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From Youtube to MTV Grace Victory is changing the face of sex education

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As the face of MTV’s new show Sex Squad, Grace Victory is changing the face of sex education.

After five years of making award-winning Youtube videos about sex, body confidence, and mental health to over 200,000 people she is taking her message to a wider audience.

Grace Victory

She cites her background at a performing arts school as what drew her to making videos, but it was teaching dance at a women’s refuge and working in a children’s care home that led her towards body positivity and sex education.

 She puts her sudden success down to her uniqueness in this conversation – “I was one of the first with curly hair, I was curvy and spoke openly about mental health and sex.”

She was drawn to YouTube as a platform for helping young girls come to terms with their body and sex because “it can reach a wider audience. I didn’t have my foot in the door for documentaries with the BBC, so YouTube was the easiest option. I sort of fell into it, and I didn’t expect it to go how it’s gone.”

But Grace’s channel hasn’t always focused on sex education.

“At first it was beauty and fashion but with so many people doing that it became saturated and boring. I wanted to speak about what mattered, as I would have needed someone like that when I was younger.”

The culture for speaking openly about sex is growing on YouTube, but unlike others who separate the education from their personal lives, Grace isn’t scared of talking about her own body and sex life.

“I never talk about my current sex life,” she clarified, as it wouldn’t be fair on her partner.

“I tend to talk about my past experiences. There’s no point in me preaching openness unless I’m doing it myself, as that would be hypocritical.”

But it’s not just Youtube that has opened up worthwhile discussion outside of the traditional education outlets, sex talk is a now provided a multi-channel platform for discussion, especially when it comes body image.

 “Instagram is nice because it’s more visual and you can create imagery to get people talking. The media controls everything, so we’re bombarded with images of slim, white women. On Instagram there can be more people of colour, and things like stretch marks, saggy boobs – what women actually have. We can create a generation who understand what bodies really look like.”

The internet has not just been a way for Grace to help others; it has also helped her personal journey. She explained that “creative people and people with a traumatic childhood such as myself can find it hard to connect on an intellectual level,” so the internet has been a great way for her “to connect with people who I wouldn’t have in everyday life. My best friends are from the internet, as it’s a way to find people with the same thought processes and interests as you.”

That’s not to say the internet isn’t without its problems.

Trolls, haters and negative comments are a constant presence and can be hard to deal with, and she isn’t afraid of taking a break from being online when it is needed, and she stresses the importance of  getting back into the real world.

It can be difficult because “in real life you don’t walk down the street and get abuse, and that would only be isolated instances. But it does make you stronger... it’s given me a thick skin.”

The latest development in Grace’s exciting career is the MTV Sex Squad. She explained that it’s “a really casual conversation or talk show where me and a guest talk and debunk certain subjects.”

So far the topics have been porn, coming out, and body image, with guests from Geordie Shore to sex educator and YouTuber Hannah Witton.

“It’s about creating conversations and getting young people involved with talking about subjects that would normally be quite uncomfortable.” Grace and her guests are perfect for starting this conversation, as they don’t mind talking about taboo subjects. The format of the videos are like interviews, with Grace as the host, but "I also include my own stories and experiences.”

Grace’s personal channel and MTV Sex Squad are providing something different form mainstream media. “With training from the care home, I can talk and communicate with a young person. I can talk to a 22 year old but also to their parents, so I’ve been trained in being relatable to every one of different ages.”

She’s also providing a different look to what people normally see on TV – “I’m quite young for a presenter, but I’m quite wise and I have my head screwed on. I understand what people are going through, in terms of coming from areas of poverty and issues with mental health.”

But despite the unique offering, Grace doesn’t think that internet platforms are replacing traditional outlets, though they are giving them a “run for their money.”

 She still has respect for mainstream media, and explained “I want to do more TV and make more documentaries, but bloggers and YouTubers don’t have to answer to anyone, as it’s off their own back and passion. I’m going to listen to a blogger rather than a celebrity in the public eye.” She does reiterate that “there will always be a need for traditional media, though.”

There is a clear need for Grace’s channel and MTV Sex Squad.

 “Teen pregnancy and mental health is on the rise, so there’s something missing in young people’s lives. With the awful sex ed in school many are turning to porn, so they need a safer place to go.”

Whether she’s utilising the internet or opportunities with TV, it’s clear that Grace’s body and sex positivity will continue to inspire important conversations.

Grace Victory hosts MTV Sex Squad. Catch it first every Monday on MTV’s Snapchat Discover.

Keep up with Grace by following her blog GracieFrancesca.com, Twitter @GraceFVictory, Instagram gracefvictory and Snapchat graciefrancesca

 




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