By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Taylor left the Valley strip-club circuit to escort about a year ago. The biggest surprise, she says, was the wide variety of men willing to hire her. "It's definitely been a real eye-opening experience for me," she says. "Men's wives will be gone, and they'll sneak home from work and call an escort."
When she's not in "escort mode" -- without high heels, the wig, makeup and form-fitting clothes emphasizing her Russ Meyer breasts -- she looks very different. Smaller.
Taylor says she has no friends aside from fellow escorts -- and those friends are not allowed to come to her home, or even know where she lives. So Taylor spends her free time with her fiancé, her kids or promoting her services on the Internet. She typically sees about four clients per week.
Only once, she says, did her after-hours life slip into the daylight. She was in a parking lot with her fiancé, loading up the car, when she spotted one of her clients.
"I didn't know how to deal with it," she says. "It caught me totally by surprise. I didn't even want to look at the guy. And my fiancé was like glaring him down, and said to me, 'Oh, my God, I feel sorry for you.'"
Taylor says she doesn't care what a client looks like, only how he treats her. (Later at Axis/Radius she gets angry and rejects a potential client who asked, "So are you, like, a prostitute?")
In the car, Taylor and Skylor joke about past clients.
For example, remember the guy in the leopard-skin underwear? He's this redheaded, overweight man who's gone through every escort in town. You go into his living room and he's got this mood music playing, and the walls are covered with mirrors. "Come in baby, come in, I want to dance for you," he says. "Do you think I'm sexy?" And he begins to dance. He fancies himself some sort of stripper, spreading his butt-cheeks and grinding against the mirrors, a tray of cocaine nearby.
And then there's the germ freak who insists on wearing two pairs of latex gloves.
Oh, and then there's the time Skylor was offered $400 to urinate on a guy. She drank a bunch of water beforehand, but, when it came time to do the deed, she got stage fright and couldn't go!
They laugh and share stories, but then the mood shifts. There are always back-of-the-mind concerns, nagging thoughts and responsibilities.
Skylor will think about the money. How it dries up and girls get trapped.
"These girls get used to the money. I never did," she says. "I stayed living on a waitress' salary. They get locked into a $1,200 leased condo and a $400 car payment, and they feel like they can't get out."
Taylor thinks about how the money provides for her children.
"I don't ever want to be broke again, I don't want to live in a bad part of town and worry about their safety," she says. "I want to provide a nice life for my children."
And they think about their plans to get out.
Taylor looks down at her cell phone.
"He'll call back," Skylor reassures. "They always call back. Jealousy has no part in a relationship. If you're a call girl, they need to deal with that."
Taylor looks at Skylor.
She'd used the term "call girl."
And, as her competitor, John Lemonis isn't very friendly, either. ("We don't send each other Christmas cards," he says.)
But Sara Anderson's Secret Service is, by most accounts, an honest, up-front, by-the-book escort service.
"We started the 'no-tipping' concept," Anderson says. "Basically, the girl comes out, stays the full and complete hour for the fee -- which is $225. She does a little strip tease and has adult conversation."
And that's it.
Other agencies are similarly ethical in practice, but most at least hint that the customer will receive sex, either in their advertisements or on the phone. In such a competitive market, honesty isn't always good for business.
"We struggle," she says. "Our customers are the guys who have done this before and have been ripped off. People who have never done this before go with these other companies that sound so much better on the phone."
Anderson is comforted by the fact that, unlike less scrupulous agencies, she has no fear of being shut down by police.
Despite the visible street prostitution in central Phoenix, the Phoenix Vice Enforcement Unit has a tough reputation among many Valley escorts. Lemonis' girls, as well as Taylor and Skylor, refuse to take calls from Phoenix addresses in fear of getting cited.
Taylor worked briefly at an agency in Phoenix, and says close calls were common. By comparison, Scottsdale is an escort paradise.
"Scottsdale cops have told [escorts] that they don't care what we do," Taylor says, "as long as we don't rob the clients."
Scottsdale police, of course, say otherwise.
"We actively investigate all types of prostitution activities going on, including escorts," says Sergeant Mark Clark of the Scottsdale Police Department. "We do the traditional and nontraditional stings, we just may not get the publicity."