Home My Sex Work Bucket List My Sex Work Bucket List: Essence Revealed

My Sex Work Bucket List: Essence Revealed

Essence Revealed: courtesan, queen of the pro dommes, and tough stripper adventurer--in her dreams
Essence Revealed: courtesan, queen of the pro dommes, and tough stripper adventurer—in her dreams

When I started stripping, dancing in Vegas was the only thing on my sex work bucket list. Thanks to the internet, I was able to research, find out everything I needed, and make it happen. Off I went with printouts that contained information on how to get the paperwork needed for a business license, a list of clubs I’d like to audition for, how to obtain long-term, low-cost housing, etc. I was part traveling stripper, part lone tourist. I even have pictures of me in the wax museum with wax Oprah, wax Prince and the pair of dude buds who ended up walking through the museum behind me to prove it. Years later, I became one of those travels-to-Vegas-every-weekend strippers. Our weekend contingent nicknamed the one-hour flight from LA to Vegas “Stripper Express.” Whenever I saw a woman at the airport in sweats carrying not much more than a purse, I had a sneaking suspicion she was heading to work with me for the weekend.

So having crossed that item off my bucket list and conquered it, here’s the rest:

1) A Strip Tour. I’ve often read about women jumping in a car for a working road trip. I think it’d be quite the adventure to find a stripper Thelma to my Louise and hit the road, Jack! And don’tcha come back without stack, without stack, without stacks of stacks, stories of strippers being stuck on these trips with no money and no club that will hire them be damned. In my bucket list strip trip fantasy Thelma and I hit the road with our route perfectly planned. The only bumps in the road evolve into welcomed adventures. These adventures will be worthy of being tucked into my “this is one to tell the grandnieces and nephews” file. (I have no intentions of having children, so it’s up to my sister’s children to provide me with youngsters to tell these tales to. It’ll be as close to the granny experience I will ever get.) Managers will miraculously hire my buddy and I in the bat of a fake eyelash. Move over Thelma and Louise, the explorations of Essence and Spice are now what road trip chick flicks are made of!

2) Sell Real Sex. I’ve never sold real sex. The illegality, what racism does to rates, fears of major novice fuckups and (over share alert!) newly bacteria sensitive lady parts all keep me supportive of my sisters who sell it, but keep the prospect personally at bay. But two peas in a bucket motha, motha F%#& it, this is my list o’bucket and I can fantasize if I want to. In this fantasy, I call up the highest priced high-end escort agency I can find. They don’t ask me what my nationality is. If they do, they don’t then tell me that there is no demand at this price range for women who look like me. I’m immediately set up on lavish dates. I make in one hour what strippers made in an eight hour shift in NYC before it became Disney. The Ph balance of my womanly working equipment remains in righteous working order. In fact, I get flown all over the world to do 10K minimum weekend dates. I excel so much that I leave the agency and work independent until I retire. I’m so grateful for my good fortune that I train someone and pass her my platinum little black book of clientele. If she needs me, I’ll be relaxing at my tropical beach home under a palm tree sipping a cocktail with nothing but time on my hands.

Or maybe I'll just start my line of sex worker suitcases.
Or maybe she’ll just start her own line of sex worker suitcases.

3) Be a successful pro domme. I’ve had my experiences with D/s exchanges. However, I’ve never been a charge per hour professional domme. I have images of myself dressed like a badass in a lineup of other dungeon workers when a new client walks in. If it’s a submissive they seek, they barely give me a glance. However, when a client comes in seeking a tough, no nonsense dominant, it’s me they choose. One glance lets them know who the boss is. Once in the session they do whatever I say. They learn that it is best to follow my direction to a T…or else. I mean, I am not all brass tacks. I see myself as demanding, fair, and compassionate. I also imagine a dorm-like feel in the common area of the dungeon where ladies hang out between sessions. There I imagine myself occupying my time listening to the stories of more experienced ladies. If there are any conflicts, I silently observe them from afar. They are my own personal soap opera or reality TV show, and they do not touch me. At any rate, downtime is spent in entertaining engagement, whether in conversation or getting my watchful wallflower on.

4) Tour Europe performing burlesque. I am writing this in a cafe in Berlin. I got here a few days ago after competing in the 2013 Milan Burlesque Awards. I was one of 20 performers chosen to compete from around the world. I did not plan on getting in and I absolutely did not plan on going to Europe anytime soon. I told a few close friends that I got into a festival in Milan but wouldn’t be able to fund going. Every one of them said the same thing: “You HAVE to go.” With a whole bunch of encouragement from friends and cheerleaders, I started an IndieGoGo campaign. I thought, “I am not building a better mousetrap or doing community work, how can I just ask for money?” This was one of the most uncomfortable things I ever did. I did it, though, and for 45 days I asked for help, and ultimately, I got the funds I needed. It was an amazing lesson in receiving. So, I’ve taken one step toward my Touring Europe Performing Burlesque goal. I will be watching performances in London and Paris, and dancing in Hamburg and Milan. All right, who’s inviting me to come perform in their European city?

Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston. She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education. Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque. She's been published in two anthologies: Pros(e) & Johns, Marks, Tricks, and Chickenhawks. She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque. Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.


  1. Great bucket list! When I was stripping, I also wanted to do #1 and never did, to my everlasting regret.

    Done #2. Of course.

    Sort of did #3, but it was a short stint and I wouldn’t call myself successful. I was too young and way too nice.

    Have no inclination to do #4 but would happily read tales/view travel pix of someone who has!!

  2. Greetings Miss Essence, Beautiful,

    They will love you in Hamburg and Milan! I wish I were there to see them go nuts.

    I’ve done your #2 and #3 and lots of it, and am having a good time in reality.

    I lack the looks and self-confidence to actually strip, but I recently danced for a man 1/3 my age and gave him a hardon. Does that count? LOL I think it should count for something!


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