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Step Into The Arena

Step Into The Arena

December 20, 2008
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" We like to see our girls be recognized within the industry and by mainstream studios and directors, when they are recognized by consumers, fans, the public and people who aren’t fans of the adult industry, we know we’ve done our jobs well. "

Being a talent agent in the adult industry is very similar to being a boxer. You need to constantly defend your title, flex your muscles and train (well, in this case work) hard. For many years there were only a handful of agencies monopolizing the industry, chiefly Jim South’s World Modeling. But as in any competitive and lucrative business, people see the ability to earn a living and more talent agencies have cropped up within the last few years. This is a profile of eight of the more prominent and growing concerns that manage some of the best talent in the business.

Shy Love isn’t just one of the hottest performers around, she owns a night club, directs, dances and about a year ago added talent manager/agency owner to her resume. She reps male and female models along with directors. Heading Adult Talent Mangers and repping herself seemed the logical thing to do a little over a year ago. Her agency manages more than 77 performers at press time including Krystal Steal, Memphis Monroe, Shyla Stylez, Tyla Wynn and Mya Luanna.

Love looks for potential clients that really want to do adult, “aren’t just out to fuck,” won’t leave the industry in three months and won’t turn to drugs to escape. She respects their comfort zones and never asks them to break these boundaries.

“I never force them to do anything,” says Love. “I want to lead them into this industry correctly. I don’t want to overwork them. I just want them to have a name and a career they can be proud of.”

Love looks to manage performers who are down to earth, which is more important than their beauty or the caliber of their scenes. Of course, uniqueness in looks is important and she prefers “an exotic girl with something that draws you to her over the girl next door look.”

She got into the business of being an agent because her former agent disrespected some of the girls; she feels that being an agent is about more than about making money. She knew there had to be a better way of running an agency, so she started her own. And she doesn’t just send girls out on shoots, she manages their careers including getting them on the red carpet, doing their PR and building/running their websites.

It’s important to be on the A List, especially if you’re talent. A List Talent was the first female-owned agency. Owner/Talent Coordinator, September Dawn never was a performer. As a costume designer in the biz for more than 13 years, she worked on 500-plus films and photo shoots, including many with Jenna Jameson.

“I learned a lot from the adult stars of the 1990’s and many I’m still friends with today,” Dawn said. She became an agent while working as a photographer with an adult director — she started working with him and meeting girls and the rest is history.

Being an agent is something she does well. With over 75 performers, she represents some top-name talent including Amy Reid, Angie Savage, Jenny Hendrix, Jada Fire and Kimberly Kane. Her success comes from making the girls the most important thing.

“They are doing what they want to do,” says Dawn. “They want to do it and aren’t being persuaded into compromising their integrity or goals just for the sake of making money.” And when looking for new talent, she looks for sex appeal, beauty and a good head on their shoulders. But most importantly, “They need to be exhibitionists and really love sex and be goal-driven,” says September.

The most rewarding thing about her job is when girls start getting recognition and appearing on magazine and box covers. “It’s awesome when you are a part of making someone a star and creating a career,” she said. “I also try to guide the girls in the direction of life after porn, not just day-to-day making money.”

Joel Lawrence’s outfit has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Miami and specializes in video, print and Internet work along with supplying talent for parties, promotions, conventions and signings.

Lawrence has been in the industry more than 20 years as an agent and a performer, who still slides in front of the camera every now and again. Lawrence represents 125-plus male and female performers at press time including Aurora Snow, Abbey Brooks, Gina Lynn, Kylie Ireland, Puma Swede and Nautica Thorn.

Gold Star provides transportation to gigs and will house the girls, if needed — of course, these services are offered for a fee.

Lawrence’s philosophy on being an agent is simple — make the deal happen. He looks for girls with beauty, talent and professionalism. As for the people that his performers work for, he hopes that “their checks cash and they treat the talent with respect.” He wears his time in the industry like a medal of honor and “enjoys being able to guide the new generation of talent.” And he’s definitely not scared of a little competition. “I enjoy completion,” says Lawrence. “It brings out the best in me. Let the games begin!”

IT Models is one of the newest adult talent agencies. Currently with 28 performers (all female for the time being), 90 percent of them are new to the business. IT’s performers all have a natural beauty, positive attitude, determination, a desire to learn and an honest love for performing according to owner TJ DiReda.

DiReda, started as a “suit” in mainstream movies. Then he was then offered a marketing/PR job at Vivid right when Jenna Jameson signed on as a contract girl. And that was his beginning in the adult industry. DiReda enjoys the adult industry and helping guide talent into strong performers. He says what makes him different from other agents is that he works for the girls (rather than vice versa) and provides his girls with in-house PR and marketing for such companies as Vivid, Pure Play, Club Jenna and Girlfriends Films. He realizes having vision for each girl, along with building and branding their careers is very important.

DiReda isn’t looking to take on a huge volume of girls. “We would be considered a boutique agency that works on getting fresh, new faces,” he said. “We don’t deal in volume. Every agent and agency has their own style, the most important thing you can do if you are talent is try to find a good fit.”

When most directors and performers think of an adult modeling/talent agency, LA Direct Models is the first to come to mind. Touted on their website as “San Fernando Valley’s Busiest Modeling Agency,” LA Direct does boast the crème de la crème of male and female talent including Tommy Gunn, Marco Banderas, Audrey Bitoni, Ava Rose, Courtney Cummz, Eva Angelina, Lexi Belle and Nikki Benz.

Agent/Owner, Derek Hay, aka performer Ben English, has been called one of the most powerful men in porn. This is a title he’s not comfortable with — he enjoys helping people, advancing/ managing their careers and helping them receive a high level of income. Hay looks for girls that are career-oriented and in it for the long haul. He also looks for girls who have focus, a positive attitude and ambition. For Hay, the best part of being an agent is seeing a girl become successful.

“We like to see our girls be recognized within the industry and by mainstream studios and directors,” says Hay. “When they are recognized by consumers, fans, the public and people who aren’t fans of the adult industry, we know we’ve done our jobs well. We like our girls to stay the course and achieve this level of recognition and afford a very pleasant standard of living.”

After 20 years in the music industry working with such big name acts as the Pet Shop Boys, Hay fell into the adult industry as an agent by chance. He was friends with a female performer in London, who started her own agency in 2000. A few weeks became years and then LA Direct Models was born. Eight years strong, the agency has more 155 clients at press time and Hay is still performing in some of the biggest movies, including Digital Playground’s “Pirates II.”

Less than two years ago, Lisa Ann decided to start at agency — at the time, it was called Clear Talent Management. In 2007, she changed the name to Lisa Ann’s Talent Management and merged with Lighthouse Talent, Seymore Butts’ agency. Still performing herself, Lisa runs the agency with a roster of 118 male and female performers at press time including Alexis Amore, Nina Hartley, Sunny Lane, Julia Ann, Kelly Wells and Katja Kassin.

Lisa Ann is an agent, because she truly enjoys making things happen and people happy.

“I am so happy watching a client buy a house, become financially responsible, getting some really awesome press, and seeing them grow in the industry. It is extremely fulfilling and rewarding,” she said.

She got in the adult business as a dancer and then performer. Growing up watching fictional sports TV agents Arliss and Jerry Maguire fed her dreams of becoming an agent.

“I love the industry, the fans and all the colorful personalities I get to mingle with. I enjoy making things happen, especially for other people. It is really awesome,” Lisa said about the perks of her job. And being a woman running a talent agency is “empowering, hot, sexy and satisfying” for her.

She enjoys the competition, seeing it as motivation, and has even worked for it — Lisa Ann was an agent with LA Direct before starting her own company. Now, she is working with Derek Hay and Tony Lee in a partnership to conquer the feature dance market. And according to Lisa Ann, “There really is enough business for everyone, but only the strong will survive.”

Mark Spiegler may have started out as an economist, but it’s a good thing for the adult industry that he became an agent.

In 1995, he began shooting movies and in 1999 he formed his agency, Spiegler Girls. Spiegler’s philosophy is to manage a small amount of girls and help them create a career. His current roster of girls stands only at 23 and includes Katsuni, Ashley Blue, Flower Tucci, Roxy Deville and Dana DeArmond.

Spiegler says his girls are good-looking, responsible, mature, and in the business because they want to be, not just for the cash. Spiegler won’t tolerate drugs — he actually drug tests his girls.

Spiegler likes being an agent and finds it rewarding when one of his girls can put money away and buy a house. He likes giving his girls sound financial advice. He became an agent after French performer Lisa Crawford asked him to represent her — he did it for free and let her move into his house. The rest is history. Spiegler knows each of the girls personally and prides himself on taking care of them and caring about them.

“My girls trust me,” says Spiegler. “I don’t ever make them do anything they don’t want to do. And I guarantee that they will get paid for every scene they do, even if the money comes out of my pocket.”

He doesn’t see other agencies as competition because he chooses to be small — call it the personal touch. Spiegler generally turns away two girls a day that come to him for representation, choosing to focus on his small stable of high-end talent.

Bringing fresh new faces and representing girls who are new to adult is the crux of Type 9 Models’ business. Former performers Kevin Kline, aka Richard Kline, and Kelly Kline (Kline’s wife) own and run Type 9 Models. A majority of the 108 male and female performers they rep are stars you’ve heard of, including Aubrey Adams, Brianna Love, Carmella Bing, Dakoda Brookes and Francesca Le. In his new talent, Kline looks for appearance and body structure, along with having the right look and attitude and girls who truly love sex.

Kline has been an agent in the adult industry for several years, starting his career with LA Direct Models and leaving in March to branch out on his own.

He refers to owning his own agency as “self rewarding” and believes that a lot of agents lose sight of the fact that they work for the talent. “I think an agent should have mutual interest for the talent and the company they are working for,” says Kline.

“Talent shouldn’t do any scene they’re not comfortable with, so as an agent I don’t push talent to do work that is out of the comfort zone. If the talent is happy with the type of work they’re being booked on, then the company they’re booked to will be happy, the results equal a good day for me.”

Kline still continues to communicate with LA Direct on all issues concerning the adult industry. “I realize we are serious competitors in the marketplace and know how important communication is to continue our endeavors.”


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