On Sunday afternoon, she exited a black SUV and slowly walked onto the patio of Lucille, a bar on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas. The late afternoon sun reflected off her thick gold necklace as fans, many of them wearing cardboard Amber Rose masks, shouted her name and snapped photos. She eventually made her way to the red carpet, where she fielded some questions. She took innumerable selfies with fans: Rosebuds, as theyve dubbed themselves.
She made her way around the entire venue, fans and curiousSXSWattendees following her like baby ducks. Later, she let the crowd in on some personal news: My boobs are sweating very bad.
Rose was atSXSWto debut her new 3D character, in partnership with Zoobe, a Berlin-based tech company. The Zoobe app lets users create an animated character and record original audio for messaging, and now users can make Amber Rose their alter ego. While many of the apps characters are cute, as BuzzFeedpointed outlast year, theres potential for some weird storylines.
As we sit in the back of a black SUV the next day, before an appearance at her pop-up shop near the University of Texas, Rose reflects on the past days boob-sweat menace before moving on to her new venture. Zoobe approached her about the project, and since they were already fans, she says the collaboration was fairly easy. Of course, she also acknolwedges theres the potential for her character to used in a not-so-positive way.
“I’m 100 percent sure there’s going to be some crazy, weird, negative people out there that will record some nasty things, but thats cool, she said. That just comes with it.
That sentiment is often reflected online, where Rose has become an outspoken advocate for sex positivity and against slut-shaming and harassment. Shes responded to critics who think a woman whos also a mother can’t be sexual. She had Kim Kardashians back when fellow celebs called out her most recent nude selfie. She also made #FingersInTheBootyAssBitch a talking (and branding) point, after Kanye West subtweeted her.
In my past, Ive defended myself on numerous occasions, and now I really dont do that anymore unless Im trying to prove a point, she said. Especially when it comes to feminism and double standards, thats when I really try to speak up on my feelings, because that speaks to me.
Having Kardashians back wasn’t just about her, she says. It was about all women. I feel like people feel like because were moms, were not allowed to be sexy anymore; were not allowed to be proud of our bodies. And thats just not true. I dont promote women constantly being naked all the time. I promote you doing exactly what you want to do in life, whatever makes you comfortable. And it should be a no-judgment zone.
Rose took that further last year, when she headed the L.A. SlutWalk in October. Shes tried to rebrand the words slut and thot with T-shirts in her clothing line. Roses book, which she was promoting along with the Zoobe character, is calledHow to Be a Bad Bitch, and she defines bad bitch in part as a self-respecting, strong female who has everything together. Its clear she’s attempting to rewrite certain language thats been used to suppress women, but shes also making it part of her brand: one that has now expanded to tech.
She says the Amber Rose-branded SlutWalk will be expanding to other cities in the future, though nothing is set in stone just yet. SlutWalk and her Zoobe character might seem at odds in tone, but in essence, its all just messaging.
Im glad that I did it, she said. I dealt with a lot of scrutiny, people not understanding what a SlutWalk was, insinuating that I was promoting prostitution and promiscuity. Just negative things. Its really about rape victims, sexual assault victims. Ive gotten sexually assaulted on numerous occasions, and slut-shamed every day on the Internet. Its really just all the issues we deal with as women, to come out and talk about it and help other women. Let that part of their life go and move on and be positive.
Photos by Roger Casama and Greg Noire