Workin' It

Heather Carruthers & Leslie Leonelli
Co-owners, Pearl’s Rainbow

Heather Carruthers and Leslie Leonelli knew to open the door when opportunity came knocking. “We were ready for a change of lifestyle, ready to leave Manhattan and have a different pace of life,” Carruthers says. While vacationing in Key West in February 2000, they found their answer: The women’s guesthouse at which they stayed, Rainbow House, was for sale.

Later that year, they bought and re-opened the guesthouse as Pearl’s Rainbow—a luxurious lesbian resort just two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, with a main guesthouse that used to be a 19th-century cigar factory. Over the past eight years, Pearl’s has become one of the premier lesbian resorts in the world. “Seeing women relax in a safe environment and make lasting friendships has been incredibly rewarding,” Carruthers says. “Knowing we’ve given them a beautiful and comfortable place where they can be themselves is the most gratifying part of this business.” —KL