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And the DIVA Choice Award Goes to...

And the DIVA Choice Award Goes to... - Sh! Women's Store

"Tonight’s DIVA Choice Award goes to a committed explorer of the senses.

Back in the days when the concept of “Sexual Wellness” was just a glint in Gwyneth Paltrow’s eye, tonight’s winner was toiling away at the coal face of female sexual pleasure.

Indeed, come the second sexual revolution, (not too far off now thanks to this mystery woman) when Queen Megan is handing out awards for Distinguished Services to Strap Ons, tonight’s visionary will be at the head of the queue.

This Yorkshire pioneer and maverick (she didn’t go to business school; she went to art school) opened the UK’s first ever female-focused erotic store in 1992. She’s spent a day in Soho looking for inspiration in the sex shops of the time, but the landscape was sleazy and male-focused.

High points include introducing the women of Britain to the Jessica Rabbit vibrator, setting up Café V, the UK’s first support group to help sexual violence survivors reconnect with their bodies and working with the NHS to bridge the gap between sexuality and overall health.

Established on an investment of £700 and originally specializing in sexy yet comfortable strap-on harnesses and gender-free silicone dildos, her business has grown into a multi award-winning brand dedicated to women’s bodily enjoyment and has created a sea change in attitudes towards honest female sexuality.

27 years ago, tonight’s winner was seen by a lot of the mainstream media as the pervy weirdo lesbian who ran THAT East End sex shop. But she stuck to her beliefs and those beliefs have borne fruit. She has become one of the UK’s leading exponents of sex-positive feminism and has brought orgasms and succor (and the new wave of clitoral suction sex toys) to thousands of women.

The struggle to point out that female sexual pleasure is a right and not an indulgence is on-going. But this powerhouse continues to push boundaries, spreading her message passionately on TV, radio and panels around the world.

The winner of tonight’s DIVA Choice Award is the founder and managing director of Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, Ky Hoyle!"
Victoria Broom, Stephanie Theobald, Ky Hoyle, Rachel Shelley
Getty Images

The transcribed introduction above was given by none other than Stephanie Theobald, a journalist at Guardian & Sunday Times, and author of Big Clit Energy memoir Sex Drive.

About the DIVA Awards

Diva, the leading monthly mag for lesbians and bisexual women hosted its annual Award ceremony at Waldorf Hilton on Friday 7th of June. The Awards, hosted by Rachel Shelley and Victoria Broom, honour those who help make a difference to the lives of lesbians, bisexual women, and trans people.

“The DIVA Awards is a fantastic event that honours those who are committed to raising awareness for the lesbian, bisexual and trans community. We’re proud of everyone who won big tonight and all those on the shortlist - each and every one of them make a difference to the LGBTQI+ community.”

Linda Riley, founder of DIVA Awards

There were plenty of celebrities at this year's fancy bash, and there may even have been some fan-girling involved when the team got to meet Sinitta (no introductions needed!) and London-based singer & song-writer Ronnie-Martine...

Gentleman Jack star Suranne Jones *swoon* presented Bake Off host & TV presenter Sandi Toksvig with a shiny gong for her advocacy on behalf of the lesbian, bisexual and trans community.

Loose Woman and proud mama Denise Welch collected the Ally of the Year award on behalf of her son Matty Healy, singer of 1975, who is a vocal and high profile supporter of LGBT+ equality.

Other winners included chef and activist Jack Monroe and outgoing Stonewall Chief Executive Ruth Hunt.

Victoria Broom, Ky Hoyle, Sandi Toksvig, Suranne Jones, Rachel Shelley
Sh! Image
Ky Hoyle Sans Award
Getty Images

A Win For One Is A Win For All

Behind every successful woman is a tribe of badasses cheering her on and at the forefront of the Sh! badass tribe is Sophie Walters, Ky's business partner and co-owner of Sh! (aka Financial Director & Chief Purse Strings Holder)

A business doesn't run itself (though sometime we wish it did!) and Sophie has provided magnificently strong shoulders (arms, legs and whatever else may be needed) in shifting heaven, earth & heavy boxes to support Ky's vision for the li'l slice of heaven that is Sh!

Not usually one for late nights out on the town, our Sophie made an exception for the DIVA Awards and not only did she look dapper AF for the occasion, but rumour also has it that she thoroughly enjoyed the fine wine and good food on offer at Hilton Waldorf. :) Who knows, maybe we'll be able to convince her to join us for fun nights out a bit more regularly after this!

Sh! FD Sophie Walters looking Dapper AF
Sh! Image

Diva Awards 2019 - Full list of winners here.

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