Actress Ellen Toland spoke to uInterview about the challenges of playing a sex worker in the new movie Inside The Rain.

The movie follows a young man, Ben, played by Aaron Fisher (he’s also the writer and director), who suffers from bipolar disorder and has been kicked out of college. He enlists the help of a sex worker, Emma, played by Toland, to help him make a movie to prove his innocence.

“What I was really interested in was the way the Aaron wrote her,” Toland said. “It wasn’t something that I had seen before for sex worker kind of roles, cause I think they can slip into cliche pretty easily. Because this was already such a funky movie, super special, and makes you laugh at things that usually you’re not given permission to laugh at, it just really jumped off the page for me.”

She noted that a key part of playing Emma was doing research on sex workers. She spoke to real sex workers to get a better understanding of the job.

“I always think that’s really important, if you’re playing a role that has a job that is definitely something we don’t know a ton about, that has a stigma against it. So I talked to a couple of sex workers, and I really found that they are regular people just walking around and you have no idea and really deserve respect,” she said.

“I think they’re very brave people, so I tried to instill that in Emma as well,” Toland said.

But, she found a softer side of her character, too. Toland said the “sushi scenes,” where she posed naked with sushi covering her body, were the hardest for her.

“The only reason why that one was really hard is it kind of dawned on me while I was there, and there were a bunch of guys kind of ad-libbing eating sushi off of me, and it actually became really sad to me,” she said. “After doing the other scenes, where she was in work mode, that didn’t feel as empowering because they were kind of ad-libbing some like gnarlier things, and so I started crying mid-way, and I don’t think that was initially the intention, but Aaron kept it and I really appreciate that.”

The film’s main message, according to Toland: accept yourself and find others who will accept you.

“I think that’s the thing with Ben and Emma, why they do find each other is because they’re both looking for someone to be like, “‘I get you. It’s okay. And we’re connected.'”

You can watch Inside The Rain on Amazon Prime for free with a subscription, or purchase it for $3.99.

Watch the trailer below: