Jincey Lumpkin brings her ’Epic Vagina’ to Harvard
Jincey Lumpkin has been dubbed the Hugh Hefner of the new Millennium; a moniker that many feminists would run from. But Lumpkin embraces it, even seeing the Hef as a feminist at heart.
What has led to the comparison is Lumpkin’s role with Juicy Pink Box, a lifestyle brand that entices all women to explore their female fantasies. She is the self-styled Chief Sex Officer of the company that has liberated lesbian porn for the Internet age. She describes Juicy Pink Box as "a new digital media Playboy," except aimed at women to explore their sexual fantasies.
Lumpkin didn’t start out as a sexual entrepreneur. She came to New York as a fashion lawyer, but became bored with the corporate world. In her spare time, she started an anonymous sex blog; this led to her create DigiRomp, a place for women of all orientations to talk to each other about their sexual experiences. It became so successful she was to quit her law job. The site also gave her access to lesbian porn stars that were using the site to interact with their fans. Friendships developed, as did the idea of creating and marketing lesbian porn with a decidedly different attitude.
In 2009, Juicy Pink Box was formed to make porn that she told Curve Magazine is "sexy, not seedy; above-board, chic." ... "’Styling is a huge aspect of what we do,’ she says, and that means everything from wardrobe and makeup to set dressing and lighting. What it does not mean is an emphasis on the soft and sensual. Ask Lumpkin who her inspirations are, and she cites Helmut Newton and David Chapelle. Glam with an edge, in other words."
The company exploded and overnight Jincey found herself in the limelight. She was named one of Out Magazine’s OUT 100, was profiled in magazines and websites here and abroad, and became a weekly columnist for the Huffington Post, where her Juicy Jincey’s Binoculars appears every Wednesday.
Currently she’s writing a book called "Epic Vagina," a collection of humorous stories about her life. It is also the title of her upcoming interactive lecture at Harvard University on Monday, April 16, 2012. EDGE caught up with Lumpkin for an interview about sex, lesbian porn and how she came upon the house style that defines Juicy Pink Box.
An epic vagina
EDGE: Your talk at Harvard is called "EPIC VAGINA" -- why that title?
Jincey Lumpkin: Well, this vagina’s pretty epic! The talk is really about my journey from victim to victor, and how I overcame a history of sex abuse in order to reclaim my sexual power and transform the landscape of the porn industry.
EDGE: And you promise "free porn" -- are you afraid the puritans may object?
Jincey Lumpkin: I’m not afraid of a little controversy! There are plenty of warnings about "GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND IMAGERY," so I think anyone that shows up is going to expect a little titillation.
EDGE: Porn is generally considered a male domain. Are you proving that women -- both gay and straight -- enjoy pornography?
Jincey Lumpkin: But of course! The success of our company shows that women were craving for hot porn that they can feel good about watching.
EDGE: Do you like being called the Hugh Hefner of the new Millennium?
Jincey Lumpkin: Hugh Hefner is an icon, so it is flattering to be lined up alongside him. I know at the heart of things that he probably considers himself to be a feminist.
Why Juicy Pink Box?
EDGE: How did you get started with Juicy Pink Box? How did the sex blog come about? How did you make the jump to the porn industry?
Jincey Lumpkin: When I came to New York, I moved here to practice fashion law. As I was building up my practice, I took a job in banking litigation. Boring. I was working on a case with about 30 other lawyers. We had very little work to do, but many hours to fill in the office, so we mostly ending up shooting the shit. The guys were all straight, and so when I told them I was a lesbian their brains almost exploded because (1) they had "never seen a lesbian look like this"-- meaning never met a femme lesbian before, and (2) now they had an actual, real lesbian to ask questions. I’m very open so I answered all their questions, and they learned a lot! It was my office brothers who encouraged me to start writing an anonymous sex blog. Once the blog took off, I found an investor, quit my job and started running Juicy Pink Box full-time. That was in 2008, so four years later, I’m out here changing the game!
EDGE: Are you the only Chief Sexy Officer in the business world?
Jincey Lumpkin: If there is another, then I have not met such an individual. And if another one does exist, I will show up and glitter bomb their desk in stealth mode.
EDGE: How is the company doing?
Jincey Lumpkin: We are having a phenomenal year, our best so far. I mean, hello, I was invited to speak at Harvard! We were nominated for 7 AVN, 2 XBiz, and 4 Feminist porn Awards. Our DVDs are chart-toppers. We’re thrilled with the way that the business is going. There are a lot of new developments and projects in the pipeline, too. We working to expand our brand offerings, so you will soon see Juicy Pink Box’s sexy, classic touch on more mainstream products. 2012 is going to be a year that really puts Juicy Pink Box on the map.
EDGE: Earlier in your career, you were a fashion lawyer - what is that exactly?
Jincey Lumpkin: So funny, everyone asks that. I remember people would say, "Um, are you like... part of the Fashion Police?" A fashion lawyer’s practice deals with topics in the fashion industry-- stuff like copyright, trademark, contract issues, etc. It’s just like practicing law in the normal sense, but the clients are from the fashion industry.
A condom-commercial moment
EDGE: Do you ever miss practicing law?
Jincey Lumpkin: No.
EDGE: When did you first know that you were gay?
Jincey Lumpkin: Tough question. I always knew I had feelings for girls. I wish I could say that I always had a clear picture in my head about my sexuality, but I didn’t. I lived in the closet for a long time. I’m still dealing with a lot of shame that’s left over from that period. I think I finally realized that I was gay when I had sex with my first girlfriend. I had that condom-commercial moment where I was laying in bed naked with her, eyes glazed over, hair a mess, thinking, "OH MY GOD. THIS IS WHAT THEY WERE ALL TALKING ABOUT." It all clicked for me at that second that I had been missing out on what sex was supposed to feel like.
EDGE: And do you remember your first porn movie?
Jincey Lumpkin: Hahaha! Yes! I found a movie that was hidden between the drawers in our media room when I was a kid. My Dad had shoved it in there. It was a super cheesy educational porn called something like "Planet G-Spot". I remember one scene where there was a woman taking a shower, and she started masturbating with the shower-head. So the 1980s.
EDGE: What do you like about porn?
Jincey Lumpkin: I love sex, so the part that I love about porn is watching sex and getting aroused.
EDGE: What don’t you like about it?
Jincey Lumpkin: There are many, many things that I don’t like about porn, and that’s a big part of why I make the kind of porn that I make. I want to offer a hot alternative. I don’t want to give all the secrets of my talk away, so I would say that if you want to hear what I’m doing to fix the porn problems, then come to hear my talk!
EDGE: Is your work a reaction to how lesbians are portrayed in straight porn?
Jincey Lumpkin: Sure, partially. Let’s start with the fact that it isn’t even called lesbian porn in the industry. It’s called "girl-on-girl", which I hate. If we are going to call porn the "Adult Entertainment Industry," then let’s not refer to the stars as "girls," OK? They are grown up, as they should be. At Juicy Pink Box we are all about showing authentic lesbian sex in a glamorous and sensual way.
EDGE: How did you arrive at the style seen in Juicy Pink Box?
Jincey Lumpkin: I am obsessed with classic cinema. I die for Old Hollywood. What I realized was that I would be much more turned on my sex scenes in movies that I would by sex in porn. Porn sex seemed totally fake. Movie sex seemed real and beautiful. At Juicy Pink Box, we make aesthetically-driven porn, so that everyone is beautifully styled, well-lit and just out-and-out sensual.
EDGE: Is that style influenced by your background in fashion?
Jincey Lumpkin: Of course! I spent so many Saturday afternoons reading Vogue when I was growing up. I still do the same thing! One of my favorite things to do is to draw a hot bath and soak in the tub while reading fashion magazines. Luckily since we are based in New York we have access to fantastically talented stylists, and they can take the crazy visions in my head and make them into real fashion moments.
EDGE: You’ve started directing - what is that experience like?
Jincey Lumpkin: It’s maddening when it’s happening, but very sweet when it’s finished. Directing is all about coordinating a team of individuals to carry out a specific vision. Sometimes it’s frustrating when the vision isn’t getting translated the way it looks in my head, but with every production I get better at working with people and articulating what I want and what I need to make something really beautiful.
EDGE: Do you have any idea of how many men subscribe to your site?
Jincey Lumpkin: Women outweigh men far and away.
EDGE: Has their been any negative response to your work?
Jincey Lumpkin: Yes, and ironically, it has not come from the mainstream porn industry or from radical Christians, but from other LGBT competitors. But that’s business, right?
EDGE: Where do you want to go next with Juicy Pink Box?
Jincey Lumpkin: We have a bunch of projects in the hopper. I can’t go into a ton of detail, but we’re working on a TV project, and I am also writing a book series. As I said before, we’re working to diversify. Right now the Juicy Pink Box vision of lesbian chic is available with our porn online and in DVD. We are in the process of opening up the brand a bit, so that we can bring our aesthetic to a more mainstream audience as well.
EDGE: Can we talk politics a bit - are you surprised that birth control and other women’s issues are back in the forefront?
Jincey Lumpkin: Unfortunately, I am not surprised. The sad truth is that the myth of the "wicked woman" is weaved so tightly into the fabric our culture. There are so many confusing messages that women receive about sex. We hear all of the following: "Women who like sex are sluts. Women who don’t like sex are cold, frigid bitches. Don’t have sex. Do have sex. Have sex but don’t get pregnant." It’s too much! The bottom line is that the fact that we have to fight for our rights to have control over our own bodies means that we still have a very long, long way to go before we ever reach any semblance of gender equality. It’s really fucking annoying, actually.
EDGE: If you could say anything to Rick Santorum, what would it be?
Jincey Lumpkin: Stop wasting your time, honey.
EDGE: And what do you say to those who say that porn - no matter what - objectifies women?
Jincey Lumpkin: I understand how some people might feel that way. They have every right to that opinion, and there are plenty of examples to back up that kind framework. I have my own examples, too. There is room for different ideas in the dialog, and I think the most important thing is that we really continue to open up this dialog about sexuality. Women have a right to be sexual when and how they choose to be. I think there are many ways in which we can reclaim our sexual power. I’m very excited to talk about all of these topics next Monday evening at Harvard in Sever 113 at 8pm!
Jincey Lumpkin appears at Harvard University as part of the school’s "Take Back The Night" on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 8pm at Sever 113 on the Cambridge campus. For more on Jincey Lumpkin and Juicy Pink Box, visit the Juicy Pink Box website.