Last Monday Jillian Lauren, mom and new author was on The View – and it wasn’t your average View topic. No daytime fare for the faint or political arguments here: Lauren’s topic was her new book “Some Girls: My Life In A Harem“about her life as a high-class, high-life sex worker in a harem for the brother of the Sultan of Brunei (at the time, the richest man in the world).
Lauren‘s book, her first, has shot to the New York Times bestseller list within two weeks of publication and has people talking about decadent sex work from coast to coast and beyond.
Not just a salacious pulp read, the book goes in depth to tell Lauren’s personal story getting involved with the New York sex work scene, the “audition” that landed her in harem apartments in South East Asia, life in a real bona-fide harem rife with vicious competition between women and outrageous shopping sprees – and all the far-out experiences of life as a kept woman favored by a Sultan.
Chanel, champagne and diet pills; plus Lauren’s intimate journey from actress to escort, figuring out how to be queen of the harem, and then come home with a suitcase of cash and the dream of building her family.Impossible to put down once I picked it up, Some Girls is a tale for our time, and an unexpected gem.
Currently on her way to the top, and to San Francisco, she was gracious enough to answer our questions about jet-setting, advice for women who want to do the same thing, her glimpse into global politics, and exciting plans for the future.
Violet Blue: Of all the myriad experiences in Some Girls, in reflection on your time in the harem with all its palaces and jet setting, which experience would you describe as the most outrageous and unbelievable?
Jillian Lauren: Well, I don’t want to be responsible for any spoilers, but I’d have to say that the most outrageous experience happened when I accompanied the Prince on a business trip to Malaysia. A guard came to my hotel room in the middle of the day and told me to dress in an evening gown. Then he took me up to the roof. I was afraid he was going to throw me off, but that’s not what happened. I was taken in a helicopter to another building, in which I met the Sultan for a little afternoon tea party. At the time, the Sultan of Brunei was the wealthiest man in the world. His face was on the money I used to buy a lipstick the one time they let us out of the compound to go to the mall. So it was quite surreal.
VB: If a girl reads your book and wants to do the same thing, what advice would you give her?
JL: I can’t tell anyone what to do. But I would tell any girl who was considering sex work to really look at her heart and ask herself if this decision is coming from joy and self-love, or if it’s just easy to do this kind of work because she’s dissociated due to damage suffered at some other time in her life. If it’s coming from hurt, that hurt is only going to be reinforced and become harder to heal from. I don’t regret any of my choices and I did have some incredible adventures, but it took me a long time to be able to feel my body again after I finally quit.
VB: You wrote that the men habitually watched CNN. Given that the date range for your time in the harem seems to be early 1990s, did you see or experience anything that gave you outsider insight into American- Southeast Asia politics?
JL: CNN is CNN everywhere. I don’t think I got any kind of unique perspective based on the fact that I was close to the Prince, who was also the finance minister of the country. I actually came from a place of being fairly politically active, but all that seemed to drain out of me during my time in Brunei. It was just one of the ways that I felt like I lost my sense of self while I was there. I only kept myself conversant in politics so that I could have something to chat about with the Prince. I do remember watching the face of Nelson Mandela as apartheid was dissolving in South Africa. Every time I saw him speak, I felt a pang and thought that I should be doing something more meaningful with my life. But I didn’t know what. I also remember that while I was fascinated by Mandela, the Prince was fascinated by the British Royal divorce. He was quite the gossip monger.
VB: What are you working on now, and what can we look forward to next? (Fingers crossed for an HBO “Some Girls” mini-series.)
JL: Right now I’m consumed with my book tour and with the publicity for Some Girls, but shortly after I return from the tour, my final revisions to my novel, Pretty, are due. So I’ll be working like mad on that. Pretty comes out in Spring 2011.
After that I have a number of ideas, but I’m not sure what’s going to rise to the top of the heap. I’m never sure until I actually start writing. Often I find that my strongest idea amounts to nothing and that some scrap of paper wadded up in my jacket pocket turns into a novel. So I don’t know. But I’m excited to work on something completely new again.