Tag Archives: Wicked Pictures

AEE 2019: Ember Snow

by Rich Moreland, March 2019

This is the fourth installment of our series on Star Factory clients.

Born in Saudi Arabia, Ember Snow is a Filipina who came to the United States as a child. She is a trained actress with mainstream credentials.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

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Perky and sexy are the best words to describe Ember Snow. And, oh, that smile. It’s a charmer!

To get us started, I bring up Ember’s childhood.  She was raised in a strict household, apparently. With sparkles of sneaky merriment in her eyes, she replies, “Oh, you know how Asian culture can be.”

I do and that makes her switch to porn in February 2017 even more fascinating.

We chat about the AVN awards (Ember has one for a group scene in Wicked Pictures’ Carnal) and she asks porn fans to look for her at next year’s awards.

“Remember this smile. This is my trademark,” she says.

Intimate Experience

Did she begin her adult career as a cammer?

“I started in porn, actually. But even before I got into porn, I was already researching about the adult industry and that includes camming,” she says.

Ember notes that she originally considered a cam girl career because she was “kind of wishy-washy about the whole adult industry.”

“I did more research about the porn industry [and] it turned out that bookings aren’t actually as consistent as I would like [them] to be,” she says. That meant shopping around to find other outlets to make money.

“I thought of camming and that’s how I got into cam modeling. My goal is to give a more intimate experience with the guys because it’s usually one-on-one. It’s kind of different from porn because you’re trying to connect with one person as opposed to porn scenes [where] you’re actually acting.”

Actresses and Shows

Does Ember believe there is a difference between cam girls and porn girls?

“I believe so,” she replies. “Porn girls are more like actresses except they’re doing hardcore sex, but cam girls do shows. There are certain cam girls who do really unique shows that involve something basic, like cooking in the kitchen, that doesn’t involve having to act.

“I think that there’s a little bit of a difference between the two.”

Ember brings up an important cam girl ally: VR. The adult industry is invested in VR, she indicates, and that’s a boon for cammers.

“If you’re a cam girl, you’re going to be better in VR because you’re talking strictly to the camera. Not all guys are going to turn on their cameras and show themselves and half the time, when I see the guys, I just see them from like down here.”

She motions to the lower half of her body. “Yes, like down here.”

In other words, no faces, just the tools?

“That’s how some guys think of it,” Ember says. “I don’t mind, I like it. I love watching.”

Shifting into her cam girl persona, she adds, “So, I encourage you guys, it’s okay. So as long as you show it to me live, I’m fine with that.”

But if it’s just a picture, “who cares,” Ember shrugs amusingly. That could belong to anybody!

Different Desires

As for other distinctions between porn and cam girls, Ember doesn’t see much.

“I have a lot of respect for all the women out there because whether you’re a cam girl or a porn star, we don’t just perform in front of the camera. We also have to produce and direct because cam girls do videos, too. They have to sell those videos even if it’s just a solo, or if it’s with another girl. They have an idea on how to work the camera.”

Ember talks for a moment about improvisation and reinforces that both types of performers need to know how to do that. Cam girls, especially, because “different guys require different desires and fetishes.”

The dark-haired beauty wraps up her thoughts with, “Maybe because I’m also a cam girl and I do porn I kind of see both sides. But then again, I started acting before getting into the industry.”

Reflecting on my comment that camming is a portal into porn, she laughs, “Yeah, it’s kind of like a prerequisite.”

Here are My Prices

My final question is about advice Ember would give to a new girl who wants to enter porn. Should she start as a cammer?

“It depends on the girl because some girls may just be ready for porn,” she replies. “But it is a good idea to try out camming first, if they’re kind of awkward or a little too shy.”

Either way, she says, the model is going to have plenty of viewers. So, be prepared.

Ember references her personal experience and mentions the difference in filming venues.

“For camming, you just have a screen in front of you. Granted there may be more than one guy watching you. You don’t always see them,” she says.

“But it is so much different than being on a porn set. You have people there watching you, too, and sometimes you need to listen to how they’re directing you. In cam you don’t have to worry about any of that ‘cause you’re basically directing [your own show].”

She adds a final piece to the conversation. Some cam shows are group events, though most are one-on-one experiences. For those occasions, some girls are fine with being directed by the fan who is paying for the show.

However, for Ember, there is a difference.

“There are cam girls like me who are like ‘Okay this is what I can do, do you want this and this and this, here are my prices, what do you want?’ . . . because it is a business as well.”

Good point, especially in the competitive world of adult entertainment.

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For Ember’s fans, here she is on the red carpet Awards Night!

 

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Allie Haze: Growing Up Religious

by Rich Moreland, April 2016

At this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo I caught up with one of porn’s most popular veterans, Allie Haze.

Finding a quiet spot away from the convention floor, we put aside press etiquette (the normal trade show interview runs about fifteen minutes) for a longer talk.

At the outset of our conversation, I asked about the consent issue that is prevalent in the biz today. Her remarks are covered in another post on this blog.

For this Allie Haze installment, we’re looking at her life before porn.

All photos are courtesy of Allie’s twitter fan site. Credits are watermarked.

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How I was Raised

A Southern California girl who now lives in Las Vegas, Allie Haze’s adolescence was wrapped up in the church. It’s a subject I wanted to explore because of my own background.

“I grew up really religious,” she begins. “My family worked together to make sure all the kids went to church. It was how I was raised.”

Quite unexpectedly, her commitment to the faith shaped an early marriage.

“In junior high I started going to a missionary Baptist church. Between junior high and high school I was good friends with this guy who I eventually married.”

Her husband was a preacher at eighteen, something that seems an anomaly to most people.

Allie explains that in the missionary branch of the Baptist church, responsibility to administer the faith is divided between two individuals. The pastor is in charge of the congregation, whereas “the preacher gives the message.”

When a young man is called by God, he goes to seminary, which Allie’s future husband did at sixteen. In fact, their church was “also a certified seminary school,” she says, making everything convenient. As his wife-to-be, Allie also attended.

“It was a really cool experience,” the twenty-eight year old says, “because I learned a lot and it’s shaped me into who I was and I would never take that away.”

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Not Supposed to Screw Up

That part of her past causes Allie to reflect on how aging gives us a broader perspective on who we become. In her case, it’s about being an adult entertainer.

“Looking back now I’m ten years older than most girls starting out in the business,” she says.

To her, they are so young and are not giving themselves room to grow into adulthood. But Allie is quick to state that her own decisions at that age were not much different.

“We were young,” she begins. “I had my engagement ring my senior year.”

As often happens with teenage love, fate was not to favor the couple.

“It ended up not working out, unfortunately. He got into a bad car accident and the prescription pills . . . It was too much. It changed who he was.”

I didn’t ask for details about the mishap or the drugs, preferring to let Allie stay in her comfort zone.

“Around twenty I decided I needed to get divorced. No matter how much we tried, it just wasn’t going to work.”

It was a difficult resolution because her conservative upbringing dictated that marriage was “the one thing I’m not supposed to screw up. It’s supposed to be in my blood to be a wife,” Allie says.

A sense of failure permeated her thinking. “It was a real big struggle I went through,” she comments.

CcQG-zhXIAAEQoXGive Allie credit for handling this dilemma with grace and open-mindedness. It explains a lot about who she is today. The strength and resiliency she carried at a tender age has served her well in a business that can grind away the hardiest of souls.

However, despite all the stress, the end of the marriage brought opportunity and Allie stepped forward.

“During that time I decided to go back to school to be a firefighter which was originally what I wanted to do. I was halfway through the program when I got into a bad car accident.”

As happened with her ex-husband, an automobile wreck changed the direction of her life and led to the performer we know today.

The next post reveals how Allie Haze’s fondness for girls got her into porn.

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Check out the news about Allie Haze on twitter @teamalliehaze. This is a fan site.

 

 

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The Meaning of Consent: Derrick Pierce

by Rich Moreland, February 2016

Not all the superstars in adult film are women. Men have their place.

Derrick Pierce is a multi-talented performer whose honesty and good nature is well-respected in the business. We’ve talked before and here is much of what he said during our latest chat at the 2016 AVN convention.

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Photo courtesy of Adam & Eve and AVN

Photo courtesy of Adam & Eve and AVN

When male performers are asked about consent, the response is pretty unified. The guys want to make sure everyone is on board with likes and dislikes before a scene begins.

Sometimes, they will tell you, limits are defined by studio protocol.

Veteran performer Derrick Pierce offers this assessment.

“[Studios] like Hustler or Wicked have their own set of guidelines that typically supersede the level of what we as talent would like, meaning that even if talent is okay with certain things [and] the company isn’t, we have to abide by what the company wants.”

In the case of less restrictive studios, performers will work out their limits before shooting commences.

The Side of Caution

If he is paired with a girl he doesn’t know, Derrick wants to find out what she “is cool with” so boundaries can be set. For example, she might say, “I’m fine with hair pulling, spanking, just don’t slap my face.”

He is there for her, Derrick insists, and will tell his co-star, “if there is anything that you don’t like and you want to stop, just give me a couple of hard squeezes on the leg or the arm and I’ll adjust it so we don’t have to stop.”

Derrick Pierce

Derrick Pierce in the media room

Fortunately, Derrick is aware that after a scene girls sometimes have doubts about what they let happen, prompting him to “err on the side of caution.”

“I’d much rather female talent walk away from a shoot [thinking] ‘I probably could have done more’ than ‘Whoa, that was way too much!'”

Aside from his resume of vanilla shoots, Derrick is an experienced BDSM performer. In bondage scenes, establishing limits is imperative.

He cites Kink.com, where he appears frequently, as a studio that is “very, very strict” about their shoots. They do give performers “a lot more latitude, but with more latitude come more rules,” Derrick adds.

In fact, there is a two-page document on a girl’s limits–what she is fine with and what she is not–that performers hired as dominants “now have to read” and “sign off” on. It’s specific, he says, “probably thirty different items” that include spitting, marking, anal play, and the like.

Derrick notes that the document also has a comment section. A girl might mention “no marking” if she has a vanilla shoot coming up, or “go for it” because her next couple of weeks are open for recovery time.

Finally, everything is “read, signed, counter signed” before going to a production manager who “oversees the paper work.” Next, the webmaster and director also sign off on the guidelines. “Kink is so through it’s ridiculous” Derrick says. (And getting more so, apparently. The March issue of XBIZ reports the company is refining its consent policy.)

“They [the performers] know what they sign up for when the go to Kink. You can’t walk away saying they’re negligent.”

He mentions that the San Francisco studio will give a model partial pay if she decides to bail on a shoot. “They’ll pay you half your rate. I don’t know another company that will do that.”

The Elbow Test

I bring up new girls and possible problems that arise. Are they vulnerable?

“Absolutely!” Derrick declares. “How do you say ‘no’ to things you don’t know you’re okay with or not okay with? Because I’m an experienced performer, when a girl says, ‘I’m cool with everything’ I’ll say something ridiculous like, ‘so you’re cool if I elbow you in the face?'”

She’ll back off, of course, leading Derrick to respond, “‘You do have limits, then?’

That leads to an awareness dialogue that is initiated with, “Well, what do you like?”

“You have to lead them,” Derrick adds, because they don’t understand “the full spectrum of what ‘I’m okay with everything means.'”

Getting through to a girl belongs to the male talent, Derrick believes.

“Help those girls out because they’re not really familiar” with what is expected of them and the shoot. From there the directors step in. Even if a director says little, especially if it’s BDSM, Derrick still assumes responsibility.

“At the end of the day, I’m [either] going to be the one taking care of them, making sure they are okay, or be a part of them going too far,” something he wants to avoid.

“I’d much rather err on the side of caution for the first time.” He lets subsequent shoots determine if the girl wants to go harder.

Derrick with superstar Dani Daniels

Derrick with superstar Dani Daniels

The Eyes Don’t Lie

In the final analysis, consent is all about conversation.

“I think that when two people can connect, even if it is on a minimal level, it helps the scene.”

He will ask a co-star, “What puts a smile on your face?” knowing the answer will subtlety show up on film.

“The camera picks up those things. The eyes don’t lie. If you really watch a girl you can see when she’s not okay.” That’s important, Derrick mentions, because “sometimes the cameraman is so involved with other issues, he’s not looking for the intensity or intention of the talent.”

“I always take that responsibility, or try to take that responsibility, to make sure I’m always checking in if we’re doing something out of the norm.”

Then he adds with a smile, “Even if we’re not, girls get tired.”

His suggestion for fatigue? Take a break and resort to a little oral sex. “No director or cameraman is going to say ‘whoa’ [to that],” he chuckles.

It’s a trick top-notch male performers keep tucked away for the right moment.

In adult film, the value of the veteran male performer cannot be overstated. That is why their circle is so small. The best work all the time.

Once you “learn the game,” Derrick Pierce says, “the better you’ll be for talent. The girls will want to work with you because they know that you’re looking out for them.”

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Smarter and More Elegant

by Rich Moreland, January 2014

This is the first in a series of posts about my most recent trip to the Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE) in Las Vegas.

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Wednesday January 15

Moderator Lynn Comella of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas begins the discussion with how porn is framed on campuses today. The genre, she  states, is a mixture of sex education courses, academic research, and the opposing views of feminist porn supporters and anti-porn specialists.

At this years’ Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE), the opening day of seminars features “Porn Goes to College,” a discussion showcasing how pornography can be examined positively and why it often is not. The Hard Rock Hotel’s Festival Hall is hosting the panel. The room is packed; some attendees stand.

Three women represent the industry, Jessica Drake of Wicked Pictures, Tasha Reign of Reign Productions, and Courtney Trouble of TROUBLEfilms. From the academic side, Constance Penley of the University of California at Santa Barbara and Canadian student Tanesha Darby of York University, fill out the five seats.

Constance Penley, Jessica Drake, Tenasha Darby, Tasha Riegn and Courtney Trouble (The suspenders belong to writer Mark Kernes one of the best in the business) Photo by Bill Knight

Constance Penley, Jessica Drake, Tanesha Darby, Tasha Reign and Courtney Trouble
(The suspenders belong to AVN writer Mark Kernes one of the best in the business)
Photo by Bill Knight

The first round of thought and opinion reflects the premise generally expressed in current porn conferences: there is value in studying porn because it is a part of popular culture.

Big Ole Sex Education Class

Professor Penley mentions her course is the “class that keeps on teaching.” She uses guest lecturers to help students situate themselves with pornography. From her hands on experience, Penley explains that industry people tend to be “nicer, more open, smarter and more elegant” than those who come to campus with an anti-porn agenda. As a historian and journalist, I’m on board with Professor Penley. Too often anti-porn spokespersons display a malevolent “chip-on-the-shoulder” annoyance, approaching porn with an unassailable monologue of moral reductionism. In other words porn is bad, any fool can see that. As a result, discussion is unnecessary.

The Professor and the Porn Star Photo by Bill Knight

The Professor and the Porn Star
Photo by Bill Knight

Jessica Drake and Tasha Reign, who is finishing her degree at UCLA, agree that porn on campus tends to consolidate into a handful of issues: consent, women and violence, date rape and alcohol, and discussions on sexual activity in general. The agenda eventually drifts into negativism with many students admitting they do not have a true understanding of sexuality, particularly their own. Drake believes these are valid concerns because peer pressure exists to watch porn. When she is invited to speak to classes, Drake wants her status as a porn performer to be educational. “I want to be that type of resource,” Drake says, informing students who may not understand sexuality’s cornucopia of possibilities. “Ask me anything,” she tells them and they do.

Her role as an educator is important, Jessica Drake believes, because porn often represents unrealistic expectations of what sex is all about.

Tasha Reign likens adult performers to a minority group whose behavior is seen through a public lens mired in the negative. “The adult business as a minority group” needs to be addressed, she believes, and colleges offer the right atmosphere. Attitudes toward porn people are similar to those that marginalize blacks and gays, Reign says. Understanding what it is like to be in porn needs expanding. Because the camera tends to objectify performers, students become misinformed about them and the sexual activity they see on film. Adult entertainers aren’t perceived as real people.

Courtney Trouble addresses queers and sexual minorities because her film company focuses on queer porn, a “subgenre of alt porn.” For Trouble, gender studies groups are important because queer people in college “feel different” and a revelation occurs when they see themselves positively for the first time. Later she adds that her art celebrates sexual minorities, “transpeople, transwomen, and transbodies,” shaping a favorable or constructive view of lifestyles easily dismissed by broader society.

Jessica Drake supports Trouble’s assertion. Everyone wants to be reassured of their normality, she says. “Yes, you are ok” is her affirming message.

Constance Penley understands all of these concerns and that’s exactly why her course turns into “a big ole sex education class,” she says with humor. The students can’t stop asking questions.

Created with a Conscience

A college student states her case, porn listens Photo by Bill Knight

A college student states her case, porn listens
Photo by Bill Knight

Canadian Tanesha Darby brings in the student view. A concern she has is “the body being sexualized,” and this can be troubling for young people many of whom are still learning about their sexuality.

Responses to Darby highlight an assumption: porn is an umbrella term that collects all the negative aspects of sexuality. Tasha Reign summarizes the misrepresentation. Sex is painted with a broad brush, sweeping over porn with a conflation of sex work and sexual abuse. Professor Penley weighs in with the porn myths that perpetuate themselves: child porn, violent porn, snuff porn.

Discussion moved to academic course disclaimers informing students of possible negatives they might encounter in the class. Though such statements seem appropriate and college administrators use them as a cushion against public pressure, Jessica Drake mentions they are just another version of shaming that prompts some students to avoid such classes.

Perhaps the best solution is Constance Penley’s. She has no course disclaimer and sees no reason for one.

In defense of porn, there is a difference between the good and bad variety. Courtney Trouble notes that selling porn in today’s social media age is no easy matter. Consumers will buy porn if they know the conditions under which it was made. If they believe performers are treated fairly and consent is upfront in filming, dollars will be spent. There is more to be gained if porn is created with a conscience. Porn offers “opportunities of reach out to people,” Trouble says. Porn is “inflicting change” in our culture, she adds. Perhaps breaking barriers, might be more appropriate.

The maven of queer porn, Courtney Trouble Photo by Bill Knight

The maven of queer porn, Courtney Trouble
Photo by Bill Knight

Tasha Reign could not agree more. “My videos are sex positive,” she says, “I’m a feminist.”

Certainly not the sex-negative kind, I assure you.

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