Scientist misses 'job satisfaction' of old life as call girl

Lost passion


 In her first public appearance since she revealed her identity, Dr Brooke Magnanti, 34, described the job satisfaction she gained from prostitution. “I miss the moment when you walk into a hotel, and that feeling of ‘I am about to do a job and I am about to do it well’,” she said in an interview on The Book Show on Sky Arts 1.

Since outing herself in ‘The Sunday Times’ to thwart an ex-boyfriend’s kiss-and-tell, Magnanti has been the subject of hundreds of column inches. She has attracted ire for glamourising sex work, pride from her mother, support from colleagues at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health, and Freudian theories from cod psychologists the land over. Reflecting on the impact, she told presenter Mariella Frostrup that she was relieved at her unmasking six years after starting the blog, which became a bestselling book and television series.

“It’s much nicer on this side. Partly because it was something I was always afraid of —even if not on a day-to-day basis — just, something would happen. I’d have a missed phone call from a number I didn’t recognise and I’d think ‘That’s it. They’ll be at my door tomorrow’.”

The specialist in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology, who worked as a London call girl for 14 months in 2003-04 while completing her PhD thesis at Sheffield University, said she had feared losing her job should her identity be discovered.

She dismissed theories that she turned to prostitution out of a sense of revenge at her own father’s addiction to prostitutes and crack cocaine. She has not spoken in three years to Paul Magnanti, 61, a former plumber who lives in Florida and who introduced her to some of the estimated 150 prostitutes he has had sex with. “I didn’t fall out with my father until after I’d written the first book, at which point I was no longer in sex work,” she said. “We didn’t fall out about the girls, it was the drug use.”

She dismissed any feelings of shame: “It wasn’t so much that I was ashamed myself, but I was afraid of other people’s reactions.”

She insisted she had not glamourised sex work. “My experiences of the business — let’s not mince words here – were very lucky. And I managed to get out of it before it became the bulk of my lifestyle. And I look at where I am now and I’m very happy with it.”

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