You don’t see her smiling much in her photos and video. But that’s part of adult star and fetish queen Julie Simone’s unique brand — “Stylish Brutality.”
With a new distribution deal for her line of films with Pure Play Media, several websites and a lucrative modeling and performing career, Simone is glad to be, well … Simone … and that’s what puts a smile on her face.
My goal is to produce work that works on multiple levels — an erotic level and an underlying level that deals with any number of themes that are prominent in my work.
The curvy redhead began her career doing fine art and glamour figure modeling and just by chance fell into the BDSM scene when a photographer asked her if she would do some bondage. That was 14 years ago and she has since appeared in more than 350 videos, G4TV ’s “Attack of the Show,” and on Playboy TV — just to name a few of her accomplishments.
Although she began relatively late in the porn game, her youthful, innocent look made her a natural. “Even though I didn’t start modeling until I was 23, I looked really young, so I was on a lot of the young girl sites like ALS can, Web’s Youngest Women, etc.,” Simone says.
Her fetish enterprise began in 2000 when she launched her first website, JulieSimone.com, that has grown to five sites that cover a wide range of fetishes from femdom, foot fetish, smoking, fem-dom POV /humiliation, female submission and more.
If that’s not enough to keep her busy, the New York City resident keeps pace with her town in a number of other porn capacities as the sole owner of her budding fetish empire.
“I’ve directed more than 30 films, several of which have been nominated for awards and have been shown at erotic film festivals around the world,” Simone explains. “I’ve performed and taught at various events including Smack!, Fetish Factory, German Fetish Ball, L.A. Fetish Ball, Bondage Ball, DC Summer Masquerade, as well as appearing at various conventions including FetishCon, BondCon, Dom-Con, etc. These days I am keeping a much lower profile so it’s pretty rare to see me at an event. I will, however, be at the Seattle Erotic Festival and am doing an event with Darklady in Portland in June.”
What makes the star particularly popular on the fetish scene is her wide range of kinky skills.
Although she says she’s best known for her rope bondage, she’s also proficient in latex encasement, hoods, corporal punishment and ball-busting. “I’ve also recently really gotten into single tail whipping and needle play,” she says. The fact that BDSM plays a role in Simone’s real life translates to her websites and videos — an unmistakably important aspect of a market that demands no less than the real deal when it comes to their specific fetishes.
And because she “plays the parts” in her everyday life, it allows Simone to provide her fans with compelling content. It’s her ability to identify with a wide range of offbeat interests and not be pigeonholed into a specialty that has proven to be a formula for success. “I’m a ‘switch,” she reveals, “so that keeps things interesting. I love dominating someone at a nightclub then going home and having someone take complete control over me.”
But when it comes to business, Simone likes to keep control although she shares some projects with adult colleagues like performer and muse Aiden Starr, with whom she starred in her “Vicious Vixxxens” line.
“When we were doing DVD s together — in some ways Aiden was a mentor/muse. I wasn’t properly trained when I first started doing domination so I was always trying to pick up things via our video shoots. Occasionally I’ll have a muse relationship with a model and I’ll write several scripts around her, it becomes a literary love affair,” she says.
Simone also gives props to her “right hand woman” of many years, Zenova Braeden who helps keep her business on track and whom she said exemplifies the perception and acceptance of strong women in the adult business — a personal quest Simone takes seriously along with a more cerebral view of the business.
True to her personal philosophy, her website bio reads more like a scholarly treatise than a porn star’s resume. She says her photography and films “deal with themes that explore the relationship between identity and society, gender roles, the dehumanization of man and the struggle to accept one’s deviant sexual urges. They often utilize bondage or fetish elements as metaphors.
“My goal is to produce work that works on multiple levels — an erotic level and an underlying level that deals with any number of themes that are prominent in my work. Identity as it relates to gender roles and sexuality is often a major theme. It’s only when something can be enjoyed on both levels without one interfering with the other, that I view something as a success,” she says.
Simone’s thoughtful approach to the fetish world appears to be in line with a market that has seen significant growth over the last decade.
Once thought of as taboo — even in many porn circles — the exploration of sexual fetishes are becoming common, and fans are more discriminating. And with the proliferation and competition among producers, comes the need to provide higher quality and often more daring products. “The beauty of fetish is the stranger it is, the harder it is to find. The fetishist doesn’t care about what’s new or even what’s free. They want what they want and unlike the average wanker they’re willing to pay for it. That’s why fetish DVD s have always had higher pricing and retain that pricing much longer than random gonzo porno,” Simone explains.
But she agrees that overall, the growing fetish scene is more popular than ever saying, “I think it’s become more accessible with the rise of the Internet and social networking sites. I remember the first BondCon convention in 2001. I kept hearing people say with excitement and a sense of relief, ‘I thought I was the only one into this.’ It’s so much easier now for people to find other people who are into their kinks and to be exposed to things one might never come across in day-to-day life.”
And if 2012 is any indication, the industry’s growth and Simone’s popularity are skyrocketing. The star has garnered three XBIZ Award nominations, six AVN noms, five Feminist Porn Awards noms, and has had her photography on exhibit as part of the S.W.E.A.T. wall of the Dirty Show that features erotic works by women.
Simone is also starring in a mainstream show, “Dominatrix Diaries” which is set to premiere on Blip TV on July 9.
The “femme fatale” of fetish has also cut a deal to have her films distributed through Pure Play Media’s impressive network as a result of her publicist noticing a call for new companies. “My XBIZ and AVN nominations, I’m sure, helped seal the deal,” she quips.
Sought after for her brains as well as her beauty, Simone says, “she’s always pushing the envelope.” She became a spokesmodel for KL AWTE X latex and a featured columnist for Scene Magazine.
Simone also says she’s ramping up her movie release schedule to two new femdom and femsub titles per month. “Right now I’m in an editing phase. I was sort of stockpiling content until I got a better distribution deal,” Simone explains. “I held back scenes that I really wanted a lot of people to see like my next release, “Bound Rubber Dolls,” which has bondage plus latex, including lots of scenes with hoods. I’m also in pre-production on a new “Vicious Vixxxens” video to film in the fall. In previous installments all the latex was bought off the rack, with few exceptions. I’m working closely with KL AWTE X latex to design a custom wardrobe for this film which is very exciting.”