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April 26, 2017

Hollywood Starlet Gabourey Sidibe Reveals She Was a Phone Sex Operator

HOLLYWOOD—Surely one of the most recognizable actresses in Hollywood is Gabourey Sidibe. After all, as she describes herself, "I am talented. I am gorgeous. I am black. I am fat. Sometimes I'm a bitch. At all times, I am a bad bitch." She's also currently appearing on the Fox series Empire, spent three years on American Horror Story, but is perhaps best known for her starring role as the underprivileged kid given a chance for a decent education in Precious, for which she received an Oscar nomination. But what most don't know, until the publication of an excerpt from her book, This Is Just My Face, in the latest issue of Glamour, is that Sidibe spent several months as a phone sex operator. Sidibe relates how, as a 21-year-old with few job prospects, her therapist suggested that she might be good at telemarketing—which Sidibe heard as "phone sex." She wound up answering an ad in a tabloid looking for such women, "No experience necessary," with the possibility to make up to $15 and hour as a "phone talker." So she went in for an interview, and was told that "talkers made a base pay of $7 an hour, but if you were a good talker, you could make up to $15 an hour in commissions. Commissions broke down to about 10 cents a minute for every phone call, but after 10 minutes, they doubled to 20 cents a minute and tripled to 30 cents a minute after 30 minutes, and so on. If a caller liked you enough to request you by name, you made $2 before you said hello." Of course, she was sold on the idea, though she first had to attend a company workshop where instructors told her what to say, and perhaps more importantly what not to say. Biggest no-nos: "drugs, weapons, blood, or anything of a sexual nature pertaining to anyone under the age of 18." Also, as far as this phone sex operation was concerned, all the women were white! On the other hand, they gave tips on how to keep callers on the line, since that's where the real money was. "We learned that phone sex isn’t about getting the caller off; it’s about stalling so you can make money," she wrote. "A good talker makes the caller forget he’s paying to talk to you. She makes her answers as long as possible to keep the money rolling in. So, 'Are you wearing something sexy?' 'OMG! I am! It’s new too! I went on a shopping spree with my roomie! We’re the same size in panties, but my boobs are bigger than hers, and I borrowed her bra and stretched it out so we went shopping for more bras, and I saw this super-cute lacy teddy. It’s red with black bows on the bottom with these straps that hook to my panties! My butt looks like a heart when I bend over! The seat of the panties is mesh, and you can see through it so … ! But I’m wearing a silk robe over my teddy because I just had a visitor. My weird neighbor asked to borrow milk. Really? Milk? He’s like obsessed with me. What are you wearing?' See what I did there? If that guy’s not already coming or whatever, he might want to know more about that roommate. He might want to know more about those panties and maybe even that weird neighbor. If the caller is freaky, he might want to know more about that milk." The company wanted to try her out before actually offering her a job, and after getting her first hang-up, Sidibe's next caller was a woman, whom she managed to keep on the line for 40 minutes discussing Victoria's Secret bras. Bingo! She was now a phone sex operator, working with a motley crew that included a lot of mothers, as well as "college students, strippers, dominatrices, or grandmas there to make extra Christmas money." Many of Sidibe's first customers were soldiers in Afghanistan: "They didn’t call for sex; they called because they wanted to talk to someone who didn’t miss them." Soon, Sidibe switched from being a sex talker to handling the company switchboard, which she liked better because "I didn’t have to pretend to blow anyone." She worked there for about three years, right up to the point when she was cast in Precious. One telling point about her Hollywood life, though: "I’ve had acting roles that I felt demeaned me as much if not more than the phone sex calls." (We're betting a few ex-adult actresses feel the same.) Photo: Gabourey Sidibe at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival, courtesy of Wiki Commons/ipernity.com.

 
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