In August, two Quartz reporters, Allison Schrager, who’s also an economist, and Siyi Chen, a video journalist traveled to Carson City, Nevada to visit the famed Moonlite Bunny Ranch Brothel. They interviewed some of the few legal sex workers in America, and found that to really understand the work, they also needed answers to some basic questions. Here, Alice answers some of these questions in her own word. At her request, we used her stage name, not her real name. The following is lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Alice Little, in her early twenties, is a top booker at the Sage Brush Ranch in Carson City, Nevada. She’s worked at the ranch for just under one year. She is 4’8 and is proudly “the shortest legal escort” in Nevada. She lives in Carson City when she’s not working.
Her financial goal:
My investment goal is that by the time I retire, I have over $1 million in savings and investments, in liquid assets, and also in investment properties. I’m really looking into the real estate industry right now. There’s a lot of properties that are priced quite affordably throughout the midwest. So I’d like to acquire a few of those as long-term rentals and once the market really bounces back up, perhaps turn around, sell, and reinvest in larger properties.
Alice just bought a bed and breakfast with her college friends. She also has a healthy retirement account and savings invested in index funds.
Her long-term plans:
I see myself doing this long term. I love what I do, and it’s just been very beneficial to me financially, as well as personally. Every time I meet a new person, I feel like I grow a little bit, you know, for myself. Like hear about their stories and their experiences and, I don’t know, I feel like it makes me a better person.
What I’m thinking of is that when I am in my forties and fifties, I will have a property out here that’s very, very comfortable, either up in Lake Tahoe or in Virginia City. I see myself with a couple of dogs, perhaps a cat. And just really relaxing. I don’t see myself with another partner. I’m a very free spirit; I am single, and happily so. And I just I see myself loving life and being very successful in this industry. I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon, that’s for certain.
On her first negotiation:
I was shaking like a leaf. I was so, so nervous. But one of the things that the ranch does for us, is they pair us up with an older, more experienced girl that has been here. And she acts as a big sister to us. So, she comes into the room during the first negotiation, and beforehand she’ll give us a little bit of training: “Hey, this is how you can just bring him into the room, sit him down on the bed. And I’m going to help you through the first few negotiations where I’m going to talk and just support what it is I’m saying.” And it really is more so listening than speaking about it for your first few times, while you get comfortable with the process and you understand what you’re worth really is.
She’s [the big sister] speaking and they’re on the bed and I’m rubbing his shoulder and I’m looking into his eyes and making a connection. And it’s really more of a conversation than anything else. We always try to leave the business at the door because this is an establishment that’s based off of fun.
On telling her family:
I just threw it out there and said, “This is what I am doing with my life. You can either choose to accept it and be a part of my life, or you cannot accept it and not be a part of my life. I’m not going to change who I am and what I enjoy for someone else in that particular regard.”
They just kind of said, “You know, if that makes you happy, if you’re safe, if you’re having a good time, you know, go for it.” We actually put on the HBO Cathouse show and watched it together in the living room.
So, the way that it worked is I decided to come home for a family dinner. I sat down at the table and said, “Have you guys ever heard of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch?” Because that’s the big name that typically, if you’ve heard of brothels, you have heard of the BunnyRanch. So, we’ll start off with that. And they hadn’t, unfortunately. And so I explained what it was and mentioned I was going to be working at one of the sister locations. And I think my mother took it a little bit harder than my father did. He was like “That’s great, you’re a beautiful girl, that’s wonderful, I’m so happy for you.” Where as my mother like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, I want grandbabies.” And I’m like, “You know, that’s nice, I’m not interested in child at this time. I don’t think that’s for me. Sorry mom, better luck with my siblings.”