones in my life who are innocent- I will not go into detail. But trust me when I say that exes (ex-friends, ex-lovers, ex-collaborators- you name it) have held my job to my neck like a machete the moment they didn’t get what they wanted out of me.
We have lost our children, our ‘vanilla’ jobs, our scholarships, our communities, and more over being outed. Worry pricked my skin like needles whenever someone found out. Which stereotypes had already slithered around and choked the idea of me they once had? How much less innocent was I now, how much less worthy was I of being protected? I wanted to throw myself at their feet and plead, “I still matter! I’m a wonderful mother and a great friend and I have a dog and love plants. The scar on my left knee is from falling off my bike into the creek I used to catch frogs in as a little girl!”
I don’t feel that way anymore, nor did I for the last two years of my career. The industry is easy for me to talk about now; now that even civilians initially find me palatable. Their eyes shine with that Lifetime movie twinkle when I explain how I was once a sex worker, but grew a “seven figure E-com company” during quarantine. I am all the proof they need to know that everyone is dying to escape the yucky underbelly they imagine sex work to be.
When they find out what Angel Candy is, they are confused. Amused. Angry.
Why won’t you carry the shame we’ve given you?
Why don’t you want to be one of us?
I still have this dress and wore it to one of the dates mentioned in this piece (ex dressed up as Hustler character guy- Hi David)
Flashdancers NYC, NYC
Connectingwith so many of you online gave me a sense of belonging I’ve always lacked, butbadly wanted. Getting to laugh about things only we could understand has beenstellar for my mental health, seriously. So many of the stories I once acceptedto die with me are just… another day on sex work Twitter.
Inbuilding this company, I have healed the parts of myself that so badly wantedto authentically exist somewhere without having to explain or defend myself.Itfeels like nirvana to see you all being hot, dressing up, making money, showingoff, and apologizing to no one. Some call this the glamorization of the culture-but who better to glamorize OUR culture than US?
I refuse to accept the idea thatcelebrities and wanna bes (aka “not a stripper” pole dancers) should get toenjoy the sex appeal of our aesthetic while believing we- the actual sexworkers- should be ashamed of it.
Weare not a swimwear company, a festival wear company, or “inspired” by ourculture.
Weare for all the girls in the world who sell pussy pics for a living, whosedildo collection is tax deductible,whohave been banned by IG (ouroffices IP address has been totally banned from IG), and who love the rush offeeling dollar bills rain down on their bodies. This is a company for everywoman who has smirked and wondered, do you even know what value means?, as shelets the schwsh,schwsh,schwsh sound of counting money drown out the criticismsthat she must not “value” herself.
Post Signature shoot selfie by the baddies
Violet, Angel, Brianna, Venus <3
Angel Candy is a company that exists to make a profit. I do not mean to use “woo woo” language to convince anyone that buying our products makes you part of some magical or bigger picture, or that not buying our products excludes you from all that makes our community special. What I do hope to do in all of our branding, product development, and marketing, is to celebrate us in all of our humanity, in a world that hopes we will just disappear.
Angel Candy is one place that no matter how many, many, many men suggest otherwise- will always be for you.
I feel my phone vibrate on my hip. A new text message.
Had a great time last night, are you available for dinner Thursday?
I sigh and recall our previous awkward dinner. I should’ve been paid for enduring that.
To the ones who often only have each other: I adore you, today, tomorrow, and always.
Special Thank You to Venus for Proofreading and Edits <3
Shoutout to the men instead of saying something dumb said something like, "wow, that's genius," and even better, "let me know if you're ever interested in funding."
And the biggest, greatest THANK YOU to our customers. Thank you deeply and truly for making this possible. <3