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Olympic track runner and Wisconsin mom Suzy Favor Hamilton was outed three years ago as a part-time prostitute in Las Vegas.
We aired an interview with her Monday about that life, her new book and how her bipolar condition contributed to her risky behavior.
Today we are talking to Jami Rodman, who ran the high-end escort business in Las Vegas that employed Favor Hamilton.
Like Favor Hamilton, Rodman has written her own book, “The Las Vegas Madam: The escorts, The clients, the truth.” It’s about her life as a booking agent for high-end prostitutes.
When you were Suzy Favor Hamilton’s madam, what was she like?
When I first met here she seemed like many visitors who come to Vegas, she was very excited, lots of energy she was very excited to see what her time in Las Vegas could bring her, and whether that was a brief escape from reality or fun things she couldn’t really do at home.
On when women first start in the escort business:
If a woman comes to Vegas and she starts to try out the escort scene they normally go into this whole other realm of falling in love with it. And I call it, sort of, the honeymoon phase of escorting. It’s all glamourous and exciting. And takes them away from the problems in their real life.
Don’t they date and sleep with men they don’t find attractive or who aren’t very nice people?
That occurs that but that doesn’t occur until later in the game.
At first it seems really exciting and you’re wearing nice clothes and you’re looking great every night. And that’s sort of where the honeymoon phase comes in because the realities of what escorting sort of does and the stages that one goes through changes in time.
Favor Hamilton said it didn’t feel like she was committing a crime. Do you think people turn a blind eye to it in Las Vegas?
It does not seem that it is against the law there. It’s everywhere from the billboards to the night clubs to the casino floors, strip clubs, spas, restaurants, everything seems to promote nearly naked women in provocative poses. The sexier someone is the better off they seem to do financially and socially. So it doesn’t really seem like we’re breaking the law there.
Is there a type of man who uses escorts?
There are so many levels of men, just as there are levels of escorts. There’s clients who know nothing about the underground side of the industry. And then there are clients on the other side of that scale, who call themselves, hobbyists. Now, hobbyists see escorts as their hobby and these are the guys who frequent the review boards like the Erotic Review… So, in Las Vegas in there’s a lot of different type of clients, most everyone comes to that city for one reason or another.
Let’s talk about the legality of the escort business: It’s basically a phone bank. You arrange dates. You get a fee for the arrangements. And the women and men who work for you are independent contractors. If they engage in sex for money with a date, that’s their criminal act, not yours.
--In truth, is the escort business legalized prostitution?
So, this is where we’ll get into a little bit of differences between prostitution, dating, companionship, escorts. We were a screening firm. We more or less made sure that the guys came through our agency were safe to see. Now, whatever happens on a date between two consenting adults is between those two consenting adults. We didn’t provide services for money. We provided companionship and time. And a lot of our dates were just that. It was a guy who came into town. He wanted someone to have drinks with or go to a show with or a concert. And he didn’t want the hassles of going through a dating website or picking someone up off the street. This way he knew the person he was seeing was going converse on topics that maybe he was interested in. There would be chemistry already. She dresses well.
On why many women stay in the business:
Most women who get into it never get out of it. It is nearly impossible to move on. I think one of the reasons is because they just don’t know how. They’ve done this for so many years. They don’t have any other skills. Their resume is not built up, perhaps they don’t have an education.
How did you get out?
I found reasons to move on and found other things that interested me. I got lucky in that sense.
On getting over the feeling of being closed off emotionally from other people, which was a necessary part of the job as an escort:
Since starting over, my name is questionable right now. It’s really hard for me to open up to new people and say, ‘Oh my name is so-and-so,’ because the first thing people do now is Google your name to see if they can find out who you are on Facebook. I tried hiding it for a while and I realized by hiding out who I was I didn’t have that chance to open up and be honest and make true friends with people.
It’s long healing process of learning to love and be loved again.
Jami Rodman, former madam, author of The Las Vegas Madam: The Escorts, The Clients, The Truth