Xaviera Hollander (born June 15, 1943) is a former call girl, madam, and author. She came to be best known for her best-selling memoir The Happy Hooker: My Own Story.
In her early 20s, she left Amsterdam for Johannesburg, where her stepsister lived. There she met and became engaged to John Weber, an American economist. When the engagement was broken off, she left South Africa for New York.
In 1968, she resigned from her job as secretary of the Dutch consulate in Manhattan to become a call girl, where she made $1,000 a night. A year later she opened her own brothel, the Vertical Whorehouse, and soon became New York City’s leading madam. In 1971, she was arrested for prostitution by New York police and forced to leave the United States.
Robin Moore, who took Hollander’s dictations of the book’s contents, came up with the catchy title, while Yvonne Dunleavy transcribed the book. The book was notable for its frankness by the standards of the time, and is considered a landmark of positive writing about sex. In the book, Hollander detailed her life as an open-minded woman. She stated that during the start of her career, she did not ask for cash in exchange for sex, but her partners voluntarily gave her money and other presents.
Hollander later wrote a number of other books and produced plays in Amsterdam. Her latest book, Child No More, is the heartfelt story of losing her mother. For 35 years, she wrote an advice column for Penthouse magazine called Call Me Madam. For several years in the 1970s, Hollander lived in Toronto, where she married Frank Applebaum, a Canadian antique dealer, and was a regular fixture in the downtown core.
In the early 1970s, she recorded a primarily spoken-word album titled Xaviera! for the Canadian GRT Records label (GRT 9230-1033), on which she discussed her philosophy regarding sex and prostitution, sang a cover version of The Beatles song, “Michelle,” and recorded several simulated sexual encounters, including an example of phone sex, a threesome, and a celebrity encounter with guest “vocal” by Ronnie Hawkins. Xaviera’s Game, an erotic board game, was released in 1974 by Reiss Games, Inc. In 1975, she starred in the semi-autobiographical film My Pleasure is My Business. For at least eight years, beginning in 2005, she operated Xaviera’s Happy House, a bed and breakfast within her Amsterdam home.
Hollander claimed to have “turned gay” around 1997, establishing a long-term relationship with a Dutch poetess called Dia. In January 2007 she married a Dutch man, Philip de Haan, in Amsterdam. In the meantime, an entire musical about her life was written and composed by Richard Hansom and Warren Wills. Also, Robert Dunlap released a documentary called Xaviera Hollander: Portrait of a Sexual Revolutionary.