Monday, November 16, 2009

Belle de Jour outs herself

She had kept her identity secret for six years, defying millions of readers – and a host of literary experts – who had speculated about the author responsible for one of the internet's most widely read blogs.

But today the mystery was solved when a scientist from Bristol outed herself as Belle de Jour, the former escort behind the anonymous Diary of a London Call Girl.

Dr Brooke Magnanti kept quiet as a string of other writers were credited with her work, but after hearing she was about to be the subject of a Daily Mail exposé, the 34-year-old specialist in childhood cancer decided to reveal she was the real Belle, having worked as a prostitute to fund her PhD studies

Quotes from Belle de Jour revealed at last

This can put to rest all the rumours that Belle de Jour was a man, that Belle de Jour did not work in the industry at all.

I wonder whether she would have come out if the Mail were not going to expose her.

I had never imagined that she was a scientist. Interesting that the article states that loads of women who work in the industry are academics.

Update Related articles:Enough hand wringing on prostitution

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It was Belle who inspired my first blog - Beau de Jour. I had been trying to write down some of the more humorous or touching episodes from the adventures I was then having visiting escorts. I had thought of trying to turn it into a novel but did not have the time. Then when Belle came along it was clear - I could write a blog. I thought it might later be turned into a book.

But of course it was Belle who got the book deal and the TV series. And I ended up closing my blog when someone I cared about recognised herself in my blog and was upset.

But that was many years ago. In looking up the address of the old blog I was surprised to see it was over five years ago that I closed it. At that time I did exchange a few emails with Belle and knew to myself that she was a real person despite all the other rumours and theories going on at the time. When I closed the blog she wrote to me very kindly.

I would like to write her a kind email in return now - but of course the old email addresses no longer work and nor do her current academic ones.

It will be the first that her close family will have known about it so I guess it will be a very difficult time for her. Is this really such a big story that she should be hounded by the Daily Mail? I'm afraid I have no respect for any of our media at the present. They are happy to pass judgement on politicians, TV stars, single mums - and yes escorts too - but they are unaccountable and there is such hypocrisy and cynicism in their nasty games.

But I am guilty too in eagerly reading what has been written about Belle.

Good luck to her. I hope the future works out well for her when the fuss calms down.

- B xx
These papers seem to have a hardon for anonymous bloggers, dont they. Sorry for the pun. Hopefully this would lead more people to realise its not all street corner druggies.
Hi Beau,

Thanks for your comments. I can recall you telling me about Belle inspiring you to blog.

It is tricky when people recognise themselves in blogs.

Belle coming out cannot be easy, but it sounds like it was sort of liberating for her. Now she can go to her launch parties.

The media, and respect, hmm. You know my views on that.

I wish her luck too.


Thanks for your comments. You have the papers sussed. It must be killing a number of people that she is a scientist. They cannot figure out why a woman like her would work as an escort, when she was hard up.
I'm not surprised that lots of them are *wannabe* academics. There are indeed a lot of sex-workers in big cities and their suburbs who are students trying to get the financial support for their tuition fees.

And the job lets them make quite a big amount of money in a short time, with more or less abuse from local agencies, unfortunately (depends were you are).

Then again, it could be that even acclaimed academics are. The first reason could be that they often have rather low salaries. Try to sustain a family with 2 kids and a salary as a research fellow... if you don't head a department or didn't have the chance of working on a project that came under the spotlight and got some extra founding, welcome into the world of public service. Or you can always go into private research, which apparently pays more (at some levels), but is of course less interesting for the academics as they are more controlled, and the very nature of research lies in its freedom.

The second reason would be way too much of an easy pun on the fact that they whore themselves a bit to get decent peer reviews... but nawww...
I hope that outing herself will not affect her credibility in her chosen field of work, but it seems like she really had no choice in the matter.

I thought she wrote in a clinical way - more like a man than a woman. Indeed her attitude to sex seemed more masculine - without much emotion.

It just goes to show that there will always be someone somewhere willing to out any of us for persona; gain without giving a single thought to the pain it may cause to our families, and ultimately to us, and for why..sticking our heads above the parapet of normality?, whatever that is perceived to be.

Thank you for your comments.Interesting take.


Thank you for your comments. So far, it seems her employers and colleagues support her. I read in the paper yesterday that some of her colleagues were surprised, which I think is normal.

You are right,there are people who will out you.Whether it is a disgruntled ex boyfriend, escort, the media. They don't give a hoot about the impact it will have.
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