Bunny Ranch© Lauren Greenfield
Thirty miles west of Reno, Nevada (one of two US states to legalize prostitution), at 69 Moonlite Road, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch is located at the intersection of desert and decadence. Amidst the barren landscape and dry Sierra Nevada peaks, on the grounds of the Bunny Ranch are a trampoline, a hot tub, a small fleet of golf carts, and, not infrequently, a pride of Ranch prostitutes bouncing, soaking, and gamboling about, wearing stilettos and fancy lingerie: always provocative, always ready for the walk-in customer. The girls assume working names like AirForce Amy, CoCo, Bunny Love, Alexis on Fire, Valentine, and Kandi Hart — erotically suggestive monickers that sometimes belie modest, unassuming backgrounds. Many girls at the brothel are married, have children, and studies in acting, law enforcement, or speech pathology; one references Shakespeare when articulating life on the Ranch. One girl in particular, Brooke Taylor, 27, embodies the incongruity between common perceptions of prostitutes, with the reality of their lives.
A Midwestern church-going college graduate who mowed lawns and scooped ice cream, Brooke was working paycheck to paycheck as a rehabilitation counselor for adults with developmental disabilities when she saw HBO’s reality show CatHouse, filmed on location at the BunnyRanch. Brooke hopped over right away. In the three years she’s been at the Ranch, she’s reached superlative status. She’s the star of the HBO show, earns as much as $100,000 per customer “party”, and has been dating Ranch owner Dennis Hof. She’s an advocate for legalized prostitution, adamantly defending its safety (the lowest HIV rate of any profession, thanks to state-regulated weekly health examinations) and career legitimacy — Brooke treats prostitution as a business, “pitching my goods to the CEO of a company, negotiating a price for my work”, and self-educates with marketing techniques, and, of course, the latest sex toys: “When I’m not having sex, I’m eating, sleeping, or masturbating.”
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