CULTURE

Liberated ex-call girl tells all

Turkey seems an unlikely place for a once-elite call girl from the USA to publish her memoirs but that is exactly what Dimitra Ekmektsis is doing and she wants to release her book in Greece next. Ekmektsis’s book «Confessions of a High-Priced Call Girl,» written with Patricia Lieb, was published in the US earlier this year amid much publicity because it gives details about a three-year relationship that Ekmektsis had with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, one of the creators of the hit TV series «The West Wing.» Sorkin’s apparent refusal to give Ekmektsis credit for the role of a call girl that he wrote for the award-winning show provided the creative spark for her to write a book about her experiences working with many wealthy and powerful clients. Ekmektsis grew up in Germany but was born in Drama, northern Greece, and wants to return to her birthplace to share her story. She told Kathimerini English Edition about her experiences via e-mail. Have you been pleased with the response to the book in the USA? For now, yes, very satisfied. I appeared in high-profile press coverage including The New York Daily News, The New York Post, Star Magazine, Globe Magazine and the nationally syndicated television show «Geraldo.» Appearing in Hustler Magazine’s January 2007 issue has turned out to be the most fun, because it turned out that almost nobody else appeared with her clothes on. The media outlets are looking to tie in coverage of «Confessions of a High-Priced Call Girl» with Aaron Sorkin’s new dramatic television program, «Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.» You clearly wanted to write this book for quite a while. Now that it’s been published, is it an anti-climax? No, it is the opposite of an anti-climax. I am lucky to be in this position. A lot of people have written books and were never published. Being able to write a book in English, which is not my native language, is quite good as well. It’s been difficult, but I was determined to do it. Why are you interested in getting the book published in Greece? Even though I don’t speak much Greek, I am proud of my heritage. As a kid, Homer was my favorite writer, hands down. He is still one of the most influential people in history, and he was a Greek. Most of our principles in modern life come from Greece and it would be a great honor to be published in this cradle of civilization. Call girls and prostitution are still a taboo issue in Greece. What is your reaction to people who think that what you did for a living was wrong? We say that prostitutes are selling their bodies, but how is that different from athletes, models or actors? They’re selling their bodies. The fact is that a growing number of women are switching to work in sex rather than in other jobs because they find it gives them more freedom and job satisfaction. Many people have never been touched in a caring way or had their emotional needs catered for. Sex work allows caring individuals to offer such services and they often just advertise as a prostitute because this is the easiest way to make a living. Like any other profession, there are the experts, the specialists, the all-rounders, the scoundrels and the bad people who need hounding out. Bad people ruin the reputation of the industry as do those few that are on drugs or drink too much. Was sleeping with powerful and rich men exciting? I decided to enter sex work because it seemed to be the only way I could throw my sexually repressive background to the wall. Sleeping with powerful men enabled me to liberate myself and establish my own sexual identity. It was empowering for me, because many of these men worshipped and admired me. These men wanted to be with a healthy, playful, creative, adventurous and independent woman. I enjoyed the entertaining conversations with rich, smart men. Having a glamorous lifestyle was also exciting. Designer clothes, first-class travel, flights on private jets and the Concorde, but I spent most of my earnings on my other career, photography. It was my passion, but it didn’t pay very well. You mention in the book that prostitution should be decriminalized in the US. Why do you believe that? Many men today enjoy intimate sexuality with more than one woman; they enjoy different personalities, bodies, interacting sensually with different women which also helps them learn good sexual and intimacy skills. Going to sex workers is far better than an affair and can actually help keep otherwise loving marriages together. Most clients are just ordinary, normal, well-adjusted men who enjoy physical intimacy with a variety of women and it is physically and emotionally healthy for men. Many shy, socially phobic and disabled men rely on prostitutes to teach them how to gain a positive body image, seduce and make love. In your book, you say that your regular clients were «utterly decent and reliable men.» But many women in your profession come into contact with the darker side of this world such as abuse and exploitation. Have you ever been involved in helping these women either on a personal level or through some organization? The US, based on our puritanical forcing of a certain religious view, violates women’s right to have control of their own bodies, and our culture suffers because of it. I approached the United Nations and am hopeful of working with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to see implementation of CEDAW in every nation. Your disappointment with Aaron Sorkin was a key motivating factor for you to write the book. What would you say to critics who may claim that the whole project was just motivated by revenge? It was never about revenge. My ambition was to lift the lid on both of these intriguing worlds – the Hollywood power elite and call girls. Traditionally, Hollywood uses call girls both for sex and for inspiration and these men, like my former client Aaron Sorkin, usually get a lot of admiration and respect. Yet the call girls who inspire the creative talents of these writers and filmmakers do not. The key motivating factor was to turn the equation on its head: I believe that Hollywood, as the creator of mass media, has the tremendous power to change people’s images of call girls and make the profession more respectable, yet they choose not to. They keep exploiting the image of prostitutes as victims and try to enslave call girls in the roles of victims and criminals. Vastly popular films like «Pretty Woman,» «Taxi Driver,» «Risky Business» and «Klute» all exploit the image of prostitutes as victims. You describe in the book how you were paid large sums of money to sleep with men. Do you get greater satisfaction from the money you’ve made by writing the book? Absolutely. But my greatest satisfaction comes from people who read the book and can have an open discussion about it. What’s next for Dimitra Ekmektsis? My plan is to get «Confessions of a High-Priced Call Girl» published worldwide and to produce a TV show or film based on the book. I would also like to write a weekly newspaper column about sex and relationships, and I would like to have a call-in radio show where I can give people advice about their sexual dilemmas. I am currently writing the sequel «Confessions of a Retired Call Girl» and traveling to Turkey in January to promote the book.