Believe it or not, but prostitutes used to be a relatively well-respected profession—at least, you know, much more so than it is now. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself surprised at some of the people who were streetwalkers in their past and throughout history. If you want to see the prostitution trade in its heyday—the 1860s—check out Copper, premiering Sunday, August 19 at 10/9c only on BBC America.
Aspasia was rocking the streets back when they weren’t really even streets. She ran one of the most hoppin’ brothels in Athens and strolling around with all its finest—even giving Pericles a lay now and then.
2. Russell Brand
Russell Brand is a man of many, uh… hats. He had that whole drug problem and he was (supposedly) also an escort occasionally to make ends meet. But look at him now! He married Katy Perry! For a while! And he’s super successful and funny. So it was totally worth it.
3. Calamity Jane
Calamity Jane wasn’t exactly trying to be a prostitute—at least not full-time. After all, she sorta looked like a dude. But anyway, when she wasn’t scouting and shooting Indians, which was what she was really known for, she made most of her bills sleepin’ with cowboys at Fort Laramie.
4. Sally Salisbury
Sally is probably the sassiest on this list (okay, well, second to Marilyn Monroe), known not just for shagging, but also stabbing a few people, and definitely contracting a few diseases along the way. She started her career in her early teens on the streets of eighteenth-century London, and she never looked back.
5. Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn ended up doing pretty well for herself—to say the least—but she didn’t exactly struggle to get to the top. She supposedly made about $500 a day “hanging out” with producers and directors, doing some porn as well as house calls. It’s hard to hold all that against her though. She was a good singer, after all.
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