What Makes a Woman Become an Escort?

From money to psychological problems, escorts describe what got them into it.

ByABC News
March 14, 2008, 10:35 AM

March 14, 2008 — -- The tale of Ashley Alexandra Dupre's path to prostitution is a typical one, current and former escorts say.

Dupre, the infamous escort whose $4,300 date with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer cost him his political career, left a broken home in a small town on the Jersey Shore to pursue a singing career in Manhattan. But she ended up abusing drugs and selling her body as one of the high-priced escorts available through Emperors Club.

Dupre was not available for comment, but other escorts were willing to discuss their experiences.

"I'm not doing this forever," Haley, an escort who advertises herself as a 5'6" brunette, told ABCNews.com. "But the money is too good."

Originally from Long Island, Haley says that she came to New York several years ago, where she did some acting and modeling before a friend introduced her to the world of prostitution.

"I had all kinds of debt and I was in a bad space," she explains. "One of the other models told me about this service and I started working there. It wasn't easy. I got beat up once by a guy after he started haggling over money…. Believe me, I'm not happy about it. I'm not telling my kids about this stuff ever."

Others have no such qualms about their profession.

Veronica Monet, now retired and working as a sex counselor, says that she started escorting when she was 29 and enjoyed doing it for 15 years.

"In 1989, I was living in Santa Clara [California] and I was working corporate jobs as a marketing consultant for a radio station. I was driving a Honda and living in a studio apartment. And a friend of mine, she was driving a Mercedes and living in a mansion. She got me into the business."

Monet was working as an escort when she met her husband. She says that although the first two years of their marriage were shaky, "he realized that it doesn't change anything and he accepted it. We had a normal suburban life, sitting at home, renting a Blockbuster movie."

For Monet, the money was the draw. She went from earning $25,000 in her previous job to earning six figures as an escort, charging up to $1,350 an hour. "We lived in a million-dollar neighborhood and I got to travel around the world going scuba diving."