This is not something I ever would normally have done. Under any normal circumstances, if someone had told me about the project and offered me a chance to be a part of it, I would not have hesitated – it would have been a flat ‘no’. I am not a naked person. I do not sunbathe topless, I do not walk about the house without clothes on and I have only slept with three people. Generally speaking, I am not only uncomfortable with my body, but I am particularly uncomfortable about that part of my body. This is not something I’m happy about- I have frequently wished I was more familiar and at ease with my vagina, but this is something I just accepted about myself.
The reason why I actually did become involved in The Great Wall was fate. I was in a play with four other actresses in Brighton, and as part of our flyering to promote the show we went in search of a sex shop that I had seen advertised. Across from that shop was Jamie’s studio, and I spotted a sign for ‘body castings’. Thinking this would be an interesting place to leave some flyers, we went in. We got talking to Jamie about this work, and during this conversation he mentioned that he only needed five more. Five. The exact number of us. That particular weekend.
I’m not superstitious, but being presented with something so serendipitous, I couldn’t really see how we could possibly not do it. I dreaded it, and seriously considered ducking out several times. After all, I didn’t owe this guy anything- what we were getting out of it? A chance to leave a few flyers in his shop? A few more bums on seats? What we were thinking? But the more I thought about it, the more I knew deep down that because this was something so unlike me, something so different to anything I could ever have envisaged myself doing, I knew that if I didn’t go through with it I would probably regret it.
So, the time came, I made sure I was first, and took the plunge. To my surprise, not only was the whole experience professional and comfortable, but it was actually quite relaxing and dare I even say it – pleasurable? Not in a sexual way, but in a wonderfully understated but empowering way. I went back the following day to see my casting. I am still fascinated by how extremely different they all were, and surprised at the fact that I actually was happy with mine. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be printing a photo to give to my mum at Christmas or anything, but I must say, I can’t wait for the next time someone calls me a prude…