Meet Shelby Sells, The Perverted Fairy-Godmother You Always Wished For
In a world of coital judgment and romantic repression, Shelby Sells (also lovingly known as Sweater Puppiez) has become like a Sexual Fairy-Godmother of sorts. Instead of blushing at mentions of sex and intimacy, she truly embraces them, breathing fresh air into modern discussions of sexuality with her site, Perv On The Go. Composed of photo series (like sultry portraits of her lingerie-clad besties), thought-provoking interviews, titillating videos, and cheeky homemade merch (who doesn’t love hand-embroidered cupid panties?), it’s got a little something for the perv inside us all.
Curious to find out more about this inspiring vixen, I had the pleasure of picking Shelby’s brain for a full breakdown—from her playful creative process, to advice for a successful (and sex-filled) relationship, to the importance of healthier sexual education in general. Sigh, if only the Sex Ed teachers of my youth had been more like Miss Sells…
Shelby Sells AKA sweaterpuppiez AKA pups.
Since “occupation” sounds so boring, tell us what you “do” in a nutshell:
Hmm, what do I do…lol. Mainly, I would describe myself as a photojournalist. Perv On The Go is my own social science experiment and I pair the text with pictures and videos. Other than that, I am a part time stylist, DJ (duo with Alanna Pearl —> Ass n Titties), and freelance photographer. Got a lot of passion projects ’cause I got a lot of passion.
You describe your site Perv On The Go (previously known as Pillow Talk—both incredible names btw) as “conducted experiments of social sciences focusing on love, sex, & relationships”—talk a bit about the inspiration that led you to start this amazing ongoing photo/interview project.
Thank you! Honestly, people have always opened up to me, I don’t know why—maybe they can just sense my nurturing instincts? Lol. Or maybe they can tell that I love and care about all people regardless of any biases. I used to party a lot when I first moved to LA and my friends would always be telling me about their boyfriend/girlfriend problems or random funny hook-up experiences. I decided it was time to get a new hobby (besides turning the fuck up lol) and start documenting all of these amazing stories people were telling (with their consent of course. I’m a very sexual woman, as well as a die-hard romantic, so I picked this subculture to examine and research. It’s all been a lot of fun for me. You wouldn’t believe some of the shit I hear!
Of all the beautiful girl-power babes I follow on Instagram, there’s something about your approach to sexuality that’s just so refreshing—you make sex and freakiness seem so pure and natural (which it totally is), and you always evoke such positivity and confidence. Did you always have such a free-spirited view on sexuality, or is it something you discovered/developed later in life?
I’ve always been very free-spirited and naturally myself. Although I was a late bloomer sexually, I have very early memories of humping my teddy bears etc. LOL. Pretty sure I’ll be a freak ’til the motherfuckin’ end. I’ve always rebelled against rules/social confinements and never understood why something that is programmed in our DNA is so looked down upon. Suppressing sexuality is not the answer. In fact, I feel like suppressing any “issue” only provokes more hate and misunderstanding in these social norms. Why not just face things head on and deal, instead of sweeping them under the rug? Sex is never going to go away, so I am fighting to make it positive, cute, safe, and fun for everyone. Let’s educate ourselves and explore our interests in a healthy manner! All love and respect. No shame in my game.
Photographically speaking, you have such a sensual yet honest way of shooting women—none of that airbrushed, photoshopped shit. Who would you say are some of your biggest influences, photographers or otherwise?
Any artist or figurehead that exposes the honest truth of the world influences me and my work. It’s not that I “dislike” photoshop or that lifestyle but I love individuals for who they are, flaws and all. No one is perfect and they shouldn’t have to pretend to be. My wish is for everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin. I prefer shooting raw style because that’s what’s beautiful to me.
You’ve shot women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities—what’s the secret to getting a woman comfortable in front of the camera? I’m always intrigued by how different photographers handle that process.
I like to create a safe environment for my models. Normally before shoots we chat and get to know each other. A lot of models I use are close friends. I always explain my process (how I shoot) and that they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. I never want to make someone uncomfortable! I like to get all dressed up and have a good time. More often than not I’m half naked as well (it’s a lifestyle) so I think that helps sometimes (maybe I’m just a perv lmao). I genuinely love and appreciate all body types and ethnicities and have no problem complimenting a nice booty or glowing complexion.
I know this is like asking you to pick a favorite child, but has there been a project or shoot in particular that was especially fulfilling for you creatively?
Haha! One of my main muses is this gorgeous, big-breasted goddess/domme; I had the pleasure of shooting her and Alanna Pearl at the Madonna Inn and premiering the photos in Miami for Art Basel. Miss Vixen also let me make a cute video of her that’s available to view on my site. That was a lot of fun for me because I really want to make films!
I love your idea of interviewing couples together; it’s a totally underrated concept. I’ve seen you ask people how important sex is to their relationship, and being that you’ve probably got all sorts of insight and data at this point, how crucial do you think sex is to a successful relationship? Do you think a lack of sexual passion is enough to destroy an otherwise “perfect” couple?
Each couple is equally unique and special in their own way. There is no perfect recipe for a relationship. I believe that the key to a healthy relationship is having open communication and an honest understanding of each other’s needs. Some people value sex more than others, I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone, but if it’s necessary for you than be sure that you’re in a committed relationship with someone who can fulfill your desires. For me personally, I need a strong sexual connection with my partner as it inevitably unlocks a more vulnerable side of me that most people never get to see. Sex is more than just fucking; it’s a beautiful way to express how much you love and care about someone.
Interviews and awesome photo series aside, you’ve also got an online shop full of adorable clothes (like a leopard print skirt embroidered with ‘cocksucker’) and blush-worthy zines. Do you design all the pieces yourself? And can we expect some more merch in the near future?
Lol! I am literally sitting on hundreds of dollars worth of merch right now! I have handmade embroidered panties in production as well as embroidered vintage and nighties. It’s only me running my business so it’s sometimes difficult to delegate time, especially when I get booked on crazy wardrobe gigs! But definitely keep your eyes peeled—I am planning to drop a ton of QT merch and zines this summer.
Last but not least, any exciting new projects on the horizon? When are you launching your own line of sex toys?!
I always have my fingers dipped in new projects, so check the blog to stay updated.
Also, I’m preparing to launch my own line of Perv On The Go kits with a wide variety of sexessories for guys and girls so stayed tuned! XOXOXO