Tag Archives: Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE)

AEE 2020: Emma Hix, the slut plays the piano

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers

Emma Hix is a rising star in porn. Just twenty-two, this sweet, seductive beauty has a personality that matches every degree of her comeliness. She is endearing, cooperative with everyone and has a definitive career direction.

If adult film issued report cards on performers, Emma would be at the top of the class as witnessed by the show guides provided here. Emma travels with the elite.

I first met this native Canadian at the Foxxx Modeling booth during the 2017 show. She was a newbie, a bit nervous but with an undeniable charm. We chatted briefly and did a quick informal interview. Since then, it’s been hit or miss, mostly miss. We’d converse, hope to set something up, then schedules conflict and opportunity slipped away.

Thanks to her PR people, this year Emma and I did everything very formally in the press room. Moving up requires protocol and with Emma’s popularity soaring, that’s the only way to go!

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Depends on Her Mood

After some small talk, I noted that in Axel Braun’s Nylon 3 she’s playing the piano, or at least appears to be.

So, Emma, let’s have the backstory!

“My mom tried to put me in piano lessons when I was a kid,” Emma says, but “I hated learning from someone else, you know?”

In fact, mom bought Emma a piano as an incentive to take lessons. Didn’t work.

“A couple of years later, I was playing around on it,” she reveals. “I was like ‘Wow I actually really enjoy this.’’’ Turns out, Emma learned to play by ear along with some YouTube help.

She has her own instrument now.  “I bought a grand piano with my first paycheck from porn. It’s my baby. I love it!”

What kind of music does this self-taught virtuoso like to play? Is it different from the typical youngster who practices more formally under a teacher’s eye?

It’s a variety, Emma replies, with alternative, rock and instrumental piano her preferences. “Cinematic orchestra is one of my favorites,” she adds, but “it depends on what mood I’m in.”

Maturity

We turn the conversation to how Emma has moved forward with her career.

“I had a little bit of a rough start because being from Canada, it took a while to get my US ID,” she says.

Emma mentions having her tattoos removed. An image adjustment, I’m guessing.

“I’m starting to progress to do different kinds of scenes. At first, I was doing very vanilla scenes. I don’t want to say boring, but just more elegant. Recently, I’ve started doing more anal and DPs, which is a whole new ballgame for me. I wanted to bring on this more slutty kind of persona. I’m trying to change my look and my performance.”

“The slut plays the piano,” I joke.

Sporting a big smile, Emma is cool with that!

With two AVN noms in hand, this stunning blonde has matured since we first talked three years ago. Is this a natural progression due to getting older?

Emma claims it’s just wanting to get better at your job.

Art

I pose the “what is pornography?” question and Emma doesn’t hesitate.

“It is a work of art, shown by an individual or a group of people, whatever the scene calls for. Being very artistic, being themselves on camera. . . a sexual moment caught on video. Very beautiful.”

We talk about how porn has changed over the years and Emma references Hollywood.

“I feel like now, it’s kind of moving with the mainstream industry,” Emma says, and brings up Bree Mills’ Adult Time. “They put a lot of work into their scenes. They make it look like an actual movie. Their sex is not just sex. It’s art. It’s really well put together.”

As for mainstream film, Emma speculates that sex “must be super awkward on a mainstream set.”

Regarding that statement, Adult Time steps into our conversation again.

“It’s kind of cool seeing an actual movie and seeing all of the sex. I wish they did that in mainstream movies sometimes. I wish they normalized it and made it okay.”

Emma points out what much of the public believes. “Sex is such a shameful thing” and, of course, “it’s obscene seeing two people have sex and you know people look down on it. But I feel if mainstream normalized it,” it wouldn’t be a big deal.

I mention Maitland Ward, an actress who entered adult from mainstream film. Emma is impressed with the move, but she raises the typical criticism of Ward’s change of scenery.

“That’s amazing. Of course, people are going to say ‘Oh she downgraded.’ But no, you’re moving from one form of art to another [and] that’s pretty cool.”

A Personal Reboot

Finally, I persuade today’s Emma to go back in time and visit with the Emma who is just coming into the industry.

What advice would you give yourself?

Pondering the question for a moment she offers up two things.

First, “don’t get taken advantage of because I was in the beginning of my career and it took me a while to learn that. But I don’t regret anything because it’s made me [who] I am today, [though] I’m still not happy with [that]. I want to keep going, doing better.”

On the Red Carpet

Then the slender hottie relates what I’ve heard so often over the years in this business.

“I had a little bit of a rough start. I didn’t know who I was and that’s another thing. I was trying to be someone else. I kind of lost myself.”

This leads to her second piece of advice. “Just be yourself [and] don’t regret anything,” Emma declares. “When I was new, I didn’t really know anything about performing at all.”

But she has come to realize that her career goal is longevity. “Since I had a slow start, I was able to have a longer career instead of getting famous right off the bat and getting overwhelmed with it. I’m happy that it went gradually and slowly.”

I mention that some girls jump into everything like anal and multiple penetrations immediately when their careers begin.

Emma took the more cautious route.

“I didn’t know who I was at eighteen, nothing. But if you know where you want to go in this industry, do whatever you want off the bat. I had no idea. So, it took me a while to learn and now I know where I want to go.”

Her approach has changed, however.

“I [like to] take every scene that comes at me…because as female talent, you never know when the work is going to slow down. But I try to take Sundays off because you need those grounding days for your mental health.”

Nevertheless, work is never assured. Every performance is an audition for the next one.

“If you do a really good job [on set] and you have a good time with the crew and the director and everything, you can get rehired. But there’s only so many times that they can shoot you. So, you are unemployed until they can rehire you again.”

Longevity?

How does she cope with the uncertainty?

“You never know when it’s going to end. So, I have my Only Fans and my Snapchat that I make money off of.”

Hollywood actors often have lifetime careers, Emma muses. “I wish you could do that with porn, but it ends eventually.”

Ironically, I mention that in adult longevity mostly belongs to the men.

With resignation, Emma comments, “I know.”

As we’re about to wrap up, my photographer Kevin throws a question Emma’s way concerning being taken advantage of.

“Because you were young and naïve, did they put you in scenes you didn’t want to do?” he asks.

“Yeah,” Emma responds. “when I was newer, I was very naïve. I took every scene. Now I’m more selective. I’ve definitely had some bad experiences on set. Now, I know to stand up for myself.”

Well said, Emma Hix, and thank you for a great interview.

 

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AEE 2020: Seth Gamble, Multilayered

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Seth Gamble has been around porn for a few years. He began in 2006 and reflects the veteran status men in the business often reach, much different from many female performers whose on-screen careers are often no more than a few months.

Maturity has moved him forward. For the 2020 AVN Awards, Seth went home with Best Leading Actor honors for Adult Time’s Perspective. Incidentally, his co-star in the production, Angela White, also copped the Best Leading Actress trophy for her role in the film.

Parodies

We start our conversation with his early days.

“In the earlier part of my career, no one [had] an idea of what I could do,” Seth begins. Then, a break came his way with an Exquisite Media parody. The film was a take-off of Saturday Night Fever and Seth was convinced he should be cast in the lead.

“I literally went into the office, didn’t have an audition. I don’t know what came over me,” he says. His persistence paid off. “Give me a piece of the script [and] I’ll show you,” he remembers announcing. “Twenty-four hours later, I’m booked for the role [and] I’m doing dancing lessons”

The film came out in 2011. From there, Seth’s talent and audacity led him to the Stars Wars parodies directed by Axel Braun. Seth recalls doing a “nine-page dialogue stretch on one take” that cemented his talent for acting.

“The parodies got me in the door and to be honest with you, when it came to actually doing more intellectual [and] layered roles, that really came from Pure Taboo,” he concludes.

By the way, Seth Gamble is not about to step over his friends. He mentions those who have helped him along: Dale Dabone, Bree Mills, and Craven Moorehead.

At this point in his career, Seth knew his journey was set and more was needed. “I actually went to acting school for two years,” he says.

Seth’s career has come together, highlighted by his 2019 performance in Perspective. “The prep work I and Angela did on that [film] was insane.” Needless to say, the results were cinematic gold.

Honesty

My next question concerns transitioning from an acting moment into a sex moment. How does Seth do this seamlessly on set?

The native Floridian answers with an example. In the closet scene in Perspective, he has sex “in character” with Angela.

In other words, “The whole time I was having sex with her,” he says.  “I didn’t do normal things that Seth Gamble would do in a sex scene, if I was just doing a scene as me. I did what I thought Daniel [his character] would do in that moment.”

Making this kind of transition is an actor’s responsibility, Seth believes. “I don’t think that is on the director, I think that’s on the talent. But I don’t know how many talent have the thought process to want to do it or think about how to do it,” he observes.

Seth admits he often “overthinks” a role. “I strategize and analyze exactly [how] this would happen. Sometimes it’s not even a thought it’s more of a feeling” when it comes to making the transition, he says.

I interject that Jacky St James once told me that as a director she thinks of sex as being part of the dialogue.

Seth agrees and points out, “Anytime there’s dialogue in any scene, I think it should be involved in the sex as well. If there is dialogue involved, then you should be acting physically with the sex.”

He emphasizes that however the scenes are depicted on-screen, the most important ingredient is honesty.

Adult film is “a fantasy regardless if there’s sex involved or not. What enthralls them [the fans] in any film is if the character feels honest. And if there’s no honesty to the character, then they don’t want to watch.”

His remark offers a springboard to a further analysis.

“A lot of porn is disingenuous because it’s like ‘do this, do that,’” Seth says. But he strives to be unique. “I didn’t want to come into this industry being a carbon copy of anything. I decided to be honest about all of my performances.”

That’s what makes it real, he believes.

Multilayered

Next, we turn to his directing. I ask about his style.

“I want to use what I have and give it to other people to bring out better production,” Seth says and highlights three directors—Axel Braun, Bree Mills, and Kayden Kross—whose style he thinks works best. He adds Jacky St James to the mix, but mentions that she does not have the financial backing of the others. “She deserves to be able to have those budgets for those films because she’s that talented [and] I truly enjoy working for whatever she does because even with what she’s got, she makes it good and amazing.”

His directing “forte” is “story based,” Seth comments, and as a director he wants to use his on-screen experience “to give [his actors] insight into what they’re doing character wise.”

Seth perceives porn acting to be “multilayered” and there is an industry shift in that direction.

“AVN Performer of the Year nomination is such a big deal because for so long it hasn’t been looked at as [demonstrating] versatility” he declares. For too long it’s been interpreted as who can deliver the best sex scene.

Because of his acting, Seth perceives that he is “in that conversation [that] is showing the shift.”

In that vein, he admires Axel Braun for being a star maker. “That’s what I want to do as a director,” Seth says.

Mystique

I mention the idea of crossing over from porn into Hollywood. Seth responds that young performers these days have evolving ideas on that.

He looks back ten-twelve years ago and says, “I was not a famous porn star. No porn star was famous, they were infamous. You weren’t going to see them on social network. You might get Jenna Jameson on Howard Stern. You might get her in an R-rated B movie.

“Now we’re allowed on social platforms. We have fame now. We’re being put on ShowTime and Cinemax.”

He does point out that “being in adult film comes with mystique.” It’s what “makes adult film actors and actresses so alluring. I agree that adult film actors and actresses doing R-rated films would be cool.’

But there is a limit, or rather a complication.

“If you put me on the Disney Channel, it isn’t right, because kids aren’t dumb. There’s something to be said about let’s do mainstream but how do you make Seth Gamble an international star that children can watch?

“You take an Angela White or a Kristen Scott or a Casey Calvert and put them in a Quentin Tarantino film. I think that’s a possibility.’

Then Seth brings up a point I had not considered.

“There was a time where you went on a mainstream audition and [were] asked you if you did pornographic films. I’ve heard now they don’t ask. So, I think we’re pushing that boundary.”

The thirty-two-year-old veteran sums it up nicely.

“I think that porn is more mainstream than it ever has been. A lot of the newer talent don’t understand that or see it that way because they weren’t here. Yes, we want our rights we want all these things, but there’s also a flip side to it.

“Something about [porn] is alluring to you, but then you don’t look at what you’re putting out there” and the consequences it might have.

That is the issue, Seth Gamble believes.

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AEE 2020: Bree Mills: Educational and Inspirational

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

I was privileged again this year to interview Bree Mills at the Adult Entertainment Expo. Bree is single-handedly changing the industry, a topic we discuss in the next article. This portion of our talk offers a little background for that story to come.

A side note to our interview. When the press area at the Hard Rock Hotel is full of journalists and industry people, the overflow is assigned to the bathroom of the suite that serves the media. It’s quite luxurious and an enjoyable place to talk as Bree and I found out.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Social Statements

My question for the show this year is a definition of porn. In other words, how do the people who make the product define it?

In her usual thoughtful manner, Bree gives us her view.

“I consider porn to be an entertainment medium that has a significant influence over culture,” she says.

“As a community, we have a great advantage. We’re not afraid to express our sexuality [and] be vulnerable with people. [We] put everything out there for people to see, to help people recognize their own sexualities and their own kinks and their own interests.”

There’s more, Bree insists.  “We have the ability to raise subjects and make social statements that are going to impact a mass audience.” In other words, it’s an issue of awareness, she believes, especially in our “digital culture” where “everyone who grows up online, grows up watching porn.”

For Bree this is a positive to be cultivated.

“Porn is entertainment and it’s also an opportunity to talk about sex and sexuality in a culture that otherwise puts sex in a little box and causes so much shame around it. [That] has done significant damage to people,” she adds.

Bree Mills believes our culture lacks a “sex education infrastructure.” “Transphobia, homophobia, and racism, especially the sexualization of people of color, are not addressed,” she says.

Bree sees adult content as educational and inspirational, insisting that it helps people “feel more comfortable with themselves while providing great entertainment.”

The Spectrum

We move on to fetishes, something people would have kept under wraps a generation ago.

“Porn is an amalgamation of sex and sexuality,” Bree says, it “represents the spectrum of human sexuality.”

Does this mean that porn is normalizing the concept of fetishes?

“I think it is,” the director/writer responds.

“Fetishes have always been there” and people have been drawn to them, she points out. Now people can find others “who share the same interests. Porn has opened the doors for fetishes to become more identifiable.”

Bree sees a significant advantage to that: building communities in which people are “able to gain some comfort” through acceptance.

Directing

When she shoots a film, how does she treat the sex scenes in regard to the drama unfolding on-screen?

“Sex is part of the story, but it is always about the story to me,” Bree comments. Though she does all her own writing and casting, Bree admits, “I’m a lousy pornographer from a traditional definition, in the sense that I don’t really care about the sex. What I care about is that sex and sexuality are fascinating subjects [that] define all of us [and] shapes us. It’s fundamental to the human psyche. That’s great material. That is fascinating to unbox and to explore and to weave stories around.”

I congratulate her on Teenage Lesbian, AVN’s Movie of the Year, and, incidentally, a Silver Winner at the Queen Palm International Film Festival.

“The reason I made Teenage Lesbian was to make an independent film about somebody coming out in the era before gay rights became any sort of household discussion. While that was twenty years ago, it is remarkable to see the difference [today]. It is also a really important reminder of the need to continue to evolve as a society.”

Is the film intended to serve a larger audience?

“From the get-go, it was a movie that would have an uncensored version. It wasn’t this hardcore sex film that would have a softcore version,” Bree emphasizes. “It was an independent film that we could put out on YouTube [and] submit to film festivals.”

In other words, Teenage Lesbian is a richly engaging story before the sex is even considered.

That leads me to a final thought.

Kick-Starting

How does the Adult Time operation create so many unique stories and put them on film?

Bree, who is the business’s Chief Creative Officer, explains.

“We produce about twenty-five days a month out of LA with different crews, different series [and] different lines. Ultimately, I oversee our marketing or content strategy. But we have full teams in place writing [our stories].”

She brings up the Pure Taboo line as an example of how she starts a project then hands the ball off to her production team.

“For its first year, I wrote almost every script [and] directed every episode. But it got to a point where I was able to transition that over to a full writing [and] production team. Now I only do an occasional Pure Taboo episode. So, I’m good at kick-starting things, getting things to market, getting a certain amount of success and then being able to shift them over to being managed afterwards,” which, she says, lets her move on the other things.

As we wrap up our talk, I suggest to Bree that she is the premier woman in the business today and her industry footprint is driving the modern porn product.

She smiles and suggests my remark is “scary.”

Nevertheless, Bree Mills has a clear understanding of where she is.

“I certainly recognize the influence that I have and I recognize that with great humility and great respect.”

*          *          *

The next article on Bree Mills examines her role in the current evolution in porn.

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AEE 2020: Rolling Your Own

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers.

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“Rolling your own” sounds very personal, and, in fact, it is. However, this Adult Entertainment Expo seminar was not about indulging in a recreational activity. Rather, what’s personal here is film making; in this case, controlling content, building an image, and branding a name.

The panel featured four empowered women who talked about being your own boss, especially when dealing with cyberspace and porn.

Ready to take their seats. L to R: Violet Doll, Jada Kai, Mz. Kim, Madelyn Marlowe

The panelists were Mz. Kim, a domme who teaches classes on market strategies and owning content; Asian performer Jada Kai; Madelyn Marlowe, whose industry footprint was branded by Kink.com; and Violet Doll, online dominatrix and industry veteran.

A New Age

Moderator Glenn King of Mean Bitches Productions reminded the audience that the old days of talent agencies maintaining a hold on a girl are over. It’s a “new age in adult entertainment,” he proclaimed, emphasizing the “dramatic shift in the business” now taking place.

Referencing the participants, Glenn pointed out that each of them started out with webcam content.

Violet Doll stated she is an online model who shoots her own content. At the very least, she offered, today’s online atmosphere allows for solo modeling via a cell phone.

As a cammer, Madelyn Marlowe posts her shoots on Clips4Sale and has “come back to being independent,” she said. Taking online content beyond just camming, Madelyn’s work is often plot oriented. It’s like “making up a soap opera,” a sort of “reality tv,” she said. But she never loses sight of the fan in all of her activities, especially camming.

“My opener is a question,” Madelyn pointed out, before she gets them to “tell me all about your kinks and fetishes.” It’s important to “know who my audience is,” she commented.

Jada Kai is also active with webcam, making her own clips and putting them on Pornhub and Manyvids. Like Madelyn Marlowe, Jada believes fan preferences must come first. Always ask the customer, “What are your fetishes?” She makes her own content every day and “keeps that amateur feel” so popular with fans.

As a result of her fifteen years in the business, Mz. Kim brought up two objectives every online porn girl should consider. First, record content for a bigger audience beyond online and use skype sessions. “Talking to people” gets her “into the customer’s heads,” she believes. Madelyn Marlowe firmly added, “say people’s names” when dealing with the customers. Personalization is the name of the game.

Glenn summarized the conversations about satisfying customers as “learning to read the clues they’re giving.”

The final two topics centered on pricing and content trade.

Start at an Average Rate

“I am my own crew,” Madelyn Marlowe stated, and it’s the costliest issue she deals with. For her, “pay per view” is the way to go, emphasizing “some charges can go as high as $100.”

Violet Doll said that $1 per minute plus ninety-nine cents for clips is standard in the industry with charging more for specific acts somewhat the norm. Considering that, however, she advised, it’s “always better to start at an average rate.”

Mz. Kim’s pricing is $5.99 to $1500. She will up the price when “targeting specific people” who are interested in her product. Her forte is interacting with men. Ask what they are looking for, provide it, then charge, she suggested, because success is “about getting to know them more.” She did, however, mention that updating can be overwhelming. Update regularly, but not as often, was her advice.

Jada Kai pointed out, “my strength is making clips.”  As a result, the advantage of charging higher membership fees reinforced Mz. Kim’s point. Jada doesn’t update as often as others. Nevertheless, “I think of my fans as a premium store,” she said. They “give you the feel you’re there for them every day.” The result? They will tip more.

Pricing should reflect “people’s budgets,” Jada insisted, with a reminder that Pornhub “will pay you” for videos. Not bad since some people won’t pay for their porn at all.

The content trade issue was thorny. “Perilous” was how Glenn framed it.  Madelyn warned everyone to be diligent with the paperwork. You must know who is going to update and when, she said. Violet, who does not engage in content trade, said get content to the other party ASAP to show good faith.

Be Disciplined

When asked for their best advice, here’s a sample of what was rendered.

Talk to your customers and connect with people on social media.

Trust yourself and know your target audience. Stay with what makes you comfortable.

Above all, be disciplined, “it’s a work skill, it’s a job. Structure your time,” Mz. Kim said.

Glenn King agreed. Discipline is the key. “Stick with it” and don’t get discouraged. “Growth is not linear,” he concluded.

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AEE 2020: Sex Dolls

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers

At this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo’s novelty exhibition, I wanted the inside scoop on a topic that I’ve seen evolve over the years: the manufacture and sale of sex dolls. Today’s dolls are more than party items and they don’t have that cheesy comedic look popularized in 1960s porn mags. In fact, sex dolls in their earliest forms go back centuries. For modern times, we have a German businessmen to thank for bringing the public’s attention to the doll in the 1930s.

Putting aside the past, where are we today with the product? To find out, I talked with three companies that offered their artistic conceptions to trade show attendees.

*          *          *

XR Brands

Michael Guilfoyle, XR Brands’ Director of International Marketing and Business Development, was gracious with his time. Though XR has a broad array of intimate products and toys beyond sex dolls, the company has upped its game for the sex doll market.

“We’ve tried to meet various customer needs throughout the whole demographics,” Michael begins, and that includes both gay and straight males. Doll sales are doing “amazingly well for us across the board. Somewhat surprisingly, more than we anticipated.”

As for the technical aspects of doll construction, XR Brands is aiming for better opposability (movable parts). Most important, however, is “longevity, making them more durable long-term,” he says. “To some of our buyers, these are companions [that] are not to be kept in the closet” and the company respects that.

Who is your audience?

“It’s across the board,” Michael notes. Some male dolls are sold to female customers, but not surprisingly, most of the product is purchased by straight males. He mentions the film Lars and the Real Girl “about a young man finding [and] falling in love with a sex doll.”

But that’s the movies, what about real life?

“I saw a man in Australia having dinner in a restaurant with his doll and it opened my eyes to how much of a companion this truly is. I thought of it as something you hid in the closet. When you’re embarrassed by it you don’t want anyone else to see it. I don’t know if you’ve seen the memes online where they’ll rent out movie theaters and twenty guys will bring their dolls to go see the movie. These are rare occurrences, but they happen.”

Michael goes on.

“People have joked with us about buying one to drive in the HOV lane.”

That makes sense to me.

The marketing director mentions another use.

“In Sydney, Australia they opened a Bordello that was nothing but sex dolls. My thought process was, ‘Why? Where is that coming from? It’s a little weird.’ But their big pitch was ‘It’s the only way, you can be sure no one is being trafficked.’”

Certainly a social benefit Michael concludes. “We can think of these as opening avenues to less trafficking.”

How does XR Brands tackle the affordability issue?

“We still make components of dolls,” he says. That’s the “door opener” to further interest in the whole package. If the customer is fascinated by detached body parts, moving to the larger, whole product is less imposing.

“Being comfortable with ‘This is what I’m having sex with,’” is important,” Michael insists. The customers must “rise over all of the hurdles [they face] to get to the point where they’re going to spend the amount of money [necessary] on something like this.”

What I understand from Michael is this. It seems as if the psychological barrier is most important in grasping customer needs rather than the money spent.

*          *          *

Real Dolls

Mike Wilson of Abyss Creations, maker of Real Dolls, was next on my list. Mike is the firm’s co-owner and production manager.

First, I asked for the business’s backstory.

The twenty-two-year-old company has produced dolls for movies and TV shows, Mike informs me, adding that “we were made famous back in the early nineties by Howard Stern. He launched us forward.”

The company’s interest in “life-like mannequins” opened the business door. “We were contacted by several people that were willing to pay a lot of extra money to make them [the dolls] anatomically correct so they could have sex with them,” Mike says. Currently “we’ve been diving deep into artificial intelligence and robotics.”

How has sex doll manufacturing improved?

Over the years “we started making them out of different silicones” to meet affordability needs, Mike says. But the major moves forward have to do with “the internal structure of the dolls, the skeletons.” Then there is mobility. “All of our dolls are fully articulatable, meaning that every joint moves just like a real human joint, [in other words, they are] opposable.”

The craftsmanship is important, too.

“Every product is hand-crafted by well-paid artists here in the U.S.” Mike explains. “We don’t do any work overseas or in any other countries. Everything in San Marcos, California.” Company employees “are mostly special effects artists from Hollywood. So, we have that base knowledge of how to create things with hyper-realism and sculpting.”

For Abyss, sex doll robotics is the next move forward, Mike added.

What is a profile of an Abyss customer?

“Our audience is quite large. The majority of our customers are generally older. They have money,” Mike emphasizes. But he doesn’t rule out younger buyers.

“People these days are so trapped in their phones. I don’t know a single person under the age of thirty that actually can go to a bar and pick up a woman. That’s a time well passed. Everyone’s so insecure and has no personality skills that we all have to do it on our phones.”

But, he points out, prospective buyers “below the age of forty or fifty, with few exceptions, [don’t] have the money [to afford a doll].” Understandable. “Even the baseline dolls that are non-robotic, cost seven thousand dollars,” he adds.

Having said that, Mike delves into a concern that characterizes many buyers.

“The majority of our customers are looking for something. They feel like they’ve been burned in relationships [and] they don’t want to go back into the dating game. They just want something to find intimate connections with.

“Having a doll that you can come home to and talk to even if they don’t respond, there’s a lot to be said for that.”

But there’s more to consider. For some people a sex doll is a piece of “interactive art you can actually have fun with,” Mike says, adding “I see good friends that are really into cars and they just treat their cars better than they treat their girlfriends. The concept of us attaching ourselves to inanimate objects is not unheard of in any fashion. We do it all the time. You know?”

Looking into the future, Mike turns the conversation to nest systems and home security.

We have wireless cameras now, but the doll will do more.

“She could act as a security system. The app has got the intelligence and the brains.” In short, “the robotic, the doll itself, [is] the personality that exists within your wireless device.”

Finally, I ask Mike about his personal background.

“I was born in the Midwest. My father was an independent filmmaker (who) went into production design. I was home-schooled doing special effects art, light casting, sculpting, all of that. Went to college in Pittsburgh.

“I’m fascinated by the psychology behind sexuality and I’m also an artist, so, it was kind of a natural progression. What got me to California, where our company is located, was not Real Doll. I was working for the government doing hyper-realistic military training with medics.”

Then a career change came calling.

Real Dolls was looking for a painter. “I got hired,” he says, and brought “all my imagination and skill to the table.”

Also, Mike’s background in retail proved valuable and the rest is history.

“I love the sex industry. I love open minded things,” he says with an infectious smile.

 *          *          *

Dukes Dolls

Tucked away in an unpretentious booth on the novelty expo floor is Dukes Dolls and Toys.

The company is a fascinating story and who better to ask about it than owner Greg Charles.

“I started out with an adult cartoon comic website called dukeshardcorehoneys.com,” Greg begins. The site was developed from the adult illustrations he created back in his high school days and college years.

“I’ve always had a knack for drawing adult stories. My personal preference was curvy women, and, at the time, I didn’t really see a lot of content out there like that.”

Though his art work began as a hobby, Greg explains that he would post his images on “different websites [and] galleries” in cyberspace.

“I began to grow a following and eventually created a pay site, dukeshardcorehoneys.com. I started getting members.” As the work became more “taxing,” it also “became more fun,” he comments.

So here we have an artist who has taken his passion and turned it into a business.

Greg’s next move was to hire animators to do his stories and a new fan base emerged. Out that growth came the idea of sex dolls, “a fun thing [that is] very unique,” he declares.

How has that part of the business grown?

“Before it was more of a hobby,” he says, “if I made money, so be it. If it didn’t, I still had fun doing it.”

But everything has evolved.

“Now I’m looking at it as a revenue gainer and a business. I’m being more professional. My presentation’s better and the [product] quality is much better.

“I put more elaboration on the design. It’s more realistic.” He mentions that the newer designs are better proportioned with skeletons that facilitate ease of movement.

“I have more variation in designs also,” Greg explains, pointing out that the company offers dolls of different sizes and carries a line of “handheld collectible ones.” Refusing to rest on his current product, the New Jersey native plans to develop dolls with alien and monster themes.

Of course, there is the influence of a comic book artist in his work.

“That’s first and foremost, that’s where I’ve always been,” Greg beams. “Ever since I was a kid, I loved drawing comics.” Today, he continues to illustrate but with decidedly adult themes.

“So, at the end of the day, that’s what I like doing in my spare time, on my work time. If I’m sitting in meetings, I’m always drawing and sketching.”

My last question concerns his audience.

“Some people think, ‘Oh it’s some lonely losers that can’t get girl themselves.’ That’s definitely not true,” Greg says. “Most of my customers have been couples that wanted to experiment in threesomes but they didn’t want another woman screwing up their relationship.”

He talks about disabled military who are not confident they can find the companionship they want, “so they have a doll as a companion.”

And don’t forget the collectors and the artists.

“I’ve had artists that like to draw the human form” but using a live model is problematic, he suggests. “The sex doll is the answer for them because the metal skeletons are opposable (movable) which makes them perfect for artists. You can put it in any position and they hold it for you.”

All in all, Greg points out that the business has “different types of clientele and I definitely am proud of that.”

It’s worth mentioning that Dukes Dolls is minority owned. Greg offers a bit of his personal background.

“I grew up in Jersey City and it’s a kind of a rough area. Me and my friend Shawn, we grew up together, same area, went to high school together.” However, their college years separated them.

Getting Shawn’s take on marketing Duke’s Dolls

We were on “different paths,” Greg explains. “I was always an artist; he was always a video-audio guy. Our paths never crossed because I was doing comics and he was doing video and music.

“Once we began to work on animation, our talents started crossing and we began to work together in business. Sometimes it’s tough where we grew up. Not too many people understand entrepreneurship, let alone entrepreneurship on the internet. That’s alien, the concept of making money off the internet. When we try to explain it to people we know, they don’t understand. ‘Oh, you’re trying to goof off, why don’t you get a real job?’”

“Sometimes this fake job makes more money than the real job, you know?” Greg says with a smile.

Yes, I do, and good luck to you both.

*          *          *

Here’s contact information for the three companies covered in this article.

XR Brands

Real Doll

dukeshardcorehoneys.com

 

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AEE 2020: Hard Core at the Hard Rock, Final Curtain

by Rich Moreland, February 2020

Photos by Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Call it the end of an era or the final curtain, but never suggest it’s a swan song. The Adult Entertainment Expo and the Hard Rock Hotel are no more, but the trade show is not going into retirement.

Here’s the story. The talk around the Hard Rock this year was what to expect in 2021. What is going to be new and different? Well, as it turns out, not a whole lot. The Hard Rock is going under a name and branding change.

“We are signed with the Virgin Hotel through 2023 already. They are thrilled to have the AVN Awards and Expo at their property,” Dan Miller, managing editor of the AVN, told me. The only real change is the name because the venue remains in place. Next year fans and industry people will meet and greet at the new Virgin Hotel on Paradise Road in Las Vegas, the same location that carried the impressive guitar logo of the Hard Rock.

Enough said on that. Let’s take a look at what this year offered.

Networking

The Expo’s opening day on the collective floors of Artist Hall, Muse Hall, and The Joint is much appreciated by media people. A modest number of fans are just getting into the swing of things. The bulk of them will arrive Thursday and Friday so movement around the three adjoining facilities is less crowded which means many of the stars are conveniently accessible. For an industry writer, corralling porn’s finest for a short interview or brief chat is hassle free.

Simply put, this is orientation time, if that’s what I may call it. Find out where the talent agencies have their girls, scope out the best times to visit the booths of the major studios, and check the layout of the novelty expo. For veterans like yours truly, the day is filled with networking and renewing old acquaintances before everyone’s schedule becomes too hectic.

My photog Kevin and I stopped by ATMLA’s (Adult Talent Managers) signing area to pass a few moments with a favorite I interviewed last year, Ember Snow, and one of the industry’s most likeable MILFs, Sarah Vandella. We first met her on a Girlfriends Films set a couple of years ago.

Stopping by Adult Time in late afternoon, I congratulated Tommy Pistol on another productive year. I congratulated him on a superior performance in one of the year’s top comedies, Love Emergency, but didn’t stay long because a couple of fans showed up and they always come first. Then I dropped by Foxxx Modeling to set up an interview with newcomer Paris Amour.

One of the fascinating aspects of networking day is an impromptu chat with a performer I’ve never met, but am familiar with her work. Early in the day I introduced myself to Victoria Voxxx, an AVN award nominee for a shoot she did with Kink.com. Very personable and I mentally put her on my list of talent to interview if time allows.

The Press Room

Kevin and I have learned that the best way to take a break from the hyperactive pace of the trade show floor is to retreat to the press room. Everything there is calm, bottled water is available (we are in the desert, after all), and talent comes and goes in response to interview requests.

We had some informal time with Cory Chase, whom we interviewed last year, spoke with Bree Mills as she passed through and with Seth Gamble whose acting talent is unmatched in the industry. Even offered a brief “hello” to Lauren Philips as she waited for someone from the media.

Good-natured Tim Williams and Jill Hagara are the bedrock of the room, checking people in and keeping everyone informed. If anyone needs anything, they’re the ones to ask.

During the week, Kevin and I networked in the room and, as we did last year, enjoyed our conversations with Captain Jack who knows every performer in the business (or seems to).

Later in the week, I reconnected with Jillian Janson whose porn comet is rocketing into the galaxies of stardom. She was sitting on a couch waiting for her interviews (she had a couple lined up).

Jillian’s no longer that skinny kid I remember from a few year ago. Lamenting that I did not get a scheduled interview with her for this show (it’s tough, she’s in demand), Jillian gave me a hug and we made informal arrangements for next year.

Getting back to the floor, Kevin and I spent a few moments with John Stagliano of Evil Angel early in the day and later with veteran actor Dick Chibbles who was holding down a spot at the AVN booth.

John Stagliano

No Vixen

In summarizing our sweep through the show’s major venues, three thoughts crossed my mind. First, some kiosks were cleverly placed among the signing tables available to talent. That was particularly helpful for fans in The Joint where corridors are narrow. The facility is a really a theater with tiered seating and a stage where the AVN Awards show is held. Traffic flow was much less congested so fans could move more freely from one girl to the next for momentary conversations and signed photos.

Second, more performers were there on the first day than I remember from the past, a boon for fans eager for a selfie with their favs. And lastly, director Greg Lansky’s Vixen Media Group was absent this year. Lansky sold his business shortly before the show to pursue other interests. In the recent past, Lansky’s presence was a focal point for meeting talent.

Sex Dolls

On a final note for the day, Kevin and I invested significant time getting an overview of the novelty part of the AEE, something we had done only cursorily in the past.

This year I had an interest in an up-and-coming topic: sex dolls. My knowledge of what constitutes a sex doll was limited to TV skits and off-color jokes. As someone in the press room mentioned to me, “who would buy one of those things?”

I was determined to find out and that is where we go next!

 

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AEE 2019: B and J, Riding the Wave

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

Our second camming couple, a husband and wife team, go by B (or Mrs. B) and J. Our AINews team met them informally on the trade show floor and set up a quick interview.

B and J’s site, Hot4Teacher, can be found on Chaturbate. 

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers and Hot4Teacher.

*          *          *

The Age Thing

How did the two of you get started?

J watched a camming special on TV that included a couple who are friends of theirs, he says. He showed a YouTube presentation of the program to B whose immediate response was, “I’m not doing it because I’m a teacher!”

A month later, she agreed to give it a try.

“It started to kind of get him off my back . . . and then it took off,” B says with a smile.

Conversation in their chat room led to more followers and their popularity spread.

“There was a draw [to us] because there’s not a lot of couples that are our age. We’re both teachers so I think that’s maybe a fetish for some people.”

They had another surprising advantage.

In the couples category, there’s a shortage in the “thirty-five and over group,” B says.

“The age thing was huge,” J interjects.

No Script

B and J insist they put in considerable time to make their site a success. “There was a demand that we had to supply and here we are today,” J says with pride.

Does sex online and selling clips make them a porn couple?

“I don’t think it does,” B responds. “I feel like the cam is different from porn. There’s not a script, you’re chatting with people. You’re doing what they want you to do . . . and it’s with my husband. It’s not with other porn stars. It’s different.”

J concurs. “I’ve always felt that it’s different.”

B does admit that other people may not see it that way, however.

“I guess my vision of porn is I feel like it’s different than what I do. I’m just hanging out in my room and chit-chatting with people that come into it.”

Self-Pleasure

Do some of your fans masturbate when you’re online?

“Yes, I know that some of them do,” B chuckles.

Makes sense, but porn fans masturbate to what they see. Are your shows doing the same thing?

“I did say I don’t do porn. But I still enjoy what I do,” B says.

J believes that if masturbation is “what we’re going to take as the definition [of porn], then yes.”

However, B insists that she is “not interested in moving into the porn industry.”

At the suggestion that she may already be there, she concedes that for anyone who conflates porn with camming, indeed she is there.

Who Directs?

Some porn people believe that camming may take over the industry within the next few years. What is your take on that?

“That’s where porn is going,” B affirms.

J brightens and asks, “Are we the pioneers?”

B agrees that they are.

Some critics hang the amateur porn label on cammers. In your view, is that accurate?

That’s probably true, B says.

“I think one hundred percent we’re amateurs,” J responds, especially when it comes to directing.

B chimes in, “He’s directing me all the time. Move this leg so we can get a better view, you know?”

When fans buy tickets to their shows, the broadcast is different. J explains that everyone is included. “You’re our director. We’ll follow your lead because you bought a ticket. That’s what you want to see.”

He compares their shows with a porn shoot where fans “have an idea of what that scene is and what that movie is about,” when they buy a studio production.

As for what they do, J says, “we want to make you happy so that you come back again and purchase another ticket or buy another video.”

But he reminds us that “it’s absolutely one hundred percent amateur.”

J mentions that studio shoots involve a director and crew and other performers who may not be in a particular scene and, on occasion, media people.

Fair enough, but isn’t everyone getting paid in the long run?

The Performance

B acknowledges that shooting on a set is different. She and J started out “in the privacy” of their home and it was hard to imagine there was anyone there because the audience was online.

That changed when they did “couples shows.”

In fact, they had a “raffle and fans came to my room and were in there when we cammed,” she adds. “It was really uncomfortable the first time and kind of weird.”

Over time the tension eased for her.

J mentions, “Like last night there were other people in the room who were not participating.” They still did the show and “put on the performance,” he says.

B recognizes that J is more at ease than she is “when there’s other people watching.” But she is making progress. “I [am] much more comfortable with it than I was six months ago,” she says.

What We Are

Asked about where they see themselves down the road, it seems their venture into camming has a termination point. There’s family to consider. For the future, “who knows what’s going to happen,” B says. “We’re doing well now, but . . . “

As for this week in Vegas, they are here at the Adult Expo to support their fellow cammers and they have the credentials to make a difference.

“We’re one of the top couples on Chaturbate,” J says. “We’re riding the wave where everything’s hot.”

In other words, they’re using their success to give back some of the love extended to them.

In retrospect, do you think you are drifting in the porn direction?

“Well, it’s funny,” B comments, “I feel like I’m not in porn and then you (referring to J) were like ‘one hundred percent we’re in amateur porn.’ So, I think we just totally contradicted what we said.”

J clarifies his comment. “No, amateurs [are] what we are because I don’t feel that we’re at that professional level.”

B is delighted to confirm his statement.

“Oh, we’re not!” she exclaims, and recalls her thoughts the first time she was in the room having sex. “I do not belong here. I just felt like I was not at that level . . . .”

Perhaps.

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AEE 2019:  Is Camming the New Porn?

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

Photos in this essay are credited to Kevin Sayers and Steve Nelson.

*          *         *

*          *          *

At this year’s AVN trade show, cammers and their laptops were pervasive, demonstrating the popularity of online broadcasting. In fact, MyFreeCams sponsored this year’s adult extravaganza in a move that seemed to step over the industry’s traditional studios.

The upshot, I believe, is a pretty straight-forward question: Is camming redefining the adult business? From the interviews completed by our AINews team (which included photographer Kevin Sayers and videographer Davyana San Miguel) and posted in this blog, the answer is “maybe.”

What it is not, is “no.”

Delivery Platforms

From what I can see, the adult industry is experiencing a twenty-first century revolution driven by new delivery platforms. Not surprising, by the way. Fans old enough to remember the bygone days of the video tape and its replacement, the DVD, recognize that, as always, technology is porn’s best friend, moving it culturally forward with each new innovation.

Whether the DVD will pass into porn history in the manner of the VHS tape is a matter of debate. As one director told me, commercial studios still produce them for their “hands on” collectable value. In other words, display your favorite DVDs on the library shelf for immediate reference.

What is obvious, however, is that porn’s online presence is today’s mother lode. High quality shooting with easy-to-manage advanced systems is ubiquitous for both the commercial studio and the cammer. When capturing the porn moment is technically simplified, everyone can learn the skills required to post just about anything online.

In other words, anybody can become a pornographer and suddenly every cam girl can claim a professional mantle, at least from the shooting perspective.

As for the bodies in front of the camera, the number of performers, models, or whatever you choose to call them, is expanding. There are plenty of girls available to shoot the mainstream product and thousands who cam.

What is interesting is this. Do cammers believe they are shooting porn? Do accomplished porn stars believe cammers can make it in the studio, and does that matter?

If porn stars consider themselves to be professionals because they are being paid (the most basic definition of “professional”), what do we do with cammers who are also making money in their chat rooms and with self-published vids on hosting sites like Clips4Sale and ManyVids? They may think of themselves as amateurs, but how are they not professional?

And, of course, what constitutes the status of amateur? Is it more a style of shooting than an actual performer?

Two Brands

Though porn veterans appear to have clear-cut views on these questions, cammers remain conflicted perhaps because whatever level of sexual stardom has been thrust upon them (or in them, for that matter) has come fast and furious, blurring the definition of how they see themselves.

The two brands of performers seem like parallel universes until one realizes that established industry stars can easily turn to camming and widen the conduit of porn’s delivery system in today’s culture.

Conversely, cammers can seek out studios should they choose that avenue and abandon any pretense to be amateurs. Though Clips4Sale is not Brazzers or Jules Jordan, does it mean amateur only?

Trouble is, a bit of tribalism creeps into the picture as can be seen in the numerous interviews from this year’s show that appear on this blog.

Is or Is Not

In the final posts from the Adult Entertainment Expo 2019, we have interviews with two cam couples. They have nuanced perspectives on where to place camming in adult entertainment and what it means to make the adult product.

Keeping that in mind, here are the questions we asked.

If it is sex on-screen, regardless of the source, is it porn? Or, if the intention is to amuse and entertain a paying–and therefore exclusive–group of followers who enter a “private” chat room, does that make it restrictive and informal enough to “not” be porn?

Or, are the two groups—cammers and porn stars by one definition, and amateurs and professionals by another—simply drifting into each other’s space to the extent that one day there will be no difference?

Perhaps. But that would require porn stars to drop their self-proclaimed exclusivity and cammers to abandon their “not me, I don’t do porn” mantra. If each begins to cross over into the realm of the other, does the whole industry benefit?

That, I believe, is AVN’s bet in expanding the trade show umbrella in the years to come.

 

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AEE 2019: Porn Stars on Camming. Derrick Pierce

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

This is the fourth installment in our porn stars and camming series from the 2019 AVN trade show.

Whenever I need honest, no holds barred opinions on the adult industry, Derrick Pierce is one of my go-to performers.

The porn vet is among the handful of male models who are sexually reliable performance-wise and insightful with their understanding of the business.

Above all, the Massachusetts native is an industry gem, a performer with acting skills.

While on the floor of the trade show, I stopped by the Adult Time booth to say “hello” and asked Derrick for his take on porn and camming. We later met up in the press room.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

*          *          *

Money

“The AVN show, and the trade shows in general, are now becoming more cam affiliated,” Derrick begins.

The driving force behind the change is money. It’s persuading the cam networks like MyFreeCams (MFC), Chaturbate, and Live Jasmine to market their product to a wider audience.

“They’ve always done very well, but now they’re putting a lot of money out to shows. As you can see, they are sponsoring AVN. I don’t know what the number is, but I guarantee you it’s seven figures,” Derrick speculates.

“Nobody even had that [financial] ability before. I don’t even think it was on the table.” He includes the big production studios like Evil Angel and Jules Jordan in that mix.

In reality, cam networks make big bucks “damn near printing their own money in some cases,” he says, and that enables them “to do things the production companies can’t do.”

Face Time

For Derrick, however, the situation presents a problem for the cam companies.

“The dilemma is nobody gives a shit about a cam girl. Not in person,” he says.

In other words, for the cam fan “to stand in front of them, to see them at the show” is no big deal, the certified martial arts instructor implies, because he has already chatted with his favorite girls online.

In fact, Derrick asserts, the show comes up short for the fan because he “probably gets more face time with them (cam girls) when he’s online than he ever would at the show.”

And, it would be more private.

Derrick’s honesty continues,

“Nobody cares about Tiffany451blue,” because fans don’t attend the Adult Entertainment Expo to see her.

“When you come to the trade show, you want to see Asa Akira, to see Abella Danger, Casey Calvert. All of these legitimate porn stars.”

What MFC does is accommodate a couple of hundred cam girls to attend the show with the promise of floor time, rooms, cool stuff. Just “enjoy have a good time,” he says. That’s “all it is.”

Ford Focuses

Derrick Pierce compares the cammer scene at AVN to stopping by a car dealership and seeing “rows and rows of Ford Focuses.”

“Cam girls are a bunch of Ford Focuses. They’re not doing what the professional girls are doing and, in some cases, I think some of those girls think they’re better than the porn girls. ‘Well I don’t do what they do, I’m a cam girl.’”

Derrick challenges that with “You’re not better.”

“Here’s the deal,’ he explains. “When you come to these shows you have two hundred and fifty cam girls to see and you have fifty of the top female performers in the business to see. Who do you think they’re lining up for? The porn stars because there’s something nostalgic, because there’s something unattainable” about them.

It’s like a “fantasy about who they are because whatever you’ve trumped them up to be in your head is who they are when you see them.”

“But with a cam girl, you know them. You know her favorite color is blue and she hates jalapeños or whatever her deal is, right? Cause you had time to socialize with them. So that’s the deal and I don’t think they’ll ever be on the same level,” Derrick concludes.

However, he comments that AVN and other trade shows now face a dilemma.

“Do you continue to take this money from the cam companies, which of course you’re going to? You’re in business to make money. But then do you phase out the production companies because they don’t contribute the same financial endeavor as the cam companies?

“When it comes to the trade shows, fans are lining up for porn people, but the cam people are the ones that are printing the money.”

Just a Cam Girl?

Derrick raises the question of how to merge the two, if that is at all possible.

How is the cam girl of the year chosen? For porn performers, it’s easier to debate who is the best this year because each girl has a body of work. The only reasonable way to select the winning cam girl is by counting up the dollars she makes over the year.

“Whoever made the most money wins,” he says.

As for joining camming and porn under one umbrella, Derrick believes the “level of separation” between the two will always remain.

To back up his point, he makes this observation.

“I just found out today that [on] MFC all the girls are solo girls. They don’t do anything with guys or boy-girl scenes or anything like that. I don’t understand that.

“Chaturbate has a couple of guys here, I noticed. How do you put them into play? Obviously, there’s a market for them too. MFC doesn’t have that, I don’t think.”

Our team’s photographer Kevin, who follows cammers, interjects, “We learned that they only allow women.”

“So, they’re completely man-less [and] it works for them, obviously,” he says.

“However they’ve designed this, it’s flawless in my opinion because they’re killing it. They’re making so much money.”

Regardless, the question lingers for Derrick Pierce.

“Are you really a porn performer? Or are you just a cam girl?”

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AEE 2019: Porn Stars on Camming. Kenna James

by Rich Moreland, April 2019

This is the third installment in our porn stars and camming series from the 2019 AVN trade show in Las Vegas.

Four of the top porn performers will discuss their views on camming. Then we will talk to a pair of cam couples who have sex online for their fans.

Here we begin with Kenna James, a popular industry performer known for her friendliness, on-camera warmth and acting ability.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

 

*          *          *

Though she’s cammed in the past, Kenna James no longer devotes a lot of time to her online endeavors, but that may soon change.

The vivacious blonde explains that when she began her adult career, she “moved from a stripper into the webcam world five days a week, three or four hours a night.”

“I loved it,” Kenna says. “It was great. I got to stay home, I made money in my bed in whatever I wanted to wear. No more heels, I could sit there in nothing and that’s fine.

“But when I started taking off in the industry, my camming schedule got a little less regular. I moved out of a duplex into a forty-foot camper. I didn’t have reliable options for internet which is why I no longer regularly cam.”

Looks like that may change soon. Kenna’s learned she can now get high-speed internet, so she’ll be back online eventually.

Depends on What You Show

Is the cam girl a porn girl?

Kenna responds with an immediate “no,” then backtracks a little. She says it depends on what a girl does on film versus her online broadcasts.

“If you don’t show anything below topless. I wouldn’t consider you part of porn.

“If you full on masturbate, I would consider you do a little bit of porn.”

Will the cam girl ever become the new porn girl?

“I don’t know,’ the Missouri native replies. “I don’t know what the future of camming holds. Who knows? This is an ever-changing industry and we’re all learning to adapt with it.”

Running on My Own

Don’t cam girls have to wear several hats — performer, director, editor, and marketer?

“It depends on the individual because a lot of porn girls are their own distributor,” Kenna says, and mentions that some cam girls use paid service to tweet for them.

“They are their own bosses, I mean, we all are. For instance, I don’t have an agent. I haven’t had one for two and a half years. I’ve been running on my own. So, my stuff is all done with me.

Camming is hard work, right?

“It can be. I moved into it from the stripping world and I consider camming much harder than stripping. Stripping’s easy because you don’t have to talk, you don’t have to be smart, you don’t have to be entertaining. All you gotta do is give a good dance, giggle, and be naked. That’s all they care about.

“Whereas camming, you gotta have a personality. You have to have something about you that draws other people to you and makes them want to stay. That can be a lot more challenging. Thankfully, I’ve always been a talker, I’ve always been fun, I’ve always tried to keep things light. But it was a whole new level for me,” Kenna laughs.

She points out that a cam girl has to “own” who she is.

“I’ve been on my cams not at my best. One hundred percent truth. I’m a complete mess sometimes and my fans will tell me. But I own it. What it comes down to is how comfortable are you with you, in your skin, in your surroundings. And how much of you are you willing to let out there.

“Think of it as the most candid, ad-libbed thing you’ve ever done. It’s reality that can’t be edited,” the Las Vegas resident concludes.

Always be You

If a girl wants to cam as an intro into porn, Kenna has a warning.

“My advice is always be you,” she says. Avoid trying to be what you’re not. You don’t have to pretend or act unnaturally and remember not everyone’s going to love you.

“Don’t get caught up in all the negativity, ‘cause there’s a lot of it,” she cautions.

“There’s negativity everywhere and this industry especially. People [will] come down hard on you. So, it can be a really difficult.”

Within the industry?

Both within and without, she says, but offers an encouraging thought.

“The industry as a whole is getting better. It’s not so competitive. We’re banning together a little bit better. It makes us stronger, so just don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Empowerment

Are porn girls more empowered than they were twenty years ago?

“Oh yeah. I definitely think so. I’ve met a lot of girls that have come from camming into the industry,” Kenna says, and praises their self-awareness.

“I like the girls who have found their personality. They’re like, ‘This is me. Let’s do it. This is who I am.’ This is a new thing and it brings on a whole new feel to everything as well.”

Finally, I ask Kenna about the traditional three-legged stool of porn — shooting scenes, dancing, and escorting. Is camming now the fourth leg?

“I think so. We can definitely call camming the fourth leg.”

With her ever-present smile, Kenna James adds with a gleam in her eye, “I’m a three-legger. I don’t escort. But I dance, shoot scenes and cam.”

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