An Authority Magazine Interview With Sharonette Briggs
As a part of Authority Magazine series on female disruptors who are shaking things up in their industry, Candice Georgiadis had the pleasure of interviewing our Co-Founder Sharonette Briggs.
Sharonette is the Co-Founder of the Finding Erotica (www.FindingErotica.com ) literary series, website and YouTube “Skin Anthology Series.” She is a mother and grandmother who is a pole and fitness instructor as well as a lover of the outdoors. Her goal with her platform is to support, and educate mature individuals in their sexual, intimate, and relational journeys.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory” as a female disruptor? What led you to this particular career path?
Yes. Having given my younger years over to being a single parent of two, working a full and two part time jobs and experiencing a devastating loss in my life, I had just hit rock bottom. It was a battle to receive any form of promotion or increase in pay at two of the jobs that I worked at over a period of 10 years. I was muddling through pain, anger, guilt, and disappointment after my loss. I was awake in the night hours with questions that always went unanswered.
Shortly thereafter, I came in contact with an old friend of mine, who is now my business partner, Thomas McKenna. He was dealing with prostate cancer. This all became overwhelming and too much to bear. I needed an escape. As he and I started sharing about what we were going through in our lives, he began to share with me about writings he did for his ex. Of course, it was centered around intimacy and relationship. I loved them. I told him that I had read some erotic literature and thought that his was so fascinating that he/we needed to share them with the public. Out of this was born Finding Erotica.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s worthy of a female disruptor?
The work that the Finding Erotica platform does brings disruption by jarring individuals who might be narrow minded in their thinking and way of life when it comes to sex, intimacy, relationships, taboos, and sexual diversities. At times we can be so judgmental against another in the way that they practice or live out their intimate journeys. And while being judgmental, have yet to explore our own desires that are safely hidden in our hearts.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Yes, one of the funniest mistakes that we made when we first started was with a photo bomb done by a dog. In the beginning our website contained risqué pictures and audio. In one of the photos, we pretended that cum was dripping in my mouth while I lay on my back. I was lying on a table with my head resting over the edge at the time we did this pic.
We tried to crack eggs above my head and to let the egg white drip slowly out of the shell onto my bottom lip. It took several times to crack it just right without me per se’ looking directly at the egg. I had to look sensual in my face with my mouth open, hold the cracked egg, while Thomas took the photo. We thought the photo was great until we realized that his dog was underneath the table peeping his head out licking up the residue of the egg white on the floor. His nose, tongue, and face peers out from the side of my head. That was a very difficult picture to get only to not be able to use it because of his dog.
The lesson learned is to never have dogs around when doing an amateur photo shoot.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact upon you as a female disruptor?
Oooohhh, hmmm, well it doesn’t go without saying that my business partner and friend Thomas Mckenna made the greatest impact of all. I would also add Napoleon Hill, Neville Goddard, David Goggins, T.D. Jakes, Florence Scovel Shinn and Sara Blakley just to name a few people that I’ve been encouraged by along the way. There have been many dynamic platforms that have inspired me as well i.e. Recession Money, Black Entrepreneurship, Impact Theory.
I’ve not really had a specific person who was with me side by side to help me navigate this kind of road outside of Thomas. Trying to create an educational platform when it comes to sex and relationships has been quite challenging. In the beginning most thought I was doing porn. There are people out there doing pieces of what we do, but nothing on the scale of what we’re doing and where we’re going. All of the individuals who might have been able to provide support in some way or another are at a distance i.e. E.L. James, Esther Perel, Joan Price, etc.
Yes, they have discussions around sex and intimacy, but lack in one or more of the areas that we focus on, which is mature adults, post-illness/post-intimacy and a big one, people of color. Having tread a road that has not yet been done before, I hope to be a mentor to others who decide to jump out and do something that has not been done before.
In today’s parlance, being a female disruptor is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good?
I believe that disruption can always be good if it means that a person has an opportunity to grow. When that disruption occurs, it’s usually not at a time that we like, but in the long run, it is a good thing. So, disrupting an industry, well in our case, is positive.
Finding Erotica is meant to act as a bridge from the unaware to the well experienced sexual human. We want people of all groups to have a place to learn about all sexual identities as well as discuss real life matters such as physical and aging challenges. You can be well experienced and open to other human explorations but need to access experts that are not afraid to speak on health issues that you or a loved one might be dealing with. One thing that we challenge is the whole notion of what is Erotica. Where porn uses sex to simply stimulate viewers/readers, we explore sexuality as an important part of the human experience. Sex is not gratuitous, instead it is essential.
I think that if our platform was not in pursuit of bridging the gap and was set out to compete, put down or hate on other businesses, all the way from the porn industry to having a miniseries on Netflix about sex and relationships, our disruption would be negative. And I believe, in the end we would lose.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
- Stay the course. Stay focused. When the road gets tough you get tougher. Do not give up on your dreams despite what you see and don’t see. You will have many different obstacles, hills, valleys, mountains, oceans and everything else that you can think of that will come your way to get you to quit. Know that for each barrier you encounter there will be (not many) supportive resources (people, businesses, etc.) that will be there to let you know that your dream is alive and to continue the course until you see it come to pass. Allow those moments to resonate inside of you more than the negative. It’ll be hard, but you can do it.
- Enjoy the mini successes. When you overcome a challenge or accomplish a goal, smile. Find a way to breathe and lift your spirit up and allow it to give you the fuel you need to keep going.
- Love. Be sure you love your yourself, your dream, and people while you’re in pursuit of something that doesn’t exist yet.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
Whew…well, I am a 51-year-old poler and dancer. I’d like to join forces with certain industries that give room for mature artistic adults to showcase their beauty and sensuality. We’ve already started this with our “Skin Anthology” series on YouTube, Vimeo and IG. I’d like to introduce “us” to other mainstage arenas that have overlooked our maturity and consider the young first. We need to see women our age being backup dancers to an artist or music group in our age bracket. How about dating shows that feature people over 50 because as singles? We still seek companions. There are other things that Finding Erotica has on the horizon and will be disclosed at a later time…lol.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Well, first you said “women.” That word alone can be a disruptor. As a Black woman and disruption becomes being “an angry Black woman.” Mainstream society tries to marginalize us. Yet, women’s voices and Black women’s voices are at the heart of every overdue progressive change. So, I’d say that some of the challenges faced are people taking you serious about what you’re trying to do.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
The book “In Pursuit of Purpose” by Dr. Myles Munroe. Dr. Munroe shares that the largest place where you will find the greatest number of unfinished works, unknown visions and incomplete mission is the cemetery. This place is full of unborn dreams and unfilled purpose. When reading that I knew that I did not want to die without fulfilling my purpose. So, I knew that when the time came, I would pursue this until I understood what mine was and I set out to accomplish it. The time came when I was at my lowest point in life. Sometimes when you’re at your lowest, you’re more open to hear…in whatever way that is.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire a movement, it would be “The mature are not dead, we can still pursue our dreams.” After the age of 50, it seems like society has given up on us, heck, we’ve given up on ourselves. We’ve either married, had children, lived the fast life, traveled and our bodies and minds reflect that. We stop living life. It becomes very hard to reset and start at a new beginning and know that we can start living life for ourselves.
Some mature understand it, but most do not. In particular, I want to influence mature mothers, and encourage them that their beauty, sensuality, dreams and dating life can began anew. But, I can only do this if I’ve done it myself. I can be their example. Once I made the decision to start taking care of my body, I gained confidence in my own beauty. When I started poling, I understood who I was and competed and became an instructor. I am now pursuing my dream of having an interactive website. It provides information, resources and discussions centered around sex, intimacy and relationships for mature survivors of illness/injury as well as people of color.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote would be “Just Keep Living”, this was something that my grandmother said all the time. This is applicable to every area and at every stage of life. This could apply to gaining wisdom, going through challenges, learning lessons, aging, understanding yourself and people.
How can our readers follow you online?
Yes, I’m on Instagram as @Xquzit.ladeepole.My Facebook reflects my name, Sharonette Briggs. People can always find me at findingerotica.com.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you for having me. Yes, I hope that I can be an inspiration to someone!