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Numa Perrier’s ‘Jezebel’ is a deep dive into sex work and womanhood

“The word jezebel is used to shame women and I wanted to take it back and use it to empower them. I had loved it my whole life but was never able to use it, so when I worked, that was the name I chose for myself, ”  said Numa Perrier the director, producer, and visionary behind the new Netflix film, Jezebel.

Meaning an impudent, shameless, or morally unrestrained woman, the word jezebel has taken on a new definition in Numa Perrier’s debut film. Set out to re-define this once derogatory word the film dives deep into Perrier’s personal experience as a sex worker

As sex trafficking increases nationwide at alarming rates, Numa could not have chosen a better time to release this movie. In this seductive, raunchy, bear-all drama, viewers are brought into the world of Tiffany, and her journey into the world of womanhood and family. 

Set in a small, Las Vegas, one-bedroom apartment with her elder sister Sabrina, her boyfriend David, and two other siblings, Tiffany is trying her best to take care of her dying mother in the hospital.

In search of more, 19-year-old Tiffany is introduced to the world of sex work through her sister, Sabrina who works as a phone sex operator.

Sabrina shows Tiffany an advertisement for a company looking for fetish cam girls and tells her all she has to do is “show a little skin.”

The main character’s name, Tiffany, comes from one of the two names Numa was given after she was adopted. Throughout the movie, viewers are taken through the personal development of Tiffany and experience her growth in confidence and self-esteem.

We follow her from the moment she walks into her interview with a training bra and granny panties to her wearing latex boots and lingerie at the end. 

There’s a feeling of tension and discomfort as Tiffany navigates this new world. One of the stand-out-scenes features Tiffany’s face during her interview where she had to undress for the eyes of her boss, Chuck.

The scene was so well constructed it’ll have you crossing your arms over your chest in discomfort too.  

The outline of Tiffany’s job was simple, she would be paid $15/hr and given an extra dollar per minute for private sessions. She was trained by the companies co-owner Vicky, Chuck’s sister who introduced her as ‘Jezebel’ to the companies audience.

Vicky taught her that the bulk of her money would come from her private sessions and to stride towards securing as many of those as possible. 

As the movie progressed we see noticeable growth in Tiffany and the development of her character as a woman. After discovering that one of her coworkers is getting paid the most due to a loyal customer paying for private sessions, Tiffany sets out to gain her own loyal follower.

“Bobby” is Tiffany’s choice in a minion and she tells him he isn’t allowed to have private sessions with anyone but her. Ballsy huh? 

Tensions rise during a slow night when Tiffany is called a “nigger” from one of the customers on the site. She storms out the group chat room and demands Chuck ban the man from the site where he simply tells her to “get a thicker skin” and sends her home for the day with her first check. 

Say what?

The drama continues as Jezebel quickly becomes the best worker with her exclusive client, Bobby. Yet as she gets closer to Bobby, Tiffany’s comfortableness within the relationship ultimately gets her fired from her job as a camera girl.

Still, in the end, viewers are able to see the significant change in Tiffany as she begins to fully embrace Jezebel.

Numa alway’s shares personal stories in her work, and she chose to share this piece of herself because it was “uniquely hers.”  When asked about the message she was trying to convey to women Numa responded,

“ I feel a lot of women will feel reflected and seen in this movie.”

We also had the chance to ask Jezebel star Tiffany Tenille how she felt playing the role based on Numa’s life. She responded,

“Playing Numa was a dream come true. Numa is a goddess. An artist who bears it all.”


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As for critics on the movie simply being about sex, Numa makes sure to correct those misconceptions…

“It’s really, ultimately a story between sisters taking care of each other.”

The drama explores women’s relationships with their bodies and completely shatters the misconception that women must suppress their sexual desires. 

The overhanging message shows that Perrier is coming up. The young director has already broken barriers with her coming of age drama. Thus far, the multidisciplinary artist has received Best Director and Best Narrative Feature awards at the American Black Film Festival.

Plus there’s nothing like an ARRAY cosign.

Not to mention her successful world premiere at SXSW 2019 and winning The Craig Brewer Emerging Filmmaker Award at the 2019 Indie Memphis Film Festival.


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During our interview, Numa said the most difficult part of making her film was the post-production. She was, after all on a tight budget and schedule. The independent feature, shot by a team of female African American producers and department heads, was completed in 10 days. 

“Post-production was definitely the hardest because it raises all your insecurities. You start to question is the film even gonna be any good, as well as constantly falling in and out of love with the movie.”


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COUNTDOWN!!! 10 DAYS until #jezebelmovie lands on @netflix! This film was made with the love and care of Black Women — look at our producers and star of the film. Just— wow. It’s not enough for me to say I couldn’t have done it without them. Last night we watched the Golden Globes while celebrating our movie. These women did not have to step up and give their whole beings to this story but they did. We didn’t think about odds being against us— no, we are larger than odds! Left to right we have WINTER @itswinterdunn – when I tell you she put out fires before fires started — she handled everything like a boss and she’s hilarious and kept me sane! Then we have VICTORIA @vhamiltonofficial I should call her doctor – she healed – she was the anchor of our set and the first to arrive with me to Las Vegas for our one day of prep there. TIFFANY. @tiffanytenille you’ll all come to know her breath taking performance soon and what a treat she is. and FRANCES @franisart I think she had about 5 different jobs she’s an artist and applies a beautiful sensitivity to everything she touches. We haven’t all been in the same room together for some months so last night was the perfect kick off. Here comes Jezebel…. January 16. @netflix @strongblacklead @arraynow

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For sure, Jezebel is a must-see flick. The woman hours and creativity put-in prove that telling your own story is the best way to connect with the masses. Before she parted Numa left us with a message to women looking to break into the industry.

“Be selfish. Tell your personal story. Do not be afraid. You don’t have any competition. No one has your story.”

Make sure you watch Numa Perrier’s new joint Jezebel on Netflix or at select theatres.


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