If you’re a young person in 2018, you probably have a friend (or at least know of someone) who is a sugar baby or some type of sex worker. Pop culture has begun to tell the stories of sex workers — sugar babies, in particular — with shows like The Girlfriend Experience.
Now, a new romantic comedy is telling the story of a sugar baby with a YA bent, with lead actors like Camila Mendes from Riverdale and Jessica Barden from The End of the F***ing World. Barden plays a young journalist in The New Romantic who begins dating an older man in exchange for gifts — and also the chance to write about her experiences.
Mendes plays her sugar baby friend, who’s experienced in the ways of the lifestyle. The New Romantic premiered at SXSW earlier this year, and it won an award for Best First Feature. Directed by Carly Stone, who also writes for the CBC sitcom Kim’s Convenience, the film seems like it will explore the young journalist’s choices from a non-judgemental perspective.
Mendes, in an interview with UInterview, talked about her experiences with the world of sugar babies.
“There’s no definition of wrong or right and every relationship in the sugar baby dynamic is subject to the people in it and what they want out of it,” she said. “I knew plenty of girls in college who were sugar babies, and everyone kind of had their own experience but at the end of the day I would think, Carly [Stone] touches on this, is like college is so expensive now and these girls are kind of honing their powers and realizing they can get something out of these dates they’re going on.”
The film will be in theaters Nov. 9 and on-demand Nov. 13. Watch the trailer below: