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Hooker with a Heart of Gold

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"You know, Jill, you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month — he must have been a happy man."

Any sex worker (prostitute, stripper, adult film actor, etc.) who has some baseline goodness, often a woman who becomes a love interest for a main character. Underneath the sex kitten exterior lies a very kind and good-natured flower. If they don't get killed off by an angry pimp or another villain, you can typically expect their past to either be quickly forgotten or be mentioned/alluded to constantly.

This is a common trait of characters in the "street-walker" category — they are generally poor and desperate, have gone through the most embittering experiences, and frequently have debilitating drug addictions that wreak havoc on their looks and their personalities. Not that you can tell, of course, as Hollywood hookers tend to be gorgeous and never suffer from meth bugs or malnutrition.

This trope is Older Than Feudalism, dating all the way back to Aspasianote  with Pericles.

Contrast with the Gold Digger and Predatory Prostitute; compare with the High-Class Call Girl and Ethical Slut. In The Wild West, this character is properly called a "Soiled Dove". In 1950s Westerns, due to Bowdlerization, whores may be depicted as dance hall girls and showgirls. If they're a mother, that child will be a Son of a Whore. If Asian, they may also be an Asian Hooker Stereotype. Is liable to become a Heroic Seductress under certain circumstances. And possibly a Miss Kitty. A Single Mom Stripper is often one of these.

This trope is only about prostitutes and other professional sex workers. For people who have casual sex for the pleasure of it rather than for money, see instead Good Bad Girl and Ethical Slut. However, the tropes can overlap when it comes to the more benevolent forms of sex work or full-scale Unproblematic Prostitution. Both are liable to be against any form of sex work that is exploitative and/or emotionally damaging but might consider some forms relatively safe and thus approve of them. Alternately, if the description plays up their heart of gold but plays it coy about discussing their work-related activities, it may overlap with The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.

Occasionally, those who have actually been damaged by prostitution may still fit this trope. Expect a Broken Bird who needs to be shown true kindness to bring out their golden heart underneath bitter exteriors.

This is a character type that shows up in a lot of Christian fiction. Can be done extremely well (a la Francine Rivers) or not.

Some may take pity on a protagonist and offer them a place in This Bed of Rose's.

Contrast this trope with Predatory Prostitute, which is the Opposite Trope of Hooker With a Heart of Gold, in which a sex worker is depicted as cruel or violent.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yuki, one of the main characters of Acid Town fits neatly into this trope; at age eleven, the death of Yuki's mother forced him to resort to prostitution to feed himself and his baby brother.
  • In a roundabout way, Peorth of Ah! My Goddess; She's a wish-granting goddess who specializes in romantic wishes (both literal and as a euphemism).
  • Amakusa 1637 gives us Kichou aka Kikuhime, the gorgeous mistress of a cruel daimyo who befriends The Heroine Natsuki. She's very much a Nice Girl with some shades of Broken Bird and falls in love with Natsuki's childhood friend Eiji.
  • Luca, a prostitute in the Conviction arc of Berserk, is one of the few genuinely good characters in its Crapsack World, and gets props for being one of the VERY few good people who doesn't end up being maimed or raped or killed off for being good, since, in the Berserkerverse, being good automatically enlists you in the Red Shirt Army.
  • When Otono-Tachibana Makie from Blade of the Immortal was no older than ten-years-old she bested her 5 years older brother, the Heir to the Dojo, in a sparring duel, the resulting disgrace leading him to being Driven to Suicide and both Makie and her mother to being cast out by Makie's father into the whorehouses. After this, Makie came to respect her mother for never letting their harsh circumstances get to her, instead dedicating herself to providing comfort to others. In probably one of the finest defenses of this trope, Makie, who is progressively being forced into walking down the path of the warrior, tells her friend, who in turn is being forced into prostitution, that she will be giving others comfort and happiness while all warriors do is kill. "So live with pride, O-Hatsu. With pride."
  • Mako "Nakama" Nakarai's mother, Miko, in Bokurano. More exactly, she's an ex teen hooker who later became a bar hostess, but genuinely loves Mako and she loves her mom back despite how she's bullied due to said mom's work.
  • Cass and eventually Jeremy from A Cruel God Reigns fall into this troupe. Both boys resort to prostitution to help deal with troubled homes lives and drug addiction. (Cass due to his alcoholic, Abusive Parents and Jeremy due to the trauma of Greg's abuse as well as a result of being an orphaned teenager in Boston.) Both boys take care of another young boy, Bon Bon who is so dependent on drugs that he literally cannot function. Daisy also fits into this trope when she tells Jeremy about Greg's doings at the whore hotel and how he said he killed his previous wife.
  • Helena Montoya from the manga Eden: It's an Endless World! is a complex example. Her relationship with main character Elijah Ballard is part lover, part big sister and despite having a bit of a mean streak at times genuinely cares about him. Notable in that she chooses to be a prostitute of her own free will and continues this during her relationship with Elijah, sometimes literally doing it in front of him, causing Elijah quite some mental anguish.
  • Implied but never fully confirmed in regards to Terry's first girlfriend Lily from the Fatal Fury first movie. She's very beautiful, curvy, nicknamed the "Queen of South Town", first wears a white dress with a generous cleavage, is a part of Geese Howard's entourage, and throws a rose in the air with the promise of spending a whole night with the man who catches it — but any word similar to this trope or "High-Class Call Girl" is never directly uttered. And a big part of Lily's characterization goes more for her being a Broken Bird with a Dark and Troubled Past who's murdered by her sponsor Geese for pulling a High-Heel–Face Turn for The Hero, Terry, who was a part of said Dark and Troubled Past as well.
  • Inami from Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden, who was a brothel madam before joining Takiko and her group.
  • Gangsta. features a fair few of these, in particular, our main characters Alex and Rare Male Example Worick, both of some of the nicest people in the series.
  • In Grenadier, Touko Kurenai opens a brothel-complex after retiring as a member of the Ten Heavenly Enlightened. Said red-light-district is a neutral zone which serves as a sanctuary for war-weary warriors and a refuge for survivors of violence, as well as offering redemption for perpetrators of violence who wish to reform themselves.
  • Fasalina from GUN×SWORD plays this trope straight and subverts it. She is Affably Evil because of her genuinely kind, calm, soft-spoken, and polite nature, but she also works for the Big Bad to atone for her past as a prostitute by bringing his Assimilation Plot to fruition, making her a rare villainous example/spin on this trope.
  • Natsuki Mogi, Takumi Fujiwara's crush from Initial D. She's actually a quite sweet Girl Next Door aside of that detail, and later does her best to get out of teen prostitution (or "compensated dating" aka Enjo Kosai in the anime) when she decides Takumi is the right guy for her, but it's MUCH harder than she thought... And guess who gets bashed and called "heartless, stupid, vapid whore" by fans?
  • Nokaze of Jin is a High-Class Call Girl working in Edo Red Lights district and kind of a jerkass, but she's honestly caring for her friends and once she finds out how good a doctor Jin is, she's always there to help him.
  • In the second episode of the Knight Hunters series, Yohji Kudo meets and befriends the prostitute Maki, who betrays her pimp for him and ends up dead because of it. Yohji later kills the pimp both to avenge her and because the pimp was one of the targets of Weiss' original mission; meeting poor Maki just made the pimp seem that much more despicable, so he enjoys it more than he would have otherwise.
  • From Magi: Labyrinth of Magic Anise, a prostitute from the slums of Baldadd is Alibaba's mother, and a very caring and sweet one too. She even adopted her son's best friends after their father disappeared.
  • MARRIAGETOXIN: Somewhat; Kinosaki is not a sex worker, but his job is to seduce people into losing money to him. That said, he is shown to be nothing but kind to everyone but his targets. Even when he was on the verge of death at the hands of Gero, he still gives Gero solid dating advice and assures him he will meet someone proper for him if he just keeps opening himself up and meeting new people.
  • According to her backstory, Lalah Sune from Mobile Suit Gundam was a teen prostitute before Char recruited her.
  • Marida Cruz from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn also fits this trope perfectly: while initially your usual, stoic character, she turns out to be one of the most fleshed out characters in the story, and offers Banagher insight, advice, and even encouragement. In addition, she also cares greatly for her "princess", and her "Master", Suberoa. And when you remember that she's one of the "discarded" Puru clones, she becomes even more tragic.
  • Yuko from My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness fits the bill, complimenting and accommodating the neurotic protagonist in a life-changing event. Her agency seems friendly too.
  • Yuri in Nana. A giggly, giddy AV idol (porn star) who shares a boarding house with Blast and Miu and tends to speak crudely.
  • The josei manga Oiran Chirashi is about a Fish out of Temporal Water young woman named Haru, who has to become a High-Class Call Girl to survive in the Yoshiwara of the Tokugawa shogunate. She's shown as initially naive, at times way too sensitive to do her work well despite her beautiful looks, and showing compassion towards those in trouble - like when she tries to help an ill prostitute but fails, and is emotionally crushed when she learns that the girl died and wasn't even given a proper burial.
  • Paranoia Agent has a twisted example of a woman who is a prostitute and has a heart of gold... and a split personality, each of which takes only one of these two features.
  • In Princess Mononoke, Toki and many (if not all) of the other women in Irontown used to work in brothels. They are very kind, if sarcastic, and all bravely take up arms and defend their town from the invading samurai.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
  • In at least the anime version of Samurai Gun, there's Ohana. Forced to work in the local brothel due to a debt racked up by her now-dead parents, she's otherwise a very sweet girl and the girl that Celibate Hero Ichimatsu visits — primarily because she has no qualms about the fact he doesn't want sex from their time together. She also has a crush on him, and he is implied to have a crush on her. Towards the end of the series, the brothel is burned down and she is given work as a waitress at the same restaurant that Ichimatsu does.
  • Karen Kasumi from X/1999. She never becomes a love interest for any of the main characters, though it's strongly hinted that Karen does have feelings for Aoki, but doesn't act on them because he's married (or in the TV series, recently divorced). She has a tragic past involving cults and parental abuse, and then she's a motherly figure for the younger Seals and in the manga, for one of the Angels - driving him to pull an Heroic Sacrifice for her sake.
  • The yuri manga Asumi-chan is Interested in Lesbian Brothels is full of these; almost the entire cast is composed of lesbian prostitutes. It's one of the most sex-positive manga ever made; not only are the prostitutes depicted as sweet, pleasant young women who just happen to have sex for a living, but the title character's use of their services is not portrayed negatively either.

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman: Year One, Frank Miller's reboot of Batman, Selina Kyle (Catwoman) is a prostitute who becomes a costumed criminal. In The Long Halloween, set shortly after Year One, she has given up that lifestyle and used the money she stole to become anti-heroine, member of society, and friend/love interest from Bruce Wayne.
  • Clara from Clara… de noche (Betty by Night or Betty by the hour for the English speakers). She's actually a sweet, good natured girl who happens to be the most envied and desired hooker in her city, with her mandatory sad backstory. That doesn't stop her from being a kind and good natured mother for her son, make frequent donations to charity, offer discounts or "work" free for down-of-the mill potential customers and being helpful and friendly to everyone.
  • Lucky Luke: While never referred to as prostitutes (it being a children's comic), the saloon dancing girls are usually friendly to Luke, one even knocking him out and wearing his clothes to take his place in a duel so he wouldn't risk getting hurt.
  • Trish from Knights of the Dinner Table. It's very easy to understand why Tank is crushing on her.
  • Sin City:
    • Averted with the prostitutes of Old Town, who are armed to the teeth and are willing to mow down anyone who gets in their way. Which still makes them better than the ones they do mow down.
    • Played straight with Nancy Callahan, who is a stripper with a heart of gold. She was saved from a sadistic pedophiliac serial killer by honest cop John Hartigan when she was a kid. She's friends with at least Marv as well, the violent Conan in a trenchcoat. She's also studying law when she's not working in the bar.
  • Red Sonja seeks out the world's greatest prostitute Aneva in The Art of Blood and Fire. Aneva is hoping to create a Band of Brothels to protect herself and her fellows but is persuaded to join Sonja when she learns that if Sonja is successful one thousand slaves will be freed.
  • Revival has Nikki the stripper: she's drug-free and has strong boundaries against actual sex work. Overall she is a decent match for her boyfriend and a stabilizing force for his son. The boy's mother can't see past Nikki's profession and blames her for the father's failure to improve himself.
  • Secret Six had Liana Kerzner, a stripper who works for a club called Superior's. At first, Liana appeared to simply be a minor one-shot character, hired to dress as Scandal Savage's dead girlfriend Knockout for Scandal's birthday. Some issues later, Liana runs into Scandal and asks her out on a date. From that point Liana became a prominent supporting character in the series, effortlessly demonstrating that being a stripper and a sex worker didn't make her or her friends as objects for gratification, one-shot jokes, or shameless deviants. Liana was responsible for bringing some warmth back into Scandal's life, and her interactions with the Six did nothing to dismay Liana's Plucky Girl personality, to the point that she sets up Bane with one of her coworkers. She later ends up being the third in a polygamous marriage between herself, Scandal, and a Back from the Dead Knockout.
  • Superman: Earth One: Clark's love interest, Lisa Lasalle, in volume #2, is revealed to have been working as a prostitute to earn extra money. Even before Clark knew about her, they had already developed feelings for one another. Superman even saves her from an angry client. However, they decide to remain Just Friends. In volume #3, she discovers his secret identity and they have a Relationship Upgrade.
  • X-Men: Stacy-X was a member of the X-Men after her brothel was destroyed, and had a rivalry with Husk for Archangel's affections. Sadly, she was Put on a Bus and wasn't mentioned again until House of M some 3 years later, where she lost her powers and was killed shortly after the Decimation. However, she returned in the limited series Vengeance with no explaination given as to how she was alive or regained her mutant abilities.

    Fan Works 
  • In Eyes Wide Open All the Time, Aki Yazaki is a homeless streetwalker and the resident Team Mom of the Freebird gang.
  • In Foundling, Yukari was implied to have been a prostitute (not too much of her own volition) and, while she may be bitter towards and overall ashamed of her experiences, she seems to be a rather kind but sad soul who wants no more than to be a mother, thus taking in Ran and later Reimu, and not to be judged by her past.
  • Harriet Potter and the Chevalier's Vow has Madam Cecelia Archer, who takes excellent care of her girls and exhibits genuine concern for Snape.
  • Most characters in the Hooker!verse, to various extents. The Nostalgia Chick gets this status through her Pet the Dog moments towards the Critic; The Nostalgia Critic because of the sheer terribleness of his situation making him The Woobie by default; Liz for comforting the other characters and being able to not only stay a genuinely nice person but also hold on to a religion despite it all, etc...
  • Ice Pack, a fan-made Zebra escort in Ponyville. He's good enough that many of his clients are repeat customers. However, he has turned down underage clients before, and when an underage filly attempts to buy his services, he takes her to an amusement park instead.
  • Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox gives us minor character Kohada, who was forced into prostitution by a friend's boyfriend. While she's a Broken Bird who covers up her brokenness by being a Stepford Snarker, the narrative notes that in her time as a sex slave, she's had a few genuine moments where she willingly indulges and "tutors" johns who admit to being virgins out to silence their friends' Virgin-Shaming.
  • In The Little Child to Lead Him a prostitute named Lacey teaches Harry how to care for his infant cousin.
  • In Lost Causes, Jessica Rabbit's Dark and Troubled Past involves her being forced into prostitution because the only "job" she's able to do is have sex. This leaves her social pariah even amongst other Toons. Still, Jessica is a sweet woman who was simply conditioned to deal with her traumatic life.
  • In Origin Story, one of the nicest characters is Louise Fulford, who was trapped in prostitution by her kidnapper/pimp, and took the first opportunity to escape the life that was given to her.
  • The RWBY fanfic Vale's Underground portrays Pyrrha Nikos as a sex worker. And she's still a total sweetheart, best exemplified by how she treats Jaune. She genuinely cares about his feelings and is rather patient with him.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic-BioShock crossover, Vision, we know that Zephyr is one of the few nice ponies in the city from her first chapter. In the next chapter, we also learn that she's the other half of this trope when Siren walks in on her and Soft-Spoken Sadist Echo.
  • A big part of Spectra's characterization in Vow of Nudity, as her endlessly traumatic life and cosmic bad luck wound her up in the circus as a freakshow/prostitute who's universally shunned and distrusted due to her changeling race. But despite this, she endlessly strives to be a good person even as the universe ensures every choice she makes blows up in her face for reasons largely out of her control.
  • Klee in Welcome To The Brothel is definitely this trope. She showed the protagonist enough care, playfulness, and affection to not only make his first time a really good one but also helped to keep him from going insane from the war.
    • Klee reprises this role in Relax, which is a followup story. It turns out that she and the protagonist from Welcome To The Brothel have an ongoing relationship. It's really heartwarming.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Several Paul Thomas Anderson films usually have a female sex worker who is sweet, friendly, kind-hearted, generous or all of the above.
  • In $30, a short film contained in the collection Boys Life 3, a young gay man is forced by his father to have sex with a prostitute. Luckly for him, the girl had a heart of gold and pretended to climax. The father bit it and everybody got what they wanted.
  • Act of Violence: Running away from Joe leads Frank to end up on the wrong side of town where he meets kind, yet dumb, prostitute, Pat (Mary Astor). She tries to help him find a lawyer to see if he can deal with Joe, but the lawyer is extremely shady and is only out to make a quick buck and take advantage of Frank's desperate situation.
  • American Nightmare (1983): Louise, one of Isabelle's fellow strippers at the club where she is employed, is portrayed as a well-meaning young woman who is simply trying to survive in the sordid environment that is the unnamed city.
  • Alexandra from Bunraku fits this trope to a tee, as a kind-hearted middle-aged prostitute who realizes she is past her prime and will never have the happy and romantic life she desires. After a young Japanese woman is kidnapped by Alexandra's lover, Alexandra ends up sacrificing her life to save her.
  • Clara towards Eleanor in Byzantium. It is debatable whether she cares for Noel, or if she is just using him so she can take over the hotel, though she's noticeably upset when he falls to his death.
  • In Cabrini, the first person that the title character and her group of nuns encounter who's actually kind and helpful towards them is a young prostitute named Vittoria. She risks her own safety to get them a place to sleep and later moves in with them to help them take care of homeless children.
  • Veronica Franco is portrayed as this in Dangerous Beauty; she is also a High-Class Call Girl, since she was, after all, a Venetian courtesan and poetess, although it must be pointed out that she seems to have no sympathy at all for Giulia de Lezze, whose only crime seems to be to have married Marco Venier, Veronica's lover, and to resent it when her husband openly keeps Veronica as his mistress.
  • Daylight (2013): Ray was convicted years ago of the murder of the prostitute Rosita, but he says that she was nothing but kind to him, and he has nothing but fond memories of her.
  • The made for TV film Dolly Partons Christmas Of Many Colors Circle Of Love, chronicling Dolly Parton's childhood in the Appalachin mountains, features a young Dolly being captivated by a kind-hearted 'painted lady' who befriends her.
  • The Equalizer: Alina is a kind girl who's a sex worker and abused by her pimp, a ruthless Russian mobster. Robert intervening to help her is what kickstarts the film's plot, and it's later shown he helped her get into better things (she's an aspiring singer) with a generous gift.
  • In Girl House Kylie is working at a cam girl house to pay her tuition and help her mum after the death of her father.
  • The Girl Next Door, where Elisha Cuthbert's former-pornstar character actually ends up with the main character at the end, and they presumably live happily ever after.
  • The title character of The Goddess (played by Ruan Lingyu, a Chinese movie star of the 1930s) is a woman who engages in prostitution in order to support her young son.
  • In The Godson, not only is Goldy one of these, she has a short monologue where she identifies the trope itself.
  • Goldstone: Pinky runs a one-woman travelling brothel, and she is the first person to steer Jay towards what is going on in Goldstone. Her happy-go-lucky attitude stands in contrast to the indentured Sex Slaves at the mine.
  • Good Luck To You, Leo Grande: Leo is a sex worker who genuinely loves his job, and is a kind, eloquent, friendly person who goes the extra mile to make his clients happy. When he sees how nervous Nancy is before their first session, he talks with her at great length to help her calm down, and gradually brings her out of her shell.
  • The Great Smokey Roadblock: ALL of the ladies of the night have hearts of gold, but special mention must be made for Lula, who is tubby, very sweet natured, and is not only a Hooker with a Heart of Gold but a Hooker With A Brain - which might be a whole different trope... Needless to say, the fact that Lula ended up with Beebo at the end of the film is cause for rejoicing!
  • In the Irish movie The Guard, Brendan Gleeson's cop protagonist is the regular client of a pair of sex workers who come down from Dublin once a month for a threesome with him. They're not Broken Birds, and seem perfectly happy in their job and his company. It's the rare fictional portrayal of a healthy relationship between sex worker and john.
  • In A Gunfight, Abe's girlfriend Jenny is a 'dance girl' who works at Marv's saloon, and she is one of the most thoroughly decent people in the movie.
  • Abby from Hobo with a Shotgun is one of the only characters in the film that could be called "good". She apparently got into prostitution because it was her only option in the Crapsack World in which the movie takes place.
  • Holidays: All of the cam girls shown in Halloween are nice to other people, except their abusive pimp Ian, whom they get bloody revenge on.
  • Rita (Maya Rudolph) in Idiocracy is a prostitute, though Luke Wilson's character never catches on.
  • I Really Hate My Job: One of the characters is a down-and-out waitress trying to become an actress, someone offers her to star in a porno and she's so desperate that she contemplates becoming this.
  • Jonah Hex (2010): Megan Fox plays Lilah, an archetypal soiled dove.
  • Killing Zoe, by former Tarantino writing partner Roger Avary, can best be described as what happens when a hooker with a heart of gold is caught in the middle of a drug induced bank robbery in Paris.
  • Prostitute Jessica Kamen from the Jet Li film Kiss of the Dragon, who's forcibly given drugs when she refuses to take them and does at least look and act somewhat trashier than most examples.
  • Tralala in Last Exit To Brooklyn has some of these characteristics, in sharp contrast to her portrayal in the novel by Hubert Selby that the film is based on. While typically cruel and crass, Tralala in the film shows signs of compassion toward the young boy in the neighborhood who's infatuated with her and is, in spite of herself, touched (and confused) by the kind treatment she receives from her serviceman trick.
  • Leaving Las Vegas: Sera, a classic Broken Bird variant.
  • Olivia (Valerie Cruz) nurses wounded Mark Shields (Ray Liotta) back to health in La Linea - The Line.
  • Stevie in The Machinist comforts the struggling protagonist who is also a good customer of hers.
  • Macho Dancer: Both Noel and Bambi are good-hearted and practical sex workers.
  • Mike in Magic Mike. All he wants to do is make furniture on a beach somewhere. He also bails out his coworker with his life savings.
  • Manila in the Claws of Light: Bobby, a friendly call boy who offers food and shelter to Julio at a low point. He offers to recruit Julio into prostitution not predatorily, but as a solution to his economic situation.
  • The Soiled Dove is subverted in Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller. "All you've cost me so far is money and pain, pain, pain, pain..."
  • In The Man Who Came Back, Jennifer O'Dell plays a prostitute who allows the protagonist Reese Paxton to hide in her room at the cathouse and keeps him hidden when the bad guys are searching for him: refusing to give him up even when Billy Duke tortures her with a cigar.
  • V from the Melanie Griffith film Milk Money. It led one paper to ask, "Will Hollywood ever retire the Hooker With a Heart of Gold? The concept is so ancient, so hackneyed, so ready to be laid to rest, you'd think producers would laugh at any writer who dared to propose it."
  • Satine in Moulin Rouge! is a High-Class Call Girl who gives every sign that she's just a shallow materialist but secretly longs for freedom and respectability... and love.
  • My Own Private Idaho: Mike Waters is a prostitute because he is from a disadvantaged background and has narcolepsy, thus ensuring that he can't really have any normal job, as he falls asleep at the most inconvenient times. Many of the other prostitutes are shown to be in the profession by circumstance rather than thinking it's a great job. His friend Scott starts out like this, caring for Mike and making sure he stays safe but then turns into a jerkass and abandons him.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West provides the page-quote, and Jill is also one of these (formerly).
  • In One Foot in Hell, one of the crooks Mitch recruits for his scheme is Julie Reynolds, a prostitute who hopes for enough money to go East and make a respectable life for herself. Over the course of events, she falls in love with fellow conspirator Dan Keats, and the two of them plan to go straight and buy back Dan's farm in Virginia.
  • In The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again, saloon gal Katie appears to be this at first, having befriended the Baltimore Kid when he was down-and-out drunk, and then entering into a romance after he is cleaned up and becomes town marshal. However, it is all an act and she actually befriended the Kid to pump him for information so her boyfriend could pose as the Kid when he robbed the Wells-Fargo office.
  • Detective Rogo's wife Linda in the 1970s version of The Poseidon Adventure in which basically he kept arresting her to get her off the street until she agreed to marry him.
  • Pretty Woman is arguably the modern Trope Codifier, with Vivian embodying the trope as male fantasy, Edward as a flawed, modern Prince Charming, and the two living happily ever after.
    Edward: So what happens after he climbs up and rescues her?
    Vivian: She rescues him right back.
  • Lolita, the saloon girl in Rimfire who is sweet on The Abilene Kid. She saves his life during the Gambling Brawl when she claps her derringer to Blazer's head when he draws a gun on the unarmed Kid, and later is one of the few citizens to cooperate with Tom in his quest to catch the killer.
  • Parodied/lampshaded in the trope-attacking movie Rustlers' Rhapsody, when the cowboy breezes into town and the drunk offers to show him how it is, he points out a prostitute. "But I bet she has a heart of gold." "How did you know?"
  • Shanghai Express's main protagonist is a High-Class Call Girl nicknamed 'Shanghai Lily'. A part of the movie's plot is her reconciling with an old flame from before she became a prostitute. She at one point offers to become the villain's sex slave to save the man's life. Another character is a doctor of divinity who learns the Aesop that prostitutes can have souls too.
  • Shoot 'Em Up: DQ who, to protect baby Oliver, will give a John a blowjob to buy him a bulletproof vest. Smith quips, "I hate to think what you'd do to get him into the right school."
  • Silver Lode: Dolly, the local saloon girl and an old flame of Ballard's, ends up the only person besides his wife-to-be who doesn't turn against him.
  • Daka from St. Vincent (2014) cleans up Vincent's place before he returns after his stroke and makes him healthy food for a change, so she seems to at least care about his health. She also seems like she truly cares for their child.
  • Ophelia in Trading Places. She explains that she might be a hooker, but she does not use drugs, she does not have a pimp, and at her current pace she will have enough money to retire in five years, which puts her far in advance of many other women, both in and out of her profession. She helps out Winthrope because she feels guilty that she accidentally ruined his relationship with his fiancée.
  • Delilah in Unforgiven is the sweetest and most innocent of the working girls, whose ill treatment at the hands of a gang of bad cowboys is the kick-off point for the movie's plot. A case can also be made for Strawberry Alice fitting this trope, as she's the unofficial leader of the working girls and her prime motivation throughout the film is avenging Delilah and defending the other girls.
  • La Vie en Rose: All the women in the brothel in the childhood of Édith Piaf, and Titine (Emmanuelle Seigner) in particular. She's a young troubled redhead prostitute who becomes emotionally attached to little Edith. She sings to, plays with, and tenderly cares for Edith through her job including an episode of keratitis-induced blindness that is healed through their prayers to St. Thérèse. Which makes the scene of Edith's father's returning to take her away with Titine screaming hopelessly one big invokedTear Jerker.
  • The Wedding Date features a woman who falls for the male escort she hires to pose as her boyfriend.
  • The World of Suzie Wong was notable for being a romance between a respectable white American man, and a poor Hong Kong prostitute. The titular Suzie is presented as an Iron Woobie who is constantly used and abused by those around her - having been orphaned since the age of ten and with an illegitimate child she has to provide for.
  • The stripper Cassidy in The Wrestler. She represents Randy's second chance at living his life outside of the shadow of his former wrestling career. He ultimately spurns her love for a most likely suicidal wrestling match.
  • Subverted in X-Men: First Class. Angel's friendly with the rest of the group, but is the first to join Shaw (albeit for morally ambiguous reasons).
  • The Pecos Kid's 'girlfriend' Rainbow in Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold, although exactly how much of a 'heart of gold' she has is up for debate.
  • Jane Greathouse in Young Guns II is a loyal companion to Billy the Kid and his gang, who runs the town brothel.



  • Author Jorge Amado relished on using this trope.
    • It shows up in Gabriela, Clover and Cinnamon, Tenda dos Milagres and Tereza Batista, Cansada de Guerra, for example.
  • Honoré de Balzac being a 19th-century author, loves this trope. In his works, we find Esther in Scenes from a Courtesan's Life, Coralie in Lost Illusions, arguably Marana in The Maranas short story or even the eponymous Girl with the Golden Eyes (though there are other issues at work there)... Of course, it tends to end badly for the poor girl. Generally speaking, Balzac likes his Good Bad Girls.
  • Prostitution is thought of as a fairly prestigious business in many works by Robert A. Heinlein. A skilled Hetaera is usually a very perceptive and emotionally soothing person. The ones noted by name are especially so.
  • John Steinbeck: He loved this trope.

Individual works

  • Invoked in 1634: The Baltic War: as a group of mercenary officers are fleeing from probable execution, they decide to see if the intended spouse of one of them, a former prostitute, will hide them.
    Patrick: So, here we are in Southwark, about to test a legend. Is there really such a thing as a whore with a heart of gold?
  • Trope is very common in novels which deal with adventurous characters, where most prostitutes are treated with uncanny sympathy. James Clavell's Asian Saga springs to mind. Part justified as the usual environment where the characters live (sailors, adventurer merchants, military men on and around the battlefield) has few opportunities to allow people make friends and build relationships outside - if Character X's nearest woman in many miles is a hooker, after some time they will become good friends, for sheer necessity if anything.
  • Played with in Batman Can't Fly by David Hines. David's mother is a prostitute - it's never explicitly stated but the book makes it very clear what's going on - and while she does love him and is very protective of him, it's implied that she's physically abused him in the past. David certainly loves her; when she misses his art show and turns up on the doorstep at 3 in the morning, and it's heavily implied that she's been beaten up and/or gang-raped by punters, he cleans her up, puts her to bed and stays with her. He also threatens to stab his uncle who's implied to be another of his mother's punters when the uncle attacks his mother.
  • Antonina in the Belisarius Series is an former high-class courtesan, but that didn't stop Belisarius from falling in love and marrying her.
  • When Ban Daur visits an exclusive gambling den in Blood Pact, the hostess who welcomes him feels genuinely sorry for the young, gentle man who is about to waste his life and fortune. She doesn't realize yet that her establishment will be soon scammed by Rawne and his cronies.
  • Toni Morrison deconstructs this trope in her novel The Bluest Eye, which features three prostitutes named China, Poland, and Miss Marie (the last of whom is a Big Beautiful Woman). Morrison explicitly states that they are not Hookers with Hearts of Gold: they hate the men they sleep with and the wives of those men, have no problem with charging their clients, and entered their profession not out of desperation or need, but because they like having sex. However, they're also the only characters in the book who are consistently kind to Pecola, the story's Broken Bird: they let her stay with them, tell her stories, give her presents, and even take her for outings to movies and a carnival.
  • The prostitute Boule de Suif in Guy de Maupassant's "Boule de Suif" refuses to sleep with a Prussian officer out of patriotism, but her rich and snobbish traveling companions (who constantly insult her even though she shared food with them! because she's that nice) tell her French soldiers are dying because the officer won't let the nuns continue on to the hospital unless she gives in. So she does. She is pretty much the only moral non-hypocritical character in the story.
  • Grushenka from The Brothers Karamazov is depicted as this for most of the book. It doesn't help that her beauty is such that a man can't really take his eyes off her. But later on, we learn that she's a nice person at heart, not the manipulative slut we'd imagined. Some people would be disappointed by that.
  • The eponymous prostitute/pimp/crime boss from Burning Chrome by William Gibson is a total subversion. Hooker with a heart of steel, indeed.
  • A tragic example; Petra in Caliphate is a poor Christian girl forced into prostitution because she was raped by her master's son. She is still delicate because of the abuse she endures. Her "trainer" Ling arguably counts herself, even though she puts Petra through a lot of suffering, she still feels bad about the poor girl and secretly plans to smuggle her out of safety to China.
  • In David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series, a Madam cares very much for her girls. Especially in the lawless world below the Net, she is a rare example of a truly good person in the series.
  • Two of them in Cloud of Sparrows. Marianne married Stark in a flashback, and his Character Arc is about seeking revenge for her murder. Heiko is a geisha and assassin sent to kill Genji if he ever proves troublesome, but she later decides to let him live.
  • Sofia Semenovna Marmeladova from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, who comes complete with a really heartbreaking story to justify her prostitution and ends up as a love interest as well as a sort of spiritual guide to the murderer Raskolnikoff, taking his confession of his sins and guiding him to the beginning of a "New Life."
  • Daughter of Fortune
    • Azucena agrees to help Tao with Eliza's care in exchange for Eliza's jeweled brooch. She ends up becoming fond of Eliza. When Captain Sommers bumps into her and recognizes the brooch, he demands to know what became of Eliza. Azucena lies on her behalf and says Eliza died at sea, figuring she is doing Eliza favor by misleading somebody looking for her.
    • Joe Bonecrusher and her girls go out of their way to help out the sick at the village where they are at during an epidemic.
  • Emily's best friend Martha from David Copperfield is explicitly said to be this. The people of Yarmouth except for the Peggotty family hated her to death because of this, so Emily helped her to leave for London so she won't carry the stigma anymore. Martha later becomes a Chekhov's Gunwoman, helping Daniel and David find the missing Emily..
  • Discworld:
    • Reet, Carrot's acquaintance in the novel Guards! Guards!. Of course our innocent Chaste Hero never does work out what she does for a living because she gives her profession as "seamstress".
    • Rosie Palm is shown as a regular seamstress in Night Watch and is depicted as a hard-as-nails woman who isn't exactly too sympathetic to "Keel's" plight. This partially stems from "Keel's" temporal confusion, giving her the honorific 'Mrs.' which only senior members of the profession adopt. In later books when she is Mrs. Palm, and the chairwoman of the Seamstresses' Guild, she's consistently shown as the most sympathetic of the guild leaders.
    • The SoLid DoVEs in Monstrous Regiment are an aversion, as Polly expects the prostitutes to be this when they're exhausted, abrasive and take advantage of drunks.
    • Ptraci in Pyramids is a helpful and sensible "handmaiden" who assists Teppic in trying to save his kingdom. Subverted in that, while she can recite the Disc equivalent of the Kama Sutra from memory, she's never actually had sex. This is probably because she was handmaiden to the late king ... as her mother was before her.
  • Corbie in Doctrine of Labyrinths is a prostitute when Felix Harrowgate meets her. She helps him find a cheap hotel, helps him learn a strange city... and he takes her as his apprentice.
  • Dungeon Crawler Carl: "Juice Box" is a changeling, which she uses extensively in her profession, but she also cares very deeply about the other changelings, and helps Carl out (even though he's not a client) in exchange for helping her to protect them.
  • In Eva Luna, the main character refers to the girls who work under La Señora as basically this. They're normal, kind-hearted, good-looking, hard-working young women who dote on her via taking her out to the movies and have cake afterwards — it's just that they happen work as High Class Call Girls, and the then-pre-teen Eva doesn't judge them for their occupation.
  • Alma Schmidt (aka "Lorene"), Prewitt's girlfriend in James Jones' From Here to Eternity. (In the film version, this was sanitized by making the character a "hostess" at a nightclub.)
  • Belle Watling, the madam with a heart of gold, in Gone with the Wind, who always has clear moral insight, strangely enough, and donates generously to the cause. (Other characters of this type named Belle are probably allusions to her.) The authorized sequel Rhett Butler's People makes her even more sympathetic by revealing that she fell in love with Rhett and had his child.
  • Madame Tracy from Good Omens is mostly a Phony Psychic, but maintains sex work as a side business—though she's semi-retired these days, since both she and her clients are getting up there in years, and many of the men who hire her now are more interested in having a nice cup of tea and enjoying her company. She's also a sweet and gentle-hearted woman who takes Shadwell's insults about her profession in stride. (Her response to him standing in her hallway, yelling that she's a whore? "Free advertisement!")
  • This is double subverted in Got, a crime novel by an anonymous author who goes by the letter D. The protagonist has had several (paid) experiences with the prostitute in question and strongly respects her even though he is aware she does not love him. Then he happens to bring a Briefcase Full of Money to their latest tryst, on his way to deliver it to a crime boss, and of course, she can't resist the temptation to steal it. The double subversion comes in that she's not the villain here — she's a reasonably decent person doing everything she can to escape her hellish life, and she's not nearly as evil as the aforementioned crime boss, who wants her dead and that money back no matter what the consequences.
  • Tashka in He Lover of Death is a teenage prostitute who refuses to abandon her alcoholic mother and is absolutely devoted to her comrade Sen'ka. She ends up killed by Budochnik after excruciating Cold-Blooded Torture since she refuses to reveal Sen'ka's whereabouts.
  • Isabella from Hollow Places works as a stripper on the weekends, but that doesn’t stop Austin from admiring her for being honest, unselfish, and overall plain human, traits he finds lacking in most of the other characters.
  • In House of Leaves, we have Thumper, the stripper that Unreliable Narrator Johnny idolizes.
  • Tránsito Soto from Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits is a Plucky Girl who takes her promises seriously and sees prostitution as a way to build her own life. With a bit of help from her once-patron Esteban Trueba she does make it big in the capital, reinvents herself as the most beautiful and smartest prostitute there, is a Benevolent Boss to her fellow sex-workers when she creates her own brothel, and repays the favor by saving Esteban's granddaughter Alba from the military.
  • Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games is a rare male example, since he was forced into prostitution by the Capitol.
  • The In Death series occasionally features sex workers (termed "licensed companions" in the setting, which has legalized and instated regulations upon the profession) as victims, witnesses, and/or suspects. They run a gamut of personalities and mostly aren't portrayed as especially good or bad, but there are some examples of the trope. The foremost is recurring character Charles Monroe, a high-class male LC who plays a supporting role in several books and becomes a friend to Eve (and eventually quits the business to become a sex therapist).
  • Sanjouno Haruhime of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? was disowned by her clan and ended up being sold as a prostitute. Despite this, she's extremely sweet and gentle, always radiating an aura of innocence. In fact, she's so terrible as a prostitute, she's not aware that she's still a virgin, due to always fainting before her customer even touched her.
  • Jaine Austen Mysteries: In Shoes to Die For, it's revealed that instead of a nurse, Becky's roommate Nina is a stripper and a prostitute. Hooker? Yes. Heart of Gold? HELL no.
  • Traditionally, Mary Magdalene, friend of Jesus has been depicted as a harlot, but this comes from tradition and not from scripture. For an excellent revision of Mary, read Christopher Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, which is essentially a subversion of the entire New Testament.
  • Mercedes Lackey's The Lark and the Wren features a cozy, high-class brothel full of these. Arguably justified in that Madam Amber is extremely careful about who she hires.
  • Massively averted by Tralala in Last Exit to Brooklyn. She's just as cruel, greedy, and violent as the local thugs who pimp her out. In contrast, her portrayal by Jennifer Jason Leigh in the film adaptation gives her some of this tropes' quality, as when she comforts the young neighborhood boy with a misplaced infatuation with her, and seems genuinely moved (in spite of herself) by her last trick's love letter.
  • Miss Audrey in the Liaden Universe. She's a Space Soiled Dove and is one of the most moral and smart people around in her area. Heck, she even runs a school.
  • Fantine in Les Misérables turns to prostitution as the only available way to support her daughter and herself, in that order. Neither the book nor the world-famous musical takes her occupation lightly: the musical devotes an upbeat musical number to the dehumanizing life of a seaside hooker. The book is still more detailed about it, but then again, the book details everything. (Technically, Fantine's occupation was not common prostitute but grisette, which was more or less a 19th-century French equivalent of Compensated Dating.)
  • Molly from Neuromancer: Although it's rare, she does show some emotion toward a select few people, and she becomes a love interest for Case.
  • The Obsidian Chronicles: Sweet, Rose and others in the House of Carnal Society brothel. They aid Arlian by providing him with food, shelter, clothing and advice, even when it risks them if it's discovered. Rose is murdered along with several others for it.
  • Nancy from Oliver Twist. It's only implied in the original, but in the foreword to a later edition, Dickens confirmed that she was, in fact, a prostitute.
  • Pilar Ternera, Petra Cotes and Nigromanta from One Hundred Years of Solitude. The first woman is among the first Macondo inhabitants and shares deep bonds with the Buendia Big, Screwed-Up Family up to being the actual mother of two of its members, Arcadio (with José Arcadio Junior) and Aureliano José (with the soon to be Colonel Aureliano), the second is The Mistress of one of the Buendia descendants and his one true love, and the third is one of the girls working for a local Miss Kitty actually a more-than-100-years-old Pilar and the closest to a best friend Aureliano Babilonia has.
  • Jenny in Only the Dead Are Cold-Blooded engages in sex work at least casually (she's also a singer, though not a very good one). She's very intuitive about others' feelings and becomes impulsively generous when drunk.
  • Jude Keller in The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson. An unusual version of the trope as Jude Keller is male.
  • Averted with Angel in Francine Rivers' Redeeming Love — she’s so embittered by the constant objectification she’s received during her life as a “soiled dove” that she has become very cold and manipulative. Played straight with a couple of other prostitutes in the same novel, such as Lucky, who, while rather sad and lonely, is also quite compassionate and maternal.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Reynard's love interest, Hermeline, plays it straight.
  • The Shadowleague books give us Rochalla, who is only a prostitute because she needs to buy medicine for her younger brothers and sisters, all of whom are dying of the plague.
  • Shadows of the Empire: Mayli Weng, a representative of the Exotic Entertainers Union, constantly advocates for better working conditions for exotic dancers and impresses Xizor with her good manners.
  • Lula from the Stephanie Plum novels… sort of. When she first meets Stephanie, she is, indeed, a ho'; after she's maimed lightly and tied up on Stephanie's fire escape, she opts to leave the sexing life to become a bounty hunter herself. She routinely brings up "back when I was a ho'" as it relates to the current situation. She has kind of a stereotypical "sassy black woman" attitude about her that would conflict less with the trope if she were smarter in general. She's incredibly gung-ho about the idea of being a bounty hunter, but, as a consequence of aforementioned not-that-brightness, she has a tendency to make things worse.
  • The Story of Saiunkoku has Kochou, the head courtesan of the capital's best brothel, who serves as a close friend and Cool Big Sis to the protagonist Shuurei.
  • Brutally deconstructed in the Vietnamese epic poem The Tale of Kiều. The protagonist Kiều is tricked into the profession by a pimp, and is raped repeatedly. Any attempts she made to escape from the brothel or preserve her "dignity" (i.e. virginity) is anticipated by her head madame Tú who concocts plans to crush her spirit, make Kiều thinks she is no longer worthy of love and has no "dignity" left, so that she would give in and serve clients. Even after she has escaped the brothel, she remains traumatized. In the end, she is reunited with her first love, but only enters a Sexless Marriage with him as she no longer thinks she is worthy.
  • The Sunne in Splendour: Jane Shore, King Edward's favorite mistress, isn't as beautiful as his wife, but unlike the queen, she's kind and generous and fun-loving. After Edward dies, she winds up marrying the barrister sent to defend her on a morals charge. This actually happened, much to the stern Richard III's chagrin (and in the book begrudging amusement).
  • Many supporting characters in Tales from Netheredge count — Rask, Joy, Charna and others — as well as two of the protagonists.
  • In Theories Of Relativity, the 13-year-old girl who is the main character sets his eye on slowly becomes more and more hooker-like. As the story progresses, he suspects more and more that she has sexual experiences. All the while, they still stay friends and she makes some stupid decisions which hurt the protagonist. In the end, the protagonist just loses hope on her.
  • In the Naguib Mahfouz novel, The Thief and the Dogs, there's a character named Nur. She's been in love with the main character since before the story began, is sweet, helpful, honest, and is portrayed as a victim swept up in the Anti-Hero's rampage of murder and crime, all the while remaining dogmatically optimistic about her lot in life and determined to overcome it. Oh, and did I mention she's a prostitute?
  • Ryuuji's mother Yasuko in Toradora! acts like this trope, but she technically isn't a hooker, just a late night bar hostess — which in some aspects is perceived as pretty much the same in Japan. Aside from that, she's a very kind-hearted person and loves her son a lot.
  • Ruby in the Colleen McCullough novel The Touch. To the point where she and the wife of the man she's the mistress to become the best of friends.
  • Pam, from the Tom Clancy book, Without Remorse, is revealed to be a sweet, kind-hearted woman driven into the trade by circumstances. Things go downhill once she leaves her pimp and meets up with John Kelly, though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Yvette, Maria and Mimi from 'Allo 'Allo!. Some nights they entertain the Germans with "the wet celery and the flying helmet", other nights they are brave champions fighting to free France from the Nazis.
  • Anger Management has Sasha; her pimp is both a Jerkass and risk for violent behavior, but there's actually no sign whatsoever that he's a Bad Boss to Sasha or the other escorts working for him. She seems like a nice woman, and this characterization isn't subverted—however, it does subvert the trope's (and Charlie's) fantasy that a hooker will always want to quit for the sake of a special client. She does quit working for the pimp, and thereby makes him angry, but her intention is not to quit prostitution, but to found her own escort service, and get three of the pimp's other employees to quit and join her new escort service.
  • In an episode of Arrested Development, Justine Bateman plays a highly paid hooker who Michael (played by her brother, Jason Bateman) mistakes for his long lost sister. He hires her as an accountant due to this misunderstanding and puts her in charge of a huge amount of money. Michael suggests the fact she doesn't steal it means that she isn't his sister.
  • In Babylon Berlin, Charlotte Ritter works as an unregistered prostitute at nights (as a result of Weimar Germany's crappy economic situation), but actually dreams of becoming a police homicide investigator, which is why she tries to get on with the protagonist (and vice squad officer) Gereon Rath.
  • Cassiopeia on Battlestar Galactica (1978). She may have been called a "Socialator" in the pilot due to Executive Meddling, but we all knew what that meant while it was stated that it was considered a perfectly respectable profession in Colonial High Society. Later episodes show her hanging out with the Galactica's medical staff, and the Novelization of the pilot suggested she retrained as a Nurse, that being more useful than her old profession, which had some first aid knowledge.
  • Big Sky: Jerrie starts out as a sex worker and is a very sweet, kind-hearted person.
  • The Castle episode "Love Me Dead" has a character who seems to be a textbook example. She's actually the villain.
  • The character KC Koloski on China Beach might at times seem to be a subversion or aversion of this trope, but with the way she constantly helps the others (even when she seemingly doesn't want to, she does it anyhow), she's actually an embodiment of it.
  • In Community episode "The Politics Of Human Sexuality" Doreen seems to be a very pleasant, likable and wise woman who offers Jeff some valuable advice. She does dump Pierce and then make him pay to continue the date they'd arranged, but considering this is Pierce we're talking about that's hardly unjustifiable.
  • They turn up in CSI from time to time (well, it is set in Las Vegas).
    • Notably, the one who, to her obvious great sorrow, found a dead 11-year-old on a city bench and the one who helped Catherine and DB when they were running from hitmen.
    • Subverted in one episode when Nick develops feelings for a prostitute. She told him that she was planning on leaving the life and going back to college. Then she is found dead in her home after Nick spent the night there. Nick is nearly charged on suspicion of being her murderer, but Catherine finds the real killer in time. The subversion comes at the very end when Nick confronts her killer. The killer claims that she wasn't going back to college for an education. Instead, she was planning to recruit more girls as prostitutes to start a new career as a pimp. He was her former pimp and he killed her to preemptively remove the competition. He mocks Nick, saying "this isn't Pretty Woman, she's not Julia Roberts, and you're not Richard Gere."
  • Robin from Desperate Housewives — a thoughtful and kind-hearted (reformed) stripper.
  • Doctor Who: Rosita from "The Next Doctor", the title character's companion, is implied to be this. She's a very brave woman and a good friend who met him when he rescued her from a Cyberman while she was out alone, at night, at the docks.
  • Firefly:
    • Nandi, and most of her staff (women and men) in the episode appropriately titled "Heart of Gold." While Inara was a Companion, one of the highest regarded members of the society, Nandi, who found that life too restrictive, was a "common whore," as Inara mentions, someone who is looked down on by the same society. Because of this, Nandi couldn't expect help from the Alliance and called Inara, an old friend from her Companion days. Inara convinced Mal and company to come to their aid, Jayne especially so when he found out what the "payment" was.
    • Inara herself is a subversion. She does have a heart of gold, but she doesn't actually want to be rescued from her career. Mal and Kaylee seem to think that she's better than what she does and should want to be rescued.
  • A French Village: Natacha, a prostitute who Henri meets, not only is a very nice woman, but also risks her life to aid a resistance group by gathering information on the Germans.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Shae, in sharp contrast to the novels, where she's Only in It for the Money and has no particular loyalty or feelings to anyone. By the second season, she has very little in common with her page-bound counterpart. Ultimately completely subverted in "The Children", in which she's found in Tywin's bed, calling him "My Lion", the same nickname she gave Tyrion. She then tries to kill him. She was ultimately only a whore in the end.
    • Initially Doreah appeared to be this; she was friendly with Dany and even taught her the art of seduction that would win over Khal Drogo. However, she eventually revealed her true colours as an opportunist.
  • One of the early TV prototypes: Gunsmoke's Miss Kitty. Yeah, the show never mentioned what she and the other girls did at the Long Branch. But who couldn't guess? This was a lot more obvious in the original radio version of the show.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: The second Ofglen was a former prostitute who views (or rationalizes) her current station in life as an improvement from her previous life and chides Offred for straying from acceptable behavior by speaking with the former Ofglen/now-Ofsteven for self-preservationist reasons. That said, she ushers Offred her away from the scene of Ofsteven's joyride for her safety and gives her some assuring words before they part for the day.
  • In an episode of House, the patient of the week collapses in her home just as she was about to be pleased by a call girl. At first, the girl plans to just run off with the money, but after a stern look from the woman's cat, she calls an ambulance and ends up sticking by her through the whole ordeal.
  • In the first Kenny Rogers as The Gambler made-for-TV movie, Brady Hawkes (Rogers) befriends a woman traveling on the same train. Her backstory is that she was a hooker in a gold-mining town, until a miner struck it rich and married "the prettiest whore in town." He used some of his new riches to send her to a "finishing school" back east, and now she's taking the train home to him.
    Eliza: They taught me everything it takes to turn a whore into a lady. It took me two years, but I am going back a lady.
    Hawkes: Yes. You are.
  • Savannah Sumner of Key West, to the point that she monitored (and cared for) the health of the island's other inhabitants, went out of her way to not embarrass the professionals and politicians who were her most regular customers, and would reschedule her date book if one of her friends needed her.
  • The Kids in the Hall:
    • One sketch showed a man falling in love with a prostitute and intends to take her away from all of this, but she shows no interest in it other than saying "Eh, it's your money". Years later, after they are married, and living together in the suburbs with children, the man runs out of cash, and the woman walks out and gets her Pimp (who is by now an old man in a wheelchair) to hassle him. The sketch ends on a Black Comedy note: the man is now asked by his kids when mommy was coming back.
    • Another parody: a man walks up to the two recurring streetwalker characters in a sketch and tells them he's looking for "a hooker with a heart of gold." He laughs in their faces, but then they tell him: "Oh, you want Wendy. She's three blocks away in front of the donut shop. …and don't you let her give you a freebie!"
    • Another sketch has a couple of prostitutes treating a schoolteacher on the condition that he teaches their pimp how to read.
  • Nichole in LA To Vegas is a stripper who flies from Los Angeles to Las Vegas every weekend for work. Although her looks and wardrobe make her the resident Ms. Fanservice, she is an all-around Nice Girl as well as highly intelligent and business-savvy.
  • Lawmen: Bass Reeves: Calista is a friendly young prostitute who Billy falls for. He doesn't hold her profession against her, wanting Calista to marry him (though she declines).
  • Lucifer (2016): Variant. Lucifer mentions that porn stars are exceptionally rare in Hell, which he attributes to all the "good work" they do on Earth.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Imprint", the prostitute Komomo is explicitly described as this. She lingers on to the promise Christopher made to take her away from her hard life. Which makes it all the more tragic that he murdered her in his insanity.
  • In Murdoch Mysteries, it's eventually revealed that the large number of kindly "aunts" that raised Constable Crabtree were actually a Band of Brothels.
  • Patti the Daytime Hooker from My Name Is Earl. She is always kind, willing to help Earl, never overcharges for her "services," (quite the opposite, in fact), always goes above and beyond for her "clients," is mentioned as having a son that she's putting through hairdressing school, and never eats peanuts or tree-nuts (in case her clients are allergic to those things). Even though she implies that life hasn't gone as she planned (which is why she's a Streetwalker despite holding a master's degree when most other characters barely have a high school diploma), and she's gotten some diseases from her "work," she never complains, either.
  • An episode of NCIS featured a killer who was going after the clients of a prostitute. The team called in a reformed, high-profile call girl, named Holly Snow, to help with the case.
  • More than a few of these would show up on Night Court. Most notable was Carla B., who developed an attraction to Harry Stone, the only man to be nice to her without expecting some sort of "favors" in return.
  • In the 1988 Only Fools and Horses Christmas special "Dates", Raquel Turner was introduced as one of these. She wanted to be an actress, but could only get not-real-acting jobs like stripogram or (in her second appearance) magician's assistant. After meeting Del, she gave up this profession after a Stripper/Cop Confusion at Albert's birthday party.
  • Messed with in Raines, where the victim in the first episode turns out to be a prostitute. Raines' hallucination of her even uses the phrase "whore with a heart of gold", and mocks him for his insistence on seeing her as sympathetic. She ultimately is sympathetic, though.
  • Saturday Night Live did a skit called "Lolene" about a hooker who's only nine inches tall played by Tina Fey. She's saving up her earnings to go to Paris, France but she gives it all away to an orphanage that will close down without any money.
    Priest: Makes you wonder. How the guy upstairs fit that big heart into that nine-inch body!
    Bartender: It also makes you wonder. How do people have sex with her?
  • Played for laughs in Saxondale, when an old friend from Tommy's roadie days drags him along to a night on the town and ends up hiring a couple of prostitutes for them both. Tommy ends up sitting next to her on the girl's bed making embarrassed small-talk (he's in a steady relationship) and, much to his bemusement, she ends up giving him some well-meaning advice on how he can take better care of his eyes so that he doesn't need to rely on his glasses as much; turns out she's an optometry student in her day job.
  • Kelly Ball, a character from Shameless (UK) fits this trope. She is a better parental figure to Liam Gallagher than any other character.
  • Jeremy on Sports Night briefly dates a porn star during his break up with Natalie. Naturally, the porn star was also a Romantic False Lead.
  • Starsky & Hutch: Hutch unknowingly falls for one of these in the episode "Gillian". She tries to get out of the job, but doesn't make it.
  • Succession: Willa is an escort hired by the much older Connor to be his live-in girlfriend. She's a generally friendly and sweet person, and while she's not in love with Connor, she does like him, and displays genuine concern for his overall well-being. She's one of the few characters to be completely uninterested in the corporate scheming and backstabbing that defines the series; Willa simply wants to enjoy the wealth Connor provides her and try to become a playwright.
  • Tipping the Velvet (2002): Nan becomes a kind prostitute, although she technically works as a rent boy. Regardless, she stays her sweet self.
  • A third-season ep of Veronica Mars involves a client who wants to find a girl he met at a sci-fi con (which he didn't even indulge in) …who turns out to have been a call girl hired by his friends to provide him with a "date" experience and sex… who when she's found claims to have fallen for him in turn… and then it gets complicated.
  • From a Victoria Wood — As Seen On TV sketch:
    "She can't tell red from blue! Once tottered into a brothel thinking it was a police station! "…oh it was all right, one of the girls came out and helped her pump her tyres up..."
  • Laurie, Sam's friend on The West Wing, is putting herself through law school by working as a High-Class Call Girl. She's perfectly nice to Sam and makes it clear to him she doesn't need to be "saved" from her side gig. When Sam and Josh try to ask her for dirt on any Republicans she may have worked with she angrily throws them out rather than give them anything.
  • The White Lotus:
    • Lucia's a kind, cheerful young woman who's also a prostitute. She also appears to develop genuine feelings for Albie. It's subverted in the end: she cons his family out of 50,000 euros by putting on a "wounded bird" act, knowing Albie would fall for it hook line and sinker.
    • For Valentina, Mia's kind, forgiving and loyal, helping her embrace being a lesbian while having sex with her to get the singer position at the hotel.
  • You Me Her: Jack refers to Izzy, who's an escort, with this exact phrase early on, and she is indeed a kind, friendly young woman (though imperfect). Her best friend Nina is one too, with a more obnoxious exterior.

  • Slightly hinted in Laura Branigan's song Gloria. Curiously, this wasn't in the original Italian song (by Umberto Tozzi).
  • In Cab Calloway's famous song "Minnie the Moocher", Minnie is basically this.
    "She was the roughest, toughest frail/ But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale."
  • Alex Cameron's "Far from Born Again" is an ode to female independent sex workers, painting them in this way. Avoiding the typical "sympathetic" stigmas that they were forced into it by some kind of burden, Cameron describes them as simply honest, dedicated workers in a gruelling industry that faces unfair scrutiny, and that they're deserving of pride and respect for their hustle.
  • Canadian band The Dreadnoughts give us the bountifully titled "Mary The One-Eyed Prostitute Who Fought The Colossal Squid And Saved Us From Certain Death On The High Seas, God Rest Her One-Eyed Soul."
  • In !HERO: The Rock Opera, Maggie is a former prostitute who became one of Hero's disciples.
  • Hallelujah, a reoccurring character in many albums released by The Hold Steady, swings back and forth between a very sympathetic prostitute and devout Catholic, sometimes at once.
  • The video to Reba McEntire's version of "Fancy" has the now wealthy prostitute returning to her poverty-stricken hometown to open a shelter for runaways.
  • French singer Pierre Perret's song La Pute au Grand Coeur, The Whore with a Heart of Gold. As you do.
  • Édith Piaf's song "Milord" is about a gentle lower-class "girl of the port" (perhaps a prostitute) who develops a crush on an elegantly attired apparent upper-class British traveller (or "milord"), whom she has seen walking the streets of the town several times (with a beautiful young woman on his arm), but who has not even noticed her. The singer feels that she is nothing more than a "shadow of the street" (ombre de la rue).
  • In the Rock Opera Operation: Mindcrime by Queensrÿche, the protagonist falls in love with Mary, a former prostitute who is now a nun.
  • "Son of Hickory Holler's Tramp" by O. C. Smith tells of a backwoods woman deserted by her alcoholic husband, leaving her to raise fourteen children alone. When neighbors wouldn't help, in desperation she turned to prostitution to keep them fed. The narrator and siblings warmly remember a loving mom who served delicious chicken and dumplings before tucking them in at night.
  • In The Statler Brothers' "Bed of Rose's" Rose takes in the narrator after she finds him begging in the streets.
  • Rod Stewart's "Little Miss Understood."
  • System of a Down's song "She's Like Heroin" from Mezmerize/Hypnotize sort of plays with this. It describes a prostitute who is more than willing to indulge her client's strange fetishes but also describes how she's toxic and addictive.
  • "Three Wooden Crosses", a country song by Randy Travis, portrays a prostitute as the hero; the single mother of the singer, who survived a tragic bus crash. Ironically, Travis is, more than any other popular country singer, largely associated with gospel music these days.
  • Tom Waits's "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" is, well basically, a Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis. She tries to paint herself like this, talking about how she's turning her life around. In reality, it is a subversion, as the hooker is in jail and is writing for bail money.

    Myth & Religion 
  • The Ur-Example is Shamhat, the temple courtesan in The Epic of Gilgamesh who "makes a civilized man" out of Enkidu by sleeping with him non-stop for a week. Most of the time, he's grateful to her, although he blames her for his untimely death resulting from his life with Gilgamesh, which he promptly receives a What the Hell, Hero? for. Notably, temple prostitutes were actually respected religious figures in ancient Uruk.
  • One translation of the story of Romulus and Remus states that, rather than a she-wolf, the baby boys were found and cared for by a prostitute. This stems from the Latin word lupa, which can refer to either a female wolf or a low-class prostitute.
  • Rahab, a supposed harlot who lived in Jericho and kept two Hebrew scouts from being discovered by the city guards. This allowed them to return and relay their information to Joshua, which led to the capture of the city. Rahab, for her kindness, was spared by the conquerors. The city of Jericho was pretty much doomed anyway since Joshua and his army had strict orders to level it. Rahab saved herself — and her entire extended family — the only way she could. The New Testament implies that she became an ancestor of Jesus, while Judaism traditionally says that she married Joshua.
    • The Talmud (Menachot 44a) describes a student of Rabbi Chiyya who paid an exorbinant sum and went on a long journey to visit a famous Gentile prostitute. While undressing, he accidentally hit himself in the face with his tzitzitnote  and couldn't go through with it. The prostitute was so amazed by the self-control that Judaism inculcates that she converted and married him.

    Tabletop Game 
  • Pathfinder has Lymnieris, the Empyreal Lord (one step below god and above archangel) of prostitution, rites of passage, and virginity. He is a Lawful Good (yes, you read that right) god whose worshippers are either those who are in sex work for the pure love of the trade or who have been pushed into it either out of financial desperation or servitude and seek a way out.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • While the narrative of GLOW never quite came out and admitted that Hollywood's character was a streetwalker, it was very strongly implied—even after Hollywood became one of the most popular wrestlers on the show, beloved by both little girls and grown-ups alike
  • Whores, hoes or hos defaulted to babyface on Dangerous Women Of Wrestling and Women's Extreme Wrestling shows, with GI Ho, a soldier turned ho turned pro wrestler being their standout example. She spent a lot of time hanging out with fans, feuded with women beaters like Steve The Sound guy and defended the latter promotion from an invasion of porn stars... Others included advocate Navaho and Cle-ho-patra, who if nothing else was a lot nicer than Shelly Martinez usually was.
  • Candice LeRae kicked off the Chris Hero vs Claudio Castagnoli\BLKOUT feud of Pro Wrestling Guerilla by standing up to abusive pimp The Human Tornado. She also confronted and sort of reformed sleazy woman groping Joey Ryan. Though the sex work allusions gradually disappeared, suggesting she left it behind.

  • The Cowboy from The Boys in the Band is a Rare Male Example: a sweet-natured Brainless Beauty of a young man who notes that he always tries to show his partners real affection.
  • Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan features Shen Te as the female lead character. Turns out she is the male Manipulative Bastard Shui Ta, too.
  • Hedy LaRue from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Heck, she even has a song called "Love from a Heart of Gold".
  • The protagonist in the play by Alexandre Dumas, fils, Lady Of The Camellias, called Marguerite Gautier in the original and Violetta Valéry when the play is adapted by Verdi into the opera La Traviata. She sacrifices her own happiness so as not to bring her young lover to ruin.
  • Averted in Man of La Mancha, where Aldonza knows full well her status in the world and hates it (and spends most of her time singing about it).
  • Kim from Miss Saigon. To be fair, she isn't much of a sex kitten (she's a 17-year-old prostitute, an orphan and in desperate need of money); Chris seems to be more attracted to her innocence.
  • La Nona: Martita's actual jobs have always been of a "doing sexual favors" nature, what with her taking night shifts and getting picked up at her home by a man in a luxurious car. The reason she does it, however, is to lend financial support to her family. She could have gone and rented her own place but has decided to stay and give up most of her pay to help buy food and other necessities. Her love for her parents and extended family is genuine too.
  • RENT has Mimi Marquez, a dancer at an S&M club. She still manages to get Roger's heart.
  • A similar plot is used in Puccini's opera La Rondine, where the courtesan Magda gives up the young hunk Ruggero for fear of sullying his reputation.
  • Angelica Bianca in the Restoration-era comedy The Rover. Angelica was first portrayed by Nell Gwynn, who was a real-life example, going on to become the mistress of Charles II and become his last words.
  • Of all things, the musical Starlight Express, notable for all of its cast being locomotives or railroad cars, has Belle, the sleeping car with a heart of gold.
  • Kitty Duval in The Time of Your Life. She decidedly doesn't fit the stereotype, and won't let any friendly person call her a whore; her cover story is that she used to be a famous burlesque queen.
  • Molly from the Irish play An Triailnote . The protagonist is a woman who became pregnant out of wedlock, ended up kicked out by her family and ultimately killed herself and the baby after being rejected by the father. While she was pregnant she worked in the Magdalene Laundries, and Molly was a prostitute who acted as her companion and later let her share a flat. Molly is notably the only character in the play who accepts blame for the deaths - while the other more responsible characters refuse to. It scandalized conservative Irish audiences that a prostitute was depicted sympathetically.

    Video Games 
  • Betty, the prostitute near the Mermaids' Tavern in 2Dark
  • Heavily implied with Luca Trulywaath in Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica works as a Dive Therapist. While not outright stated, it's shown that Dive Therapy can involve sexual acts to fulfill certain client's fantasy in the Dive Therapy and Luca might practice it to improve her reputation, especially in her Lv. 5 Cosmosphere wherein one scenario she does use sex appeal seduces Croix and almost escalates from going further and in others allude to other sexual fetishes and practices. Despite being implicated as a high-in-demand prostitute who only does it earn, Luca is still a caring girl who does want to use her job make others happy even if she doesn't fully enjoy it.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: The Dwarf Commoner's half-sister Rica is a noble hunter (essentially a Fantastic Caste System Gold Digger) forced into it by a crime boss. She's a genuinely sweet person and if the PC is female, she implies that she's doing it because it isn't her, it'd be the PC prostituting herself.
  • While it is not her primary occupation, a female Chosen One from Fallout 2 can prostitute herself to many NPCs and star in pornographic movies in New Reno. If the player takes advantage of these opportunities while keeping their Karma Meter firmly on the side of good, it results in exactly this trope.
  • Nova in Fallout 3 is the town prostitute in Megaton. Moriarty forces her to do this, and if you kill him, then she will abandon prostitution and co-own his bar with Moriarty's other worker that he enslaved via debt.
  • Fallout: New Vegas
    • Joana is a Med-X addicted hooker enslaved by the Gomorrah Casino. In the quest "Bye Bye Love", you help her kick her addiction and escape from the casino to reunite with her lost lover, Carlitos.
    • Old Ben is a rare male example (and indeed has a heart of gold, being one of the few characters marked with "Very Good" karma), though he's had various different occupations throughout his life and is retired by the time of the game. He was noted for his charismatic nature and can be recruited as a "Smooth Talker" for the Atomic Wrangler by convincing him that he offers comfort to those who need it.
  • The most outward example in the Fire Emblem franchise is Tethys from Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, who alludes to possible prostitution in addition to learning how to dance alone in some of her support conversations, due to having been abandoned by her parents with her baby brother Ewan.
  • Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist: Madame Ovaree, to some extent. Possibly the rest of the ladies at the... errr... ladies' house.
  • Lauren from Heavy Rain forces her way into Scott Shelby's investigation of the Origami Killer, despite the danger, to bring her son's killer to justice. If she survives and your other characters don't catch the killer, she succeeds.
  • LISA has a play on this with recruitable party member Queen Roger. Roger hits all the marks for the trope, including drug addiction and a troubled past.
  • Primrose Azelhart in Octopath Traveler is a tavern dancer who is heavily implied to have done more than just dancing at her job and is all but stated to have "entertained" the clientele, as well as her master Helgenish. With that said, she is still a fundamentally kind and sweet young woman who acts as Cool Big Sister to other female members of the party. By extension, Prim's fellow dancer Yusufa also qualifies.
  • While the term is not stated outright, it becomes obvious in your conversations with her that Astis from Piss is a sex worker. She also has a very sweet personality and sunny disposition and is one of only three people in the game who seem to genuinely care about and be concerned for Moira (the protagonist), and she is clearly trying to look out for her and wants to help her as best she can.
  • Abigail Marston (nee Roberts) from Red Dead Redemption and its Prequel Red Dead Redemption 2 was a prostitute before the events of either game. She's kind, loving, and one of the more decent people in a series full of crooks, liars, and murderers.
  • The Escort from Town of Salem uses her distraction skills to protect the Town from The Mafia.
  • Velvet Velour from Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is an exotic dancer and Ethical Slut working at the strip club Vesuvius. She has a gentle demeanor, and whenever she asks you to do her a favor, it's always to help preserve the vampire Masquerade. One of your missions is to visit a regular of hers and destroy the manuscript of the play that he's writing because it comes a little too close for comfort in all of the ways that it seems to know legitimate vampire secrets. She implores you to be as gentle with him as you can and to destroy the piece without him noticing, because he's so sweet and optimistic that it would break her heart to see him crestfallen when his work is destroyed.
  • Cristina Popa in Vampyr is a Romanian prostitute who works in the Whitechapel district. Though very cynical and hostile when interacting with Jonathan, she is nonetheless using this job to support herself and her brother because she has been left very little choice.
  • Not a main character, but a side-quest in The Witcher involves a "streetwise cop, whore with a heart of gold, true love". The chief of the Watch falls in love with a high-class prostitute and through their love and the help of Geralt, they break his curse of lycanthropy. It's about the only point of light in the Crapsack World that is The Witcher. Unless of course, you kill him.
  • Yandere Simulator: Kokona Haruka is a friendly, cheerful girl who goes to school with Yan-chan. She's also involved in Compensated Dating, which can bring great shame to a girl and her family... except she only does it to help her father get out of debt. Technically compensated dating doesn't have to involve sex, but it often does, and it's implied that Kokona goes beyond kissing for the sake of getting more money. She doesn't want her friends to get mixed up in her troubles — should the player have Yan-chan offer to help her, Kokona pleads with her to not get involved. If Yan-chan does anyway, Kokona's so grateful to Yan-chan that she agrees to back off of the boy they both like out of gratitude.

    Visual Novels 
  • Yuka Otowa from Crescendo (JP); her reasons for her descent into this lifestyle are tragic and sad, linked to her parents' suicides and the abuse she suffered in foster homes and an orphanage. The player can get the bad ending by making the Player Character a total bastard and having him sleep with Yuka solely for sex,note  they can get the good ending by not taking advantage of her (and her and the PC can lay together of their own free will in much happier circumstances) and redeem her. (Ryo aka the protagonist is NOT that kind of guy anyway, so treating Yuka like that makes the player the bastard/bitch).
  • In Heileen, Lora is a prostitute who is also the mistress of Otto. While she flirts with every man around her, she loves Heileen like a daughter (and, possibly, much more).
  • Xianne from Melody, who gives sexual massages and works in a strip club (though not as a stripper), is one of the most compassionate characters in the story, and tries to do her best (morally and otherwise) in everything she does.
  • The victim of the very first case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Cindy Stone, who was dating the resident Butt-Monkey, Larry Butz, at the time of her murder, was revealed to have numerous "sugar daddies". One of Larry's gifts to her was a clock in the shape of The Thinker statue, which says the time out loud when it's head is tilted. Despite being pretty heavy for a clock, in no small part due to its complex mechanisms, Stone still took it with her on a trip to France.
  • Rose Guns Days has Meryl and Stella, who like many women in the setting are in this "job" because they don't really have much choice, but hold their head high and take pride in their role in the end. They can also kick some ass when the need arises.
  • Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow features the Red Light District of Nagasaki, Maruyama, and the prostitutes that work there (many of them, unwillingly) are portrayed as very sympathetic, sometimes even hiring the protagonists to eliminate those who mistreat them.
    • Yuzuki's path reveals that his mother was one of these, and he cannot forgive her for having left him in the care of his paternal family when he was a kid. Yuzuki's friends Aoi and Souji from the Edo Vigilantes, who often work with the prostitutes of Yoshiwara (the Edo/Tokyo RLD), state that the most beautiful High-Class Call Girl in Yoshiwara still cries herself to sleep for having left her beloved son in Nagasaki years ago...

  • The prologue to Born To Be Alive features a polar bear prostitute named Katya. She offers to share her income with a vixen friend named Nadja, but the clients want nothing to do with foxes. Nadja calmly accepts the rejection, so she may have a glimmer of gold too. Spoiler—click to reveal
  • Lou Dem Five in Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire is a madame with a heart of gold. No, really, she's quite nice and basically founded what eventually became a franchise for the purpose of making sure the girls got an even break. Her best worker, Sizzlin' Sue is also an example of this.
  • Diana and Paul in College Roomies from Hell!!! are in some ways both examples of this, and subversions of it; while they are both kind and sweet people, they are also enthusiastically sex-positive even when not working (indeed, it sometimes seems they are so sweet because of their lack of hangups), and have no real desire to 'escape' from streetwalking.
  • Not a love interest, but Dominic Deegan has Danika the stripper, whose life is spared by Knight Templar Celesto when he finds out she's a single mother.
  • In Dreamless, the male lead Takashi's friends hire him a prostitute. He is not amused. The woman is very accepting of his explanation that he's not interested in getting his money's worth, and proves herself to be quite pleasant.
  • Furry Fight Chronicles shows Tasha, the boss of Monyan, to be the one who allowed Cookie to set her office in the janitor's room rent free for two years because one of her Combagals (Skully) saved her girls from an Attempted Rape two years ago. She and her friends also help Muko with her training in Chapter 25.
  • Geilen from fantasy comic Garanos is not a love interest for anyone, though it's implied later that she slept with Senberan to get information, and possibly had a relationship with the captive Ethreden, but admitted her profession openly soon after being introduced and doesn't seem especially ashamed of it. Possibly subverted later when she's revealed to be The Mole for Gharsena, but it seems she was only doing it to get the cure for the disease she has, and once she finds out that Gharsena made the disease she turns on her, but sadly suffers Redemption Equals Death.
  • Clarice from Girls with Slingshots, who is an S&M dominatrix for hire and a porn store clerk; especially in the last issues of the webcomic, where we see her as extremely lonely and longing for affection, and ends up pairing up with the book nerd Joshua.
  • Isabelle from Pandora's Tale is a sex worker and resistance member who ends up as Pandora's de facto guardian when the escaped Helper imprints on her. She's kindhearted and patient, and takes her new role very seriously, teaching Pandora about consent and fending off clients who think she's available based purely on the fact that she's a Helper.
  • The Phoenix Requiem has an interesting variation, in that the story begins several years after Petra left her former line of work, and she's just beginning to earn a degree of respect in her new hometown.
  • Tegan of Plume, who helps Vesper and Corrick track down Dom and then joins Vesper, supporting the girl as she's left alone.
  • Diane in RPG World. Subverted by the eventual discovery that although her class is officially "Harlot," she's never actually done the deed and is in fact rather naive when it comes to sex.
  • The pornstar/director/producer Zig Zag from Sabrina Online is another subversion; she has the required Dark and Troubled Past and heart of gold, but loves her job and takes great pride in the quality of what she produces. Later on, she pretty much takes up the role of spiritual mentor to the (comparatively) prudish main character and proves a shameless mothering figure to the other members of her studio. She also guest-stars in a number of other Web Comics.
  • Unsounded: Dawn worries that Stockyard might be hurting Sette, even though the other employees tell her it's none of their buisness, tries to save everyone rather than looking out for herself when the Nevergreen turns into a hellish deathtrap, helps Sette open the locks to get rid of the silver rather than flee with her friends, tries to stop Starfish from going after Sette and still mourns her stillborn son years after the fact.
  • Camilla from Zoophobia is a violence-prone stripper who is just a misunderstood girl with a passion for dance, limited by her unfortunate reputation.

    Web Original 
  • Marion Lavorre from Critical Role, known by her moniker "The Ruby of the Sea" is a High-Class Call Girl known far and wide across the continent of Wildemount. She is also the mother of Jester, one of the party members who thinks the world of her. When the rest of the party finally meet her, she is shown to be kind, courteous, and very accepting of Jester's new friends; they all agree that she's probably the nicest person they've ever met.
  • In The Debbie and Carrie Show, Rose Dawson is a young woman who became a prostitute to support herself after an abusive upbringing by her stepfather. Her lifestyle made her despised by most in the town, but she was actually a good person.
  • Despite living in Hell, Angel Dust from Hazbin Hotel is a good person, even if its not readily apparent. Angel Dust was a gay 1940s New York gangster, and is now a spider demon Drag Queen porn star turned prostitute/crime boss. He'll sleep with anyone for money, which funds his drug and alcohol addictions. He also loves violence, casually gunning down his enemies in a turf war. He's sarcastic, sassy, and crass, and will take every opportunity to mock and taunt friends and foes alike. However, he is the first demon to willingly give Charlie's hotel a chance, and clearly wants to comfort her after she bungles her TV interview. He also saves Cherri Bomb from an incoming attack, demonstrating that he is loyal to the people he cares about.
  • Brad Jones' miniseries "The Hooker with a Heart of Gold" simultaneously plays with, lampshades, and keeps the trope straight in that the hooker in question actually has a (cybernetic) golden heart. She's still pretty nice, though.
  • The Nostalgia Chick's BFF Nella has a "schoolteacher who is also a whore with a heart of gold" in her My Little Pony melodrama

    Western Animation 
  • Referenced in American Dad!, with a newspaper headline reading "Hooker Killed for Heart of Gold".
  • Arcane: The old prostitute yordle Babette which Claggor was scared of turns out to be one. In Act 2, she's become a Madame and is willing to update Vi about what's happened since Silco's rise despite the risk. Notably she doesn't sell Vi out unlike another old friend of Vander.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Robin's Reckoning", in a flashback, a young Dick Grayson saves a woman from being harassed. She later thanks him by giving him some food in a diner. It is heavily implied that the man was her pimp.
  • Bob's Burgers has Marbles, Cha-Cha, Glitter, and fan-favorite Marshmallow, four hookers who are all friendly. The first three are recurring clients of Bob's when he took a second job as a cab driver, and they listen to Bob's problems, compliment his mustache, offer to share with him some beers and some crack, and give Tina some solid advice and a reminder of what a good father she has. As for Marshmallow, she's a semi-regular customer of Bob's and is willing to help him out with problems like the new stools making fart noises and needing to be sat on over and over until they stop.
  • Subverted in The Boondocks episode "Guess Hoe's Coming to Dinner", when Granddad dates Cristal, who is obviously a prostitute and Gold Digger, but Granddad refuses to believe it. He is eventually forced to confront it when her pimp shows up. Despite an awesome/heartwarming moment where he defends Cristal's (supposed) honor to the pimp, she ultimately chooses to go back with him rather than stay with Granddad, even though he's clearly fallen for her quite hard by this point.
  • The Dating Guy has a young woman named Marie-Claire, who offered protagonist Mark the best sex of his life in exchange for a kidney to give to her little brother, Gene. Gene needs the transplant to live, and Marie-Claire fully lives up to her end of the bargain.
  • In DC Showcase: Jonah Hex, the bargirl who provides Jonah information about the murders in exchange for enough money to leave the life. After Jonah rewards her, she thanks him by kissing his cheek. His scarred cheek.
  • Parodied in the Futurama episode "Hell is Other Robots", there is Hooker-bot 5000, programmed with a heart of solid gold.
  • Hilariously subverted on the Canadian cartoon Kevin Spencer when Kevin's mother Anastasia leaves her family and is walking through the streets when she meets a wealthy man who thinks she is a prostitute, mostly because she typically works as one. He gives Anastasia this treatment, but she remains as much of a fat, disgusting, alcoholic, lowbrow slob as she ever was and the rich man kicks her out of the house at the end of the episode.
  • King of the Hill: The Hills take in a woman that turns out to be a hooker, trying to earn her GED and lead a better life, but "fell back into" prostitution because of the money she wasn't making at Strickland Propane. She, after a series of events where Hank "bought" her from her old pimp, became somewhat of a family friend, eventually attending Luanne's wedding.
  • Yan from the Love, Death & Robots episode "Good Hunting" follows this. Though she was forced into sexual slavery, she nonetheless maintains her morals. Most notably, she only goes on a killing spree in order to avenge women who were sexually assaulted by the Englishman.
  • The Simpsons: Although not true, Bart discusses it in "Sweets and Sour Marge" by referring to Erin Brockovich as "the prostitute with a heart of gold."
  • South Park:
    • Liane Cartman is the nicest parent in the town (though she spoils her son far too much), but ends up in German porn and on the cover of Crack Whore magazine.
    • Classi, who is noble, but far more aggressive than the usual portrayal. She initially became Nathan's girlfriend, but turns on the little snot after he slaps her and wails on him, and helps Jimmy take down the Ads.
  • Six of Tripping the Rift is a former sex slave, until a programming upgrade made her too smart and sensible to suit that line of work.

    Real Life 
  • While not technically prostitutes, Sexual Surrogates acting in their therapeutic capacity do often have sex with their clients. What differentiates a surrogate from a prostitute is the prostitute is providing sex as the service itself while the surrogate is providing sex as part of mental health services. They both get paid for the same type of service rendered, at the end of the day.
  • This woman.
  • A large number of prostitutes in Germany and the Netherlands come from eastern Europe. They use their pay to support their families back home.
  • Livy records a story about the Hispala Faecenia, a prostitute who supported her well-born lover Aebutius when his mother and step-father stole his inheritance; when they tried to get him out of the way, she stepped in to save him and ended up being instrumental in suppressing the Bacchanalian Conspiracy in 186 B.C.E.
  • Empress Theodora of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was originally an actress, and in those times acting involved sexual acts by pretty much default, so she used her good looks as well as her sexual prowess, her brains, and her Plucky Girl personality to go up the Byzantine society. Said to have been naturally inclined to help women and girls, she campaigned for women's rights and through her reforms, outlawed forced prostitution and capital punishment for adultery, and bought several girls sold as slaves just so she could free them and provide for their future. Though her religious policies were controversial at the time since she followed a different type of Christianity than her contemporaries, Theodora is now venerated as a saint by Orthodox Christians.
  • Deconstructed: Samuel Pepys (who preferred to harass his maids and his dependent employees' wives rather than resort to prostitutes) references it in his diary in the 1660s, and wonders if men see whores as being better than they are because it makes them feel less guilty about whoring.
  • Inverted in Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies, a guide to West End prostitutes that was published annually in the 1760s and 1770s. Time and again the women are said to be in the sex trade because they love sex: the fact that most of them were left with no choice (or may have been forced into prostitution after being raped - at the time, rape victims were considered Defiled Forever) is never mentioned.
  • Amanda Barrie writes in her autobiography that as a young woman when she was walking home at night the local prostitutes would look out for her and ensure she was safe.
  • Former call girl Dr. Brooke Magnanti arguably fits this trope as she now works as a scientist who does research into child health.
  • When Louis Theroux spent 6 weeks living in a brothel for a documentary he met a sweet-natured prostitute called Emily who financially supported her grandmother, younger siblings, and daughter.
  • Heidi Fleiss was probably considered this by the men she protected by going to prison rather than publicly revealing they were her clients. The call girls she set up health care packages for may also have felt this way.
  • Courtesan Kitty Fisher who went on to marry money was known for her generosity to the poor.
  • Coupled with Real Joke Name Australian gold medalist Steven Hooker commented on one of the Fan Nickname involving his accomplishment.
  • Prostitute/brothel madam Julia Bulette turned her brothel into a hospital when local miners got sick and donated money to the Union side of the Civil War
  • Former child star and former drug addict prostitute Lauren Chapin won awards for her numerous charity work including raising over $2m for underprivileged and abused children and setting up an organisation to help children in the entertainment industry avoid being exploited.
  • After the attack at Pearl Harbor, several prostitutes helped nurses and doctors treating burn victims.
  • In parts of 17th century Italy, it was considered an indulgence (that is, a good deed which acts as a penance for a temporal sin) for men of means to marry reformed prostitutes.
  • Many real prostitutes fit under this; prostitutes are no different from anyone else. It's actually surprisingly common for people to hire prostitutes for things other than sex, known as "emotion work" (IRL Platonic Prostitution, basically).
  • Apparently, the infamous Jeanne Becu aka Madame Du Barry was this. In the decades since she actually used her wealth to support the towns and neighborhoods she was known to reside in, as well as to send money to those who'd been displaced by the French Revolution. Hence, it was more obvious that the regime was only killing her for her money rather than for her actual involvement with the monarchy, which drove her to a massive meltdown before being executed... and ironically horrified the masses and made them start realising how much the Terror Regime sucked.
  • As the end of prohibition North of the border meant fewer migrants looking for a drink and gambling was banned in Baja California, the nightlife and tourism that propped up the economy of the once bustling Tijuana gradually declined during the late 20th century. One of the city's heroes during this time period was Cassandra, as she was popularly known. A charitable brothel keeper, she heavily invested in the local enterprises.
  • Women of the Bordel Mobile de Campagne (Mobile Field Brothel) of the French Union Armed Forces often served as auxilliary nurses during the First Indochina War, with some dying in battle.
  • Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses, crashed at a stripper's apartment; afterwards the entire band ended up crashing at the stripper's apartment at the same time and destroying the place. The stripper even gave Izzy rides to rehab.

Alternative Title(s): Tart With A Heart, Soiled Dove, Porn Star With A Heart Of Gold