Illustration by nuglybird for Rice “Why are you running off again? Off to see your boyfriend?” my roommate winks teasingly as I check my makeup one last time in the mirror. “Uhhh, yeah. Catch ya later!” I shut the door and wait for my Uber driver to pick me up. Exhaling deeply, I find myself having once again lied successfully to my roommate. This happens every time before an outcall date with a client, but it never gets easier even though the secrets keep compounding. It’s hard leading a double life. Every little detail about who I am feels like a bullet in a game of Russian Roulette, and I never know when my efforts to detach Rebecca from my real identity may one day blow up in my face. It’s a burden I didn’t expect to weigh so heavy on my conscience. Especially when Rebecca is the superstar side of me–the side I sometimes like more than the real me. When I am Rebecca, I am my most confident and charming self. If Rebecca and I could be separate entities attending the same party, you would see Rebecca being the life of the party, surrounded by several friends and constantly laughing and having a great time socializing. And then there’s me. More or less in the background, hanging out near the wine bar with just 1-2 friends. This is who I am when I am “off-duty,” and keeping up this double identity has perhaps been the most complex part of being a social escort. This is where money starts to complicate things. Thus far, being Rebecca has made me miss out on friends’ and relatives’ birthdays, shopping dates, and countless dinners. And these are just the ones with the important people in my life, people that I should and want to be making time for. Yet I find myself coming up with alibis to account for my time spent with clients. I tell myself “there’s always next time,” knowing full well this is never the best justification. What feels like a simple lie that started with a roommate has snowballed into a perpetual state of anxiety. I keep asking myself: How much longer can I tell myself this before there is no next time? Am I just waiting for an accident to happen or for a friend to realise they’ve had enough? What will it take to make me see that it’s not worth it? This is where money starts to complicate things. Apart from making these questions go away, it’s also something that I constantly need to hide. At the age of 20, I make more money than all my peers with part-time gigs would ever dream of. While I’m prudent with my spending, sometimes I like to pamper myself and indulge in a little retail therapy. I’ve even treated my loved ones to amazing meals at Michelin-starred restaurants. This has raised questions about my ability to afford such luxuries, and I have had to stop myself from blurting out, “It’s the clients who pay for it!” I’ve even gone so far as to borrow money and complain “about how I can never afford the things I want” just to keep Rebecca hidden. I can only hope that I’m as good an actress as I am as an escort. I live my life with a crippling fear that anything I do could potentially “out” me And then there’s the expensive lingerie, the sex toys, and the condoms that have to be kept out of sight. Whenever I do my laundry, I feel like a stealthy thief conducting a high-stakes art heist. Dirty underwear is hand-washed only when I am completely alone at home, and neatly folded away in less than an hour. As for the rest of my “stash,” saying that I’m “stockpiling” just doesn’t cut it when there are condoms of multiple sizes! So yes, I live my life with a crippling fear that anything I do could potentially ‘out’ me. Recently, when I appeared in Lianhe Zaobao for an interview on escort work, I had to seek the reassurance of friends that nothing in the picture would lead to me being recognised. But living in fear is a reality I embrace, and it really isn’t the thing that makes escort work so hard. Escort work is hard because I now find myself torn between two identities. Do I prefer being Rebecca or do I prefer being myself? After all, Rebecca has a clear purpose while the real me is always changing. Some days, it feels like it’s easier to be Rebecca just so I don’t have to think about who I really am. — Risqué Rebecca is a social escort working in Singapore and is a columnist for Rice. We first wrote about her in this article on social escorts.