Welcome to the Undressing Room

La Mome Inette, Fetish Model, Modeling for Yva Richard in Paris in the 1930s

You don’t have to lead whores to culture. We ARE culture.

Welcome to Sex Worker Style! I’m celebrating how sex workers dress, why they wear what they wear to work, and how what they wear is both influenced by and influential upon fashion, dress, and culture outside of the sex industry. I’ll be combining memoir, observation, and research. I am a primary source, having worked in many aspects of the sex industry. I experienced many secret details of fashion, dress, and costume, watching how the interplay of workers’ preferences and aspirations, the motives of their employers, the tastes of customers and clients, and the directives of law enforcement affected those details. However, I know that I have to research history to give proper context to what I experienced, so I’ve been studying fashion history for 6 years now. I’m currently a resident scholar at the New York Public Library’s Center for Research in the Humanties, focusing on the intersections of sex work with fashion and culture.

I’ve been a sex worker for nearly four decades, working primarily, but not only, as a stripper and dominatrix. I’ve been an anti-censorship activist since high school, and a sex workers’ rights activist and advocate since the 1990s. I’m the author of The Burlesque Handbook and Fierce: The History of Leopard Print. I’m also the Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque. I’m proud to be a survivor and an achiever, after having been bullied, threatened, harassed, and dismissed, and told I would amount to nothing. Nanananana boo, here I am.

For those of you who want to support my work, you can tip via venmo @joweldon.

For all the visuals, follow me on Instagram at @sexworkerstyle.

For burlesque classes, see schoolofburlesque.com.

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April 2023