Owner of Underlena, a lingerie store in Wellington that sources pieces from independent designers from around the world to imbue sensuality into your everyday.
What’s your favourite thing to do in the weekend?
Take my time and cook for the sake of cooking.
What has been the most significant thing you have learnt about sex and intimacy growing up?
That sex and intimacy is really what you make it. The more open you are with communication, the more fun and interesting it is - and I apply this to sexual partners as well as friendships. Communication allows us to understand that we are not alone in our desires, that everyone experiences uncertainty, and that we can connect through vulnerability.
How do you think we could make our culture more sex-positive rather than seeing sex as taboo?
Firstly, straighten out IG + free the nip! That aside, I come back to my previous answer - communication about sex is the key. Talking about sex as pleasure first, rather than formally introducing teens to sex through conversations about just avoiding pregancy and STI’s. Often our first experiences of sex are through taboo - finding a magazine we aren’t meant to find, enjoying certain parts of movies we (think we) know that we ‘shouldn’t. I’d like to see sex and intimacy taught as the innate part of humanity that it is, and how to enjoy it safely and with respect to oneself and others.
How did your sex education shape your sexual experiences in your 20’s?
I don’t remember much about formal sex-ed at school aside from learning about condoms, but my Mum instilled in me that sex was meant to be fun - and so that is really how I treated it for much of my 20’s.
What is your biggest piece of advice you have for young women growing up and wanting to explore their sexuality without shame?
Learn what turns you on and lean into it - with yourself first.
What are you doing to create a more sex-positive culture?
My aim with Underlena is to encourage the idea that ‘sexy’ is what you make it - to me it’s about your own comfort, your personality, your taste. At the end of the day being comfortable in your body and experiencing sensuality is about you and no one else, and how you express it is entirely up to you.