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  • Writer's pictureSpicy Eyes

Episode 4: Cupcakes and Sex Work in Las Vegas

Hey y'all, we're back with Episode 4! This time around, Kristy got down with some cupcakes. More specifically, she interviews the staff at The Cupcake Girls about the outreach they do with sex workers in Las Vegas—outreach that starts with a cupcake. She started by going straight to the source: A Cupcake Girls bake night.

(Photos by Jeff Scheid)

The Cupcake Girls connect sex workers to resources that range from help with dental work to getting a GED. They told us that they don't have an official stance on sex work, and Nichole Henderson, their direct care manager, told us: "We are simply in it to have a relationship, to offer the resource and to respect the sex workers. Whatever they want to do in their lives, we empower them in their pursuit to do just that."

To get a little more background info, we interviewed Dr. Lynn Comella, an Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at UNLV. We'll be frank: She's brilliant! Professor Comella gave us a helpful summary of the history of sex work in Las Vegas (you can read more in this article she wrote for The Las Vegas Weekly in 2012). But she also contextualized sex work in our city, pointing out that in a lot of ways, Las Vegas is kind of, well, conservative about sex.

Which brings us back to cupcakes—because like sex work in Las Vegas, they're a kind of contained and tidy hedonism, bite-sized and sweet. We got to talking about the symbolism of cupcakes and why they're seen as this really feminine food (let's be real folks: You'll find them at a lot more women's birthday parties than men's). Kristy cites an article from The New Republic titled "How the Cupcake Became a 'Female Food'" and we talked about it... while baking cupcakes at Sonja's house. Because we couldn't just talk about cupcakes without making some, ya know?

An overhead shot of 10 or so bright red cupcakes cooking on a wire rack

While we whipped up these red velvet cupcakes, we had a heart-to-heart about what baking means to us and the symbolism it carries. Conclusion? There are no tidy conclusions. But maybe it's better that way.

As always, many thanks to Jeremy Klewicki, who made the music for this episode; designer Maureen Adamo for creating our logo and branding; and photographer Jeff Scheid for documenting the Cupcakes Girls' bake night, amongst many other Spicy Eyes adventures.

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Thank you for listening!

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