I’m Dr Gwyn Easterbrook-Smith, a researcher, teacher, commentator and performer based in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. My primary research interests are:

  • Sex work, specifically under New Zealand’s model of decriminalisation
  • News media coverage of sex work
  • Constructions of the ‘acceptable’ sex worker
  • Transgender sex workers
  • Platform and gig-economy analyses of sex work.

I recently published my first book, Producing the Acceptable Sex Worker, which expanded on some of the key themes from my doctoral thesis. At the moment, I am working on a second book, due out late 2023 with Bristol University Press – this will be looking at how sex work was discussed in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020/2021. I also have experience as a lecturer, tutor/teaching assistant, and research assistant. My interest in undertaking research to help destigmatize the sex industry comes from engaging in sex work myself for many years, and I have participated in media interviews which call on my experience and expertise as both an academic and sex worker.

I’m passionate about communicating academic concepts in a clear and compelling way, and I let this inform my media appearances, exhibitions and performances, and my academic work. This also closely hews to my teaching philosophy, where I ensure that when teaching I check students understand why a concept is important and where it fits into the wider discipline before moving on, enabling them to contextualize the ideas being handled and engage with them on a deeper level.


PhD in Media Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, 2018.

MA in Media Studies, Massey University, 2014.

Post-Graduate Certificate in Business, Massey University, 2011.

BA in Media Studies and Art History, Victoria University of Wellington, 2010.