Q&A with the real Belle de Jour, inspiration for Secret Diary of a Call Girl

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Mon, Jun 23 - 8:47 am EST | 9 years ago by
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    Secret-Diary-of-a-Call-Girl-promo-posterSecret Diary of A Call Girl is an adaptation of the blog, and later the book, written by a real London prostitute. Belle de Jour is still blogging, albeit sporadically. Here’s what she has to say about the series she inspired and its American debut.

    What were your impressions of the series?

    I loved the look and feel of the show — the slightly dirty, hazy quality London has, almost as if it’s another character. And I thought the leads were very well cast.

    So you think it was faithful to your writings?

    That’s something we discussed when the show was being developed. Obviously, there are a lot of differences. Belle in the series doesn’t have a boyfriend, and she sees clients at her home, which I never did. But I felt that while only some of the clients depicted were based on ones I wrote about, the spirit of the writing was very well preserved.

    Do you think Americans are more or less repressed when it comes to sexual issues than the British?

    Everyone’s messed up about sex, just in all different ways.

    Image courtesy of Showtime

    Do you think the show will be more or less scandalous in the United States?

    A difficult question. On the one hand, because sex for money is illegal in most of the U.S., it could be seen as encouraging a criminal lifestyle (prostitution is legal in the UK but pimps are illegal). But on the other hand, when the show aired in the UK, it came out at the same time as a new adaptation of Fanny Hill (a famous 1748 book that purported to be the memoir of a “woman of pleasure). In spite of the fact that the attitudes and subject matter were virtually identical, Secret Diary was given a critical beating, but Fanny Hill was somehow “classier” and beyond reproach. Maybe because everyone in my show has a funny accent, it will be seen as sufficiently high class to benefit from the Fanny Hill effect?

    What attracted you to the business?

    The money, and keeping my own hours; when I started I was still looking for a daytime job so needed to be free for that, which temping would not have allowed me to do.

    What are the biggest presumptions people make about call girls that you’d like to dispel?

    That we’re all emotional messes, or have drug problems or a history of abuse. That’s true for a lot of girls in the sex industry, but not all. I’m very tired of people assuming I must have a drug habit — I’ve never so much as even considered taking drugs.

    Why did you decide to blog, and eventually write a book, about your experiences?

    Quite simply because I couldn’t tell my friends about them. Funny things happened in the business, but because few of my friends knew at that time, I couldn’t have a laugh with them down at the pub like other people would. The blog gave me an opportunity to share the experiences and, initially, was more about what happens on the way to and from an appointment than during the act itself.

    What would you like people to take away from your book or the series?

    Probably that everyone has an internal life — from call girls to clients to just the average person on the street — and that a little empathy can go a very long way — especially in a city like London.

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