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WIA Profile: Samantha Lewis

Women In Adult

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.

In this special Spotlight edition of Woman of the Month, we asked Lewis about her multifaceted job and learned more about what makes her one of this industry’s most dynamic chief executives.

XBIZ: Where are you originally from?

I am originally from California, born and raised, but I have lived and traveled all over the world.

What inspired you to pursue a career in adult entertainment?

Well, I’m a businesswoman. I always have been and always will be a businesswoman. I was involved in the real estate business for years. When the adult industry opportunity was brought to my attention how could I say no? It was too beneficial financially from a business standpoint. Then after much research, I realized that there was really nothing in the adult world that targeted the “couples” demographic. Everything I saw was made for men by men, even the sex toys! This baffled and intrigued me. I came to the realization that this was a major opportunity to create something new in an industry that was hungry for the next big thing, to target the untouched. … “Woman-owned and operated.”

What are some of your duties as CEO of Digital Playground?

Well that’s a question right there. My duties as CEO are not specific to one area. I do a bit of everything — from handling our exclusive contract girls, marketing, PR, Web, accounting, production — and then of course there is the sales aspect of the company which is the most important part. I’m a very involved woman in my company. I feel it can be done no other way. I like to review as much as I can and give input where I think it’s needed. After all at the end of the day it’s my butt on the line if things go wrong. I am responsible for every employee and their families. It’s very important to me to make sure they feel appreciated and respected. A happy work environment is a successful company!

Describe a “typical” morning at the office…

I usually get into the office and immediately check my emails and make sure there is nothing pressing. Usually, by the first email, there is someone knocking on my door, which continues throughout the day. Did I fail to mention the emails and phone calls that I deal with at 2 a.m.? That’s a whole other story. But other than that there is no routine. This is a very interesting industry and anything can happen at any moment. Meetings are usually the one thing that happen on a daily basis, whether it’s with the heads of all departments, accounting, marketing, or interviewing a new employee. But there is no ‘typical’ day here at Digital Playground. It’s always an adventure at ‘The Playground.’

What factors do you attribute to the steady growth of Digital Playground?

I would say the major factor in our success has been our ability to create a product that the consumer wants. More importantly, I listen to our consumer. We here at Digital Playground truly do our best to give people what they need and desire. I believe that with branding, marketing and the fact that we are one of the first companies to not only make movies with storylines and character development but also with great sex scenes in them, has helped us immensely. I also think the fact that having some of the most beautiful women in the world as our exclusive contract stars helps a lot.

What impact has the “Pirates” franchise had on your company?

It has cemented our place in the adult and the mainstream entertainment industry. We’ve also made history with the making of ‘Pirates.’ ‘Pirates’ is the first true crossover brand that consumers have embraced and accepted with open arms.

What do you look for in a contract girl?

Our exclusive contract girls are one of the most important aspects of our company. The first thing I look for is, of course, their mentality on the industry. This is a very difficult thing to do and I want to make sure that any girl getting involved in the adult entertainment industry is doing it for the right reasons. I am very strict about this. Just because you’re pretty and like the idea of being a porn star doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy or be able to handle the reality of it. Before we sign any girl, I like to sit them down and explain the benefits and the ramifications of becoming an adult film star. Because once their face is on that cover of our movies, it never goes away. If the girl has what I like to call that “wow” factor and wants to do this because she embraces her sexuality and wants to show the world that she is a sex symbol, then we go full steam ahead. If not, I won’t even entertain the idea of them being a part of Digital Playground. I don’t want anybody to ever live with regrets. So I try my best to make everyone aware of what our industry entails.

What is the biggest challenge with being a woman in the adult business?

Our industry is a male-run industry. So as long as you have a tough skin and a good business sense you should be OK. I think it’s beneficial to be a woman in this industry, because most people will underestimate you and that’s just always a wonderful thing when it comes to business. I was always taught, never underestimate, you’ll end up under in the long run.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is that I am changing the world. You know we have all been raised in such a puritanical society that almost condemns sex and makes it something dirty or wrong, especially in the United States of America. I am proud to be a part of our industry because in my opinion people, especially women, should embrace their sexuality and enjoy it. I think you should always be comfortable and happy with the choices that you make. I enjoy the fact that I am creating a pathway for couples — men and women for everyone to explore what society has taken away from them. In my opinion, sex teaches you a lot about yourself, whether you’re active or not. Sex and pleasure is a wonderful thing when done with respect and safety. People should embrace it, not hide it. It’s about teaching people to love themselves.

How do you maintain balance in your life?

Organization is the key to success and everything you do in life. If you can organize yourself you can take over the world. It’s all about balance. You must take care of yourself first. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you’ll be incapable of taking care of anybody else. I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband, children and amazing friends and an extremely demanding job. The trick is to have everything structured so when the little unexpected things in life pop up, you’re prepared to deal with them and everything else doesn’t go haywire and out of control.

What is a project that you are currently working on?

We are currently working on something huge. It’s something no one has ever done before and it’s going to be amazing, Yet, I plead the Fifth as we are not talking about it just yet. But trust me… it will be worth the wait.

What is an accomplishment you’re proud of?

My amazing children are my biggest accomplishment. Of course, creating a company that allows me to support them to the fullest, whether it is emotionally, physically, or financially is also a blessing, which I’m very proud of.

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