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Price of Vice: What Does Life of a Sex Worker Look Like

“I’d dreamt of becoming a porn star from the age of 15”. Our new series Price of Vice tells the story of Kira Queen and other sex industry workers from Russia. Watch premieres of new episodes every Thursday on RT Documentary!

Easy money and a luxury lifestyle lure many young people into the sex industry. Gone are the days when prostitutes worked street corners in the sketchiest of neighbourhoods. Nowadays, sex industry workers proudly call themselves ‘models’, ‘masseuses’, and ‘escorts’, and many have Instagram accounts worthy of princesses. Society also seems to have become more tolerant.

While money is crucial for many sex workers, others are driven to the industry by passion. These girls insist their lives are good, embracing an acting career in adult movies, or offering their love to affluent clients rather than wasting it on penniless peers or embracing a career in acting. However, many must make sacrifices to achieve the towering heights of success in the vice industry.

Kira Queen was born in Dagestan – a Caucasian region in Russia ruled by strict traditional morals and family values. There was seemingly nothing in her lifestyle and upbringing that foresaw the career of a porn actress. Nevertheless, her first exposure to porn as a teenager largely determined her fate.

Maria Vlasova via Unsplash

“We were still teens back then, but the action really seeped into my heart, into my soul, and I wanted to participate,” Kira says.

Pierre Woodman, a French porn mogul living and filming in Hungary and Kira’s current boss, says it’s pretty standard for girls to take an interest in the industry at an early age.

“I get email almost every week of minimum 2-3 underage people,” Woodman says. “[They write], ‘Oh, I know, I’m 14 years old, I dream to be in your movie one day…”

Of course, porn producers are unlikely to take the risk of hiring an underage girl, however pretty or willing to participate. Instead, they will wait for the youngsters to grow up and come to the audition without possible lawbreaking. It is how Kira and most of her fellow stars entered the industry.

“It’s easy to get into this industry for us, girls from Russia and Post-Soviet space,” Kera says. “Because we are bright, beautiful, and both the fans and directors really love us.”

Kira Queen now lives in three cities at once. A suitcase, hotels, travelling… constant change of people and scenery. However, the reminders of her previous life – economic studies back home in Dagestan, search for happiness in Saint Petersburg — are all long gone. Together with Kira’s old life, gone are the loved ones from that life.

“It was a real disaster! I was snowboarding in the mountains of Austria, and I opened up Instagram to find I had over 20,000 comments on a single picture, saying, ‘We’ll kill you! We’ll find you! We’ll cut you up! Rape you!”

Kira’s family didn’t accept her new career path and turned their backs on the girl.

“They torched my car, spray-painted my doors…” the girl recalls. “My neighbours called asking ‘What’s going on? There are some strange people looking for you. So, I had to change my phone number and block all the messengers.”

“I went to the police in Russia, and they said, ‘You’re a porn actress! What did you expect?!”

Kira was unprepared for such a reaction. She didn’t expect that even those closest to her wouldn’t accept her as she is and give her up. She didn’t know that it would hurt so much.

“My brothers and sisters started calling with threats and insults. My mother took it very hard. I actually fell into depression. I was probably most offended by the fact that it was easier for them to cut me off than defend and support me, saying, ‘This is our child! And that’s that!”

“I actually fell into depression.”

However, the personal drama of porn stars is of no concern to those who run the industry. Everyone is free to choose their way, they say.

Today, Kira lives a solitary life. Old friends and family are far away. Making new friends is not easy and sometimes even dangerous. Their bridges are burned. All they are left with is coming up with the advantages they think they enjoy in their profession.

However, the girls try to keep their chins up. To find out how Kira and her friends from the industry try to stay afloat and fight their personal dramas – watch the premiere of our new documentary Price of Vice this Thursday!

Stas Svechnikov via Unsplash

Did you like the story? Then, watch another documentary Red Lights Out to learn how prostitutes had to work outside the law in the EU during the coronavirus pandemic!