November 2019

Featuring Lana Rhoades

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How to Be a Porn Star…Director…Agent

IF YOU THINK PORN IS ALL ABOUT SHOWING UP AND FUCKING, THEN YOU’RE DEEPLY MISINFORMED. THE TRUTH IS, ADULT ENTERTAINMENT—WHETHER YOU’RE A PERFORMER, DIRECTOR OR AGENT— IS A DEMANDING AND UNPREDICTABLE MISTRESS, WHERE ONLY THE SHREWDEST AND MOST PERSISTENT ENDURE. THINK YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?


Porn is an industry—and a competitive one at that. Globally it’s worth northward of $97 billion, $10 to $12 billion of it generated right here in America. So if you want a piece of that sweet, sexy pie, then get in line.
It’s one thing to have aspirations to be a famous porn star, renowned director or well-connected agent—it’s another to actually do it. How do you get your foot in the door? And once you’re in, how do you survive, stay relevant and, ultimately, succeed?
Then there’s tradecraft—deep-throating, lighting, contracts, gangbangs and social media. And don’t forget expenses in the form of wardrobe, camera equipment, agency fees and bimonthly STD testing, which ain’t cheap.
Before you make the leap, take a moment to learn firsthand from industry leaders about what it takes to break into and make it in adult entertainment. They are the porn elite, the creators of content viewed by millions. Heed their advice, learn from their experiences, and you may just find yourself working alongside them one day.
BLAIR WILLIAMS
PERFORMER
TWITTER: @BLAIRSBANANAS
INSTAGRAM: @GODBLESSBLAIR
Divine destiny
I was a nursery-school teacher at a church and was going to a really religious Nazarene university in San Diego when I came across a reality competition called The Sex Factor. So while I was still in school and still working at the church, I auditioned for the show and ended up winning. It was the first and only time amateur performers were offered that large a payout, and it was led by some of the biggest names in the industry.  
Educate yourself
Really doing your research is important. I know that sounds like a throwaway answer, but back when I did The Sex Factor, I didn’t even know what rates were for scenes. I recommend reaching out to agencies. You want to know what you’re rushing into, committing to. I feel like a lot of girls jump in blind because they just want that paycheck, but when you do it for the wrong reasons and you don’t educate yourself, it won’t be fun. Financial freedom is really liberating, but if you hate yourself at the end of the day, then it isn’t worth it.
Temper your expectations
Winning put me in a good position financially. I was able to pay off my college debt and save a lot of money, but you still need to put in the work. I didn’t realize how relatively low scene rates are. Before the show, I assumed performers made so much more money—and we do make good money, but only if you work really, really hard and you do a lot of scenes and you do great work. Sometimes it feels like it should come overnight, but that’s not the reality of it.
Stay hungry

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. There have been times where I’ve been tired and didn’t want to work, but I realize that the more I work, the more I’m rewarded. My fans become closer and enjoy what I’m doing. Go for it—everything. For example, I just did my first anal scene! And I wish I had started a long time ago. I wanted to build my name first and have a more publicized scene, and I waited for that. Now I really want to do a DP scene, and I really want to do a blowbang. It’s ignited this fire inside of me. I was holding back a little bit before and coasting, and the more I push myself, the happier I am.
Porn never sleeps
If I’m doing a shoot, I shower, shave everything, leave my house without any makeup, drive an hour from downtown to wherever my set is in L.A., and then I’m in the makeup chair for an hour. I’ll do “pretty girls,” which are like modeling-style, where you slowly strip to become naked. From there we do sex stills, then dialogue, and eventually we get down to the sex. I’m on set generally for about eight hours, depending on the scene. The days that I’m off, I’m having my nails done, getting facials, buying lingerie… We are independent contractors; we’re businesspeople. To make sure our businesses continue to run smoothly, we’re continuously doing something. When I’m not on set, like today, I’ll be camming—just investing in and building myself.
CHARLOTTE STOKELY
PERFORMER
TWITTER: @CHAR_STOKELY
INSTAGRAM: @CHARLOTTESTOKELY
CHARLOTTESTOKELY.COM 
Invest for success
To be a successful performer, it costs a lot of money. Like with any good business, you have to invest money to make money. So if you don’t invest in eating healthy, it will show in your work. Every 12 days I have to get a 14-panel STD test, which costs $170. And you cannot work without a test. Every four weeks I get my roots touched up— that’s $200.
Trade secrets
So you’re on set, new to the job, and oh, crap, you just got your period. What do you do? How does that work? Obviously extra douching. Then take a nonlatex makeup sponge and stick it in you. You can’t use a tampon because the string will fall out, and no one wants to see that. Oh, and don’t forget to take it out! Then there are certain types of diets—“I don’t drink milk before a blowbang because it causes too much phlegm!” Or, “I like to drink milk before a blowbang because it gives me extra-stringy spit!”
The devil is in the details
If you want to be a successful performer, you have to focus on the little details, like getting your nails done. These powerful 4K cameras are taking up-close shots, so if you have a hangnail or your nail polish is chipped or if you have dirt under your fingernails, everyone’s going to see that.
I heart my agent
Honestly, agents are amazing. I love paying my agency fee, because they do so much for me. They will fight for your rate. They will help keep track of all the details, like what time, what to bring, what’s the location. They keep track of your schedule, and they help weed out the weirdos. They know which companies are good to work for and which aren’t. 
Dressing the part


Wardrobe is my biggest expense. Most companies, you have to bring your own. And they’ll send you a list: If you’re playing a businesswoman, you’ll need to bring business suits—jackets, blazers and pencil skirts. Then you need the pantyhose, the closed-toe secretary shoes that can’t be stripper heels. You buy all this wardrobe. Then you wear the wardrobe, and it gets ruined. I cannot wear a pair of white panties twice because there’s foundation and lipstick all over them. You’re basically buying disposable outfits. I have a lot of clothes, but I’m always saying I have nothing to wear, and it’s true.
Be punctual; be polite; be prepared
Be on time or be early. Locations are rented by the hour, crew has to be there, and they have to wrap by a certain time. So showing up late can really mess up everything. Be prepared for long days, and bring an energy drink. Sometimes the sex isn’t until the very end of the day, and the scene sucks because you’re exhausted. Don’t arrive on set and start complaining. It always makes everyone’s day so much easier when we all communicate and get along. And they’re going to want you to come back.
Parting thoughts
Don’t wear lip plumper—it burns genitals! Don’t change your look with the expectation of making more money. I’ve had directors tell me, “Unless you get a tan and a boob job, I’m not going to shoot you.” You have to be confident in yourself. I’ve seen so many bad boob jobs; it turns me off when I see scars around a girl’s nipples. And if you have big tits, you’re not shooting young girl porn, and you just missed out on a whole section of revenue. Most of all, this should be fun, and you should be happy: I came here to come; I love my job; this makes me happy.
HOLLY HENDRIX
PERFORMER
TWITTER: @HOLLYHENDRIX_
ONLYFANS.COM/HOLLYHENDRIX_ 
Be vigilant; be fearless
A lot of agents and even directors will attempt to lead a girl in a direction that they believe is “best” for her career. Do not let that happen to you. Do not let any agent, talent or producer tell you how to portray yourself or prevent you from being the star you want to become. Be yourself—that’s what I tell every new starlet breaking into this crazy industry. No one here is responsible for your success and stardom but you. Do not blame or hold anyone culpable for your decisions. Make the best of it, put a dick in your ass, try something new, and fucking love it. And if you aren’t up for a challenge, you don’t belong here.
Freshman orientation
You’re curious about the sex industry. You start watching porn and imagine what it would be like to get fucked like that. Maybe you start webcamming or posing nude in photos, even dancing in a club. You either love it or hate it. If it’s the former, then you research the industry and how it works—or maybe you get discovered on social media by a company or agency. Moving out to L.A. is a huge step. Moving and hoping is wrong; moving and doing is good. But even if you choose not to move to L.A., you can still be a huge star.
Shop around
Before deciding to go balls-to-the-wall as a porn star, you gotta have a proper agency, at least to get you going and recognized. As a new talent, you don’t yet have a name or brand to market yourself to top-name directors. When I came into the business, I lived in South Florida and didn’t know a goddamn thing. It’s so important to do your research— make the rounds; do not settle. Even try reaching out to porn models with agency questions. This is your career. This is money and your reputation! Don’t let anyone promise you success but yourself.
Don’t let yourself get exploited
I see new starlets with limited knowledge of the sex industry come in and get fucked over. I see starlets with dreams and goals get lured into degrading themselves in ways they’d never intended. I see small agencies taking in young females and luring them into low-budget films with cheap companies, leaving the model feeling as if this is where you have to start to be at the top; this is what you have to start off doing before you get appropriate rates—wrong! Again, do your research. Come into this business with a clear goal and confidence in your image. Who do you want to be? What do you want to be good at and recognized for? Build yourself. Don’t expect screwing for some low-balling scumbag in a cheap hotel will make you famous. 

DANA VESPOLI
DIRECTOR
TWITTER: @DANAVESPOLI
ONLYFANS.COM/DANAVESPOLI
TWISTEDVISUAL.COM, OPENLIFE.COM 
Talent turned director
It’s always helpful having been in the trenches. I’m very much an empath, and I think it helped to have had the experience of being talent. I care very much about the people I shoot—their safety, their comfort and all that stuff lends itself to a better performance. As talent, I’ve shown up on set where there are no showers and I’ve done an oil anal scene. And then I have to get on an airplane, just filthy, and no one cares: “We paid you, so deal with it.”
This isn’t a heavily regulated industry; there are no unions, nothing to protect the rights of talent except word of mouth. From that standpoint, having been talent—in the best and worst of circumstances—I’m very conscious of the health, safety and happiness of the people I shoot. I’m going to get a better performance if people feel cared for—generally the reaction to that is to do your best work because you feel valued.
Rules are sometimes meant to be broken
I’ve had mentors in the business. I learned quite a bit from John Leslie and John Stagliano. For me, Stagliano is one of purest pornographers. I was with Evil Angel for years, and one the best lessons he taught me was: Break rules. You don’t always have to follow the rules, like shooting against light, being a renegade shooter. You don’t always get permits to shoot; you find ways to tell a story with what you’ve got. And he really encouraged me to take a lot of creative risks, often on a shoestring budget.
The game has changed
It’s not enough to want to shoot hot chicks covered in oil by the pool. We’ve got way too much of that already, and you can’t compete with Mike Adriano on that one—or Mason or Mick Blue. You gotta come up with something of your own that doesn’t already exist or exists but hasn’t really been refined. It’s not enough to love sex and porn; you need to have a perspective. 
Reel talk
Before even attempting porn, I would ask myself why. Why porn? Why not independent film? There’s a glass ceiling—it’s not 2005 anymore. Especially nowadays when there are so many resources. Watch a lot of it; then look for what’s missing. You figure out a budget, call agents, put together a reel, and you shop it around—like you would do with mainstream in a way. Or make yourself available to work as a production assistant, help out on set. And people are always looking for a B camera too, so that’s another way to make your presence known. It’s a way of figuring out if it’s something you really want to do, without diving in and spending a lot of money.
Be understanding
Mistakes are made. One time it was a BDSM scene, and the girl, her agent didn’t tell her. She showed up and saw floggers, implements of torture, got really anxious and was very upset. And I explained to her, none of these things will be used. It was very mellow—it’s Sweethearts [OpenLife], so it’s more of a sensual-type thing. But still she was an 18-, 19-year-old girl, and it was one of her first scenes. I took her aside and told her, “At the end of the day, you need to know that you can leave and there will be no hard feelings. This is not your fault, it was a miscommunication, and I can book you next month. It’s really important to me that you feel safe and comfortable.” She ended up staying and did a great job. In general, I’m pretty easygoing, no judgment. I want you to be comfortable—it’s an ethical issue for me. And that’s the other great thing of having been talent, being able to say, “I know what you’re going through.”
HONEY GOLD

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