Sugarcookie went from being cam girl to winning the Adult Video Awards

British Asian Harriet Sugarcookie is a webcam girl turned porn star. Speaking to Resonate, Sugarcookie discusses her conflict between culture and occupation and her life as an independent porn star.

Harriet Sugarcookie was born in Hanoi, Vietnam and moved to England when she was 5-years-old. Her mother married an Englishman and has lived in the UK ever since. Sugarcookie began webcamming at the age of 18 after featuring a few images of herself on Reddit. The now 21-year-old has built up her own website and works as an independent porn star.


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Entering the industry

“It started when my housemate posted pictures of me on Reddit when I was 18. The pictures got some pretty good responses. I started posting more pictures that were getting more revealing. Someone suggested webcamming and I thought why not? So I did that and it went really well. People started asking for videos. I thought that if I was going to make videos, I might as well create a website to host them on. I figured if I had a website I could put other stuff on it too like a blog.”

How her business works

“The website is a subscription based service. They pay a monthly subscription to have full access to my HD full length videos. You can sign up as a free member and get access to some free videos or you can just use the website without signing up which will give you access to all the articles such as sex advice, film reviews, tv recaps and food recipes. I put up videos twice a week and write a blog everyday. I do interviews with porn stars too.”

Balancing Asian culture and occupation

“Asian culture can be quite prudish. My family luckily were very open. My mum is completely fine with it. However when I go back to Vietnam, I don’t really tell my family what I do because porn is illegal in Vietnam. They wouldn’t approve. Culturally, although I’m ethnically Vietnamese, I’ve grown up with British culture so my family are very open about sexuality. I’m of course very proud of my Vietnamese culture, I go back every two years.”


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Why there are so few British Asian porn stars

“I don’t know why not. I guess the number of people who do porn is quite small anyway. Population wise porn stars – there aren’t that many of them. If you’re looking at percentages, the ratio of Asian girls in porn is very accurate to that of Asian girls in England.”

“Asian or not, no family really says “hey you should be a porn star”. It’s not something people would be approving of straight away but I think with Asian culture in England, Asian families are a lot more closely knit than western families.”

“There’s so much effort to get out of Asia and into the west that they don’t want to miss that opportunity.”

“I wouldn’t say that Asians on the whole are more deterred than western ones. If you look at Japanese porn, the number of Japanese people who have entered the industry in one capacity or another is huge. It’s not purely Asian families, maybe it’s just Asian families in Britain. They’ve got that thing about education and a better chance at life than their relatives in Vietnam and China. There’s more pressure to be an accountant and a doctor because you’ve got the opportunity. That’s part of the reason why Asian families push their children to do those careers because there’s so much effort to get out of Asia and into the west that they don’t want to miss that opportunity.”

The best and worst things about being a porn star

“Best thing – a lot of people trust me. I get people emailing me about their marriage and sex life or even just that they had a horrible week. Even though I’m a porn star, people come to me with more personal problems. I will give my best advice. It’s not very glamorous. I should say the best part of my job is the rock and roll lifestyle, but it’s not. I’m just honoured that people trust me enough to ask me and tell me their insecurities – not that they all have insecurities haha!”

“Worst thing – how busy I’ve become. I haven’t been to Vietnam in ages. I haven’t seen my little sister in ages because I’m constantly flying around and filming. There’s so much to do because I’m growing. I guess the worst thing is that I’m so focused on work that I can’t find time for my family and friends.”

On the Asian American porn industry

“The culture is very different. East Asians in the UK are definitely in the minority. When you say ‘Asian’ to someone in the UK, they think of India, Pakistan. In America when you say ‘Asian’ it’s China, Japan, Korea because that’s the dominant Asian there. There are more East Asians there. A lot of the Asian porn stars are second, third and even fourth generation. Chinese immigrants have been coming to America since 1849-1882, 1882-1965, and there was a huge amount in 1965, so a lot of the young Asian women in America are born there.”

“Take me for an example, I’m not even a second generation, I was born in Vietnam – we don’t have that generation expansion yet. If you’re born in Britain, you’re distancing yourself from the Asian culture a little bit more.”


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The fetishisation of Asian women

“I think [Asian women] are a fetish. It’s a whole different genre. I can understand where it comes from. You have things like Madam Butterfly that marked the first time Asian culture was brought to the west. Asian women were shown as submissive and sexual. That was their first impression and first impressions go a long way. The link between Asian girls and sex was made a long time ago and it’s just stuck. I don’t think it’s great for dating now because it might be the stereotype people have in their heads but I might be super sexual. At the same time, I’m not truly offended by it.”

“When I search for porn, I look for things I like.”

“When I was dating my first boyfriend, I was in York. I was the only Asian person in the city. He dumped me after one year and said “Harriet I’ve found a cuter Asian girl”. For him, he was into comics and manga and wanted an Asian girlfriend. That sucked because he was definitely only into me because of my ethnicity. Coming to London it’s not really like that. In porn, I don’t mind that people are searching for me because I’m Asian. When I search for porn, I look for things I like.”

“I can’t be angry at people looking for me because I’m Asian because that’s what I do. It would be like a supermodel complaining that they’re only picking her because she’s a size zero.”

“There is a problem in porn with Asian women. I don’t experience it because I’m an independent producer. However, when I interviewed Asa Akira she said Asian girls were put into roles such as the sexy masseuse and stereotypical Asian jobs. 10 years ago when porn was a lot more “hey I’m the pizza delivery guy” or “hey I’m the masseuse”, those stereotypes were played up. In modern porn, you just don’t get that same sense of ridiculous story lines anymore. It happened in the 90s, but not so much any more.”

The UK Adult Video Awards

“No idea how I got nominated! Basically they nominate people and they then have an open vote system where you can get people to vote for you. Once all the votes are in, they announce the winner. I didn’t think I’d win because I’ve never really interacted with the industry because I’m independent. I got a message saying I was nominated and I was shocked and even more shocked when they announced I was the winner. It was a really big honour because it was my first ever award.”


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Discrimination in the industry

“I work for myself so I’ve never had to experience working with other studios to see if they’d discriminate against me or not. You can see with big stars like Asa Akira that there are certainly chances for Asian women to become very big in the industry.”

“I don’t feel like it’s something I need to do now. I want to prove that you can do it from nothing. The industry has these giants such as PornHub and you just think how can I compete with them and I’m proving that you can.”

Aspirations for the future

“My website is a bit different to the porn sites that people are used to. When I did it, I wanted to do things that I enjoyed. On the website I’ve got food recipes, dating advice and I even wrote about prostate cancer. I wanted it to be more like a lifestyle magazine that has a connection to people. I wanted to do more. Of course I’m still working on the porn, but I’ve got a whole other product that people enjoy.”

“I got a really heartfelt email from a 23-year-old guy who’s a virgin who had anxiety about it. I want people to see me as someone who they can go to for advice on these matters. I want to offer something more than what normal porn sites do. I’m just building that up at the moment.”

“Right now I’m just trying to hire more people to help me grow and make it better. I’m always thinking how I can improve.”

Advice for budding adult stars

“I’d tell them to come talk to me! If they want to do films, boy/girl scenes, girl/girl scenes, I can point them in the right direction to which producers to talk to. For anyone, whether they’re Asian or not, do your research and look for companies and studios you want to work with. Make sure they’re legit. You need to know who you’re working for.”

 

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