It has been one of the great blogging success stories, not to mention literary mysteries. But now the true identity of the Diary of a London Call Girl blogger has been revealed, by Belle de Jour herself. The blog, based upon a secret life covering 14 months as a high class escort and prostitute in London, spawned a successful national newspaper column, a best-selling book and even a TV movie.
For a number of years now speculation has been rife as to who Belle de Jour really was, with the media 'outing' everyone from the editor of the Erotic Review (Rowan Pelling) to best selling novelist and author of How To Lose Friends And Alienate people, Toby Young. While the notion of Belle de Jour being a balding man was amusing, the actual revelation of identity has been no less shocking. The woman behind the blog, and who did indeed work as a £300 per hour hooker in London six years ago, is actually now a respected research scientist called Dr Brooke Magnanti.
Dr Magnanti is a developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology specialist, and turned to prostitution in 2003 when she was having money troubles during the final stages of her PhD thesis. The 34 year old told the Sunday Times that she has no regrets and that while she "did have another job at one point, as a computer programmer" she kept up with the prostitution as "it was so much more enjoyable".
So there you have it, prostitution is more enjoyable than computer programming. Truth be told, at a rate of £300 per hour it pays better as well.