The J Spotlight with Kate Morris

The times they are a changin’, and it’s because we have women like Kate Morris, founder of Adore Beauty, blazing a trail. With the launch of its Sex category – which sees Jonny condoms sitting on online shelves alongside sex toys and sexual wellness accessories – Adore Beauty announces to the world: we are women, hear us ‘gasm! It’s one small step for online retail, one mega leap forward for destigmatising women, sex and pleasure. Jonny was stoked to sit down with Kate for a chat about social change, safe sex, Spotify, summer glow and superpowers. Enjoy.
J - Congratulations on 20 years of Adore Beauty! It’s been two decades since the launch of your online beauty website; what prompted your decision to introduce the Sex category, which includes Jonny condoms, sex toys and sexual wellness accessories?
KM - The goal for Adore Beauty has always been to provide an empowering way of shopping that helps women to feel confident and fabulous every day. We’ve decided to add a Sex sub-category to our wellbeing category, Adore You, because we think our sexuality is really important to how we feel about ourselves and our bodies. We are keen to normalise the conversations around sex and women’s pleasure, and to provide a tasteful, safe and inclusive space for women to shop for these products.
J - There are many well-established condom brands on the market, why did you choose Jonny?
KM - The brands we stock in our Sex category are all specifically curated for women. Jonny is all about consent, respect and empowerment – we love that.
J - As Australia’s #1 online beauty retailer, Adore Beauty does a great job of educating its audience on its beauty products. With this week’s launch of the Sex category, tell us about your sex education growing up.
KM - I am sure other kids of the 80s will remember that daggy cartoon Where Did I Come From? I remember it being pretty matter-of-fact and straightforward. I don’t remember getting much sex ed at school; I think it was mostly my mum’s determination to talk about it in a way that was positive and without shame or embarrassment.
J - What do you think we need to see more or less of in our conversations around safe sex and sex education?
KM - Consent, respect and female pleasure. Safe sex is one thing from a health perspective, but it would be great to see young women (and men) being brought up to expect sex that is also emotionally safe and fun.
J - Growing up, we’re all told to use condoms, and they’ve always been readily available at brick-and-mortar stores like the pharmacy or grocery store. The statistics show that STIs are rising at an alarming rate. What role in the digital space do you think Adore can play in creating social change with Jonny?
KM - I hope we can take away a bit of the stigma and embarrassment of women taking ownership of their sexual health. Jonny is such a cool brand, I’d love to see Adore customers taking some bathroom shelfies with Jonny condoms there next to their serums and cleansers.
J - Do you remember your first condom-buying experience?  
KM - I don’t remember my own actually, but I worked in a pharmacy from age 15 and gosh, I do remember seeing so many people do the faux-casual saunter around the shop because they didn’t want to ask where the condoms were. Or seeing them sidle up to the counter and sneak the condoms under a packet of jelly beans. And hardly any women were bold enough to buy them.
J - In an interview on IWD with Xero, you mentioned wanting to ‘empower women to make great choices and feel confident’. Let’s talk about the interplay between sex and feeling empowered as a woman. As we get older, say in our 30s and 40s, women tend to feel more confident in themselves as we start to accept our bodies. What would you tell your 20-year-old self about sex and the relationship with your body?
KM - I see many ways in which women are brought up to believe that they’re only valuable if they’re beautiful, and that being beautiful is equivalent to being sexually attractive to men in a conventional and narrow definition. I remember feeling that way as a 20-year-old, and, if anything, I think today’s 20-year-olds have even more to cope with in terms of Instagram culture.  Real confidence comes from valuing ourselves for more than how well we fit into that narrow definition of beauty. Long story short, I guess I’d tell my 20-year-old self to enjoy her body more, rather than worrying about what others might think of it.
J - Society has struggled to give women permission to claim female pleasure, with its share of inhibitions, shaming, stigma and guilt inductions. How do you think we fix this?
 KM - Starting the conversation is a good place to begin. Sex and The City started it to some extent but things haven’t changed enough since then, so obviously we need more than that.  My hope is that offering pleasure-related products in a mainstream category like beauty will make it more normal and acceptable for women to seek pleasure without shame. 
J - OK, change of pace: if you could invite any three people to dinner (living or dead), who would it be and why?
KM - Brene Brown, Michelle Obama and Chrissy Teigen. Don’t tell me that wouldn’t be a cracking dinner party. If I could have a fourth, Chris Evans could come and peel the potatoes.
J - Jonny has a Spotify playlist going, counting down to 2020 with some of history's sexiest tunes. Any requests you’d like to throw in for the final 30 days?
KM - Don't Kill My Vibe, Singrid
J - If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
KM - I would love to be able to teleport between Melbourne and Sydney. Airports are the worst.
J - With the festive/giving season upon us, what was the last gift you gave someone?
KM - I took my mum shopping for a new handbag. She loves it.
J - Jonny HQ is putting together a list of our favourite glowy products for the summer season. What’s your summer glowy go-to?
KM - Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF50+ – for glow and protection.
Hell yeah! Thank you, Adore Beauty – now let’s go break down more barriers and have a party on the rubble. Bring on 2020, woohoo!