Revealed: The secret life of a scientist

Revealed: The secret life of a scientist

Magnanti, the author behind the bestselling books detailing her secret life as a prostitute, has revealed her identity to ‘The Sunday Times’, claiming that anonymity had become “no fun”.

Magnanti is a respected specialist in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology in a hospital research group in Bristol.
Six years ago, in the final stages of her PhD thesis at Sheffield University, she ran out of money and turned to prostitution through a London escort agency, charging some £300  an hour. Already an experienced science blogger, she began writing about her experiences in a web diary that was adapted into books.

“I was getting ready to submit my thesis. I saved up a bit of money. I thought, I’ll just move to London, because that’s where the jobs are, and I’ll see what happens. I could not find a professional job in my chosen field because I did not have my PhD yet.

Money shortage

“I didn’t have a lot of spare time on my hands because I was still making corrections and preparing for the viva; and I got through my savings a lot faster than I thought I would,” Magnanti told columnist ‘India Knight’.

In London, she found an escort agency and started her secret life. “I did have another job at one point, as a computer programmer, but I kept up with my other work because it was so much more enjoyable.”

There has been huge speculation about Belle’s real identity, including a theory that she was a well-known author because of the quality of her writing.
The blog and books were criticised for suggesting prostitution could be glamorous.
However, the scientist has no regrets about her 14 months as a prostitute.

“I’ve felt worse about my writing than I ever have about sex for money. Anonymity had become ‘no fun’, however: ‘I couldn’t even go to my own book launch party,” she was quoted as saying.