This week’s petite wcw is Cindy Gallop (5’3’’), founder of MakeLoveNotPorn! Cindy’s life is a series of incredible accomplishments, and looking at it you wouldn’t think that everything in her life happened more or less by accident. While studying English Literature at Oxford University, Cindy fell in love with theater and started playing around with designing posters for student productions. This soon gave way to actually promoting the shows, and she loved it so much she began to do that professionally. After a successful career in theater promotion, Cindy transferred her skills to the world of advertising. She ultimately became the chair of the US branch of advertising firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and in 2003, she was named Advertising Woman of the Year. But in 2005, she had her own personal midlife crisis and decided to resign from BBH without a job to go to, a decision Cindy describes as “the best bloody thing I’ve ever done in my life” - because she ended up working for herself.
In 2009, in a very popular TED Talk, Cindy launched MakeLoveNotPorn. The idea for MakeLoveNotPorn came to Cindy very much by accident, out of her direct experience dating younger men. She began to encounter an issue that would’ve never otherwise crossed her mind - when easy access to porn meets society’s reluctance to talk about sex, porn becomes sex education. She set out to solve this problem by making real-world sex socially acceptable and shareable, in order to make it easier for everyone to talk openly and honestly about sex. MakeLoveNotPorn curates real-world sex videos posted by contributors around the world, known as ‘MakeLoveNotPornstars’, and as Cindy puts it, “the videos are not porn, they are not amateur, they are real-world, social sex.”
MakeLoveNotPorn brought about a huge global - and completely positive - response which has led Cindy to define and pioneer the concept of ‘#sextech’, an industry that’s made up of companies like hers that seek to create a healthy conversation around real-world sex using modern day tech. When asked why so many sextech founders are women, Cindy says, because “women challenge the status quo because we are never it”. Unsurprisingly, with inspirational quotes like that and her unique position in the sextech field, Cindy speaks at conferences around the world, and has become a global champion of sextech.
Despite her strong presence in this field, the stigma surrounding sex has made it difficult for Cindy (and other sextech founders) to find investors. As a result, Cindy founded and is raising AllTheSky Holdings, an investment fund for sextech startups like herself that will also fund the infrastructure of sextech. As Cindy puts it, “When you have a truly world changing startup, you have to change the world to fit it, not the other way around”, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. There’s no question that Cindy is an impactful change agent who will continue to be a vocal advocate and champion for sextech and beyond.