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Grow a Pair: The video series giving sex-ed a serious revamp

All-girl production company, Black Gosling, have launched a new videos series this August called Grow a Pair. The videos explore common topics and experiences that women often discuss in closed circles but rarely in public forums. Through their own conversations, the Black Gosling team realised that the sex-ed snore fest that they had received at school left many important questions unanswered. These videos are their way of educating themselves, and others – men and women –who want to get educated and aware on subjects that are really important. We spoke to the all-girl team briefly to find out more about the project. 

How did the initial idea for this series come about? 

As per usual on Friday afternoons, we were sitting around sipping on some bubbles, and we started bitching about how hard life can be as a girl. So many things you need to do, need to know and worry about – so many standards to live up to – enough to make you want to cover your head with a pillow and sleep till Sunday. We decided to ‘Grow a Pair’ instead and actually talk about these issues. We used to consider ourselves fairly well informed, especially when it came to our own bodies, but actually we realised that we were quite ignorant, which made us worry about everyone else. The very little sex-ed we did get in our lives was so awkward, conservative and uninformative that we decided to use our passion for filmmaking to educate (and entertain) those around us. 

We didn’t want to seem like feminazis, so we have included guys in our conversations. The men’s comments actually turned out to be very informative and entertaining. The topics are not set, so we hope to not only look at health issues, but also cover various opinions, feelings and personal encounters, in a light hearted and fun way. Grow a Pair is just a platform for us to explore different topics. 

How did you pick the topics that each video would focus on?

Each of the topics are pretty personal to each of us, so we chose subjects that we wanted to know more about. Most of the subjects were related back to personal experiences we have gone through or are going through. For instance, Karien, the director of the ‘Birth Control’ series, has recently got a Mirena. We were all kind of freaked out by the concept, but in discussion we realised how little we knew about, not only our current birth controls, but about the other options out there. 

All the Black Gosling girls have been roofied and black out drunk, so we wanted to investigate the differences! As for the ‘Consent’ series we are busy working on that, there are so many issues and aspects; the conversations are taking interesting turns. 

Since we started on this project more and more issues and topics are coming to light, so we are not starved for content at this stage. We are so open to anyone approaching us with their stories or ideas too. 

What are some of the things you’ve learned through producing and making these videos?  

Besides all the knowledge we have gained through our research and numerous conversations, we have also learnt that when you take a leap, others will follow. People want to know more and are excited to get involved in passion projects.

Is this series specifically South African (in the sense that it touches on topics/issues/experiences that are perhaps unique to this country)? 

We don’t think these topics are specific to South Africa. We have all lived in various countries and have faced the same issues. Some places are better equipped to deal with these issues though.  For example, in the ‘Roofies’ episode, Bianca, our junior producer, tells us about how she was treated after being roofied in Monaco. Her experience is very different to those of us who have been roofied in a dingy bar in Jo’burg. But overall these issues affect people everywhere.  

What has the response been like to the first video and the series? 

Incredible! It’s amazing how many people have come forward with their services and willingness to get involved. We look forward to the page becoming a platform where people can engage with us and tell us their stories.

Who are these videos aimed at? 

Honestly – ourselves. Well at first anyway. We have tried to keep it broad as we feel like everyone should know about these subjects. At the same time we are aiming to keep it fresh and fun, so bringing in humour and risky imagery. Again, not wanting to man-bash but open up conversations between age groups and genders. We hope there’s something for everyone to learn here.

Is there a particular message that you’re intending to convey in the series?  

Grow a pair and learn something! 


Do you think there are conversations that women should to be having but aren’t? What are these? 

We do feel that women are having these conversations amongst themselves (we often do over drinks) but the problem is that they’re not necessarily opening up the discussion to their partners, male counterparts or even their doctors. We can’t bitch about men not knowing/understanding our woes if we’re not talking to them about it. Sex, birth control, rape culture, sexism. The status quo, we feel, has never really changed and speaking to older woman, we realise that they have gone through the same issues but never really spoke about it. As the younger generation, we think it’s important to start opening the conversation between the sexes. 

Who is involved in making the videos?  

The creative team consists of the Black Gosling girls, Jess Young, Larney De Swardt, Lindi Goosen and Bianca Moreira. We are excited that Karien Goosen will be joining us full time very soon. Black Gosling, our production company, is based in JHB. We create various online and television content. We do work with an incredible team of freelancers who have been so great in getting on board and helping us with our passion project. Big shout out to Wesley Ayliffe, our faithful sound guy, who has had to listen to some strange conversations!  We have had so many bad-bitches help us out, including Susan van Tonder, Nicole Olwagen and Heleen van Tonder on cameras and Alicia van Zyl, Anja Venter and the Cool your Jets gang on graphics. We have also had the support of some great local and international bands, that were kind enough to let us use their music.

Look out for new videos released soon: Birth Control: The Chat // Birth Control: The Doctor // Roofies: The night we roofied our friend // Roofies: The Chat

Black Gosling will be hosting a ‘confession booth’ at the Gurl Gang edition of Drink and Draw on Sunday 28th August 2016.


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