* Sex workers marketing themselves on social media
* Clients want "real" people
* Sex worker tweets: "Today's plan. Gorge on scallops, few glasses of vino, float in a pool, get laid"
SHE starts the week just like any other high-flying businesswoman.
First thing Monday morning she checks her emails and calls her PA to make sense of her diary which is always overflowing. She then decides which clients are worth hopping on a plane for, and which ones she can deal with from her own city.
She dresses. Like any woman trying to cut it in a world dominated by men, she's got to look just right, not overdressed but not understated either. Her makeup takes the longest time.
Too much or too little can make all the difference.
Little things matter in her line of work. Her name is Grace Bellavue and she is a sex worker.
Grace Bellavue is one of the new breed of sex workers operating as self-contained businesswomen who market themselves through ads in traditional media, and also increasingly through social media.
The 24-year-old started in the industry as a "parlour girl". That's industry talk for a woman who works in a legal brothel. But Adelaide-based Bellavue had the instincts of a businesswoman and the savvy to build a profile in an industry as competitive as any.
Her tools are her phone, her PA (a retired sex worker), her energy, her willingness to travel and above all, her sassy persona on Twitter.
Social media is where the real seduction begins, but not in the way you might imagine. This isn't about dirty talk or overtly saucy tweets. As Bellavue explains, a huge part of her appeal is her willingness to be herself in the raucous, 24/7 public forum that is social media.
"People want to have sex with a real person," she says. "When I am myself on Twitter, they tend to see me as more real rather than just tits and arse."
She's real, all right. Like most social media users, Bellavue's Twitter feed varies between the banal – like the weather or what she's eating or drinking – to the highly personal. And we mean highly personal.
Bellavue has over 7,000 Twitter followers, and says she would have seen hundreds of those followers as clients. Her followers are not only attracted by her real, uncensored personality on Twitter, but by the real, uncensored photos on her website.
"Putting your face out there definitely increases business," she says. "This industry has been very agency based for a long time. People generally don't like it when they order a 20 year old blonde and a 32 year old brunette rocks up at the door. That's why there's a trend towards more private operators."
It's not just privateers like Bellavue who are on Twitter. Escorts and sex workers across Australia are increasingly using social media as a tool to keep in touch rather than to attract business.
Rio is a Brisbane-based part-time sex worker with a full-time office job who prefers to do her two weekly shifts in the safety of a brothel. She is also active on Twitter, and admires Bellavue.
"She has definitely marketed herself well and that works well for independent escorts. If I considered going into that side of the industry I would market myself more on Twitter too," Rio says.
Rio uses her Twitter feed to keep in touch with other sex workers. Unlike Bellavue, Rio's life as a sex worker is a secret. A double life can be isolating. Social media is a way to share concerns, fears or just swap stories.
Back in Grace Bellavue's world, things are hotting up. Mondays and Tuesdays can be the busiest days of the week. That's when businessmen tend to travel.
The good news is they're not drunk like the last-minute Saturday night clients. But it makes it hard to find a spare minute to organise anything, like arranging a replacement credit card for the one she just lost. That's never a quick thing to sort out.
Bellavue charges up to $1,000 an hour for her services, depending whether you want the porn star experience or the girlfriend experience. Use your imagination if you're wondering what the difference is.
So is she making a decent living? That's none of our business. But we can say this. Like any businesswoman, Grace Bellavue has considerable expenses.
The travel and the taxis and the hotels are all factored into her hourly rate. But some things aren't like the condoms and lube, which she buys in bulk. Then there's the dry cleaning. This elegant, fast-talking entrepreneur spends over $200 a week at the dry cleaner's.
It's tough, expensive work with all sorts of dangers. But there are rewards. As Grace Bellavue tweeted yesterday.
"Today's plan. Gorge on scallops, salmon & prawns, few glasses of vino, float in a pool, sun bake, get laid. Better than brick making."