Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

'Live Nude Girl': Earning A Living Unclothed

Writer Kathleen Rooney supplements her income with gigs as a nude model. She started when she was a graduate student, and has been modeling for artists for six years. "It's a weird way to earn money," she writes, but it's not how she makes her living. She calls it more than a hobby — a "compulsion."

It took Rooney many years to tell her mother about her job. She writes that her parents now find it "embarrassing, best left untalked about."

Rooney has a variety of clients, from classes full of Intro to Drawing students, to lone artists who ask her to pose for their works. One constant? Her then-boyfriend-now-husband's blue flannel bathrobe, which she wears, then drops for the session.

In her book, Live Nude Girl, Rooney raises the philosophical and personal concerns of posing for art, and makes a distinction between nudity and nakedness.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit