We had the good fortune of connecting with Velvet Lenae and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Velvet, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
My goal is to help those that struggle with body image, sexual inhibitions and repression, by being a resource, educator and a coach. I also express this through my art. Mentioning sex alone, is like a bad word to society. I have to choose my words wisely on social media. Navigating social media is a feat in itself. I take risks often by selecting what to post on social media so that it won’t get me banned. As I’ve had 5 or 6 pages removed on Instagram. And YouTube has not only removed my channel, but I also can’t get it back, even though I’ve seen worst on other channels. I’ve also had a book removed from Amazon….just to mention a few. The list goes on. I just had a talk with a friend the other day about why I haven’t given up, despite adversity. My response to her was that I know I can reach and help those that can relate to my own personal journey. What I show through my art and what I talk about, started from my journey. Immediately, I knew that I needed to share this in some way because I know I’m not the only one. It started with creating stories visually through my art, specifically Erotic Art. Then writing about it and coupling the Erotic Short Stories and Poems with my Erotic Art. Then learning about sexuality, so that I can become a Certified Sex Educator and Coach. I’ve also come too far, just to give up so easily. There’s been different levels within my journey that I didn’t even think about and didn’t know I can reach. I’m also competitive with myself and it’s hard to even think about giving up without reaching my maximum potential.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Speaking on the creative art side of what I do, I create Erotica Art, which sets me apart from most photographers. It’s not the common genre that you would hear the photography industry list. I also don’t know of many other Black Women that shoot Erotica Photography. Not to get it confused with Boudoir or Nude Photography. While there is a very thin line, there’s still a separation. On the other side of my photography, I also shoot Boudoir and lines can get crossed… I can say that I’m extremely proud that I’ve gone the distance about what I’ve achieved and what I’ve learned. My friends and family never saw it coming. It was so unexpected and some of them still talk about how they can’t believe what I do and how I got started. It’s surreal to myself sometimes. When I decided to take the erotica pictures and write the erotica stories and poems, I honestly didn’t think I would follow through and publish it. Then when I self-published the book, I didn’t think that I was going to tell people. I thought about letting it sit there and if it was discovered, so be it. But I didn’t even stick my baby toe in the water. I literally just dove right in, by announcing on social media that I was having a book release party for my Erotica Book. And it continued from there. I’m extremely proud that I just did it.
Professionally, I take pride in moving with integrity and providing good and honest customer service. It’s important to me that I provide the kind of service that I would want given to me. Any mistakes that I make, I quickly correct it and change what needs to be changed so that I don’t repeat that same mistake. I quickly implement revisions that will improve all business elements. It’s not easy and I don’t portray it to be that way. I’ve been through depressions that I didn’t initially recognize it. I’ve had long periods of creative blocks that were tough to get past. I’ve had imposter’s syndrome. Being an Artist that is also an Entrepreneur, is a beast on its own that I can’t even describe. I’ve overcome some challenges with the help of good, supportive friends, that I can’t thank enough. I’ve also had to take mental breaks from social media. I’m guilty of disappearing, not interacting and not posting for long periods of time. I also had to learn my self-care language. That was the best thing that I could’ve ever done. Self-care has been clutch for me! I don’t hesitate to default to it when needed. It’s needed for me to keep rising to the occasion. Once I exercise my self-care needs, I’m reenergized quicker than before. As cliché as it sounds, self-care is an important contribution in multiple ways, including reducing depression and stress, increasing good health and let’s not forget that it also contributes to any sexual journey.
Lessons I’ve learned along the way include defining my success, celebrating my small successes, not comparing my journey to others, knowing that every passionate subject is not my debate and just not giving a f*ck what others think or how they feel about what I do.
Velvet Lenae is on track to being a penetrating voice via Visual Art, Writing and Sexuality Educator/Coach, within the Art and Sex communities. Taboo is my middle name at this point and I’m all in.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m very low key and I think that my best friend has become more low key over the years. Sign us up for the small wineries/vineyards, My favorite wine shop is The Purple Cork Screw. Eating spots would include Pho, brunch and Mexican spots. Desta Ethiopian Kitchen is a favorite as well. And finding a boutique or thrift store for her to shop at.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout goes out to close friends and family that have consistently supported me from day 1. Shoutout to the Bare It All Group (all the members that have been in all 3 of them) that have become like family. I would also shoutout my supporters across all social media platforms, including the silent supporters that follow my journey in whatever way they can outside of social media. Anybody that supports the cause, the journey, the projects and all things related to Velvet Lenae and Bare It All.
Other: TikTok- @emphasisonvelvetlenae
Brian Pinkney shot the images of me. All other images were captured by me.