Amber Rose still finds that people can't let go of her past.
The model is gearing up for her fourth annual SlutWalk in Los Angeles, taking place on Saturday, October 6, which aims to "impact and uplift, while shifting the paradigm of rape culture." In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Rose's SlutWalk fits into the cultural discourse better than ever, and she's seen the taboo around discussing sexual assault shed little by little each year.
"Every year, we're more confident in talking about things like this," she recently told AOL's Gibson Johns exclusively over the phone. "Listen, I've been sexually assaulted. I relate to a lot of women [because of that], which is why I initially wanted to do this. It's not easy to talk about."
But the star still runs into people who are reluctant to get involved, sponsor, show up or donate to the SlutWalk because of her past as a stripper, because they think she's doing it for the wrong reasons or simply because "people only speak out when it's comfortable for them."
"That's where my frustation lies: God forbid they speak out when it's the cause of a former stripper!" Rose vented. "They give me the sh-tty end of the stick, but this is really my life. I've lived this sh-t. These are things that I have brought to the forefront for my generation. [This isn't for] attention or the money or the ego. All I'm asking for is a bigger platform to help more people. I'm already famous as f-ck, so I don't need all of that."
Above all, Rose wants to create a safe, inclusive space for people of all genders, ages, races, sexual orientations and classes with her SlutWalk, which is an all-day festival that starts with a walk and features contests, educational boosts, counseling, free breast cancer exams, HIV testing and more.
"My SlutWalk is inclusive," she explained. "I have porn stars and strippers and conservatives and male feminists and trans people. It just does not matter. You're welcomed with open arms [here], and we have zero tolerance for bullying. If someone wants to come through being an a--hole, then you're in for a rude awakening."
Rose went on to explain that part of why her movement has so many detractors is simply in its name and how the word "slut" has historically been used. Instead of being used to negatively describe a woman who is comfortable in her body and sexuality, Rose is hoping to reclaim the word and dispel the fear that comes along with it.
"It’s a combination of a lot of things," she said when we asked why people are reluctant to support her. "Any woman that is confident in her sexuality scares people, so the word 'slut' scares people. I didn’t want to call it something else, because it was like, 'If you’re more offended by the word 'slut' than actually what’s happening to women ever single day, then you’re the problem.'"
"I had to just scream from the rooftops that this was going to work so that people would listen," she added. "This is just the beginning. I'm just hoping to make a little change."
Find out more about Amber Rose's SlutWalk here.