It's all about Perspective

Ft. Julie Medez

SNH Podcast S3 - Episode 2 Transcript

Melrose: Welcome back to the SeenAndNotHeard Podcast, the podcast that is your weekly dirty little secret, which is fine by me as long as you keep it. I am MelRose Michaels, your host, and this is season three, episode two. Last week I hinted to y'all that I was going to be inviting my really close friend, Julie, onto the podcast. Julie and I have been friends since fifth grade. And although we grew up in the same socioeconomic situation, the rest of our backgrounds vary widely. Julie comes from a pretty strict household. Her mom wouldn't even let her spend the night at my house, whereas I could disappear all weekend as long as my mom knew whose roof was over my head. Julie's family was also a church going family. So her and I have a lot of theological differences. She's also a mother of three, one of which is a teenage girl, which presents some moral challenges for Julie in respect to the industry I'm in and what I do. She has always supported and encouraged my traces for my work and she's posed really great questions because she has a unique vantage point as an outsider to the adult industry. I wanted to bring her on because the last time she visited me in Tennessee, we had such a great conversation about the adult industry, sex trafficking and exploitation of women. Our differing perspectives and life experiences really showcase the complexity that some of these topics present and knowing that Julie was able to offer me some insight on how to raise young women, knowing the way society, views, and values them. I hope you enjoy this episode. I know I did without further ado, one of my best friends, Julie Mendez.

 

Melrose: Hello Julie, and welcome to the SeenAndNotHeard Podcast. So full disclosure, you've been on the podcast before and like a smaller setting, I guess, but I wanted to have you on again, because you visited me recently and we got into some really interesting discussions that I really wish I would have recorded, um, about kind of sex trafficking and your feelings on that as it pertains to the adult industry. So I guess a little bit of background is that Julie is a longtime friend since like fifth grade. Um, and then as of this year in 2020, uh, she came onboard to work with my marketing company and kind of take over that entire business for me. So she's gotten her feet wet a little bit in the adult side of things like helping, you know, models, sell shout outs and stuff like that. So this is kind of a new industry that you're getting exposed to as a whole too. So like, I guess what were your first impressions when I was talking to you about the marketing company thing, as it pertains to adult, because your background and mine are super different,

Julie: It is nerve-wracking a little bit, especially because at any time that you go into something new that you have no experience in, and so being pretty much full-blown thrown into, um, not just marketing, but also like you said, the adult industry as well, you know, it was nerve wracking and I’ve been learning a lot along the way as well.

 

Melrose:  Yeah. Did you, and this is just like a little side tangent because it's like, it's very important for me that people view sex workers or people in the industry like myself as actual business owners, because we do so much fucking work. So like, I feel like now that you've kind of gotten your hands wet in the marketing side of the industry, did it surprise you how much went into it?..

 

Julie: So much goes into it. To be a business owner you have to be organized, you have to, you know, strategize your day and pretty much that, that, that goes with anything, whether it's construction or whether it's modeling, whether it's having a restaurant, like you have to be very, very organized. So not just only making your content, of course you have to make your content, but then you go into editing, then you have to go into marketing, then you have to do the outreach for it. And with any business there's always accounting involved. So what are your profits? What are, you know, what are your losses? What are you, what are you spending your money on? So yes, there is, there's a lot of business strategy that goes into the business.. yeah, sure.

 

Melrose:  That's definitely like, and I try to stress this to people because especially now that, you know, I just kind of talked with another person about this recently that it's very trendy to do like the OnlyFans thing or like the industry thing right now, which is great. I have mixed feelings about that, but as far as it goes where people just think like, Oh, I can take nude pictures and sell them online and I'm going to make, you know, a million dollars. It's so much more than that. Like, it's so much more than that. So I think it’s kind of cool that you're getting to see the work that goes into it because we've been friends for so long, but we haven't kind of crossed paths in this area of my life. So it's kind of, kind of good for me anyways. Um, so as it pertains to like you helping me in the marketing company because it is geared a lot towards sex workers and helping them sell shout outs just as like one piece of the company, um, what have been your, I guess, moral or ethical dilemmas with that, because that's kind of what we talked about last time.

Julie: Again this is new. Obviously I am aware of the industry, but it’s new in the sense of, and my concern, I guess it's more of the younger ones, the younger models looking to promote themselves and maybe, you know, a model will only see the income, maybe one, looks more into the exposure or the attention. I, I'm not sure. Obviously everyone has their own psychological reasons and why they go into the industry. Um, but because it's, it's not one shoe fits all, you know, every model is different and every model has their own different situation. But my concern was, you know, you have these younger models that are going into the industry, but then, my concern, was kind of, are they being managed by someone else? Or, you know, another one of my concern has always been like, are they an adult? Are they, you know, over the age of 18? And even if they are over the age of 18, when you're 18, sometimes you're still not fully, I don't know, mature.

Julie: We're always, you know, even us as adults, we're still trying to figure things out. Um, but then, you know, there's an instance where, when we came across the teen fetish and I guess I, haven't really come across that many models that have concerned me. But some of the pages do seem a little sketchy. And then again, when we talked about, you know, obviously social media is a world platform, so we have models from the U.S we have models from, you know, Mexico and Columbia. So again, the American dollar, like you mentioned, goes a long way and in different countries. So I can see why, social media is an outlet for them. But my thing is like not, not every woman can manage, not every woman has a camera, not every woman has, you know, the internet capabilities or the marketing capabilities. So of course they go to someone else. But then my concern is, is that third person exploiting them, what's going on behind the backgrounds and am I then partaking in that problem?

 

Melrose:  Yeah, for sure. And so, like, that's something that I've had to kind of grapple with a little bit, because like, for the one instance where the model reached out for a shout out and you came to me and you're like, she looks really young and this model happened to be on Fancentro so it was easy for me to go internally and be like, just double checking is this girl age verified, which, which was great. And she was age verified. So I, my hesitancy kind of was relieved and I was like, okay, she's of age, she's willing, this is her business we can promote her. But then when I actually went to her profile and it was like, the word teen was splashed all over the place. Well, for me personally, as a business owner of the marketing company, I feel a right to, you know, deny services in one, because I don't want to help exploit a fetish that I don't think is good for young girls.

Melrose:  And on the flip side of that, if she didn't have teen on her profile, I probably would have gone ahead and, you know, accepted the shout out. But just the fact that there's so many people, fetish-sizing teen. I kind of do struggle with that. But I can honestly say when I was first starting out in the industry, I wasn't 18. I was 20, which was still young in my opinion, in retrospect. But if I had a moment and I remember thinking this very clearly, that I wish I was starting at 18 or 19, so I could say I was a teen because I know how well that niche of content sells. And I do know, like in the actual industry, when you're on set and when you're filming like legit, you know, adult content for a studio or something, a lot of the whole like teen thing, these people are, you know, well into their twenties playing a teen. So that's, that's kind of a gray area, you know, a young girl who looks super young and says teen all over the place. I'm not super comfortable with that. If it's a grown woman playing a teenager, like, okay, that's acting to me, but I go back and forth. That's, it's a sticky situation.

 

Julie: It is for sure. And especially because there are teens that are still struggling with their sexuality, they're struggling with, you know, going through the hormones and the change from being a child to, you know, a teenager and that phase already is so confusing. So when you add sex work into that, it's just, it's a whole mix. And again, the industry is there for it. Um, but that's, that's where I struggle as well, especially having a teenage step-daughter.

 

Melrose:  Yeah. And so when it comes to the exploiting thing, and that's where it gets really messy, because we'll have people approach us, for example, a shout out and like, like shout on Snapchat. So I'll go and I'll look at their Snapchat story and I'll see like 50 random different models. I'm like, okay, this is clearly a guy who's stealing content and wants a shout out for this Snapchat to sell stolen content. So like, obviously that's easy to deny. I'm not interested. You're exploiting women who work hard and who, you know, have their own business. And I want no part of that. But on the flip side, there's also people in place, typically men, again, who do run studios and who do serve a purpose, like either they're providing the cell phones or the internet access of the laptop to young models in places that it's hard to get those things.

 

Melrose: So again, it's a gray area. And I think just having one, the instinct into the experience to make those judgment calls is really what comes into play. When you were talking about, you know, it's you grapple with this a little bit, because you do have a stepdaughter, who's like, you know, a teenager, not, she's not 18, obviously, but she's going to be 18 coming, you know, five or so years. And you're, you had concerns about, and we talked about this a little bit, like her being on Snapchat or her being on like social media, because it can be a slippery slope, especially when, you know, it looks so easy from the outside. What some of these sex workers are doing, like the pictures on Instagram or what they're posting on Snapchat. What I guess reservations do you have about her being on those platforms and seeing those things?

Julie: And I, and I, I've been outspoken about this before as well with her is that once it's out, it's out and I've seen that obviously firsthand, um, once it's there on your account, it's so easy to screenshot and post on a different account. And you know, that is, you know, it's, if someone, if a model is obviously paying for her, shout out to be on your account, another account could easily come and screenshot that. So it's the same thing, um, that I communicated with her is that, you know, once it's out, it's out, you know, once you send it, it is so easy for someone to screenshot your content, whether it's my daughter, whether it's my friend, whether it's a model, um, and then it's, it's out in the open for forever. Um, so it's just, you know, just being aware and self-awareness, I've struggled with, I feel like ever since I was young, I kind of just went through the motions and that's something that I wish I would've learned at a younger age. I wish someone would've kind of had that conversation with me when I was younger, you know, kind of just have a little bit more self-awareness um, think before you speak and you know, things of that nature. So it's hard. It's really hard. And I just hope she takes it with a grain of salt, you know? Yeah,

 

Melrose: Yeah. It's funny. Cause we were the generation that grew up with the internet. Like we lived without it as kids and then we grew up with it. So we were like the Guinea pigs of this like posting pictures, online thing, and then like sending nudes and all of this stuff.

 

Julie: MySpace, that was our first ever social media platform.

 

Melrose:  I love MySpace, MySpace taught me how to code, but yeah, no, totally. And so like, it's almost like we were the ones that had to learn the hard way and now we can kind of take that information, pass it to a younger generation. And so I guess something I want to ask you as like I'm a young woman and you know, next five, hopefully five before 10 years, I would like to start a family and stuff. And I think all the time about the way social media and the internet plays a part in a young girl's life, specifically women just because of the societal standards are so different and so much harder to navigate. How do you handle social media? Not only, I guess, with your, your teenage daughter, but with all your kids and like, how do you feel, do you feel like you ever have any control over the outcome? Like I'm so afraid of that?

 

Julie: Well, I’ve actually come across, um, from the marketing aspect, I've come across a few models, who have said that, that their accounts have been hacked. Their accounts have been deleted. One model said her dad made her delete the account. Um, and it is very detrimental to their mental health. With that being said, um, it's, it's true. And the only thing that I can say to my children is, and even as an adult or anyone in particular is you have to have a tough shell. If you're going to do something you need to follow through. Right? So if this is something that you decided, this is your career, you have followed through with it. And that also includes having that conversation with children, you know, your future children. And so that would go with any model, um, or even, you know, my kids or whatever they do, you know, if they follow through with it, um, they also need to have a tough shell.