Cash Only’s 420 Recs: Liara Roux, Author of ‘Whore of New York’

The sex worker, writer, and organizer talks to Cash Only about her love of playing Diablo “with the bros” when baked, choice anime picks, and a dream blunt rotation featuring both Snoop Dogg and Slavoj Zizek.
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Photo by Zach Sokol

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All photos by Zach Sokol.

Cash Only’s 420 Recs is an ongoing series where interesting folks offer recommendations for all things 420 — what strains they like, what weed products are blowing their minds, and what they like to do once stoned.

Liara Roux is a sex worker, organizer, writer, and illustrator whose recent memoir Whore of New York details her ascent into the world of escorting and beyond.

The book is a gem — how often do we get an in-depth look at how someone becomes a sex worker without it being framed as a cautionary tale or something related to martyrdom? Roux’s writing is sharp, fearless, and unapologetic as she brings readers through an underground industry whose ins and outs are rarely described so openly, let alone by the laborers who actually comprise it.

Certain parts of the text are effectively branded into my frontal lobes, but I particularly appreciate a section in chapter nine where Roux recounts the particular nuances and kinks of her varied clients: “The famous director who could only come if someone was peeing on him”; “The programmer who wanted me to ride him like a pony.” Rule #34 of the internet is that if something exists, there is also a porn version of it. Whore of New York can give the impression that the same logic applies IRL — If it exists, someone has a fetish for it.

Liara is a friendly person with a gift for galvanizing community, whether through the Sacred Rites parties she hosts, or the myriad literary events she can be found reading at. Lucky for us at Cash Only, Roux is also a toker with some interesting pot preferences.

Below, New York’s #1 whore details her love of playing Diablo “with the bros” when baked, how she likes to return to the anime from her youth after smoking, and the diverse public figures who’d be at Liara’s dream blunt rotation (Snoop and Slavoj Zizek in the same sesh? Sign us up!)

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Photo by Zach Sokol

Do you have a current favorite weed strain and how do you like to consume it?

I am personally a huge fan of THC-only edibles. They’re the perfect way to start my day! If I’m smoking, I absolutely prefer sativas. Indica, for whatever reason, makes me anxious as fuck!

Do you have any favorite weed products — any particular papers, grinders, or whatever?

When I was living in the Bay Area, two of my roommates grew weed in a warehouse. They were perfectionists, and the weed was sooooo good. At one point, they collaborated with this chef who runs a Michelin star restaurant to make delicious grape-flavored gummies. I think it was a very limited run, so it’s not a product you can still buy, but I still dream about them.

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Photo by Zach Sokol

What activity do you like to do after you’ve gotten stoned?

I really love playing video games while stoned… Simply nothing better than inviting a few bros over to play Diablo while we are all high as hell. I also really love answering emails while stoned — not sure what this says about me.

Can you recommend something to watch while high?

If I’m too high to function, I love putting on anime I used to watch as a kid — Sailor Moon, Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z, anything from Studio Ghibli. Usually I prefer subs to dubs, but if I’m really high, it needs to be dubbed. Anything more complex than cartoons made for eight-year-olds is going to be too much for me to handle. The first time I ever smoked, my friend tried to get me to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer with them. I couldn’t understand what was going on at all.

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Photo by Zach Sokol
Photo by Zach Sokol

What do you like to listen to after smoking? Any albums, radio shows, or podcasts?

It depends on the mood!! Often, I’ll put on weird jazz or synthy stuff from the 50s/60s/70s. It’s absolutely peak stoner music, IMO. Alice Coltrane has been my go-to for the past few months, but I also really love Walter Wanderley, Raymond Scott, Mort Garson, Sun Ra, etc.

If I’m gonna be listening to something contemporary, it’d be something sweet and folksy, like Cassandra Jenkins or Haley Heyndrickx, or something a little more upbeat, like Snail’s House or DJ Swisha (duh!). I have a little playlist for when I’m smoking in the park with some friends:

Can you recommend something to read after smoking?

Honestly, comics are my favorite thing to read when I’m high. Something a little psychedelic like Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run is perfect.

Who’s in your dream blunt rotation?

Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, Slavoj Zizek, Michel Foucault, Hillary Clinton, Hideo Kojima, Philip K. Dick, Angela Davis, Terry Prachet, Kurt Vonnegut all come to mind, but I really gotta think about this more!

Photo by Zach Sokol

For more on Liara Roux, visit her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Buy a copy of “Whore of New York” here.

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