- A LinkedIn user made waves after they listed "Sex Work" under professional experiences.
- Arielle Egozi said sex work has just as much of a place on LinkedIn as any other job.
- For Egozi, sex work gave them financial freedom and foundational professional skills.
Arielle Egozi, who went viral last month after listing "Sex Work" as one of their professional experiences on LinkedIn, believes the sex industry is just as worthy of being on the site as any other career.
"Sex work allowed me to see that there were other ways of doing things," Egozi, who identifies as queer femme and uses she/they pronouns, told Insider. "It taught me that there are a million other ways to sell your body, your mind, your soul, whatever it is."
The 31-year-old first made waves on July 13, after updating their LinkedIn page to include sex work and sharing a post to their followers explaining the decision. In the message, Egozi wrote that sex work has given them financial freedom by allowing them to "charge exorbitant amounts" and taught them countless professional skills.
"I left an in-house job with fancy benefits two weeks ago and the reason I could do that was sex work," Egozi shared on LinkedIn. "I had just enough saved from selling and engaging my image that I could ask myself if I was happy. I wasn't."
Egozi told Insider they were inspired to make the change after quitting their position branding company where they "felt disempowered and objectified" and like their "creative energy was taken for granted."
"The higher up I've gotten in my career, the more I've felt that I had to repress different parts of my identity," Egozi said.
'The ugly underbelly'
While Egozi expected to receive maybe a handful of responses, they never intended to become "the face" of this issue, emphasizing their experience may not be representative of others in the industry.
"I have enormous privilege," they said. "I have the agency of this not being the main way I make money. If it wasn't a choice for me, I'm not sure that I would feel very empowered."
Nonetheless, the post quickly garnered thousands of reactions and hundreds of comments on LinkedIn from all sides. Some people appeared to draw correlations between their own experiences and Egozi's, while others criticized the post. Some even tried to hack into Egozi's social media and bank accounts, Egozi said.
"It really showed me the ugly underbelly of how we look at the American work ethic," Egozi said. "There were all these people posting these disgusting things. These are people on LinkedIn who have their full names and employers attached. If they think they can say these things without consequences, how can someone like me feel safe in that environment?"
On the other hand, Egozi said they received dozens of messages from people with white collar jobs in similar situations.
"Every single person knows a sex worker," they said. "People just don't feel safe coming out because of the highly stigmatized and dangerous ways we've been treated in society."
Egozi first entered the industry in 2020 after their creative agency lost several clients due to the economic turmoil of the pandemic. They'd never been far removed from sex work as Egozi had worked in the sex tech world and alongside sex workers in the past.
"Part of it was about cash, but I also felt like it was a place where I could confront a lot of my own personal fears and traumas," Egozi said. "It allowed me to take ownership of myself and my career," they added.
'The actual sex is so little of it'
Ultimately, Egozi said sex work has given them numerous professional skills — the same types of job qualifications that LinkedIn was designed to promote.
"People forget that the word 'work' is attached to sex work — the work of building a brand and a company. The actual sex is so little of it," they said.
"I know how to engage audiences and elicit emotion from them. I know how to make sales, build my own brand and community, and advertise it. I also identify leads and filter them. And all of that is not even taking into account the creative production of all of it if you do adult content," Egozi added.
Egozi has received multiple job offers since they first posted about the issue on LinkedIn and they have continued to work in the tech world as an advisor and consultant. Egoiz said they don't plan to leave the industry, but the popularity of their LinkedIn post has made their job more dangerous and they've already begun making plans to address safety concerns.
"I'm not giving my agency over and I have yet to see a company that I trust giving myself over to," they said. "I'm going to keep doing it as long as it feels good and I'm going to stop the moment it doesn't."
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