A 24-year-old woman, who goes by the name Legendary Baby Bleu, has been a prostitute in Reno since she was 16 when she was attending Hug High School. Last year, she decided to leave an apartment she shared with her ex-boyfriend and she became homeless. Today, she shares her experience of trying to leave prostitution behind and the difficulties she has encountered on the streets.
Growing Up into Prostitution and Brothels
While Baby Bleu is set on improving her life, she must overcome the difficulty of homelessness and prostitution being what she has known since she was a young teenager. Before moving to Reno, she recalls moving between shelters with her mother in California.
When she came to Reno, Baby Bleu attended Hug High School, but academics did not keep her from becoming a prostitute before graduation.
"I started working when I was 16," she says. "I just basically walked from school to downtown. A couple of guys would pick me up here and there, and then, eventually, I was making like $1,200 a week.”
Baby Bleu returned to California, but only temporarily as she was arrested around a dozen times and required to do community service. Eventually, a judge and social worker advised her to do her work legally in a brothel.
She made around $50,000 a year at a brothel in Elko, but she returned to independent prostitution after a few years of disliking the brothel working conditions.
"It's hard because it's like an institution," she says. "You work when you work, and then when you're off of work, you can do whatever you want, but it's still locked down. You're not going to your friend's house around the corner, and I'll be right back....you're at work and you're not allowed to leave the brothel even if you're not working."
Sober but Struggling
Legendary Baby Bleu had been off of alcohol and cocaine for six weeks when Our Town Reno reporters spoke with her, but she is still homeless, seeking refuge after leaving the apartment she shared with a former boyfriend. Baby Bleu avoids shelters and moves between motels or hidden outdoor spots.
Despite her struggles to establish a secure home, Baby Bleu does have a daily routine.
"The birds chirping will wake me up and that's right when the sun is coming up. I try and go somewhere with a public restroom, and that way I can wash my face up real quick and do a little makeup or something with my hair," she says of her early morning routine. "And then I wait until I can get into the Eddy House. Luckily, I can still go to the Eddy House (a drop-in center on 6th street for street adult youths), as I'm still under 25. They have a shower there, and they also have food and groups."
Finding a regular job has been another struggle for Baby Bleu. She spends much of her time in local libraries building her web presence and working on personal projects.
Trying to Reverse a Downward Slope
Legendary Baby Bleu has been making an effort to turn her life around. She was formerly a “cutter,” with scars up and down her arms that represent the dark place she was once in and has now overcome.
A third interview was planned with Our Town Reno, but Baby Bleu didn't attend. A recent Instagram post indicated that she “fell off” but was making efforts to pick herself back up again.
Read more at Our Town Reno.