So last month I had the opportunity to interview Harriet Sugarcookie. For those who have not heard about her, Harriet is a young British East Asian business woman, entrepreneur, sex and lifestyle performer and blogger. I find her quite an amazing and inspiring young woman because she has interesting perspectives on life and is more than just a sex performer. Actually that is secondary because if you go to her website a huge chunk of it is about relationship/lifestyle advice, commentary on news and current affairs and interesting recipes Harriet herself has tried out.
Talking with Harriet over Skype, I could sense how driven and ambitious she is. I mean she has so much to offer and all her messages and her business is all about promoting sex positive images. We spoke for more than 40 minutes ( 20 minutes of those was just general chit chat), and seriously I wished I was in London at that time having a latte with her, because she has so much to say and offer.
This is why I am proud to say Harriet is more than just a sex performer, but really is an influencer and an advocate. Many of the questions and topics we touched on were about the perceived “taboo” of working as a sex performer, and how she developed the passion and drive to work basically 24/7 (Harriet’s words) on growing her business/company to be as big as it can be. That is a good sign of a young Asian woman going places.
A post shared by Harriet Sugarcookie (@harrietsugarcookie) on Mar 12, 2017 at 12:14pm PDT
Anyways, here is how our conversation went:
Harriet, what is your perspective on being part of this new crop of independent performers that control, create, and deliver content directly through their own websites and online social video platforms, versus the more traditional model of working for a studio or producer. Is it really different?
My website is different as it offers more than just porn and sex. It is diverse and if you look at my website I offer relationship advice, comment on news and current affairs, and recipes I have tried out. When I started, I didn’t want to just create a porn site or just be a sex performer, but it was more about discovering myself and my sexuality as both an Asian and as a woman. I started with posting sexy pictures of myself online, and that really took off.
Not long after, I was asked by many people who started to follow my work whether I would make videos and that is where I decided to do my own own site so I can post about things I am personally interested in and allow my followers to understand who I really am. Most people think porn is just for sex, but it is more than just that. I know people can watch me and others perform on my site, but they can also find out more about who I am and in the same way I can share parts of myself and my true geeky side.
Harriet, do you feel more empowered and truly in control with what you do?
That is an interesting question and topic you touched on. The idea of feeling in control and empowered, as women and as Asian is a complex one and one which needs more looking into. I am in control with what I do and that is empowering and inspiring to other women and men who have thought about getting into this industry. It has also inspired others to pursue their chosen career paths and dreams whatever that may be. I do not strongly advocate anyone to become a sex performer, but if anyone contacts or emails me and shows interest in this work, I will endeavor to help them and hopefully inspire them.
In addition, I have interviewed a few Asian porn stars, and they do touch on topics like stereotypes, objectification etc. The problem for me is that independent performers are so small in numbers, but as Asian women our numbers are even smaller.
Harriet, how do you think we can begin to remove the taboo within our community on porn/sex performer and would you encourage others to get into this line of work?
For me the “taboo” comes from ignorance. It will be a long process for people to be open and we need to move towards sex positive conversations. What I mean is for example, we are now more open and progressive about equal rights for our LGBTIQ+ communities, and that is through constant advocacy and open discussions. That is why we need more acceptance for sex and see it as not taboo but talk about it, to remove the ignorance. Many people I have encountered have negative stereotypes about what I do, so I always try to engage them in discussions to find out why they think of it so negatively. We need to be more open and sex positive.
I personally would not encourage anyone to do anything. I write a lot about my own personal experiences and share my life and intend to send the message that this about your personal level of comfort in what you are doing – that you are doing it at your own pace. Some things I do not do, and like now I film with girls only. If they ask me if they should do it – I tell them they need to answer that themselves. If you enjoy what you do, and feel comfortable with it then go for the stars. When I first started in this work, I had no one to talk to about this and get advice, so that is why I now intend to be that person who will give out advice so others can feel empowered to go for their dreams, just like I did.
Oh man I wish I could look like this all the time 😂 but I am way too lazy to do 2 hours of makeup and one hour of wig stuff to get this look daily. Yes btw it is a wig 😱😭 I wish my real hair could dye this colour but it just turns to dust with so much bleach. Still it’s a fun look! I’ll do a photo set with this look in the future if you want? harrietsugarcookie.com
A post shared by Harriet Sugarcookie (@harrietsugarcookie) on Feb 20, 2017 at 5:35am PST
Harriet, do you feel you are fetishsised? What are your thoughts on sexual racism?
I know that me being Asian is a fetish, but this is just the physical and it is what many people see first. It’s the same as those saying that they prefer blondes etc – is that a fetish? No that is a preference. I think when we talk about “yellow fever” and when Asian men discuss in forums about this topic and what I do, it really comes down to the history as to how Asian women were introduced to the West. And you can see how Japanese women were introduced to American soldiers, during World War 2 as well as Vietnamese women during the Vietnam war. As a matter of survival many were submissive and that is how Asian women have been portrayed and stereotyped. But do you know what? there are many strong Asian women now, but they don’t get as much exposure as they should. So when some of these Asian men say I am pushing yellow fever I just think it is wrong and it is attacking your own race. It is like they are telling us what to do and it doesn’t sound right in my head.
Harriet, how did you break it to your parents about your line of work? Did it take them time to accept it or did it all go smoothly?
My mum was very happy about it. She doesn’t look into the details but brags that her daughter is a business owner. My mum is pretty liberal and eccentric. She just wants me to succeed and do well. For my extended family in Vietnam, it kind of threw them a curveball, but they decided they still love me as a person and trust me that I am not doing anything wrong or bad. Now they are very supportive in that sense. And it helps that there are some media written about me in the Chinese and Vietnamese media which has mostly been relatively positive.
Harriet, how do you deal with the hate you receive, if any?
I get a lot of hate mail. Many people get offended by what I do, because they think I am doing something morally or ethically wrong. I just need to be positive and honest about what I do. Many of the people who send me hateful messages are most likely insecure about themselves. On Reddit they were slut shaming me, and saying really bad things about me without even trying to get to know who I am. It is very horrible that I don’t even want to repeat it. When I reply I usually say there is just a lot of anger and if they have a problem they should message me directly. I take a lot of hate with a pinch of salt. Most people are nice, and those who write nasty comments are just insecure and I do not take it personally.
A post shared by Harriet Sugarcookie (@harrietsugarcookie) on Feb 7, 2017 at 4:14am PST
Harriet, any final words?
I see myself as a creator, and I own my own company. I am also a producer, where other young women who become sex performers, just perform, but don’t own their content. The challenges I face are different from what young sex performers face – they need to perform well, not just get into the sex, but also act etc. But, do you know what? My challenges are usually about setting up a business and a website and finding people to help find good content and stuff. My challenges is on a business front.