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The Heaux Mentor is here to empower sex workers with her new cosmetic line


TextSophie Wilson

We speak to the high-class-escort-turned-sex-work-mentor about Heaux Cosmetics, plastic surgery, and recovering from breast implant illness

Lydia Dupra lost everything when her home was burgled and vandalised in 2016. She hit rock bottom lying in a hotel room wondering what to do next. Then she decided to write about the one thing she knew how to do professionally: escorting.

Since then Dupra, AKA The Heaux (yes, that’s pronounced ‘hoe’) Mentor, has forged a business empire out of mentoring sex workers. After launching the Heaux app – described as “the VIP social network for heauxs” – the latest string to her bow is Heaux Cosmetics, a make-up brand founded on the principle of making sex workers’ working lives easier. “I want to deliver my message to one of the most marginalised groups in America where it is literally illegal to do your job,” says Dupra. “With the make-up I want everyone to know what it feels like to be a high-class escort. That will spread my vision for our culture and make the world more beautiful. Who doesn’t want that?”

Dupra’s vision is to simplify sex workers’ beauty routines and help them finesse their clients. Her best-seller is a liquified social hormone that increases persuasiveness and empathy. She also sells a scent that increases testosterone levels in men, affecting both their sex drive and their brain. Dupra launched the brand while experiencing crippling joint pain and brain fog brought on by breast implant illness, the result of chemicals from her implants leaking into her body over a number of years. She recently got these implants removed in a surgery that she filmed and shared on YouTube. Here, Dupra shares details of her illness, her journey as a mentor, and how her relationship with beauty has changed over the course of more than 10 cosmetic procedures. 

What do you do and why do you do it?

Lydia Dupra: When I meet strangers, I tell them I mentor heauxs. That’s my slogan. Whenever I start a YouTube video, I say: ‘I mentor heauxs. That’s right. Heaux’. I do it because no one else will. When most people retire from the industry, they run really far away from it because of bad experiences but I’m lucky enough to have retired and still love the community that gave me the life that I have now so it’s just how I give back.

What does beauty mean to you?

Lydia Dupra: To me, beauty is calming. It’s a feeling of wholeness. When I feel beautiful, I feel complete. When I see something beautiful, I don’t want to change it. I just admire it because it’s complete.

How has your relationship with beauty changed throughout your life and your surgeries?

Lydia Dupra: What I’ve always been going for is a sense of inner peace. Being calm, feeling complete. When you hate the way that you look, you don’t feel complete and you feel an anxiety, a chaos. What I’ve always been focused on in life is to stop chaos. I don’t worry about my looks in an extreme way anymore. I look in the mirror and I’m like yeah that’s done, great. Now I can focus on everything else that’s wrong in my life. 

“When I meet strangers, I tell them I mentor heauxs. That’s my slogan. Whenever I start a YouTube video, I say: ‘I mentor heauxs. That’s right. Heaux’. I do it because no one else will. I have retired and still love the community that gave me the life that I have now so it’s just how I give back” – Lydia Dupra

What has been the biggest surgical change to your appearance?

Lydia Dupra: My nose was definitely the biggest one. It changed not only the way I look but the way I breathe. And aesthetically it really helped me heal emotionally because I had some childhood trauma associated with my father and I had my father’s nose so every time I looked in the mirror, I saw my abuser. Imagine every time you look in the mirror you have a PTSD meltdown. That’s pretty hard for someone who’s in front of a camera all day. It transformed my ability to love myself and to succeed in life. I knew there was a much prettier person beneath my nose so when the nose was taken away and I got this new one it was like I was seeing my true self for the first time. 

When you were younger did you ever try to create the appearance you have now using make-up?

Lydia Dupra: 100 per cent. Make-up was always frowned upon. I was shamed for it. Every time I looked good my stepdad would go in on me. I would do my hair and he would call me vain. Then when I was bad, my parents would take away my make-up as punishment, so I felt publicly humiliated. I would go to school and I would try to borrow make-up from other girls and wear it at school and then wipe it off my face to go home. Make-up was really important to me.

Liquid finesse is your most successful Heaux Cosmetics product. Can you talk me through how and why you developed it?

Lydia Dupra: It’s been a massive, massive hit. I teach people how to finesse, how to evoke feelings of trust, how to be more persuasive so when I found out that this chemical, this hormone, could be liquified I thought ‘Oh my god this is perfect’. Now, I don’t have to teach people how to do this. You can just buy it in a bottle. It seemed like such a solution and ultimately that’s what I do. I create solutions.

I’ve tested it out myself for a long time. I tested it out on my friends, in different social situations. It’s almost dangerous. If you don’t want people to talk to you, don’t ever buy it. I was in a restaurant the other day and this guy came up to me and told me his whole life story. He just wouldn’t stop talking. I found out that his best friend tried to kill him and how he wanted to learn how to start a weed company. In spy movies, they have truth serum. I’d say this is as close to it as you can get.

There have been a lot of cosmetic brands launching recently. Did you feel there was a niche to fill in marketing specifically to ‘heaux’?

Lydia Dupra: Absolutely. I just bought a make-up palette that has 16 colours in it. They’re pink and they’re blue and they’re purple and it looks pretty. The aesthetic is there but, when I go to put it on, I’m confused, and I’m frustrated. I still think like a heaux. Make-up is not fun for me. It’s a tool. I need it to do my job. It’s like how a construction worker has a hard hat. We need make-up. I don’t see any other brands treating make-up like an essential.

Did you feel like the make-up you’ve used for your job before needed to be improved?

Lydia Dupra: Yeah. Mostly lip products. I have always been super intimate with the people I work with on set. I will kiss them a lot and then we immediately have to cut to fix my lips and get more product on them. That just doesn’t really work when you’re seeing a client. They have wives and they don’t want a break for you to reapply your make-up. It’s not a major production. You need to be discreet. For me to be able to make make-up that is what I call Sexproof gives heaux one less thing to worry about.

You’ve been very open about getting cosmetic procedures. Did you feel pressure to get implants when you were starting out in the adult industry? 

Lydia Dupra: I was super insecure. I was always a cute girl, but I wasn’t a stunning beauty and I felt like the quickest way to get attention was to get my boobs done and it was. A lot of girls getting into porn don’t know this but not every company will shoot fake boobs, but every company shoots natural boobs. If they think that the implants will give them an edge, it actually limits them. 

What were the first breast implant illness symptoms that you experienced?

Lydia Dupra: The first time I got sick it was diagnosed as lupus. The very first symptom I ever had was five years ago and I was just getting extremely fatigued. It came out of nowhere. I would be asleep for hours and hours, dizzy, barely being able to walk or breathe. I just thought that was my body’s way of telling me that I didn’t want to escort anymore. You know how your body can kind of shut down if you don’t want to do something. Then one day I woke up in excruciating pain in every joint of my body and I couldn’t walk. It went from fatigued to this full-body pain seemingly out of nowhere. It was crazy. At that point, I’d had the implants for five years. For a lot of people, it comes on after years of the chemicals seeping into your body. I’ve heard of cases more recently though where it happens after just a few months. It depends on your body’s immune response.

How did you manage to start your company at the same time as experiencing intense pain from your illness and getting surgery to remove your implants?

Lydia Dupra: I just don’t accept failure. I started the company a couple of years ago, so I already had my manufacturers. I had been mapping it out for so long so really all I had to do was just pull the trigger. In reality, starting a business is sending out some emails. Everything is done on the internet so I can lie in bed and email my manufacturers and get my tracking numbers and design packaging. It’s not a big deal. When you look at it, the only real work that isn’t mental work is physically packing up stuff and I’m mostly healed so I can totally do it.

“For me, having implants was not worth it. Think about the money too. I’ve probably spent thousands of dollars on my implants and during my illness trying to do all these experimental therapies to heal myself. I spent all of that money and went through all of that stress and pain for something I don’t even have anymore” – Lydia Dupra 

What advice would you give to women who think they might be suffering from breast implant illness?

Lydia Dupra: Take it seriously. When I first heard of it, I was in denial because I was so attached to my breasts as part of my sexuality and identity. If you don’t feel well and you think it might not be real, then start writing down your symptoms. One of the biggest arguments against breast implant illness is that people say the symptoms are so broad and vague. But what if you have ten of them? What if you have those ten symptoms every day for months on end? I had brain fog so badly I would forget to write down the symptoms. I would get lost going to the grocery store. It can be that crazy.

Did doctors take it seriously?

Lydia Dupra: My rheumatologist who treats my autoimmune disease doesn’t believe in it. Just because there’s no medical research on it yet doesn’t make it not real. It’s just not studied yet. Even my plastic surgeon, Justin Yovino, didn’t know about it. I started explaining it to him and showing him Facebook groups and research and testimonials from all these women. Now that he’s looked into it, he believes in it. In medicine, women are believed less often for their symptoms. A lot of doctors think we’re exaggerating. Also, men love tits. They love them so much that they’re willing to put all these toxic chemicals together in a bag just to inflate our chest. Of course, they don’t want to think it’s real. Almost every single man in my life, except my boyfriend, literally said I should keep my implants and said there’s no way they’re making me sick. I said “how would you know? You just want me to have big tits.” The world doesn’t want to believe it’s real because then no one would get them, and sex is everything.

How do you feel since getting the implants removed?

Lydia Dupra: I feel 10 years younger. I look younger. I’m jumping out of bed in the morning. I didn’t realise how sick I was until I wasn’t anymore. I posted a selfie the next day and colour had returned to my face. My hair is falling out less. My joint pain is almost entirely gone. My fatigue is gone to the point where I have insomnia now. My body doesn’t know what to do with all of the energy. I’m so focused. It’s the best time possible because I just started this makeup line. I feel like it was some sort of divine intervention because I was just about to start this massive business and if I didn’t have my health it wouldn’t happen. 

What would you say to young women considering implants? 

Lydia Dupra: I don’t think it’s worth the risk. There are alternatives. You can get fat transfer. You can get breast enlargement pills. There are herbs. There are certain massages that can enhance your breasts. There are pumps that can enhance your breasts. For me, having implants was not worth it. Think about the money too. I’ve probably spent thousands of dollars on my implants and during my illness trying to do all these experimental therapies to heal myself. I spent all of that money and went through all of that stress and pain for something I don’t even have anymore.

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