Amber Rose talks to us about her partnership with MeUndies and ways you can get involved with activism after the election
Amber Rose has emerged as one of the most visible and accessible feminist activists of modern day. On her own terms, she has carved a space for herself in a media that slut-shamed and belittled her beginnings — now hosting a sex-positive VH1 talk show, The Amber Rose Show, as well as a sex-positive reincarnation of famed podcast, Loveline. And, of course, she organizes the annual Amber Rose SlutWalk in Downtown Los Angeles — a social justice event that protests rape culture and body-shaming, while simultaneously celebrating intersectional feminism and sexual freedom. (I have attended both SlutWalks, and let me tell you, they were magical).
At the second SlutWalk this past October, MeUndies sold pairs of adorable hot pink undies, designed specifically for SlutWalk and emblazoned with reclaimed sexist slurs.
For Giving Tuesday, Amber Rose has announced a new partnership with MeUndies — and the sustainably-produced underwear brand is releasing a limited quantity of the underwear to the public today, with all proceeds going to the Amber Rose Foundation. There are pairs for both women and men, and you can buy yours here!
And your money will be going to great causes. In addition to putting on SlutWalk every year, the Amber Rose Foundation helps provide free mental health services with L.A. Family Therapy, encourages political engagement with Respect My Vote and the Hip Hop Caucus, and organizes seminars with Worthy Women for women interested in tech and entrepreneurship. Amber’s partnership with MeUndies is another way for her to fund all of these initiatives — and it’s a way for you get supercute underwear while supporting feminist activism.
We were able to talk to Amber about her partnership with MeUndies, as well as her goals for SlutWalk and the Amber Rose Foundation, the importance of art and fashion in the feminist movement, and how young women can persevere as activists in the era of president-elect Donald Trump.
HelloGiggles: I was at SlutWalk in October, which is also where you first sold the underwear that you designed with MeUndies. How did you connect with them?
Amber Rose: MeUndies actually reached out. I guess they just felt like they were a great brand to be associated with SlutWalk. And we met up with them, and it was just an amazing collaboration. Most of the women at SlutWalk were wearing the undies; it was just a great pairing.
HG: I remember seeing so many people wearing those all over Pershing Square. Now obviously, a lot of businesses don’t necessarily understand the movement — which I know you’ve talked about. Was their openness what made you want to take the collaboration further?
AR: For sure. I feel like when we talk to a brand, and they’re just like, “Yeah, I don’t get it,” I feel like they just don’t want to get it. And that’s very frustrating because it’s a simple Google search to know exactly what SlutWalk is, and what the movement is. So when they just came to me and were like, “Yo, we love the movement. We love everything you’re doing,” that made me happy. Because they did their research; they just fucking get it. And that’s very important.
HG: At SlutWalk, you sold those cute pink undies that said things like “Certified Slut.” Can we expect more underwear designs to be released in the future?
AR: Oh absolutely, we’re gonna switch it up. We’re gonna pretty much stay [in line] with the SlutWalk feminist movement, but we’re definitely gonna switch it up and have a lot of options for everyone.
HG: For our readers who haven’t been to a SlutWalk before, could you give a brief lesson on why a feminist would design underwear that says things like “Certified Slut” and “Thotful”?
AR: It’s all derogatory labeling. I think the misconception of SlutWalk is that you have to be promiscuous, you have to be having sex with all these people. But really — the definition of a slut — it’s just a word that men and women use against women because they’re uncomfortable with their sexuality.
Like I’ve said at this SlutWalk and my last SlutWalk, I was called a slut in high school when I was still a virgin just because I was pretty and boys liked me. So it’s not exactly what you do, it’s what people think you do — and they damn you for it. It’s just unfair. So that’s why I decided to refer to myself as a slut, just to take the pain out of it and embrace the negativity, and make it a positive thing.
AR: I think it’s self-expression. I’m the type of person that promotes individuality. I think it’s very important. As far as fashion, I’m not the type of person that needs to wear what’s “in fashion.” I kind of just want to be creative and do my own thing. And I encourage the girls that follow me to do the same and not fit into society’s norms — ‘cause that’s boring. That’s also what SlutWalk is about — it’s about body-positivity, and loving who you are as a person, and embracing your cellulite and your stretch marks because it just comes with being a woman.
HG: I remember when you spoke at the most recent SlutWalk, you mentioned your goal to eventually open the Amber Rose Museum of Feminist Art. Do you have a timeline for that? Is it still in the brainstorming stages?
AR: I think actually doing Dancing With The Stars kinda pushed back my business a little bit. [laughs] I was really busy with that during SlutWalk and right after, so we’re just now getting back into the swing of things. I’m gonna take December off and start everything back up in January. So that’s one of the things on the top of my list to get done, because what happens at SlutWalk is all the artists sign over their paintings to us. We own them now, but we obviously give credit to the artist, so we want to open up a museum so everyone can see all the art that people took time to paint for SlutWalk.
To actually open up an exhibit would be amazing. I feel like we have 600 pieces of art in storage now from both SlutWalks.
HG: I can imagine. The galleries were huge.
AR: And it’s gonna be bigger every single year, ‘cause every year we’re gonna get more art. It’s gonna be awesome.
HG: You’re already doing so much with the Amber Rose Foundation, from free therapy services to everything you all did before the election with Respect My Vote. Now that all proceeds from the MeUndies partnership will be going to the foundation, do you have any new initiatives or goals for expanding in 2017?
AR: As far as SlutWalk, I just want it to be bigger and better every year. Over the past two years, we just learned a lot. The first year was extremely grassroots. We kind of just asked — well, let me say, I asked my rich friends for money to help me get it crackin’. [laughs] But this year, we actually had sponsors, which was amazing. And next year, I want, like, Kotex, I want Tampax. I want feminine products to come on board and help us to really make SlutWalk a safe place for women to come, to dress how you want to dress and not be judged… Just have a day to not only talk about deep-rooted issues that we deal with, like rape and sexual assault, but also make it a day to celebrate women in general. And make it like a Coachella for women, that would just be awesome.
But that costs a lot of money, basically is what I’m saying. [laughs] It costs a lot of money to put it on. It’s not just women walking down the street with signs. We have to pay for security, and the venue, and the gates, and the toilets. Everything has to be paid for — we need sponsors.
HG: Will you be looking for more brand partnerships like this one to try to increase the funds you have?
AR: Oh yeah, absolutely. We did that this year, so hopefully next year we can get more. But I want all the sponsors to make sense. I want them to be a part of the movement with me and understand exactly what it is, and not just try to have their name on the background of SlutWalk because it’s getting bigger and better every year.
I want them to not only come through with money… Like, when I said Kotex, come through with tampons and pads for women who can’t afford them. Things like that, donations in a different way. It would be great.
HG: I wanted to ask you to share some advice with our readers. Obviously, with this election and Donald Trump, we have seen rape culture and sexism blasted across the news even more than usual. And we’ve gotten messages from young women — they’re heartbroken, they feel helpless, they don’t really know how to become activists. Can you share some words of wisdom for young feminists who need encouragement to keep fighting?
AR: Yes! Listen, if I let one man stop me from being a feminist, none of this would have happened. I don’t think people realize that so many men are so uncomfortable with what I do. They came at my neck on social media so many times, on so many outlets…Donald Trump is just one guy. Don’t think that you don’t have a voice just because Donald Trump is in office.
There are so many things that you can do in your own community, in your school or college. Start a club! Feminism is not about hating men, it’s about educating them, educating the other girls that are around you. Donald Trump… doesn’t have the same views that we have, but that shouldn’t stop your voice at all. You shouldn’t get discouraged. If that was the case, I would have been discouraged a long time ago.
Buy your pair of Amber Rose SlutWalk underwear from MeUndies today, and help support an important cause!