I first met Polly when I was 21, fresh to San Francisco and to sexy parties. I was accustomed to dark spaces with red light, places where you were admonished not to talk too loudly, where the uniform of "sexy" was a limited palette and style. These constraints had felt unnatural to me and what I found sexy- diversity, creativity, playfulness! And it was within Polly's worlds of Kinky Salon, Superstar Avatar, Beauty Engine I discovered my power as a femme, as a sexual being, and as an activist. I began to understand what community was and could be, and I began to trust in myself.
It's not an exaggeration to say that Mission Control sculpted me into the person I am today. It was the first space where people asked before they kissed me, and I realized how sexy that was. It was where I learned that being a sex worker didn't mean I had to feel isolated. I learned from behind the scenes what worked as a leader and what didn't. I believed strongly enough in Kinky Salon's mission of a playful space filled with silly costumes and consent culture, that embraced art and sex together, entwined into one, that I co-founded Kinky Salon in London, which set off several in Europe.
I'm excited that Polly's written a memoir, and she has a Kickstarter up to help fund it. Stories about where we come from are valuable, and these stories serve to inspire and educate us. I got to ask her a few questions about how she became Polly Superstar, and her process in writing this book, AND i wanted to share them with you.
So as someone who similarly transformed from her childhood self into "Kitty Stryker", I'm curious- what was the inspiration/impetus to transform from Polly Whittaker into Polly Superstar?
Latex was my ticket out of England. I knew it when I started. I could see that I was at the birth of a new kind of fashion, and if I learned this trade I would be able to travel anywhere in the world, and support myself. Well, anywhere there are latex perverts! Not sure how I'd fare in Africa or India or places like that...not much demand there. But the America, Europe and Japan were all options. I didn't know it would be San Francisco until I got here. So it was a practical decision, and I was good at it. So I followed a career path that could give me easy self-employment options. I also loved latex, and was particularly inspired by my employer at my second latex design job- Robin Archer at House of Harlot. He's a latex genius.
Wow thats a huge question. Sex positivity is all about believing that sex is good for you, and having a healthy sex life leads to a healthy culture. The current fucked up attitude toward sex (see how I used the word 'fucked' there? that's FUCKED!) is because we're in this weird in-between phase. We're moving away from a sex-negative past, where sex out of marriage was literally illegal and 'fornication' was a crime punishable by the courts. But we haven't reached balance yet. Instead, sex has become more culturally acceptable as an activity. Nobody expects to marry a virgin anymore. But we still have hurdles to overcome. Slut shaming and the gender gap- your victory is my shame- in my opinion, that's the big next step.
Sex Culture is the part of our society which has been shunned for centuries. There was only one acceptable model- one man one woman, for life, sanctioned by god. These days we have more options available to us, especially in a town like SF. We're limited by one basic tenet- consenting adults. So Sex Culture is the complicated, beautiful, landscape we can dance through, to find happiness, love and fulfillment. It's different from being 'sex positive' because it acknowledges the validity of the full spectrum, including monogamy and asexuals, and doesn't negate their choices. The sexual revolution is like a big ball that keeps rolling. I call myself a revolutionary because I have dedicated my life to pushing that ball forward.
Rather than reaching out to a faceless, uncaring business to support, instead I reached out to my community.