Writer. Comedian. Raconteuse.
Miranda Kane is a comedian, and was a plus-size sex-worker in London for seven years. She wrote and performed her first show in 2012 which went on to receive 5 star reviews and has sold out in theatres across the UK and Australia. Since then, she has written and recorded the sitcom ‘Slaving Away’ for audible.com, based upon her ‘utterly mundane life as a dominatrix’. She is currently a sex-blogger for The Metro.
Miranda has also taken part in debates and public speaking events to promote the decriminalisation of sex-workers at Cambridge University and Trinity College, Dublin.
She hopes that through comedy and storytelling she can help change the publics opinion of sex-workers to allow them to work in safety and without fear of persecution.
On the first speaker workshop on June 25th, we interviewed Miranda. Check out the two parts of the interview below.
What are you going to talk about in your TEDx talk?
I’m going to talk about how I use play to communicate and relate to people in a way that I hope will help them put aside their prejudice, and how we can use it to overcome stigma when it comes to some very sticky subjects.
From a young age, I’ve used humour to win over people in the classic way that many comedians do – always using it to fight off bullies. I have also used it as a sex-worker to explore and unravel people’s sexual fantasies – two very different uses!
Since then, however, I have come to realise that using play is a great way to educate an audience and get them to think about some very difficult subjects – I lure them in with a promise of knob gags, and by the end of the hour they’re fully signed up to fighting for the decriminalisation of sex-workers!
I use humour and play in my shows to humanise sex-workers in a way thats easy and fun for anyone to understand, and I hope that it will ultimately help in real life situations when those prejudices are used against sex-workers in courts.
What can people take with them when they have seen your talk?
Overall, I hope this will help a TEDx audience to play and laugh with me so that they can also think about their own prejudices on what a sex-worker is.
I want them to realise sex-work isn’t just the dark, dangerous world which they hear about in the media, and that that representation is what puts sex-workers in danger.
I hope they will also see that play in sex is not just great fun, but also essential. We’ve become ever so serious about sex – especially when it comes to sex-workers – and I want the audience to loosen up about it.
If sex isn’t fun, stop doing it!
What does “Into the Wild” mean to you?
To me, “Into the Wild” means taking a leap of faith and imagination, and trying the things you never thought you could do. I went into the wild when I became a sex-worker despite weighing over 25stone (ed. 158 kg.) , and then again when I became a comedian.
I want audiences to also go “Into the wild” with me; to take that leap of letting go of their prejudices, and coming with me on a journey that might shock them as they’re letting go of everything they might have been told about sex-work.
….and sex. Glorious, wild, uninhibited sex that we should all be able to enjoy- no matter what size or shape you are!
I think we could all do with going into the wild, and enjoying more safe, sane and consensual sex without fear, shame or judgement.
How do you connect your talk to the theme?
Can I think about this one? Only because I’m pretty sure getting paid to have sex with people is pretty wild anyway…
What is your favourite TED talk and why?
My favourite TED talk is Juno Mac’s ‘What Sex Workers Really Want’. It’s such a concise, eloquent and poignant way of explaining the current harmful laws around sex-work, and why the proposals to bring in the Nordic model (making the buying of sex illegal) is so dangerous.
She’s so passionate and bold, and clearly demonstrates that what we really need is for sex-work to be decriminalised in order to help keep women safe around the world.
Whenever someone asks me about the laws around sex-work, I always point them to this talk.
What/who inspires you – and why?
I’m inspired by all the sex-worker rights activists who are so passionate and fierce about changing the laws, and continue to work under huge amounts of prejudice and pressure.
People like Laura Lee who has been persecuted by the press in England and Ireland for years, but is currently fighting in the high courts to overturn the current laws against buying sex in Northern Ireland.
Also Juno Mac, Dr Brooke Magnanti (Bell De Jour), Maggie McNeill, Mistress Matisse are all such inspiring women who continuously raise awareness of sex-worker rights, and face a continuous backlash for ‘coming out’ as sex-workers.
What did you feel, when you found out that you had been chosen to do a TEDx talk?
A bit sick.
But in a good way!
It was definitely a weird moment of panic and pride. One minute I was screaming with excitement because I was so happy to have been asked, the next I was lying in the foetal position because it meant I was going to do a TEDx talk!
It was also a great lesson for me because I had fallen into the same trap I’m rallying against – I was taking everything far too seriously. I had forgotten that sex (and sex-work) is fun, it’s funny, it’s all about play!
My first thoughts on what ideas I wanted to share were all the serious things – decriminalisation, stigma, consent etc. Then I was reminded that what I’m actually good at – and what my job is – is to make people laugh and invite them to play.
That’s how I connect with people.
That’s how I make people think.
That was my idea worth sharing.