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WIA Profile: Layla Martin

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 edition of Woman of the Month, Martin shares her journey from 18-year-old Texan lingerie model to international businesswoman now based in Hong Kong. With the support of lingerie industry luminary Elan Rofe, Martin continues to blossom into a jack-of-alltrades professional.

XBIZ: How did you get your start in the lingerie business?

I was 18 years old and managing a nightclub in Dallas, Texas where Hustler Lingerie was hosting a fashion show while on tour with Ozzfest in 2007. I gave the right drunk girl a tampon in the bathroom and was invited by the company’s president, Elan Rofe, to model at the Hustler Lingerie Ozzfest show the next day.

I’m a big fan of rock ‘n roll, so it was the perfect place to debut my ability to hang with the boys. Subsequently, Elan Rofe invited me out to New York to join his team for the second leg of their tour and saw more at the age of 18 than most girls from Texas do by the age of 25. It was an amazing experience and made me realize exactly what I wanted to do with my future.

After proving my work ethic on Ozzfest, Elan continued to support my career by having me model at trade shows and later for his catalogs under the Hustler, Electric Lingerie and Lux fetish brands.

Over the course of the past year I have made a transition from modeling to business under the watchful eye of Elan and his staff. I have uprooted my life and moved to Hong Kong to focus on merchandising, sourcing, design and specifically customer relations.

Of course, being a model by trade, I still put a gag ball in my mouth from time to time for a good photo shoot for our Lux fetish brand.

How has Hong Kong’s culture impacted your work ethic?

Working in Hong Kong and mainland China forced me to strengthen my work ethic. Elan and his staff of more than 2,500 are relentlessly developing and working at an unbelievable pace, literally 24 hours a day, to maintain a leadership position in the industry.

My specific responsibilities require me to be available at all times and my priorities have completely changed. Work and career are No. 1 and non-stop challenges in the workplace have become a real driving factor for me.

Whether overseeing the construction of a set being built for a photo shoot at 1 a.m. on a Friday night or accompanying some of our largest customers on tours through our many facilities, I have learned that work is not all fun and games and that performance is everything, especially at our company.

Electric is expanding at a rapid rate throughout the world and I have had to step up and take a real leadership role to insure that everything under my control is handled 100 percent. There is no real room for error at Electric Eel, Inc., and everyone is required to take responsibility for their actions. The work culture is very unique and exciting.

Describe a typical morning at the office …

Nothing about my work is typical. Every morning, seven days a week, there are new challenges being thrown my way and I am expected to handle them in a professional and efficient manner.

When merchandising a new line, my morning consists of reviewing new styles and silhouettes for hours and hours, thinning out the lines to make sure that only the best designs are adopted into our many collections.

As a model, if I am doing a photo shoot, mornings include getting prepped and mentally prepared to be tied up for our new Lux Fetish line or being made up to look sweet and sexy for a lingerie shoot.

When one of our many clients is in town, my job requires me to serve the customer, show them around town, tour our many shops and production facilities and entertain sometimes late into the night at a bar or club.

What is the biggest challenge with being a woman in the adult business? How do you overcome?

When I first began to work in the adult business I got a lot of offers to do hardcore porn. My biggest challenge as a broke 18-year-old girl from Texas was to turn them down. Elan’s support and advice was a big factor in not having to compromise myself at all. He has given me the opportunity to grow and travel around the world, to really get to know the business and to form relationships with customers, vendors and fans alike.

Don’t get me wrong, I am 100 percent pro-porn and support and believe in every woman’s right to work in such a wonderful business but for me, the exciting part is not in front of the camera.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is worldwide traveling and truly feeling that there is a future for me and room for growth in my position. Growing up in Texas made for a good childhood, and being a young woman in Hong Kong is allowing me the freedom to develop and blossom into a real businesswoman.

Last month, I went to Germany for the Venus Show and also made my way to Austria for one week to meet with partners and strategize with our team. The next 18 to 24 months will be a very exciting period for our company and I am both excited and ready for the challenge.

What have you learned from your experiences in this industry so far?

As with any industry, there is always room for growth and innovation. In the sex industry the only way to grow and to innovate is to be open-minded and to work hard. Without an “anything goes” type of mentality in this business how can you stay ahead of the curve?

In our line of work, our customers touch, feel and experience things for the first time in their lives. Only if we continue to think outside the box can we succeed. The fact that I am a very sexual woman works to my advantage, and I never hesitate to put my personal opinion into play when it comes to our products. Having an opinion that matters is very rewarding.

How do you maintain balance in your life?

The truth is that it is difficult to maintain balance. Work comes before my social life. I have goals and dreams and for the first time, I am realizing that these goals and dreams can easily become a reality through hard work. Electric Eel Inc. has given me the opportunity to thrive in a cutthroat environment and making my mark at the company takes precedent over most of the things that I used to concern myself with.

What are your future goals?

I want to continue to climb the ladder of success at Electric and hope to introduce some of my own collections through the company in the future. I know I have what it takes and I have endless support and opportunities that will allow me to feel fulfilled, earn a lot of money and learn more than I ever imagined on the way. I know I am an important piece of the puzzle and that makes every day special for me.

—Ariana Rodriguez

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