“How I Got Here 7” tasks industry leaders with telling their origin stories by answering 7 simple questions. Then we deliver those stories straight to your inbox every Thursday.  

Cindy Gallop, Founder, MakeLoveNotPorn

Cindy Gallop, Founder, MakeLoveNotPorn

Sometimes you get lucky. You start a fledgling newsletter, get a bit of traction, and in a fit of fangirl delirium, ping your dream interview subject on Twitter. Sometimes that person is as down-to-earth and accessible as Cindy Gallop, and she gets back to you right away. 

 This week, we feature the advertising trailblazer-turned-founder of If We Ran the World and MakeLoveNotPorn. She’s our industry’s quotable firebrand, 3% Conference keynote staple and tireless activist for equality. I’m not sure that I can write anything about her influence that hasn’t been committed to type already, but I can guarantee that her HIGH7 will not resemble any that comes after it.  That’s what you get with a true original.  

Cindy Gallup

Cindy Gallup

As a child, what was your dream job?

Advertising. (Strange but true - I did a whole school project on how advertising works.) 

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

Temp secretary. (My parents made me do a secretarial course between school and university 'so I'd always have something to fall back on'.) I learnt to type extremely fast, which stood me in very good stead when computers became the norm. 

The thing that made you excited about the industry on day one and still keeps you excited today is: 

The huge number of amazingly brilliant, creative, talented people in it - and I'm even more excited about that today, because we haven't even begun to see what the advertising industry could be when it finally opens up (as it has not yet done) to fully embrace the brilliance, creativity and talent of women, of people of color, of the disabled, of LGBTQ people, of older people (or as I like to call us, 'experts').

How would you explain what you do every day to a child? 

I would tell a child that my startup, MakeLoveNotPorn, is designed to ensure that as they grow up they have much happier relationships and a much happier life. 

Describe a key pivot or defining moment in your career that ultimately landed you where you are: 

Deciding, through my direct personal experience dating younger men, to tackle the issue of porn becoming default sex education when we don't talk openly and honestly about sex, and launching MakeLoveNotPorn in its original 'Porn World vs Real World' incarnation with a talk at TED 2009. 

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found yourself doing for work?

Starting the world's first and only entirely user-generated, crowdsourced social sex videosharing platform, MakeLoveNotPorn.tv - 'Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.'

Finally, the quality that makes you successful in this business is: 

Three qualities: persistence, resilience, and the ability to manage my own mind.

Amy Winger, Chief Strategy Officer, VMLY&R

Amy Winger, Chief Strategy Officer, VMLY&R

Mark Truss, Global Director of Brand Intelligence, J. Walter Thompson

Mark Truss, Global Director of Brand Intelligence, J. Walter Thompson