Lola Strawinsky is an actress – and a sexworker. Her thoughts on the similarities and differences between their two jobs – and what it really means to  “sell your body.”





“Stand there, dance something.”


That was the first sentence I heard at the theater rehearsal. I was fresh out of drama school, had signed a contract with a well-known theater and was in a production with a well-known director – could do worse, I thought. That it was completely self-evident that my love interest could easily have been my father – well, there were obviously more important dramaturgical things to talk about.So I stood in the middle of the stage and did something for my love interest and the director. I wanted to sink into the ground. Anyway – I was young and hopeful and the next piece would definitely be…In the next production I was to play the fiancée of a colleague who was over 60 years old. Kissing included. In the last production, the make-up was so elaborate that the make-up that was smeared on my face by the ton made my skin terribly bad, and when I say horrible, I mean it. But it wouldn’t have been possible without the inch-thick make-up been there and I got money for it, that was my job, you’d rather say YES than NO.That’s the unspoken deal at the theater anyway, which everyone there knows because we all made the same deal: We get paid, so far more than just our time belongs to the theater. And from my perspective – that of a young woman – this also applies to my body. It affects my family planning and if I have a family, it affects them too. 



“You Sell Your Body”


A common slogan and argument against recognizing sex work as a paid service is the phrase, “You’re selling your body.”When I talk about my job as an actress, nobody ever tells me that.I can’t just cut my hair or dye it. It would have direct consequences if I gained or lost weight. It was hard to imagine during the training and it is still an effort to say: “I don’t want to be kissed in this production, I don’t want to put the dress on or I don’t want to be touched by this colleague.”And of course: you could now say that this also happens within a production, and the people on the stage play a role. But consequently, it must also be recognized that as a hetaera I play a role that I have at least considered myself.




Play a role


What unites acting and sexwork is the fantasy I create, the image.I’m also selling an illusion, but not that of the director, but mine. As a hetaera, I built the framework for the illusion myself, in my workshop, so to speak. What people see, what image emerges when they look through it, is up to them, even though I’ve given them a direction. Through the decorations, through the scent of the wood, through the color of the paintwork.In the theater I felt differently, especially at the beginning. I was much more just the carrier of the frame there, which I didn’t make myself.A frame on two legs and the legs, let’s face it, totally interchangeable.Of course, that’s worded a bit drastically, especially because it’s also part of my job as an actress to fill the frame with life and peculiarities. After all, I don’t switch off. And by the way, being used can be awesome too, we all know that. But not for so little money, so much work and above all: so little self-determination. As a self-employed sexworker, if I want to change my appearance, I can easily do that. I am flexible in dividing my working hours and I write my own rules: where can others touch me, when and how. I can listen to myself and check every day how I’m doing at work. And, of course there are moments when I don’t enjoy my work as much, but as long as it’s not a fundamental problem, that’s okay. How often I went to rehearsals with a stomach ache, completely exhausted or afraid of not being able to do anything. Nonetheless, I love my job!The difference is: from the salary that I get as an actress, I can’t just take a day off with SPA, shopping and eating out after exhausting rehearsals. I have to keep going. As a hetaera, I have the opportunity to give myself a few nice hours after particularly stressful times. Then I bob in the salt water, get my back massaged and buy sexy lingerie to be the most radiant version of Lola you’ve ever seen!




Sexwork makes a difference


Someone once asked me if this affects gaming. My hetaera existence.The answer is: clearly yes. It got better. fearless.I’ve lost the awe of much older colleagues. Toxic male demeanor no longer belittles me. I’ve seen men like that in their vulnerability, I now know what makes them weak and I know what my advantage over them is. I have something they crave, and I’d like to decide that something for myself. So, when my mental and physical devotion is free and unconditional. And that it is not a matter of course.For far too long we have lived in a societal order where women’s sexuality was extremely regulated and repressed, where unrestricted access to our bodies and attention was the norm.For me, sex work is a learning process and a passion at the same time and just one way of many to provide appropriate conditions for people who want to take up my time and my body.To actively create a framework in which everyone benefits from the meeting, not to passively experience sexuality or intimacy – because at best I go back inspired and empowered. And if not, then see you in the SPA!Or at the theater – the next day at ten in the morning on the dark, poorly ventilated rehearsal stage! I love it both!