Filmmaker Numa Perrier’s directorial debut Jezebel doesn’t just chronicle the story of an early internet cam girl during the world wide web’s infancy, but also Perrier’s own sexual and personal coming of age. In the semi-autobiographical film, actress Tiffany Tenille plays a 19-year old version of Perrier who develops feelings for a digital stranger while navigating her close yet troubled relationship with sister Sabrina, a phone sex worker played by Perrier herself.
A clear distinction Perrier has made in her film is not to focus on or depict nudity, choosing instead to explore the variety of emotions behind the nature of sex work. “The thing about sex work,” she explains, “is a lot of it is actually not about sex. Sex work is a lot about people feeling disconnected, feeling lonely.”
Distributed by Ava DuVernay’s film collective, Array, Jezebel is streaming on Netflix. For more on the movie and Perrier’s thoughts on sex work, watch the video above.