Drought and more sex workers than ever impacts business, says Wanita.

REVEALING ALL: Sex worker Wanita is based in Tamworth but travels regularly to Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst, Armidale, Moree and Wagga Wagga. Photo: Ryan Young
REVEALING ALL: Sex worker Wanita is based in Tamworth but travels regularly to Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst, Armidale, Moree and Wagga Wagga. Photo: Ryan Young

Known to most people as Australia's queen of honky tonk, popular country music performer Wanita is also a familiar face renowned for another type of talent.

She's a travelling sex worker who has pleasured men in regional communities across NSW for about two decades.

Now with "nothing left to lose" as she puts it, Wanita is opening up and breaking down sex work stigma.

A life of giving

"I've been in the industry almost 20 years and it was purely a financial decision," Wanita said when asked how she became a sex worker.

"I do love people, I don't mind giving," she explains. "I would hate to be one of those girls that are in the industry feeding a habit like gambling or substance abuse, I never engaged in the sex industry for that.

"Initially it was so I could be more generous, just so I could maintain a lifestyle where I had freedom to help people and stuff like that, which may be foolish or not. But I trust that'll hold me in good stead."

Most of the money Wanita says she's made through sex work - sometimes in excess of $1000 a day - has gone to others.

"I never paid off my mortgage, where as I possibly should have done that first.I looked after a lot of people before I looked after myself and now I'm forced to work to pay off my mortgage and my general bills.

"I've paid for people's university education, I've put people through rehab, I've paid for deposits on houses, I've paid for funerals, I've paid for operations ... I've given most of it away."

Beautiful upsides

The diverse mix of men who acquire Wanita's services help keep the job interesting, she says.

"A mature gent that's been married for 50 years and lost his wife, a young fellow that wants to learn how to treat women before he engages in a relationship," Wanita said as she reflected on the different types of visitors to her caravan.

"I get a lot of the university professors, I think because of my articularity and wisdom."

Doctors, police officers, tradesmen, miners and lonely farmers in crisis have all been in contact with Wanita, she says.

"I've had couples ring me and I've been like a counsellor and I've showed him how to please her. There's lots of beautiful upsides."

Changing desires

Like most industries, technology has had an affect on sex work but Wanita doesn't believe it's been for the better.

"Every inquiry now they all ask for photos and that's something I've never done," she says.

"I just believe you get to the door and if for any reason you're not happy, you leave.

"I do believe with social media and things like that, photographs can be falsified so much anyway."

Wanita also won't send text messages and believes a rise in pornography consumption is problematic.

"Pornography has a lot to answer for, it gives a false and dangerous representation of sexual intimacy between people.

"It's inaccurate, it is just filthy, it totally distorts and perverts love making I believe.

"I play porn because they want porn but I just don't acknowledge it."

Risky business

While Wanita describes most of her visitors as respectful and nice, she admits her work can be dangerous.

"When I had a little motor home this gentleman was in the shower cubicle and I noticed he was there for quite some time. I just opened the door and there he was shooting up some substance with a syringe."

After the man walked out naked holding the syringe, Wanita said she "threw him through the door".

"I was a bigger woman then too," she said. "I have zero tolerance of intravenous drugs.

"Being a musician, if someone smoked cannabis I'm a little bit lenient. I've never really heard of anyone doing anything violent after smoking a joint - not that I condone it... I don't do it myself."

Reduced demand

The drought and a growth in competition from foreign students has affected business, Wanita believes.

"The amount of phone calls that you get have definitely decreased," she says. "I think in general the industry would have taken a bit of a hit with the drought, as would any industry.

"Dubbo's my busiest town out of all the places I visit but wherever I go I've got a lot of regular visitors."

According to Wanita, five or six visitors in 24 hours means you've had a "reasonable day".

"Just even going back 10 years ago, if you saw eight to 10 a day that was a normal, good, really busy day.

"It's probably halved over a 15-year period and that varies of course."

Hopes for future

Wanita says she hopes the release of an upcoming documentary about her life will allow her to quit sex work and focus on music.

"I've been helped by a few people whereby which my head is elevated above water but right now I need someone to pluck me out of the ocean and put me on the shore," she said.

"I'm hoping that this movie will create an opportunity for that to happen otherwise I'm very realistically looking at going to Thailand, getting a facelift and a boob job and working till I'm 60."

This story Where I get the most work in regional NSW: a sex worker explains first appeared on Daily Liberal.