You’ve been involved in the sex industry in various roles for over a decade – Was there a particular reason you decided to first enter into the industry?
Good question and not many people know how I got started in the industry and that I was a former children’s minister for large anglican and pentecostal religious organisations and programs.
I tend to joke about how I went from bible bashing to whips, chains and handcuffs which I know we will talk about later on in this interview.
So... I actually used to work in Children’s Ministry, managing Youth Groups and working with children who wanted to explore religion (Anglican, Pentecostal). At the time I was in denial about my sexuality and felt that if I prayed hard enough the “gay shit will vanish” I used to tell myself this all the time.
Throughout my time as a youth minister, I was confronted by many young people questioning their sexuality and who were comfortable talking to me about this on religious camps and programs I was managing. At the time I knew my sexuality in my mind but I was not prepared to accept this in my heart so I thought “if I pray hard enough, I will be able to pray the gay away and it won’t be with me forever”. However, after helping many young people accept their sexuality and help them come out to their friends and family, I simply could not keep lying to myself any more and so I made the decision to leave the church and dive into the “gay scene” by throwing myself in the deep-end.
After leaving the church I had a massive identity crisis and I was questioning “who am I now?” And thought the only way I am going to be able to understand who I am as a gay man through the lives of others. I was fresh meat on the gay scene, turning up at clubs in mesh singlets and skinny jeans - a lot of men wanted me... so I took the opportunity to be wanted.
People that I met, whether we had sex or not told me they enjoyed my company which quickly lead to money being put in my hand and so, I said to myself “fuck it, let’s give this a go, if people want to pay me let’s make some money”.
I have since, licked it. snorted It. fucked It. wrote It and.. I have lived to tell the tale!
You speak of starting out in brothels in Sydney? Can you tell me a little more about this and your journey working through different areas of the sex industry?
Actually, I started out working as an independent sex worker, working out of popular night clubs on Oxford Street, Sydney (shhh... don't tell them I said that) and had quite a number of industry peers (fellow SWers’) that were working out of brothels and escort agencies.
My preference has always been to be self-sufficient and learn by doing, how to look after myself, I have never been a fan of relying on other people and businesses in any industry to earn money or seek employment because if you can’t rely on them you need to be able to rely on yourself, especially when it comes to the adult industry.
I like to work on my own terms and my own schedule at my own discretion.
But, you only live once so I decided to give these establishments and agents a go, even though I was already making great money without them. Unfortunately my experiences working with these brothels in Sydney were not positive I was pressured by the agents and the clients to do things I was not comfortable sexually doing, for less money and in riskier situations.
There were a couple of times where I was sent to outcalls for one person, I arrived and there were a dozen and in these circumstances, it is really hard to leave and not be exploited. There were a number of times where I was raped by clients more often then not through brothels and agencies I was working with. It was not the psychological abuse and trauma, I decided to go back to being independent and have never looked back.
There were many times I had to run away from a clients property and into the house of an industry peer, during this time and these scary situations I met adult business owners from sex on premise venues to adult retail stores, other night clubs and entertainers who looked after me during these challenging times.
After time in different venues you started private escorting – how did you find the shift? What (if any) were the challenges with building a client base, combatting isolation etc?
I always had the support of my family and friends, at the time they did not know that I was working as a sex worker, because I also had a “civi job” as a hotel manager for a five star luxury international hotel company, so I was never really combatting isolation during that time, however I did find in the gay community there was a lot of judgement and still to this day I am judged because of my career and identity that has been built working within the adult industry as a sex worker.
I want to preface the rest of this answer with the fact that most of my friends in the adult industry are female sex workers, I have always gotten along better with women.
Female Sex Workers have it easier than male sex workers. They can charge for extras, have more places to choose from to work, more places to advertise online and can command more money for their time. There are also stronger support resources for female sex workers than there is for male sex workers and other sexualities and genders.
As a male sex worker, who is also gay it is has been and continues to be a very isolating career path - because there are less opportunities to advertise online, less venues to choose from, less industry networking events for male sex workers and other genders and sexualities to come together and support each other; not to mention some of the projected views on male sex workers that apparently we are all predators, makes it even harder to build a support network in this industry.
I have found it far easier to distance myself from negative people and organisations with skewed agendas, let them say what they want about me and never engage in these battles, focussing on what brings me joy, keeping positive people around me, even if that means living a double life and doing what I do best.
Building a client base for me was not traditional at all.
I met guys at bars who were mostly gay couples that felt much more comfortable paying me for my time, then asking a random at a bar to have sex with them. Word of mouth spread about the services I offered and this lead to a massive boost of clientele for myself as a sex worker.
Am I correct in thinking you started specialising in more of a niche service (BDSM)? Can you tell me a little more about this?
I have always loved the feeling of leather cuffs, tight fitted clothing, chains, restraints, mesh tops and leather boots with buckles. I was already wearing heavy eye liner and skinny jeans, but decided explore my sense of style and this lead to my self discovery of bondage, slave and master in the gay scene. Once I started introducing a little bit of fetish and fantasy into my bookings with clients; this attracted more bookings which meant I could increase my hourly rates.
Today, I still like to dabble with restraints but I prefer them being used on me, because let’s face it when you are a “power gay” with a successful career you really need to unwind and let someone else take charge - especially in the bedroom.
Is there a story behind your working name, Jett Black?
I have always been referred to as a “dark horse” the one whom little is known about but unexpectedly wins or succeeds in everything that I have set out to do in my career as a sex worker, a publicist, marketing professional and producer both in the adult industry and outside in my civilian life.
I have dark features and have always worn black, hence the last name. Now... the first part of my name came from many of my clients referring to my cum shot being shot at the speed of a jet or a plane; because when I reach climax I can shoot a fair distance. Is that TMI (too much information)... you asked the question!
That’s how the name Jett Black came to be.
Do you also now use Jett Black as your civvy name as well as your working name? If so, how and why did you come to this decision?
Interchangeably I do.
The persona I created for Jett Black has become so intertwined with who I am as a person from my styling choices to the makeup and regular trips to the nail and hair salon to keep my brand consistent that I have become very comfortable with the look and feel of Jett Black that I like to identify as both.
In my personal life, my family refer to me as my birth name, however everyone else refers to me as Jett Black it keeps the brand and persona alive. The only people who should know me by my birth name are people incredibly close to me and I take it as an insult and will ignore people who do not know me that use my birth name.
I owe a lot to my career as a sex worker and without creating Jett Black for myself, I would not be where I am today so I am pretty lucky to have a persona that has helped me embrace my sexuality and my individuality.
You’ve come out as gay and then again as a sex worker – for you personally, which one was more challenging – and why do you think this is?
Correction, I came out as gay and as a sex worker to my close family, but I was OUTED as a sex worker by the industry to everyone else thanks to trolls in the industry that use social media to inflict harassment and abuse.
Accepting my sexuality was a challenging journey because I did not know what I was doing and was very new to the gay scene and exploring by doing. Coming out to my parents was difficult but they have been supportive ever since and I am lucky to have them a part of my life, even more so with them knowing my career as a sex worker they have been incredibly open minded and do not pass judgement, their only concern is my health and safety. If I am happy they are happy.
Throughout my coming out journey as a young gay man throughout my career as a sex worker there were many difficult times where I could say both have been equally challenging. Many people pass judgement on homosexuality within the adult industry and outside the queer community, that has been a challenge on its own. When you add being a sex worker to this and the stigma around this, combined with insecurities of homosexual men, it just makes the process of getting to know people harder because many are still not comfortable knowing that I am a sex worker.
Being outed as a sex worker on social media was the most stressful experience I have ever had. Not only did this cause me to want to hide from the world, I had to quickly reassess my civilian career choices because when I was outed this did cost me employment opportunities in government organisations and marketing companies that felt uncomfortable.
From my leant experiences, the main challenges have been overcoming self doubt and like my psychologist has always said to me, breathe into the unknown and the anxiety and breathe out to release this from you mind, body and soul.
These days, I have a very strong bullshit filter and I can smell it before someone opens their mouth. It is very rate that anyone in this world gets anything past me, I am not easily manipulated and as someone who places incredible value on long-term friendships and relationships, I don’t have time for people who are disingenuous.
What would you say to other workers potentially considering coming out in any capacity?
From my experience I would say be prepared for the unknown and be ready to make immediate decisions for when the response you hope for does not happen how you would like.
I lost many friendships and put in the position of disowning quit a lot of my own family when I came out as gay, because they were uncomfortable with my sexuality, especially people in my life that were religious. When I came out to the family members still part of my life about being a sex worker there was mixed feelings, but they already were at peace with me being gay - so they still just wanted me to be healthy and happy. I am fortunate to have the support of my parents to this day who support me with everything from my sexuality to what I do for work, which I realise not everyone has in their life.
If when you come out in any capacity these people don’t support and love you the same way, then you need to remove them from your life. Make sure you have a strong support network, be prepared to make new friendships and be able to support yourself without other people, just in case you need to time out on your own to be at peace with who you are.
I’m curious about what you think regarding the portrayal of male sex workers in the media and on screen (TV/movies)? How could lived experiences be better represented?
I am more concerned with the impact that the portrayal of male sex workers in the media and on on screen within TV and Movies has somehow projected insecurities on female sex workers and those within the adult industry who feel it justified to make the assumption that “all make sex workers” are predators and rapists.
There have been too many instances in my career as a sex worker, where I have been falsely accused and judged by the adult industry community out of preconceived ideas of how men behave in the adult industry.
That’s not to say that there are not predatory men in the adult industry because there are just as there are predatory women in the adult industry, both of these gender stereotypes identify as pimps and madams of illegal brothels and escort agencies that I have come across where I have had to guide independent workers to safety and away from being illegally operating without their knowledge, sexually exploited and put at risk with their mental and sexual health.
I have never put much value on the media and press, because they will tell stories that sell - not stories that are true. The media needs to become closer with the industry and perhaps tell the truth more, or maybe we just need more print and digital publications like RHED that tell the TRUTH and not the LIES that mainstream media tend to spin.
How do you feel about straight male sex workers who are “gay for pay”?
Simple answer... I think straight male escorts should stay in their lane.
Offering a disingenuous service to clients as a gay for pay sex worker, is just insulting to gay sex workers. But perhaps I am not the only one with this opinion. I for one do not offer straight for pay services, because I am not attracted to women the same way that I am attracted to men.
What does identifying as a male sex worker mean for you?
As an escort I identify myself as someone who is proud, sexually confident, body positive and fearless.
Becoming an escort has helped me understand my sexuality and embrace who I wanted to be as a person. I have developed a thick skin, perseverance and self confidence above what I could have ever achieved in any other profession. I have also become a very good judge of character and do not get manipulated by people or businesses any more.
I used to be so simple minded and unable to interpret the world in colour and as a result of my escort career I can now confidently say with pride that I can see the forest through the trees.
Adult online content has been the subject of societal debate and sex workers content and advertising is often swept up in the sanitisation of digital platforms, FOSTA/SESTA bans and online safety policies around the globe. In your role as an escort, and also as CEO of a digital marketing agency for the industry, can you tell your thoughts/concerns/hopes etc in this area?
The FOSTA/SESTA painted the industry, as a whole, as a world of traffickers, pedophiles and rapists. It is rather unfortunate that the industry gets discredited like this purely out ignorance and fear of those in power who have never taken the time to see the adult industry for what it truly is. To me and many industry peers we see the industry as a world where sexuality is celebrated and personal exploration is encouraged free from judgement. The censoring of digital content and the use of flippant statements and calling them “safety policies” is damaging to the industry and my hope is that the authorities who are making these decisions listen to the industry and perhaps take a more adequate stance such as the introduction of age filtering and age-based censoring. We cannot stop people from exploring their sexuality and the only place people can really do this freely is within the adult industry, so why stop people from discovering who they are?
If you had a microphone that could reach the whole of society right now, what would you want to say?
I would like a megaphone please.
I would want the whole of society to get it through their heads that sex workers and adult business owners are people just like everyone else, with feelings, emotions, a heart beat and ethics.
Too often the adult industry is judged and falsely accused by the media and people outside our industry who do not live and breathe it and only know what they read in the tabloids, what they hear in the music that listen to to and see in their favourite TV shows or movies.
It is time that media start telling the fucking truth about the industry and stop tarnishing the industry with this common theme that the industry is dangerous, that people in our industry whether sex workers or adult business owners lack self respect for their bodies and minds and stop judging us based on their own sexual insecurities.
From my own lived experiences, I have experienced people judge me unfairly and ridicule me because I identify as a sex worker and someone proud to be a part of the adult entertainment business industry, as well as someone who actively supports the industry through my agency Sweet Release.
I am so fucking over people judging this industry when they know nothing about it first-hand.
I want the whole of society to see us as equals, as people just like them.
It would also be nice if society caught up with the knowledge that sex work is real work too and that we treat our bodies like temples because when we are sick we cannot work.
Therefore, being a sex worker we are more inclined to be both mentally and sexually more healthy the some random they pick up at a bar and try and bone!