Netti Hurley
Netti HurleyCourtesy of Netti Hurley
“I’d like to make a short film portraying the friendship between two sex workers working together in the industry

Netti Hurley

Age - 35
 London, United Kingdom
Netti Hurley
“I’d like to make a short film portraying the friendship between two sex workers working together in the industry

Netti Hurley’s desire to tell “real stories” about “real people” has led her into some unusual situations. Whether it be spending a month sleeping on a porn director’s sofa in Los Angeles or visiting a sex party in Bruges, the London-based filmmaker is driven by a commitment to sensitively and truthfully share the stories of the people she’s capturing on film.

Hurley’s work advocates for people living outside conventional ideas of what’s beautiful or normative. “I want to challenge society’s attitudes towards sex and beauty,” she says, “to break down stereotypes and give space for everyone to feel freer.” 

In 2018, she directed a music video for “Black Rose”– an ode to black female beauty by British rapper, Ghetts, featuring Kojey Radical. The song responds with eloquent anger to the prevailing injustice which provokes young black girls to ask, “Daddy, how come there are no dolls that look like me in the shop?”

The desire to resolve questions like these – why am I not appreciated or represented? – is one of the defining aspirations of Hurley’s work. She’s inspired by the idea of everyone feeling beautiful and accepted in their own bodies. “I saw a woman, maybe a size 18, taking selfies on the beach the other day. And I just watched, thinking how empowered and sexy she looked, and how comfortable she was with herself. That’s inspiring. Moments like these give me hope.”

What issues or causes are you passionate about and why? 

Netti Hurley: Sex workers’ rights and beauty ideals. When we strip back the bias of media or society, what’s left? 

How is your work unique to you, or informed by your perspective, experiences, or identity? 

Netti Hurley: I think I always wanted to create a space that’s comfortable and beautiful. A lot of my work is inspired by the way people identify with themselves. For example, my focus on women and empowerment often stems from the person’s body type and their unique backstory, and by the people close to me who work in the sex industry. They’ve informed my work a lot.  

“I want to challenge society’s attitudes towards sex and beauty” – Netti Hurley

How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected you, your work, and/or your community?

Netti Hurley: All my existing jobs were cancelled and I now have delays on release dates for work already shot or the potential of them not coming out at all. I’ve worked like a maniac since the beginning of the year to get enough money to fund this short film I've submitted. The lack of jobs for the foreseeable means this money will have to be used for general living as I'm not eligible for any compensation as it stands. It's frustrating not to shoot but I'm using the time to watch films, research, and communicate with people on existing projects. I love the space of it in a way, and I don't think I'll ever have an opportunity like this again, so I’m keen to see it positively.

What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?

Netti Hurley: I’d like to make a short film called I love based on an anonymous sex worker’s poem which sensitively portrays the friendship between two women working together in the industry.

Emily Dinsdale

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