Why you should care
Because there are second acts in American lives.
Welcome to OZY Confidential, OZY’s new weekly podcast — you know, the one your mother warned you about — for people who think pushing the envelope is the only way to deal with both envelopes and pushing. Subscribe now to follow OZY Confidential on Apple or on ozy.com.
There’s always a certain hidden joy to both discovering and uncovering the unexpected. Seeing Susan Burley on a San Francisco sidewalk, there’s nothing that would give a nod to her secret identity as burlesque bombshell Trixie Fou Laurant. Nothing save the same glint in the eye that accompanies her telling of her wild ride from earning a degree in forensics and a possible future examining corpses to marriage and the discovery of a partner’s infidelity.
“Not the greatest thing in the world, to discover you’ve been living a lie for 15 years,” says Burley. Which might go a bit toward explaining her midlife turn to the truthful: We can’t think of anything more truthful than revealing all onstage while bumping and grinding.
But after the first blush, it’s less about blushing and much more about the nuts and bolts of any sort of stagecraft: music, costumes, lights, themes, all part of the business of show. And this business, measured in real dollars and cents, is how Burley’s newfound comfortableness with what most of us find extremely uncomfortable took a turn for the lucrative.
From being an extra on porn films to sex camming, Burley found herself comfortably calling herself what she was: a sex worker. But we’ll let her tell it.
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