Few things are constant in this world. Love fades and external beauty withers; we grow old and we die. One thing, however, is certain and it is prostitution. There’s a reason why prostitution is called the world’s oldest profession. It has been around for thousands of years in one form or another. Whether for money, trade, or protection, people have been selling their “goods” across the globe since the advent of quid pro quo. These 5 famous prostitutes made prominent names for themselves during their time, and many of them were respected models, entrepreneurs, artists, actresses, and explorers. Their lives were full of mystery, intrigue, and the occasional murder by erotic asphyxiation.
1. Phryne (365 B.C.)
Phryne is one of the few prostitutes whose beauty can be admired in museums of fine art. As a courtesan in Ancient Greece, Phryne was known for her good looks and modeled for famous painter Apelles and sculptor Praxiteles. Like many prostitutes, Phryne was subject to public ridicule and was put on trial for unclear religious reasons and was reported to have bared her breasts to the jury. Phryne was defended by one of her lovers, the orator Hypereides, and was ultimately set free.
2. Catherine Walters (1850)
Catherine Walters, also known as “Skittles,” was considered to be one of the last great courtesans of Victorian London. She was born in 1839. Walters had it all; she was pretty, popular, educated, and had several extremely wealthy benefactors. She wore her clothing skintight and people would gather in Hyde Park to see her ride horses. Some of her clients included King Edward VII and Napoleon III, and unlike many prostitutes of her time, her life didn’t end in complete ruin.