Xaviera Hollander, author of
The Happy Hooker: My Own Story
, the infamous 1971 memoir about her days as a call girl, is the subject of Robert Dunlap's documentary,
Xaviera Hollander, the Happy Hooker: Portrait of a Sexual Revolutionary
The film will have its world premiere at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival tomorrow at 9:25 p.m. at Media Bureau, 725 N. Fourth St., followed by a Q&A session with Hollander.
Hollander, 65, who was born in Indonesia to a Dutch Jewish father and a French-German mother during World War II, spent part of her childhood in a Japanese prison camp. Her latest book, Child No More, is a memoir about the death of her mother, with whom she had had a volatile relationship.
The indefatigable Hollander, who owns a bed-and-breakfast in Amsterdam, continues to write and offers lectures around Europe on topics as varied as "Emotional Management," "Teambuilding" and "Women in Power." She gave a glimpse into her life during a phone call.
Question: What is the most important thing you learned from your days as a madam?
Answer: That once a man stands in front of a prostitute all naked he is as vulnerable as a little child.
Q: How does it feel to be remembered for something you did during such a brief period of your life?
A: I have never regretted the moment I became famous. . . . [But] I sometimes wish people would appreciate me as more than just the sum of my private parts, since that is what they remember me best for - the Happy Hooker.
Q: Would you rather be remembered for some other accomplishment?
A: When I finally wrote a most emotional ode to my beloved mother [Child No More], which dealt with her approaching death, I discovered that a book . . . dealing with life and death and having my name on the cover does not sell as well as a book about sex. It is almost as if you suddenly would see Sylvester Stallone in a Shakespearean production.
Q: What contribution did The Happy Hooker make to the women's liberation movement?
A: First, I am a feminine feminist who does not want to castrate all men . . . The Happy Hooker was, I believe, an eye-opener for both men as well as women. But mostly women came out of the closet and learned to be open and honest in their relationships . . . . Women began finally to demand their own pleasure.
Q: You lived in New York for a few years, where you ran a brothel. What do you love most about America?
A: Friendly people. The helpfulness, interest and hospitality we Europeans get from most anyone we meet when we go over there.
Q: What do you dislike?
A: Lots of junk food . . . obesity. The fascination with plastic surgery [and] the fear of growing old graciously. [It's] what makes older women so ridiculous in their efforts to try and look young.