As half of the duo behind the sex toy company Dame Products, Alexandra Fine wants to have frank conversations. In grade school, she noted how her schoolmates reacted to the news that she’d attended a drag show with her aunt. A few years later, she experienced the slut-shaming that so many girls and women are subjected to.
These early experiences shaped Fine’s adult mission: to help de-stigmatize traditionally taboo topics like sexuality and pleasure. In 2014, with the help of some Kickstarter dollars, Fine and Janet Lieberman, an MIT-educated mechanical engineer, launched Dame Products and their best-known product, Eva, a vibrator for couples.
Ahead, we asked Fine about her favorite products and how she keeps a positive mindset amid the chaos of daily life, in this week’s “Shortlisted.”
“I am worthy.”
This is something I like to repeat to myself. It’s easy to get caught up in insecurities when you’re a business owner in a growing field, and obviously being a woman comes with certain doubts, like impostor syndrome. Repeating this mantra is a calming way to bring me back down when I’m having tough moments.
Skin care essential
Oils, oils, oils! I’m a big fan of using oils, because I have very dry skin and they definitely help me stay balanced. Natural oilsare some of my favorites. I’m always keeping my eyes out for new options too.
I’m a big podcast fan. They open my eyes to niche topics I hadn’t previously considered. And there are often takeaways that I can put to use at my job, which I love. I’m very into 99% Invisible (a podcast about design), Reply All (a clever one by Gimlet Media about the weird corners of the internet), and obviously the iconic This American Life.
Happy place outfit
This linen jumpsuit by Ilana Khon really makes me feel absolutely undefeatable. I feel comfortable (which I think we call can agree is key to happiness) and wearing this jumpsuit gives me a powerful sense of self. I also like what it says about me when I wear it.
Currently reading + listening to
Lately, I’ve been simultaneously reading several different books at once. I’m listening to a book on tape calledWork, Sex, Money by Chogyam Trungpa,which is extra apropos for my life. I’m also reading Even Cowgirls Get the Bluesby Tom Robbins, which I had a lot of friends recommend to me, andContagious Cultureby Anese Cavanaugh.
I really like to put my emails on pause when I need to get a bigger task done. It allows me to dig into something that takes brainpower, rather than simply sitting and responding to emails without actually getting anything major accomplished. I am obsessed with Asana, and it has totally changed the way I work.
I’m also trying something new: at the end of the day, I’ll look at my calendar & fill in how I spent my time. It’s like a less horrible, more productive version of a timesheet. It actually allows me to really understand where my hours are going and where to make changes, if needed.
Good hair secret-weapon
As you know now, I’m big on oils! Argan Oil is ideal for me, because I have very dry hair (also: skin, sense of humor, everything else). I also am pretty adamant about not using shampoos that have sodium lauryl sulfates, a foaming agent that has been linked to some severe health issues.
Flats, sneakers, or heels
Honestly, I prefer being in Birkenstocks to anything else. If you catch me on the weekend, that’sprobablywhat you’ll spot me in. That said, I’m short (5’2”), so when I want some height to make me feel a little more powerful—especially in business situations—I’ll do heels. For these, I really love Loeffler Randall.
Self-care method of choice
The two essentials, of course! Masturbation & meditation. I do believe strongly that making time to masturbate is really important for physiological health reasons and mental purposes. It helps you release after a stressful day and can often be a wonderful aid if you have trouble sleeping. In that same vein, meditation is a bit more common self-care approach that really resonates with me. Setting aside moments to be mindful helps keep me grounded.
Bonus: GIF that best describes you