“When everyone is going right, I want to go left”

By Vincent Leb

Babette Res likes pushing buttons: may it be at the cashier’s desk at the supermarket, her workplace at the Museum of Prostitution or in her writing. A portrait of a hopeless creative who is fond of discussion.

“Some people think I’m a prostitute because I work here. They ask things like: What is your price? I’m rich; I can buy you.” Babette rolls her eyes. “Some guys just turn off their brains after arriving at Schiphol, it seems.” From the room behind her, a woman’s moans can be heard, mixed with two tourist girls chuckling and the throbbing beat of Madonna’s 1990-classic “Vogue”: Let your body move to the music. Although sitting in a spot of red light, 24-year-old HvA-student Babette does not earn money by offering her body to strangers, but rather as a supervisor at the Museum of Prostitution in Amsterdam’s infamous Red-Light-district.

Back as a child, “Babette-Croquette” – a nickname connected to her love for croquettes – dreamed of becoming a cashier at the supermarket, since “those buttons to push” excited her. She ended up writing three applications, but never sending them. In her teenage years, she pictured herself being an actress – an obvious thought, as she enjoys presenting in front of great audiences. In the end, the organisation-loving creative rejected the idea, feeling that there already were too many talented actresses around anyway.

That’s why the veteran field-hockey-player started studying “Media, Information and Communication” at the HvA, motivated by her interest in discussing and writing. In 2015, one of her columns was released in the free daily Metro, dealing with her then-new-found job at the museum. Now, close to her bachelor’s degree, she decided to take the minor “International Journalism” aiming to improve her writing skills.

Her goal in journalism? Finding a format that combines news reporting with opinionated essays. Something innovative, controversial. When discussing the future of media, Babette does not feel like worrying: “People are always dependent on information. The way news is channelled may change, but not their necessity. Journalism will just have to reinvent itself once again.”