I left school and I moved to Marrick Street, away from, my parents who have a beautiful home in the suburbs. Growing up I had everything I needed, most of what I wanted. And I left to live in a rooming house on Merrick Street, where I’m sharing a bathroom with 15 other people, mostly drug addicted. But I can finally party and live the way I want. I met a guy and he turned me out. He’s out here still. He was really abusive, but I didn’t stay with him that long. I hung out with him a couple weeks before he told me he was a pimp. He told me I was already doing it for free. All that made sense to me. I was already doing it. I already didn’t give a shit about myself or my body. I was already having sex. I had already been molested. He brought me to another girl and he said go with her. I got in the car. We did this guy and it didn’t seem that bad and then I got out of the car with a couple dollars. I started doing this more and one day I propositioned a police officer down on Murray Ave. I got my name in the paper and my parents and everybody was devastated. They put it all in the paper. I stayed the night in jail and I remember coming out of court and seeing my mother’s face and I just knew when I got out I didn’t want to keep doing that to my family so I ended up going to Boston.

I went to Boston in the combat zone, and here I am coming from the suburbs. I’m talking about Cadillac’s and pimps in gold. The lights. The cars. Girls are wearing mint coats, and wigs and jewelry. It was something you would literally see on TV. It was like the old 42nd street area in New York City. It was the whole street. Not just street, there were many streets. The combat zone was probably a 20 square block area, maybe more than that. This would be a strip club, this would be a dirty video store, this was an arcade where girls danced. The streets were lined with this and the traffic would just be johns. The girls would lean into the windows and they would actually lift their feet; the cars were moving so slow that you could just hang in the window. We would try to pick pockets while we were like “Hey baby.” The streets were paved with this kind of stuff. To make a thousand dollars worth is nothing in those days and quick. I got with another pimp right away. He put me in a rooming house there and the owner of the rooming house was another pimp.

I wasn’t with him for a minute before I got with the guy who owned the house. He owned an autobody shop and owned real estate. He was all about business. Never got high. Was against the drugs. I had to hide getting high from him because he would’ve whipped my ass for getting high. Those are the kind of things I got my ass whipped for: getting high, doing stupid shit with money, being out of place, disrespecting, every being around another pimp, or trying to be around my wife in laws. In a lot of ways I thank god I was with a guy like this. I got my ass kicked a lot, but not for stuff that a lot of girls got to instill the fear and stuff they did as part of coercion that isolation. He used to tell me go to school during the day, work at night, because you can’t do this forever. I mean if I had to be, and I hate to say this, but if I had to be with a pimp, this was the pimp to be with.

Selling Beyond Sex

He was a guy who was well respected around pimps because he had all the jewelry, all the cards, and he was always fly. How your pimp looked was a reflection on you. You wanted your pimp to look good. This was how low your self-esteem is. It’s not even about you anymore. When I tell this story and I talk like this, I cant even fucking believe I went for this shit. But that’s just where I was in my life. He took me in, put me in a condo in the city, gave me a convertible to ride in, showered me with jewelry and gold and furs for gifts, for holidays, for birthdays, but he bought all that hot and stolen. He had girls who were boosting for him, so it was free. You know, and he’s giving it to the other girls to keep them happy, so it’s just this big all ring of illegal, organized crime. He owned an auto body shop. He was involved in a lot of other things; he had insurance fraud things going on with cars. They were buying cars from salvage yards and they were saying they were fixing them and they weren’t. I did one for them and I got a check for $20,000. I went right to the check casher place, signed it over, and gave him all the money. The feds came on us, 23 of us got indicted for that insurance fraud back in the mid 80s. He did the time for everybody; everyone else just got a year probation because they wanted him. They knew he was the ringleader of the whole thing.

Without Consent

I remember the rule was never to get into a car with two guys. Never. But when you’re out there and your pimp says you can’t come home until you have a quota and it’s dead out there because police have made arrests or it’s just a dead night and you’re out there and its cold, you make desperate decisions. And I remember one night two guys pulled up and I made one get in the back seat and I sat here. I thought that doing that I would have some control over it. I’m in the passenger seat, I tell the guy where to go. He goes everywhere I go. I had a place behind a gas station; it was like a little ally behind the gas station over behind a homeless shelter. We go there and I’m going to do one and then the other and just get the money up front. I’m here and this guy wants a blowjob. I go down on him and when I come up the other guy has a gun right to my fucking head. Right to my fucking head. And I’m in this dark ally and I mean talk about fight or flight. I don’t know what I have or where it came from but I have the ability to really think on my feet, really, really quickly with situations like this. I’ve always been able to manage to get out of the situation and sometimes even fuck them up more than they thought they were gonna fuck me up. I’ve just always been able to land, just by the grace of god.

White privilege

When I was in the life there was a saying pimp would say. They used to say stupid shit. This was really disgusting. I don’t even want to say it. Saying things like, “ I rather see ten black bitches die than see a white girl cry.” They said things like that because white girls made more money. It was no secret that I made more money than my best friend (who was not white), so a lot of times, cause we were such good friends, we would say, “do you want the salt and pepper team?” You know? Play it up like that cause she was my friend. I kept her close to me. I knew it was usually me stopping the car but she was fast walker and a fast talker. She was fast with her hands. She was better at picking pockets. Those were her survival skills. She probably brought just as much as I did home and she had more challenges. Where I could just go and flat back (which is just legitimately doing it on my back), she could not cause I got more money.

We didn’t have to say these things before we went in. We didn’t have to say, “you be the decoy and I’m gonna do it.” Society almost says that to us. We already knew, if the other person black was gonna, they would send the store clerk or security on a wild goose chase while I could “play my color.” I could go in and not be watched.

We didn’t have to practice that. Society already told us that. We already knew that. It was almost something you just know. When you’re in that life, you just know.

My pimp even made me dye my hair blonde.

My Boyfriend is My Pimp

I’ve done so many things for guys; boyfriends, pimps lets call them all in one in the same. I was involved with a Jamaican drug dealer at one point and I was smuggling cocaine and marijuana out of Jamaica, strapped to my body, under skirts. Literally strapped. When we talk about being trafficked you know being exploited, it’s not always just standing on the corner there was a lot of ways I put my life at risk to give to the pimp or trafficker or boyfriend. There were many connections leaving Jamaica. One of them was the person who patted you down. I remember going through this line, I had met this person the night before so I knew that was the person, but you got three people, and they’re calling people for strip searches as you’re leaving the country. And you hope the right one calls you. I’m strapped with stuff all to my body. He calls me, takes me in the room and we stand there for 30 seconds. He doesn’t strip search me because he knows he’s being paid by somebody to let me through. I made at least three or four trips form Jamaica that way.

Life Without a Pimp Ain’t Easy

The combat zone was starting to shut down a little bit and it was harder and harder to be out there. He had me working more escorts. Escorts were kind of different because you would get famous people. Some of them ball players that came in and played the Celtics. I remember MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice were connected to the escort service I was working for and we all got backstage passes and went out with a couple of their guy dancers. You always got a couple of these ins, these perks, for being a prostitute. But something about the street I just loved. I left him. I was in the street and I had to renegade, renegade means without a pimp. It was really hard to be out there. The pimps would really harass me. They didn’t want their girls with me. If I had a girl I became friendly with and he found her with me she might get her ass kicked because she was with me and I could be influencing her to leave him or she got her ass kicked for not bringing me home. That’s just how the whole life was. It was just crazy.

Life After the Life

A part of me can fall back into being attracted into the whole lifestyle. My husband and I can laugh and joke about it because we’ve experienced so much of it. I love him in a way too because that I can do that. If I just had a square dude, how would I sit and share? For me , I cant go through the pictures from this time with people who have never been in the life. Its something people don’t understand. My husband and I can look at them and understand. I cant even explain it to others.

Bright Lights

I think you hold on to the idea of glamour. I was in a place where I didn’t think about myself, but the glamour of the life was exciting for a young girl. I was really doing things at a young age that people don’t do. It was just really exciting for many years in the beginning and you hold on to that. As a young girl, you get sucked up into the idea of it. I’m talking about really doing things at a young age that young people just don’t do. Going places. Having the best of everything. Going first class everywhere. Being backstage. Being in limos. Being on boats. Being on yachts. Being in Ritz Carlton. Everyday, new clothes and outfits. Living in hotels.

New. New. New. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash.

It’s really easy to get sucked into. it New cars. Just money flowing like nothing. Money. Money. Money.

I remember sometimes hiding my money all over the place because you’re jumping in and out (of cars). Sometimes, if I had on spandex or pantyhose, I would put money inside them. I remember going home and taking off my clothes and money falling out of everywhere. My stockings. My bra. My clothes. At the end of the night you’re counting hundreds of thousands of dollars and it was just crazy.

You go out shopping just for the clothes you’re going to wear tomorrow night. It is very easy to get sucked into that in the beginning. You don’t do laundry. You just get something new.

Living a life of not giving a shit about anything. Not a care in the world.