WIA Profile: Erika Icon
Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of the industry's most influential female executives.
Industry veteran Erika Icon launched her own full service company The Rub PR in 2007 after only six months on her first adult PR job. In the past year her firm has experienced considerable growth based on referrals and Icon’s growing track record for getting results.
Her clients primarily include both established and up-and-coming performers and movie studios. But she also recently expanded her repertoire into event production, accepting an offer from Grooby Productions to oversee the 2012 Tranny Awards. Icon at press time was working to secure a location and she’s also been tapped to handle the media, red carpet and find hosts, among other projects to insure the success of the show.
Where are you originally from and what brought you to LA?
I’m from Queens, New York, and I came here as a kid. I still feel like a New Yorker, and that will never change.
How did you make the transition into public relations?
In 2006, I started out in the industry as a buyer working for WantedList. Shane’s World was one of my vendors and they asked me if I wanted to do PR for them. At first, I balked because I came from an advertising background working as an art director and copywriter, and PR was part of the job that I wasn’t so enthusiastic about. But within a month, I was rocking and rolling and was wishing PR was a full-time gig for me. The six months that I worked with them was amazing and I learned so much about the industry and what it takes to be a really great publicist. I owe my start to Megan Stokes and was able to personally thank her about a year ago. After leaving WantedList, I worked full-time for a studio and then three years ago decided it was time to start my own company.
How many clients do you have at any given time?
It depends, but usually about 10. I’m hoping to expand my business in 2012 and get a bigger office space and more employees.
What do you think are the keys to effective PR and marketing?
Coming from an advertising background, I view my clients as products and understand how branding and marketing are the crux of making a client a star. I also know that perception is key. It is crucial that my clients have stellar reputations, so they can work with the best studios and build the careers they’re clients come to me with less than stellar reputations and as long as they wanted to change all this, I was able to help them accomplish this.
It has helped that I have worked all facets of the industry with stints as a freelance writer for XBIZ and AVN, sex advice columnist, DVD buyer and toy reviewer. The experience and the contacts I made have been invaluable for me as a publicist. It makes it easier for me to get a client a toy line, product placement, interviews and many other things.
Describe a typical Monday for you...
I try and wake up as early as possible and start my day off chanting (I’m a Nichiren Buddhist). I dive into work right away and sometimes I don’t get to eat breakfast until 2 p.m. My phone is ringing off the hook, press releases that didn’t go out Sunday night are taken care of and I’m following up with my clients. Before I know it, it’s usually 10 p.m. and I realize I need to call it a day. But, there’s no typical Monday in my office.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of?
Of course, I’m proud of being XBIZ WIA for November. I guess my shining moment was going on stage with a former client when she accepted her XBIZ Award. I knew that I had helped make that happen with all the amazing things I had gotten for her that year. Every time I make something big happen for a client, I’m almost happier about it than they are.
What is your take on the mainstream media’s acceptance of adult industry nowadays?
I used to think that civilians shunned the adult biz, but then I realized that they secretly want to be a part of that world. I recently read an article about how being a female performer in the adult industry isn’t a status symbol and girls are on their way out of attaining mainstream acting roles. Then a month later, I scored a mainstream horror movie for one of my clients. As long as there are fans and people curious about our industry (whether in the open or secretly), we’ll still be a part of the mainstream media. I do believe we need to do some damage control about certain hotbed topics that are occurring in the industry right now, so that outsiders will understand we’re taking care of business.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about running your own company?
Collect a deposit. Seriously. Business is business. A deposit guarantees you’ll be paid and if people don’t stay current with their fees, you stop working with them.