Serenity

“Embrace your nakedness.”

Name?

Serenity Hart.

Where did you grow up?

Born in London, England, raised in Toronto, Canada.

Were you brought up religiously/secularly/other?

My grandmother use to take me to her church when I was younger, but there was no strong religious pressure placed on me.

Was there turbulence throughout your childhood/adolescence?

I was a runaway child at 15, who decided not to become a statistic. I worked hard to create my own version of discipline and balance.

Were you ever embarrassed about your development/puberty? If so, why?

Getting my period was the biggest nightmare during my puberty days. Not because of the cramps, but because of the teasing that came along with my strange odours and the occasional leakage moments, which left embarrassing stains on my pants.

Can you remember any key moments in your formative years that shaped you?

I grew up in a low income area with the best teachers in the city. They cared, and this showed every time they challenged us to be our best selves. They never gave up on us, or allowed us to believe anything was not achievable.

That shaped your sexuality?

Being naked around the house while growing up really shaped my sexuality. It helped me learn how to embrace my power of seduction and relate to people. Having sexual feelings towards someone has always been about more than just their looks for me. It’s about energy and attraction overall. I’m attracted to connections.

When did you become aware of your gender?

I realized I was female around age three or four, because nudity was embraced in my house growing up. I had cousins who would come over and we’d shower and take baths together – it was nothing sexual but we knew we were different. Being part of two different upbringings (because my parents were separated), I was conflicted between the ideals my mother pushed and those of my father. I loved sports and competitions and this frightened my mother, whereas my father encouraged me to play on the all-boys flag football team in elementary school, which was unheard of at the time.

My mother, on the other hand, would do things like take us to the hairdresser and nail salon because she thought that’s what you do with little girls. It was never my thing, all that glamour stuff, but I appreciated my mother’s will to make us feel beautiful – the way she knew how. My father was my backbone and voice, if you will, during my childhood; he was always rooting for me to be who I wanted to be, and not who others thought I should be. His strength is always in the back of my mind when I start feeling I should blend in and not take a stance on something.

I was a runaway child at 15, who decided not to become a statistic." -Serenity  Photo by Frances Carter

“I was a runaway child at 15, who decided not to become a statistic.” – Serenity
Photo by Frances Carter

When did you become aware of your own sexuality; were there any key moments?

I knew I was a sexual person as early as five or six. Of course those feelings weren’t translated into words then; they were warm feelings I would get when I liked someone. I understood that boys and girls had different private parts, and was always keen to explore this difference. I remember often feeling guilty about my feelings because I thought they were adult feelings, and that little girls should not be interested in exploring.

What, if any, are the obstacles you’ve overcome on your path to womanhood?

Being an excessive sweater, I’ve always felt insecure about body odour and trying to smell nice for my partner – until I owned it. I sweat, and it’s okay.

What is the image you think you project every day?

Confidence, maybe bravery.

What do you think the image other people perceive is?

I think others believe I’m strong and secure because of the work I do. But I too get nervous and don’t always know what’s next.

How would you describe your personal experience, existing in the way you do, each day?

Reconnecting to things I feel I have lost is my existence. Typically my relationships to parts of my life.

"My father was my backbone and voice, if you will, during my childhood; he was always rooting for me to be who I wanted to be, and not who others thought I should be." -  Serenity Photo by Frances Carter

“My father was my backbone and voice, if you will, during my childhood; he was always rooting for me to be who I wanted to be, and not who others thought I should be.” – Serenity
Photo by Frances Carter

What is your political stance on women’s reproductive rights?

Politics has no business creating laws against my body as a human.

Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

I’ve always been Pro-Choice.

What are your feelings about contraceptives? Their availability, cost, stigma, usage?

I’m grateful we’ve come far enough as a society to have access to birth control and for women to have the power to control this part of their lives, but there’s a lot of work still to be done. I’ve travelled to countries where buying a condom is deliberately made challenging for people, which discourages them from taking that step to protect themselves. Needing a store manager’s permission to buy condoms is not okay. Accessibility should be mandatory.

What are your feelings about casual sex?

Casual sex has played a big role in my life; it’s not something I feel ashamed about now or speak of lightly. It’s helped me figure out what I love about and in relationships, and what I don’t.

Are you in a relationship(s)?

No. Just breaking hearts. LOL.

What are your feelings about marriage?

I think a lot of marriages today do not represent true love, but rather protection. Protecting your assets and getting a tax break are more important than finding ‘the one’.

What are your most positive relationships with other women?

Women I’ve had the chance to work with, and my grandmother.

And your negative?

Women who’ve never met me, but think they’ve got me all figured out based on social media posts.

What are your feelings about monogamy?

Growing up I was taught that a man and a woman get married if they love each other and have babies – and at no time should they ever seek outside their relationship for comfort, emotional or physical, even if they aren’t satisfied at home. I struggle with this concept today, because of my conditioning, though I know it can be unlearned. When I’m with someone I don’t actively look for someone else, but I do embrace other people’s energy connections. Sometimes it’s physical and sometimes it’s just someone I can be comfortable with. I think monogamy can be authentic if both parties are open and honest.

About polyamory?

I think polyamory can be embraced by the right two people who feel completely secure in themselves and their position in the relationship.

"Feeling vulnerable or exposed is just that, a feeling." - Serenity Photo by Frances Carter

“Feeling vulnerable or exposed is just that, a feeling.” – Serenity
Photo by Frances Carter

How do you feel about products marketed to women?

I laugh when I see them. Just the other day I snapped a picture of a pack of ear plugs for women, like wtf? I didn’t realize the little foam buds we stuff in our ears had a gender to relate to.

Do you feel your sexual education was sufficient?

Not at all. Sex ed placed a lot of emphasis on how girls should protect themselves, leaving little-to-no responsibility to the boys regarding how to deal with common situations in relationships. Diagrams of diaphragms pointing to names made us giggle; we were taught to make light of our sexual organs. And I think my teacher was more uncomfortable then we were.

If not, what would you have done to make it so?

If we pushed for more discussions and interactions in sex ed we’d have covered more real-life experiences. Allowing kids to open up about their sex lives, and giving them an anonymous platform to submit questions and concerns, would cover much more substance and information they could actually relate to. This should be combined with the traditional methods of sex ed.

Where do you feel unsafe as a woman?

Most days I would like to believe I’m invincible, but that changes for me when I’m traveling alone in certain countries. I do not feel safe walking alone at night in countries where I don’t speak the language.

Where is somewhere you can exist without fear?

In front of the mirror, on a naturist beach, anywhere I can be naked without judgement.

Do women treat you differently than men?

I think that depends on the context. In relation to working as a nude model, I think a lot of women find toplessness for men more acceptable that toplessness for women, which then strengthens the stigma attached to it. That’s when I feel different.

"I choose to expose my naked body, forcing bystanders to see nature as natural, not as indecent." - Serenity Photo by Frances Carter

“I choose to expose my naked body, forcing bystanders to see nature as natural, not as indecent.” – Serenity
Photo by Frances Carter

In what ways does being a woman make you vulnerable or exposed?

Feeling vulnerable or exposed is just that, a feeling. I don’t embrace those moments for long, or simplify or give into them because I am a woman. I choose to expose my naked body, forcing bystanders to see nature as natural, not as indecent. But that comes with a cost – usually slander and backlash.

Would you consider yourself a feminist?

Yes.

How do you define feminism?

Equality. No double standards. No glass ceilings. Open minds and hearts. Pro-choice.

What do you think are positive ways the worldviews women?

Worldwide, women are seen as the cycle of life, the Nurturers who embody the highest level of strength to protect their offspring. As this remains true (for most) and is a positive viewpoint, it saddens me that this is the only view a lot of people hold onto, as though women are designed to only procreate.

And the negative ways?

Feminism is not a new word, and has often been redefined, but it’s a label that many people think means a separation between women and men. This negative outlook on the movement perpetuates the ongoing struggle to create equality (though equality is exactly what it stands for). I know a lot of men who can’t fathom the idea of being called a Feminist because they think it’s only about women, and this message is so unclear and extremely damaging for all of us, everywhere in the world.

Do you think the world’s perception of women limits or benefits them?

Because there are currently a lot of movements being created to help shift the perception of women, I think women are realizing they can be anything they want to be, which is beautiful. The limitations stretch only as far as we allow them to.

What is your relationship to sex?

It’s a workout. Lol. Seriously, I think sex can be seen on different levels. Depending on whom I’m engaged with it can be a temporary fix, or a whirlwind of emotions with someone I feel I love.

How do you define sex?

Sex is an act, a release, an expression, a projection of yourself onto another.

What does a sexual relationship mean to you?

A commitment of expressed love. Sometimes, temporary.

Do you feel comfortable communicating your sexual needs to a partner?

Not in the beginning, but I’ve learned that if I want someone to love me the way I want to be loved, it sometimes takes some explaining.

Do you feel that YOUR desires are marginalised in the bedroom or are less important, if so, why do you think that is?

I’m very vocal when I feel I need to be, but of late I think I’ve manifested partners who understand my body and need no notes to figure it out.

Are you fearful of being openly sexual for fear of judgement?

At times I am, even with my girlfriends back home because we live different lives sexually and, sometimes, exchanged stories turn into moral debates.

Have you ever been in a position where your sexuality was used against you?

No.

Have you ever been physically or verbally threatened because of your appearance?

When my family moved to Palm Bay, Florida when I was 12, I started school there and it was the first time I’d ever experienced racism. I’d known what it was before but it had never affected me. After a week at that school I was attacked in the girls bathroom by my peers for being the only black girl in the school (aside from my sister) and for having a funny accent, because I was from Toronto. That was the first time I realized I was different.

Is sex empowering for you?

Very.

Is sex embarrassing for you to discuss?

No.

"It's about energy and attraction overall. I’m attracted to connections." - Serenity Photo by Frances Carter

“It’s about energy and attraction overall. I’m attracted to connections.” – Serenity
Photo by Frances Carter

In which situations do you feel safe to speak your mind/stand up for yourself?

Everywhere, every day of the week. I admire those who did so in the past, who chose to speak up for their rights and passions. It is they who have given me the rights I have today. So I fear not to speak up.

What do you seek through sex?

Togetherness, the feeling of being with someone as freely and as deeply as possible.

How do you feel about the media’s portrayal of women?

I think it’s changing, and creating a new age in which young girls feel encouraged to be whomever they want to be.

Are you satisfied with the women you see depicted in film, television & advertising?

Not entirely.

How do you maintain a sense of self?

I write a lot, and I travel a lot. Both of these things keep me sane and grounded.

What is something you deeply love about yourself?

I love my comfort-zone. But I love when I trust myself to break out of it even more.

Who are/what are your biggest motivators?

My little sister is one of my biggest motivators. Her resilience in seeing past her struggles makes me strong and keeps me going. I love having talks with her about body image and self-love, because she demands acceptance from others without even realizing it.

Do you have people you look up to?

Angela Davis, bell hooks, Maya Angelou, Shonda Rhimes and Viola Davis are huge inspirations for me. They are my versions of Super Woman! Strong movers and shakers who are building and have built a foundation for women and equality.

What are your feelings on motherhood?

I think it’s a beautiful thing that is not for everyone. Even though society tells us that is the ultimate unity of Womanhood. I don’t believe Womanhood and Motherhood equal each other.

What are your biggest fears?

Not seeing through some of the projects I have coming up. Being rejected and crawling back into my shell.

Your biggest regrets?

Not breaking out of my comfort-zone more often. So many of the amazing things I’ve had the courage to do have shaped who I am today.

"The limitations stretch only as far as we allow them to." - Serenity Photo by Frances Carter

“The limitations stretch only as far as we allow them to.” – Serenity
Photo by Frances Carter

Your greatest accomplishments?

Travelling to 16 countries and embracing different cultures.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Embrace Your Nakedness.