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Want Amber Rose to be your ‘alter ego’ online? There’s an app for that
The Muva is the message.
On Sunday afternoon, she exited a black SUV and slowly walked onto the patio of Lucille, a bar on Rainey Street in Austin, Texas. The late afternoon sun reflected off her thick gold necklace as fans, many of them wearing cardboard Amber Rose masks, shouted her name and snapped photos. She eventually made her way to the red carpet, where she fielded some questions. She took innumerable selfies with fans: “Rosebuds,” as they’ve dubbed themselves.
She made her way around the entire venue, fans and curious SXSW attendees following her like baby ducks. Later, she let the crowd in on some personal news: “My boobs are sweating very bad.”
Rose was at SXSW to debut her new 3D character, in partnership with Zoobe, a Berlin-based tech company. The Zoobe app lets users create an animated character and record original audio for messaging, and now users can make Amber Rose their “alter ego.” While many of the app’s characters are cute, as BuzzFeed pointed out last year, there’s potential for some weird storylines.
Roger Casama and Greg Noire
As we sit in the back of a black SUV the next day, before an appearance at her pop-up shop near the University of Texas, Rose reflects on the past day’s boob-sweat menace before moving on to her new venture. Zoobe approached her about the project, and since they were already fans, she says the collaboration was fairly easy. Of course, she also acknolwedges there’s the potential for her character to used in a not-so-positive way.
“I’m 100 percent sure there’s going to be some crazy, weird, negative people out there that will record some nasty things, but that’s cool,” she said. “That just comes with it.”
That sentiment is often reflected online, where Rose has become an outspoken advocate for sex positivity and against slut-shaming and harassment. She’s responded to critics who think a woman who’s also a mother can’t be sexual. She had Kim Kardashian’s back when fellow celebs called out her most recent nude selfie. She also made #FingersInTheBootyAssBitch a talking (and branding) point, after Kanye West subtweeted her.
“In my past, I’ve defended myself on numerous occasions, and now I really don’t do that anymore unless I’m trying to prove a point,” she said. “Especially when it comes to feminism and double standards, that’s when I really try to speak up on my feelings, because that speaks to me.”
Having Kardashian’s back wasn’t just about her, she says. It was about all women. “I feel like people feel like because we’re moms, we’re not allowed to be sexy anymore; we’re not allowed to be proud of our bodies. And that’s just not true. I don’t promote women constantly being naked all the time. I promote you doing exactly what you want to do in life, whatever makes you comfortable. And it should be a no-judgment zone.”
A video posted by Amber Rose (@amberrose) on
Rose took that further last year, when she headed the L.A. SlutWalk in October. She’s tried to rebrand the words “slut” and “thot” with T-shirts in her clothing line. Rose’s book, which she was promoting along with the Zoobe character, is called How to Be a Bad Bitch, and she defines “bad bitch” in part as “a self-respecting, strong female who has everything together.” It’s clear she’s attempting to rewrite certain language that’s been used to suppress women, but she’s also making it part of her brand: one that has now expanded to tech.
She says the Amber Rose-branded SlutWalk will be expanding to other cities in the future, though nothing is “set in stone” just yet. SlutWalk and her Zoobe character might seem at odds in tone, but in essence, it’s all just messaging.
“I’m glad that I did it,” she said. “I dealt with a lot of scrutiny, people not understanding what a SlutWalk was, insinuating that I was promoting prostitution and promiscuity. Just negative things. It’s really about rape victims, sexual assault victims. I’ve gotten sexually assaulted on numerous occasions, and slut-shamed every day on the Internet. It’s really just all the issues we deal with as women, to come out and talk about it and help other women. Let that part of their life go and move on and be positive.”
Photos by Roger Casama and Greg Noire
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.