Why Shauna Brooks Quit Being an International Trans Escort
You probably first heard about Shauna Brooks when she made headlines for partying with Chris Brown in his Virginia home. The media immediately seized on her as a temptress and hoped for her to spill her celebrity client list if they gave her her own TV show.
“Honestly, [trans people] are always going to be controversial,” says Shauna. “It doesn’t matter what you do, I could take a picture with anybody, any celebrity, and it’s going to be a mess.”
But Shauna’s not another mistress confessing to US Weekly for her 15 minutes of fame. Instead, she spent her early years as international trans escort. A life that she said had so many perks that she could almost forget about the downsides. When a tragic event turned her away from the industry, she found her true passion: comedy.
We talked to Shauna about life as an escort, why so many men turn to her for support, and why she quit her life as an international escort.
So you made headlines after partying with Chris Brown a couple years back. Although you’ve said that nothing sexual occurred in that instance, lots of famous men feel that they have to hide their attractions to transgender women, why do you think that is?
We live in a world that is so judgmental, people put pressure on the guys that do date us openly. Or it doesn’t even have to be openly, it could be discreetly. There’s a difference between being discreet and down low, but I think in their minds they look at us as women, and they will never consider themselves gay. Some of them will be like, “no, I don’t think of myself as being bisexual, I like women” and that’s what it is. I don’t know if you saw my last interview with my last ex…we did an interview and it was basically talking about the hardships of dating a transgender woman like myself and us trying to balance the gay world and the straight world.
It’s such a touchy subject but I love this subject because I get so many men that come to me and ask me, “does this make me gay?” “Does this make me bisexual?” And it’s like, it’s not for me to decide what you are, its for you to understand. Do you feel gay? Do you feel different? And they’re like, “no, I look at you as a girl.” But science people never understand that and I don’t think they really can grasp that because they’re just so cookie cutter. I think technically they also bring it back to DNA and they put pressure on the technical side for men that do date us and I think a lot of guys don’t really want to feel that pressure. If no one would know that we were trans, then it would be easy breezy. It’s an issue that I never even thought of when I was not known, just living regularly like a woman, but now [that I’m well known] it has gotten even worse. But I’ve gotten so much support from male celebrities who are straight. It’s just so crazy that I got to this point off of such a negative handle from Chris Brown, and I guess that I just owe myself the positive marketing and branding. But all in all it’s because of the pressure that society puts on men. Period.
Do you feel that lots of men turn to you for support?
Absolutely. Some guy just DM’ed me saying [he was a] lover of trans women and he was like, “I just wanted your advice or opinion.” I don’t know why everyone comes to me, but I guess in that world I’m the go to girl, maybe I just don’t sugar coat it. I keep it funky and I keep it honest. No one wants to talk about this because its so controversial and honestly, we are always going to be controversial. It doesn’t matter what you do, I could take a picture with anybody, any celebrity, and it’s going to be a mess. And that’s where I have to disconnect.
I’m still a business woman, I’m still a human being, I still have feelings. Just because I have a party or in this particular case, now that I’m acting, these are my coworkers, we are very professional we keep it very, very clean. What I say on my social media are my personal opinions and views, but that’s not how I conduct myself in a work setting, especially with straight, heterosexual people. Because I know I can be over the top and I know I can be very flirtatious and I don’t want to make anybody else feel uncomfortable.
Men are visual creatures, but being a trans and being an older girl who’s been out for a long time, I try to keep away from straight men, especially if they’re that whole macho, what is it called… alpha? I can’t deal with that. I love guys that are very comfortable, that are like you know, “I don’t care honey, do what you do.” Those are the type of guys that I tend to deal with.
Do you think you’re subject to unfair media treatment that tries to paint you as a hyper-sexual temptress who sets out to blackmail men?
Absolutely, but you know what? I’m not gonna go against them and fight them. If they’re talking about you then they’re making you more relevant, and I think if you’re famous then its hard to stay relevant.
First off, I’m a model too, and I’m not just a regular model, I’m a lingerie model, so that in itself is gonna bring the scandalous photos, and honestly I love taking beautiful, very sexual [photos]. I think that’s an artistic form that I’ve been able to, I guess, dominate with. I guess that’s why I’ve gotten to the place where I am, because of those pictures. I put a lot of creative direction into where the picture is going so I think them sensationalizing that I’m whatever they say I am and saying I’m blackmailing, I don’t care, that’s not what I’m here for. That’s not my plan or my goal or my path, I’d rather work for my name in this industry instead of saying I’m gonna put so and so out there like that. I think that’s kind of immature, theres no longevity with that.
In your time as an international escort, was the lifestyle glamorous?
It’s glamorous, but it’s not all glamorous. I was talking to my girlfriend the other day, she’s a singer, she goes to these interviews, she flies across the world, she’s in and out of hotel rooms, she has this fast paced life. [Being an escort] is the same exact lifestyle, but you’re doing it all on your own. So, It’s a lot more stressful. [If] you have an agency that’s marketing you, you can’t control what’s coming to you, you haven’t even talked to them, you’re basically doing blind dates. To hell with that!
I think that I sensationalize the glamorous parts of it, but I think that people overlook it when you’re sitting on the edge of a cliff in Santorini, with nothing but mountains and blue water, and honestly everything that I did is absolutely worth it. There’s something about the Kardashian lifestyle that makes my heart blow up and I really forget about everything that I did or that I have done that I didn’t want to do per se. It is a glamorous lifestyle, but its also a stressful one. You don’t know when your next income is coming, it’s very inconsistent. You have to deal with egos, especially with men who come from good pedigrees who look at you like you’re not shit. But I could put the mirror on them and say you have all of this greatness going on in you career and at home with your wife and three kids and your dog and your parrot and your goldfish, but you’re here with me. So, to me it’s like, why?
But at the same time what made me really stop was my best friend died around that time of the Chris Brown incident. I got my best friend into the international work and that’s when they gave me my first TV show. My first TV show was called “Indecent Proposal” which was on the ID network. They wanted my blacklist, they wanted to know if I was going to bill names in order to gain fame and from that. They made it so juicy, they production of it was amazing, but I didn’t do anything, I didn’t say anything.
But those I thought were friends, and I say this very sternly, because I never had any relations with any of them – but my girlfriend did. I reached out to those people [after her death] – one paid her student loans for like $60,000 the first time they got together, so money wasn’t an issue. For this to happen to her, for none of them to even send a card, they didn’t reach out to me, they didn’t reach out to her mom, and it put into perspective that these men don’t give a fuck, you’re just their play time toy, and when you’re done you’re done.
If [escorting] is something you’re going to commit to, you’re gonna have to take it to your grave, because at the end of the day I knew this was not the right path for me. It took for my best friend to die and me to pick up the pieces and literally have all of that just really on my shoulders, it made me want more. I don’t want to be in the headlines as an international escort. I want you to say Shauna Brooks, she’s a crazy comedic actress, and that’s what I wanted for myself. But it came about from my best friend passing away. Doesn’t that suck? But its really good at the same time that I found my calling.
What are focused on now?
I’m focusing on acting, I’ve been talking to some other mutual friends in the industry, and its just finding that particular role that’s going to transcend me into a different level. I don’t really like rubbing elbows with other trans women in the community. It’s business, we’re all trying for that leading role, so I think that I try to go around on my own way and if it happens it happens. Did you watch The Hangover 2? One of my girlfriends Yasmine played that role. Something like that, I would definitely play. I think it was hilarious. And it’s so hard because you’re typecast as a trans, and it’s like damn it, do I always have to play a trans?
Your Instagram is really fun, unlike most models who only post photos of themselves, why did you make that decision?
I don’t think that it is intentional as far as trying to gain traffic, I just post some of the funniest shit. I’m so sorry to say it like that, but I love to laugh. And I think it’s psychological for me. You know when I was growing up my mom had this nightmare boyfriend, and like I always laughed loudly and I was always feminine. And he would literally beat me if I laughed. So I was always this quiet and shy child. And now whenever I get the chance to laugh at something I laugh because I think it’s damn hilarious. But some of the stuff that I post on my social media, I love to bring up different topics and awareness. I’m going to put in bold in your face and ask you what do you think? What’s your take on it? And I don’t think it’s intentional, but at the same time I know the scheme behind it which would be you know the interactive, me being interactive with my following, and that’s how you connect to them. I know a lot of celebrities don’t entertain it because they’re so busy. I’m not that busy, I’m going to entertain, that’s what I do. As long as I have something that’s a current topic that I know about and always think about, things that I do know, then I’ll talk about it. But I don’t think it’s intentional.