- Where are you from? Where did you grow up? How did you grow up? Are there any special childhood moments that you feel have defined who you are now?
I was born in Los Angeles and grew up between there and London where my father was often making films. I went to boarding school on the East Coast at 13 and moved to NYC at 17 to go to art school. I grew up in an creative family and my eccentricities and interest in history and sexuality were encouraged from an early age.
- Talk to us briefly about Sex Ed. How did you get started with the platform? What inspires you? Are there any hopes you desire for the platform?
The Sex Ed is a digital platform for sex, health & consciousness education. Our mission is to educate, inform, and inspire conversations around sexual wellness.
This has been my path since my first job at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Los Angeles at age 13 and writing two books on sexual history—Pretty Things (HarperCollins 2006) and Sporting Guide (Phaidon 2015) I starting making my first film, a documentary on the last generation of American Burlesque Queens, Pretty Things (HBO 2005) when I was 17— by collecting early 20th century burlesque costumes I would find at flea markets and tracking down the Queens who wore them to catalogue their provenance. I love research, educating myself and providing information for others— generally on overlooked or traditionally shamed parts of our culture— which usually involves sex!
We now have 3 seasons of a podcast; numerous essays written by experts on everything from Orgasm Breathing to Postpartum Yoga to Cybersecurity to a BOOKSHELF with curated books on Sex, Health and Consciousness.
We are working on expanding into other areas for 2021, a new season of the podcast and more!
- Are there any special career choices that you have chosen that you feel most at home with? How about any that you felt discouraged or uncomfortable by?
I try to follow my intuition and make sure my work is aligned with my mission in life— to help bring light into areas of trauma, fear, repression and suffering around sexuality. I am aware that is a privilege I have to make this choice instead of working a 9-5 job, so I try to be conscious at all times of serving a larger community.
What are your sources of inspiration? Do you have anyone you look up to?
I have had many mentors in my career— from the fine art war photographer Gilles Peress who first encouraged me when I was researching burlesque; to the late great documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles who ended up shooting a good portion of my first film; to the choreographer Bill T. Jones and many more! I find inspiration and strength in the people I surround myself with, my colleagues in the field of Sex, Health & Consciousness— and maybe most of all in children who haven’t yet lost their wonder, innocence and questioning of the world around them.
- You've been a supporter of Greenpacha for some time now, what are you favorite aspects of Greenpacha? Do you feel empowered by putting on a Greenpacha hat?
I love hats! I have been collecting hats and millinery supplies (19th century feathers, trims etc to 1960s Italian straw hats) since I was a teenager. I used to work for Shiseido— the Japanese cosmetic company — which furthered my interest in sun protection as well. I wear SPF 50 indoors! You will never see me at the beach (out of the water) without a giant hat and red lipstick.
I treasure my Greenpacha as the hats are not only ethically made— and designed by someone I cherish—Florencia; but also they are chic and durable! I wear mine everywhere and love when they become a bit imperfect from sun, sand, wind and being rolled up in a suitcase.
When you're feeling down or disconnected from yourself and from nature, how do you go about reconnecting?
Feet in earth, pull weeds in my garden, hula hoop, cry, play sound bowls, jump in the ocean, write, read, dream, watercolor, have an orgasm.
- Are there any observations you see in reference to a more sustainable lifestyle? How about a more sustainable fashion world?
Let’s fucking hope so— it’s about time! I grew up very conscious about recycling and conservation. My mother used to put plastic bottles in the back of the toilets in our house to reduce water use and my younger brother and I earned our allowance by recycling old newspapers and cola cans every Saturday at the Los Angeles dump. I started wearing/ collecting vintage clothing around age 13 when I was old enough to hit the Salvation Army and thrift stores with my friends. I’m also a big on picking up trash on the beach and in nature— I think I would discard the best lover in the universe if I discovered they littered!
I love fashion and clothes but believe that there is too much of everything and the speed of consumption has gotten out of control. We all need to be mindful of what we produce, purchase and promote in this regard.