Melissa Petro, Bronx teacher who was forced to leave her job for past life as a sex worker, will pose for Penthouse’s February issue for a story charmingly titled, “Unrepentant Whore.”
Had you asked me a year ago if I would have considered writing for Penthouse, let alone taking pictures, I would have feigned insult. Like the offer that came from High Society — 60K to pose fully nude — I wouldn’t have considered it.At that time, I was still trying to save my career, let alone my reputation. The truth is, a year ago, I had considered High Society’s offer. Having never heard of it, I looked the publication up online, disappointed to discover it was not nearly as classy as it sounded.If only it had been Playboy, I remember thinking at the time. Hell, even if it had it had been Penthouse — even then, with so much at stake — I might have been tempted. I’m not a Penthouse Pet. I’m not a celebrity. I’m a freelance writer, best known (if at all) as the “Hooker Teacher.”September of last year, I lost my job as a public school teacher after authoring a scandalous article for The Huffington Post. Prior to becoming a teacher, the article admitted, I had worked as a call girl. Of this past, I wrote, I had no regrets — and I should not be made to feel ashamed. My former employer didn’t share my politics, however, especially after they me on the cover of The New York Post.
Since resigning from public school teaching, I’ve spent the last six months working to establish myself as a writer, and while I’ve pitched articles on every subject, there is just one subject editors seem interested in hearing from me: sex — sex work in particular.
Having penned so many pieces on the subject of stigma and discrimination through the lens of lived experience — fighting the idea that once a hooker, always a whore — it’s ironic that, as a writer, I find myself in a similar conundrum — what some have called the women writer’s “pink ghetto.”
She used to teach at P.S. 70 in the Bronx from 2007-2011 but lost her job after writing about her previous life as a prostitute for Huffington Post.
I was also a former sex worker. Of this, I made no secret. My academic and creative writing has appeared in numerous publications online and in print since 2006. My work is included in the NY Times acclaimed anthology Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Love, Sex, Money and Work as well as in Sex Work Matters: Power and Intimacy in the Sex Industry. I have presented at multiple conferences on the issue of women’s participation in the sex industry and regularly participate in literary readings around the city. My thesis at the New School, completed the same semester I was accepted into the Fellows program, was entitled “Selling Sex.”Source: www.huffingtonpost.com
She calls it one of her biggest mistakes of her life, but also the best thing too, as she can do what she loves the most – “writing.” Kudos Girl!