“There just needs to be a radical change in sex education.” Rachel Brownstein
People join the adults film industry for various reasons, and many do not intend to work in the industry forever. However, the transition from being a sex worker can be quite a challenge for many for varied reasons, as experienced by our guest today, Rachel Brownstein, who had to deal with emotional and psychological trauma arising from the judgmental environment during her transition process. However, Rachel believes there are many misconceptions about the industry and sex workers and tries to change that.
Rachel Brownstein is a no-nonsense public speaker and actress, busting myths about the adult film industry and sex work. She is also a keen vegan chef and has her own vegan cooking channel on YouTube – Auntie Rachel’s Chaotic Kitchen. Rachel is a UK-based public speaker and the face of YouTube vegan cooking channel Auntie Rachel’s Chaotic Kitchen.
She talks openly about her experience working in the sex industry to educate people about the reality of sex work and dispel many of the misconceptions people have. Brought up in Leeds, West Yorkshire, Rachel first turned to sex work due to a desire for independence. Keen to earn her own money and choose when she worked, she started out working as an escort and a lap dancer before becoming an actress in the adult film industry, working with studios in Los Angeles. This saw her thrust into a completely different world where 13-hour sex scenes and STD-testing became a normal part of her working week.
After eight years working in the sex industry – including five appearing in pornographic films, Rachel is keen to unpick the stigma surrounding sex workers. Her career saw her earn a good living and travel the world, yet since retiring from porn, she has been fired from two jobs by bosses who couldn’t handle her past. Now a public speaker, Rachel is keen to talk about the realities of being an adult film actress and is writing a memoir about her life in porn. She can speak candidly about her own experiences and the reactions she has had from other people since leaving the industry.
Rachel has strong views about the need for clear and honest sex education for young people not to grow up using porn as a yardstick for their sexual relationships. She also advocates for sex workers to be given more of a voice when it comes to the laws which govern their industry.
A Vegan Cooking Channel with a Difference Once an enthusiastic carnivore, Rachel decided to become a vegan after finding out more about the animal welfare issues involved in the meat industry. She had her final meat-based meal on Christmas Day 2017 and hasn’t looked back. In October 2020, after spending most of her lockdown whipping up vegan creations in the kitchen, Rachel launched her own YouTube cooking channel – Auntie Rachel’s Chaotic Kitchen. The channel aims to put the fun into vegan cooking and is aimed at everyone from committed vegans to meat-eaters wanting to try plant-based meal options. The channel is a no-holds-barred cooking experience, and Rachel always includes all her mistakes and successes. Talking to the viewer through WHY she is adding something to the dish, Rachel hopes to remove some of the mystery surrounding vegan cooking to make it more accessible to everyone.
Rachel can also talk about living with a hidden disability after being diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes (EDS) – a group of connective tissue disorders – in 2019. She also has postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS), a blood circulation disorder, which means her heart rate increases at an abnormal rate after sitting up and standing.
In today’s episode, our guest will talk to us about her experience in the adult films industry and her motivation to transition towards exploring her creativity and what she is doing now: vegan cooking.
- I have a disability called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder and it manifests in pain in my joints, and I’ve got the hypermobile type. [5:12]
- I was working in the restaurant industry in front of my house and just hated working for minimum wage. [5:33]
- I was thinking of how I could earn more money only with a GCSE level and little education, and my mind went straight to sex work. [5:45]
- Sex work gave me freedom and choice to whether or not to go to work, depending on how I felt. [6:14]
- I just went all in and started doing escorting and then kind of went backward, started lap dancing, then doing photography in magazines, and then started doing films. [6:34]
- Being a US citizen, I could travel freely to the US, where they brought in a law, it’s called statute 2257, where you have to have two forms of us ID to appear in adult films. [6:56]
- It provided a real disposable income and the freedom and opportunity to go and visit different countries and meet many different people. [7:38]
- There are so many different reasons people enter the sex industry, and for me, it was money and freedom and not having to work a nine to five job that stifled me. [7:47]
- It got to the point where it just wasn’t fulfilling my needs anymore as I wasn’t using my brain and being creative. [9:03]
- I also did start to see a side of the male psyche that I don’t necessarily think women should be exposed to. [9:15]
- I started trying to transition out of the industry and then started getting fired because I’d be recognized by men who can’t keep their mouths shut. [9:31]
- I left the industry, try to muddle along, keep my head down, but I would just be hounded across social media, and people would not let me leave. [9:50]
- I realized that people need to hear what sex workers have to say about the industry because the voices speaking on it don’t know what they’re talking about. I think to say porn or sex work is inherently bad is just very reductive [11:03]
- I think there needs to be, again, a radical change in sex education by being respectful towards kids as young humans. [13:57]
- I started doing lectures about sex work, and I think we need to start involving sex workers in education. [17:00]
- Commercial break. [ 21:05]
- The kitchen came around because of the pandemic where I was spending full lockdown in the UK, and I couldn’t leave the house. [23:06]
- I got depression and anxiety and wondered what I would do, so I started cooking. [23:46]
- I started adapting recipes that I’d found and trying different things with them, which I then posted. [24:06]
- A couple of friends mentioned having my YouTube channel for my cooking, and I thought it was a good idea and started it. [24:20]
- I also noticed that many TV chefs did not necessarily explain the ingredients, and I decided that I will be mindful of that, and l will try and always explain why I’m using a certain ingredient. [26:00]
- I have had some nice and beautiful supportive messages. [27:19]
- The other great thing about vegan food or plant-based food is that it’s very hard to poison yourself. [28:50]
- I enjoy seeing other people’s vulnerability or their fallibility, and I think it just humanizes. [29:44]
- I think it’s important to stop letting other people put us in boxes that we’re not comfortable in, and you need to burst out of them because it’s just so limiting. And it’s exhausting trying to conform to other people’s ideals. [33:32]
- I think trying to be someone that somebody else wants you to be can start having a corrupting influence on your life and make you not take care of your own needs. [33:52]
- Just embrace your silliness and your creativity, and don’t let anyone make you feel shame or embarrassment for the things that bring you joy. [35:05]
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