Photo: ‘Glamour Girls’
‘Glamour Girls’ tells the story of a young woman named Emmanuella (portrayed by Sharon Ooja) who must enter the world of sex work in order to provide for her siblings. Within her journey to become a luxury escort, she makes acquaintance with the notorious Donna (portrayed by Nse Ikpe-Etim) – a woman operating the most reputable sex work group in Africa. At first, getting rejected, Emmanuella confronts Donna and reveals her past struggles of homelessness and inability to provide for her sibling’s needs as she raised them from a very young age. Donna acknowledges Emmanuella for this and gives her a number to contact, telling her to start going by Emma. Shortly, Emma returns to the agency where Donna instructs her assistant to take Emma on a makeover journey.
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Throughout the film, the viewer gets to witness as Emma travels the “rags to riches” path, becoming rather wealthy thanks to her work. She makes acquaintance with the other women that work for Donna and starts to understand how this life works.
For anyone under Donna’s care, wealth and fame in a world of luxury is promised. However, all of that is jeopardized when a murder takes place. In an effort to cover up that crime, Donna and her girls land themselves in a dangerous situation that leaves their lives up to the mercy of Africa’s elite. Utilizing deception and persuasion, Donna takes control of the situation to protect her girls.
Sex Work in the Modern World
While sex work should be a respected and protected occupation, the current realities of it are beyond unsettling. Too often we see young women on social media talk about wanting to participate in sex work as soon as they turn eighteen while experienced sex workers state that they believe the age requirement for sex work should be set at twenty-one.
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Many young girls are pressured and even groomed by men on social media to start uploading paid sexual content as soon as they turn eighteen. In other cases, this line of work is the sole mode of acquiring an adequate income for people that don’t have the capabilities to work more socially acceptable occupations. Therefore the dangers of sex work take a disproportionate toll on people that already face rampant inequity, such as disabled people, persons of color, LGBTQ individuals, and those raised or living in poverty.
In many ways, it is deeply unsettling to see young girls setting Instagram countdowns for their eighteenth birthday so that people can get a notification that will inform them that they are now of legal age and can start an OnlyFans, which is a membership application that is most commonly utilized as a sex work platform.
This is an issue that is deeply rooted in the inaccessibility of many essential goods and services within the United States. For people that do not hold employment that provides them with comprehensive health insurance, independent contractors, small business owners, etcetera, health insurance takes a large financial toll. Additionally, for many people, period products and child care supplies such as diapers and formula are difficult to afford. It cannot be denied that sex work is one of the most financially beneficial occupations for those that cannot work in a traditional sense. This occupation covers people’s rent, puts clothing on their and their dependant’s backs, maintains food on their plates, and pays for the care of their children. Sex work is essential to many people’s well-being. Though it cannot be denied that sex work is dangerous.
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While ‘Glamour Girls’ leaves more to be desired in terms of quality, the film does carry a valuable message. That being, you must be incredibly careful when your income depends on your vulnerability. In the film, in an attempt to provide for her siblings, Emma puts her life in danger. Of course, the events of the film which lead to her well-being ending up jeopardized are not the typical sex worker experience. The story still speaks volumes about the painful realities of sex work, especially outside of the first-world countries that still warrant some protection to their citizens.
‘Glamour Girls’ – Quality Issues
Unfortunately for the message of the film, the delivery leaves much to be desired. The quality just simply isn’t there no matter how you twist it. The editing is questionable at best and does not do any favors for the film, it truly feels like the editors of this movie had a video editing application and a dream. The cinematography itself is actually decent but some frames entail choices that were likely not executed as intended. The acting is flashy and loud, but not in a good way. The music choices will leave you wondering if your Spotify glitched while watching certain scenes.
This is not a bad movie, it’s just badly done. And even though it doesn’t seem so, there is a difference between the two.
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I wanted to love this movie because the premise is quite interesting to me and right off the bat I believed that the commentary within the film could be quite important. The issue simply lies in the fact that the events are not well thought out and the sequences of scenes that are utilized in the editing often don’t make any sense.
The world of sex work can be wonderfully empowering and provide life-saving income to many individuals and their dependents. However, our society makes it a dangerous line of work as well. We as a community must learn to protect sex workers. Going into this field is rarely an easy decision, there are many influences on the way people make that choice for themselves. ‘Glamour Girls’ puts a spotlight on the extremes of the dangers of sex work, which is valuable for a movie that is presumably about the luxury side of a career in sex work.
So watch ‘Glamour Girls’, or don’t, we don’t care.
Cast and Crew
Starring Sharon Ooja, Nse Ikpe-Etim and Joselyn Dumas
Directed by Bunmi Ajakaiye
Written by Kemi Adesoye
By Micha Jones
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Micha Jones is a writer and aspiring television producer who is dedicated to education and equity. Writing review and feature articles for The Hollywood Insider, they focus on the ways in which media can tell marginalized stories. Through reflecting on the portrayal of social and environmental issues in TV and film, Micha aims to make positive changes in the entertainment industry. Micha’s work often carries The Hollywood Insider’s signature “mic-drop” perspectives and makes an effort to tell educational and socially progressive stories. They strongly believe in accurate representation in film and emphasize the power of the community.