Cindy Gallop: Unchained

Cindy Gallop photographed in The Black Apartment NYC - 07.11.14 Credit: Jonathan Grassi

Cindy Gallop
photographed in The Black Apartment
NYC – 07.11.14
Credit: Jonathan Grassi

“My aesthetic is much like my life—entirely accidental,” rem
arks entrepreneur
and outspoken provocatrice Cindy Gallop sitting casually on
a muted gray fur
couch in the infamous Black Apartment. A polarizing feat
of interior design,
Gallop’s monochromatic abode has been featured in numer
ous blog posts,
editorials, and as the clubby backdrop for the 2005 posth
umous Biggie Smalls
video “Nasty Girl.”
“You’re looking at my entire life around me,” she cont
inues as she scans the
dimly lit room filled with curiosities, designer shoes,
sexual ephemera, larger than
life paintings, and whimsical taxidermy. “Every object ha
s a story. I never
consciously set out to have it part of an aesthetic but whe
n people come here
they remark that everything works together so well, so I gu
ess that is because it
was all part of my life.”

Gallop is horrified by the thought of an interior de
corator. She has collected and
meticulously art directed every piece in her noirish apar
tment—from the Gucci
chainsaw and marble dildo on a coffee table to the wa
ll-to-wall black carpets and
ebony tiled open bathroom directly adjacent to the expa
nsive bed. This sense of
self-assuredness, the unwavering belief in her singular vi
sion, and her
unapologetic I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude permeates ever
ything Cindy Gallop
“The fear of what other people may think is the most
paralyzing dynamic in
business and in life,” explains Gallop adjusting her zip
front mini-dress. “You will
never own the future if you care about what other peo
ple think. It’s enormously
important, especially as a woman, to start realizing th
at it doesn’t matter. Just be

Cindy Gallop speaks as frankly about her business strategie
s as she does about
her bedroom predilections to anyone that will listen. T
his was evidenced in her
now-infamous TED talk in 2009 where the former adverti
sing executive pitched
her revolutionary web platform to t
he masses. “I was
enormously nervous, but to be frank, the fact that my ta
lk became so
controversial was also quite surprising,” she recounts matt
er-of-factly. “I did make
the deliberate decision to be very straightforward abo
ut what I said because I
knew I was about to talk about an issue that nobody in t
hat audience had given a
thought about whatsoever. I am the only TED speaker to u
tter the words ‘come
on my face.’ All of this is a learning experience because
I didn’t expect that talk to
have the impact that it did.”
Though it started initially as a web destination for pe
ople to have an intelligent
and informative discourse about sex in an era dominate
d by hardcore
pornography, in the summer of 2012 Gallop revealed Ma to
take the discussion into a user-generated and crowd-sourced
video streaming
direction where people can find both sexual education a
nd titillation.
“ is the site brought to life,” she says
with the enthusiasm of
a mother gushing about her first-born. “We’ve done re
markably well given that
my team and I fight a battle every single day to build
this venture. Essentially
because every piece of business infrastructure any other start
up can take for
granted we can’t because the fine print always says ‘no adu
lt content.’”
Hurdles or not, Cindy Gallop is in this fight for the
long haul. Originally inspired by
her own sexual escapades with men her junior—the stunning
54-year-old is blunt
about her 20-something lovers—the idea for the website ca
me after too many of
her younger lovers attempted to reenact scenes stolen stra
ight from hardcore
porn. With an aim to educate viewers and users of all a
ges, MakeLoveNotPorn is
a tool to create a dialog and discussion that will not
only lead to better sex but will
serve as a way to talk about it too.

With a background in brand communication, Gallop believe
s in applying this
same idea to every aspect of life, whether in the boardr
oom or the bedroom.
“Great communication solves everything,” she says stroking t
he silver pelted
couch, discussing why it’s so difficult for two consenting ad
ults to talk about what
gets them off. “We all get vulnerable when we get na
ked. Sexual egos are very
fragile. That’s why bizarrely people find it extremely
hard to talk about sex with
the people they are having it with when they are havi
ng it.”
So what are some major sexual misconceptions that plague
society as a whole?
“Women enjoy sex as much as men and men are just at roman
tic as women,”
explains Cindy as the ping of text message notifications so
und off from the
kitchen. “Society forces men into a construct of masculinity
a lot of them have no
interest in being a part of.”

With the predominance of porn consumption—as evidenced by G
allop’s hands-
on research—straight men as a whole can be completely cluel
ess when it comes
to the female orgasm. There is no simple answer to ma
king a woman climax
except for a desire to please and some patience. “There
is no formula to good
sex. But if you watch porn it seems like there’s a formul
a, like there’s moves,” she
says about the dick-centric fallacy perpetrated in mainstrea
m pornography.
“Every sexual partner you’ll ever have is different and ho
w you both are in bed is
a sum total of how each of you connects with each other an
d everything else is
During a brief pause in the candid conversation, I ask Ga
llop about the
importance of speaking your mind, being straightforward
and not being afraid to
be outspoken. As someone who has exposed her kinks to the
entire world, why
is honest self-expression so integral to both our creative
and sexual freedom? “I’d
like for people to think about censorship in a greater co
ntext. We censor
ourselves all the time. And so when I say that it’s impor
tant to not care about
what other people think, I include within that all th
e areas of censorship in our
lives,” she concludes, uncrossing her legs, her sculptural he
els planted firmly on
the dark carpet. “When I have not censored myself and said
exactly what I mean
great things have come of it. In business, the truth is e
normously powerful
because no one ever tells it.”

written by hayley Elisabeth Kaufman