Updated: Apr 10, 2019
Co-Founder and Chief Sexpert of The KinkKit
Tell us about your career and how it all started?
It all started with a love story. I am light-skinned biracial Latina, the first person in my family to go to college, and I happened to get a full ride to Harvard. The Imposter Syndrome was fierce and swift. I struggled my first year wondering whether admissions had made a mistake. Where do I belong? I had been recruited as a track athlete, but I was recovering from surgery, so I wasn’t able to compete at the top level. I dropped out. I wanted to sign up for Latinas Unidas - I’m a light-skinned, biracial Puerto Rican who speaks textbook Spanish and my last name is “Smith” - so I shamed myself out of that, too. My assigned roommate’s mom was VP at an international bank and her friends took lavish trips on weekends. They were friendly, but I couldn’t help feeling isolated. I still don’t know what made me sign up for an intro to Women’s Studies class - perhaps, subconsciously, I was looking for community - but I found it immediately, and I fell in love. I began to learn about power dynamics, consent, and marginalized communities. I learned how the Ironically, while I earned my degree in Sexuality Studies-- with a big focus on consent and relationship power dynamics-- from Harvard, and became an educator to teach I didn’t truly learn to cultivate consent-culture in my own personal romantic relationships until my late 20s. With the emergence of #metoo, I became increasingly convinced of the need for a change in our (both women and men) communication styles and language we have internalized around female sexuality and desires. The problem is, we haven’t learned how to properly interact about sex. We don’t know what to expect as our bodies change, as our partners change, as libido comes and goes, as health issues arise. We haven’t been taught how to communicate about sex, so we lack true agency in our sex lives. So much pain and heartbreak could be avoided if we had the proper sexual communication toolkit. Isn’t that what so many stories of heartbreak begin with in our society? In nearly every movie about breakups or infidelity? It all begins with communication breakdown. This is where I realized sex education could be most helpful for adults - though I knew it would need a facelift to be more accessible. It also needed to directly confront and tear down taboos and sexual shame - so much lack of sexual enjoyment is rooted in shame. So my partner and I decided to redesign sex education as experiences, or, as we call them, “Sexperiences”. And the KinkKit was born!
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood is community. It is familia. It is a support system that is there for each other. It does not shame. It does not tear down. It builds. It encourages. It empowers. Sisterhood builds itself and makes systemic change.
What's your personal mantra?
Excellence is a habit, not a singular action.
What is your superpower?
My superpower is my ability to learn - if I truly want to know how to do something, I’ll go out, research, and add that to my repertoire! It’s a superpower I’ve been grateful for as a business owner, because it’s helped me become more self sufficient when I otherwise would have had to hire someone else to do a job or create assets for me. It also helps me stay connected to every part of my business as I begin to scale and delegate.
Tell us about women that inspired you and your female role models:
My abuela is my greatest role model. She was kidnapped from Puerto Rico under the pretense of getting a better education in the mainland states and indentured into servitude by a family friend when she was 12 and forced to work for their family. She eloped at 17 to my grandfather, a fellow churchgoer, and had 6 children with him. She raised strong, good-hearted children on her own when he abandoned her for another family he had in another state. I am always inspired by how hard she worked and how much she loved her children so that they could go on and achieve a better standard of living.
What would be your advice for women who are building careers in your industry?
If you are pursuing a career in sextech, that’s incredible! We need more women in sex tech to dismantle the patriarchal, old world views of sex. But be sure you know your support system. Even though public attitudes are beginning to shift, it can be a polarizing career to be involved in. You don’t have to be alone! Join the Women of Sex Tech group, and reach out to me!
One piece of advice for your 18 year old self?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t capable of achieving everything you ever dreamed. So often the words of naysayers are their own projected fear, envy, doubt, or negativity masquerading as helpful and caring advice. You are not them.