Made by me, for me: getting ready with a sex worker, a photo series
“identity” is an ongoing series that focuses on individuals and the many factors and elements in everyday life that we add and subtract to build our definition of self.
Morgan, a beautiful soul inside and out, is a sex worker based in the U.S. She invited me into her home to get ready with her before work (well karaoke, then work @ 1:00 a.m). We talked about being a woman, why strippers love Drake (cause Drake loves strippers) and how Elvis was actually a dirtbag (a soul crushing revelation to me when Morgan handed me Pricilla Presley’s autobiography).
"Love wasn't put in your heart to stay, love isn't love till you give it away". Morgan’s home is welcoming. I walk in with an overzealous confidence of the space like I know where I can find each room. This results in me getting lost down a hallway as I follow Morgan’s voice to her kitchen.
Cloudy. We start chatting over a joint and some iced tea. An hour or so passes before we decide it's time to load up the cameras and start getting ready for work.
[(1) Elvis & Me, a book by Priscilla Presley // (2) Friends Support Friends. Morgan's home that she shares with her partner Alex is decorated in art by their friends, another factor that makes their home so welcoming. // (3) That 70's Show, the living room.]
[Dulce de Leche aka Leche, Morgan's dog.]
Face Masks. Morgan shares that she does 2-3 masks a day. We talk about the importance of skin care over the use of make up to cover up our face. Us girls like being able to go out fresh faced. Drake is playing in the background as she gets ready.
Water. Morgan washes her hands as Leche watches at her feet.
Countertop. I'm drawn to the peacefulness of her counter top and the decorations in her bathroom with the perfume bottles and spiritual trinkets as her green calcite and other stones sit on a shelf behind me.
Hair. Morgan straightens her hair.
Legs. Morgan keeps her face mask on as she shaves her legs. We keep talking as the shaving cream slowly dissolves in the droplets of water on her leg. Morgan and I have met before, and I've worked with her partner on projects before, but this is my first time getting some one on one with her and I begin taking notes on how insanely similar we are — as humans and as women who hold down jobs in the working world.
Hooters. I compliment Morgan on her Hooter’s shirt and tell her about the uncomfortable time I'd worn a shirt just like it and a bouncer at a bar asked which location I worked at. Morgan gets passionate as she describes people, mostly men, asking similar questions when she tells them her occupation. She points out how inappropriate this is. “Why? Are you going to come visit me?”
Frocs. Morgan's slippers. Her and Alex walk around the house in matching pairs. I love how flat Morgan's lounge shoes are compared to the heels she'll wear to work later.
"No place makes me feel the same way." — Morgan describing her room.
Movie set. I compare Morgan's room to a movie set, something I am hoping doesn't offend her. As someone with a love for stuffed animals as well, Morgan is making me feel perfectly normal and at ease in her space.
"I would love for my room to be in/inspire movies and music video sets. I'd love to shoot more out of my room, I'd love for an extension of me to inspire something in you."
Make up. Morgan moves from the bathroom to her full length mirror in her closet to finish her make up after she washes her face mask(s) off.
Clothes. Morgan's closet.
Flash. Morgan applies eyeshadow.
Hangers. More of Morgan's closet.
Ground. Morgan's make up bag.
Details. More shots of Morgan's room.
Fuzzy. Another pair of slippers sits on the ground next to Morgan's bed. Again, I can't help but compare them to the shoes that sat next to her as she got ready.
Formation. Some of Morgan's shoes lined up.
Elevate. Morgan adjusts her heels.
Diamonds & Shine. Some of Morgan's favorite outfits on her bed.
"My room: made by me, for me." Morgan on her bed.
The quotes that were provided by Morgan were created after our film was processed and digitalized. I thought her words were extremely powerful and symbolic of our ability as humans to chose our own lives and lifestyles. "Made by me, for me" accurately describes how we can decorate our bodies, our rooms and jobs to fit our personal genres, no apologizes.