WIA Profile: Kelly Shibari
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.
Kelly Shibari runs her business, ThePRSMGroup, with a sense of fun and a strong business ethic … and much love and pride.
Yes, Shibari, after nearly a decade in the biz, starting out as a plus-size performer and later moving over to the publicity side, is still thrilled about the industry as when she first came aboard.
This enthusiasm for the adult entertainment industry is infectious, and that is one of many reasons Shibari has been chosen as WIA’s woman of the month for June 2016.
In this XBIZ Q&A interview, Shibari offers a glimpse on how she runs ThePRSMGroup and discusses how she uses social media to deliver messages on behalf of her clients. She also touches on her personal side and offers her take on porn’s new frontier, virtual reality.
XBIZ: How did you enter into the world of adult entertainment industry and what are you doing now?
Shibari: I entered the adult industry in 2007 as a plus-size (BBW) performer as a sabbatical from my work as a Hollywood production designer and art director. Ten years later, I’ve found that I really, really enjoy this industry, and that all of the work I’ve done in various entertainment industries before XXX has ultimately lead me to be an extremely well-rounded person for my current iteration as a publicist and social media marketer.
I started ThePRSMGroup in 2009 and now handle pleasure products companies, studios, and distributors and the occasional performer or author — though I must admit, I tend to refer performers to publicists who are more experienced with their needs.
I also write for B2B publications, coordinate and moderate panels and speak at events. My work now affords me the time to do a few carefully selected personal, creative projects throughout the year as well — I can’t express how happy I am with how things have worked out, and how thrilled I am that I am able to stay indefinitely in an industry I love.
XBIZ: How important is Twitter and other social media platforms to get your message out to fans?
Shibari: I definitely use Twitter and Facebook differently. Twitter, given its character limitations, has been wonderful for getting short bursts of information out to a large group of people. It’s perfect for news posting, whether it’s press release pickups by media, reviews of films and products, and calls to action. Facebook has been better for longer conversations, promoting events, and things that benefit from “thread”-based interactions with a group of people.
In my case, I’ve also been able to leverage my social media following to signal boost information on behalf of my clients, which has been extremely helpful and sets me apart from the majority of other PR firms in the industry, who may have a smaller presence online. I think more performers should be looking to do the same, in terms of using their existing fan base — which is mostly made up of adult-product consumers — in a collaborative effort with companies, in particular in terms of Twitter and Instagram.
XBIZ: What do you think of the new frontier that is being touted by many in the biz — virtual reality and porn?
Shibari: It’s something I had a hard time wrapping my brain around — until I was able to wear a headset for myself at the January XBIZ Show. VR is fantastic, in the truest sense of the world — you are immersed in a 360-degree environment, where you’re completely breaking the fourth wall.
The applications are incredible — whether it’s a long-distance relationship, or a fantasy experience with your favorite adult performer, or even immersive education, VR is very, very cool. Take that one step further, with the advent of live cam VR, dual-cam, and the inevitability of VR-enabled novelties, I think fans are going to be able to get incredibly personal with performers, without the worry of legal or health issues.
For consumers open to spending the money on the tech, VR may even be an option they’re even willing to pay for, for now, and performers are going to be able to continue the exponentially growing trend of independent owner-operators.
XBIZ: Who inspires you in this industry?
Shibari: I’m regularly inspired by the business owners in this industry — and in particular, those who have been in the industry for a while, and are regularly coming up with innovative ways to market their product, or are coming up with something new. The same-old-same-old, “don’t fix what isn’t broken” or “let’s do what’s currently popular” bandwagon model don’t do it for me; the men and women who look at the industry and the world landscape, and see what can be twisted into something new and turned on its head, is what inspires me to do the same.
With the world changing, and previously marginalized communities becoming more and more accepted, the entertainment and products industries are coming up with really cool ways to cater to those genres and niches. Whether that’s a veteran performer branching out into a new way to brand herself, or a production company adapting a new technology, or a studio coming up with a new angle on a tried-and-true line, when I’m surrounded by innovators, I absorb that energy and helps me thrive.
XBIZ: What’s a typical workday like?
Shibari: I usually roll out of bed around 6 a.m., and go straight to my computer to distribute press releases to media and message boards — it’s 9 a.m. on the East Coast, and a couple of hours before the West Coast adult media starts their day. Between then and 3 p.m. (6 p.m., Eastern), I work on new and ongoing campaigns for my clients, which can range from reaching out to media for interviews, reviewers to pitch products, and speaking with my clients on what’s coming next, including seeking quotes for press releases and having them approved.
I usually have mainstream media playing on the TV in the background, and adult and social media refreshing on my computer, so I can see if there are ever any tie-in opportunities available for my clients. I’m able to take a break around 3 p.m. for a late lunch, and errands before things close at 5 p.m. Evenings are spent working on the next batch of press releases, and any additional writing assignments.
Every once in a while I can take time to go out for dinner, but usually, it’s something quick at home. The work day usually ends just before midnight. That’s a typical day, but over the course of the month I will usually have other independent projects to coordinate, including pre-nominations and nominations to push. Weekends are spent scheduling social media posts for clients, which I supplement during the week with real-time posts, and curating clients’ photo galleries and banners to send to adult media, as well as logging media mentions and reviews for the next batch of social media posts and press releases.
XBIZ: In your spare time,what do you like to do?
Shibari: Spare time? Just kidding. Honestly I tend to do a lot of self-care when I’m not working — I’m definitely an education and pamper junkie.
Whether it’s massage and other spa services, or a quick manicure, I’ve learned that if I take the time to take care of my physical and emotional well-being when I can, and work on lowering my stress, it makes it easier to take care of my clients and come up with interesting ways to market their products.
Also love to read marketing books — right now, I’m finishing up Tom Rath’s “Are You Fully Charged” and re-reading W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s “Blue Ocean Strategy” for the umpteenth time. Most of my work can be done with my smartphone and laptop, so now I’m adding travel to my to-do list.