WIA Profile: Ariana Rodriguez

Lyla Katz

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.

Ariana Rodriguez currently serves as editor of XBIZ Sensuals, the leading quarterly publication for the intimacy products market. With managing editor duties for XBIZ’s monthly Premiere magazine, Rodriguez oversees all pleasure products and retail news while reporting the latest developments and issues affecting the marketplace. With the industry’s leading news organization XBIZ since 2008, this month marks her fifth year in the industry with XBIZ.

Every month I’m setting new goals to be the best reporter that I can be; I’m looking for the next major story and hoping that every issue of XBIZ Premiere and XBIZ Sensuals is an improvement upon the last month.

Rodriguez previously served as a mainstream retail copy writer and freelance local newspaper reporter in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley while earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge. In this month’s WIA Woman of the Month spotlight, Rodriguez discusses her motivation and accomplishments so far with XBIZ.

What is your role and responsibility at XBIZ?

I am the associate managing editor for XBIZ. I also serve as the editor of XBIZ Sensuals, our quarterly publication that’s geared toward the lingerie industry. Every month I write and assign features, edit and proofread about a dozen original pieces, in addition to writing/editing daily news articles. I specifically focus on the pleasure products and adult retail segments. In the months of our events, I assist in producing marketing content, trade show announcements and participate in the organizing panels and seminars that pertain to the industry I cover. I also attend all of the trade shows and networking events that I’m able to attend and report on them and do my best to stay on top of all the latest news.

What is a typical day at the office like for you?

My days definitely vary from one day to the next! The one thing that’s typical is that I’m busy. I’m constantly writing, which I love. When I’m not working on something for every day, I’m interviewing somebody for a feature. Our monthly publications put us on a production cycle that makes us busier at certain times in the month, but even when we’re not actively working on an issue, we’re preparing for the next. Then there’s all the planning for our January XBIZ 360 and awards show extravaganza which looms over us several months in advance. There’s never a dull moment, which is one of the perks of working as a journalist.

How (and when) did you get into the pleasure products business?

In 2008, fresh out of college, I started scouring on a daily basis until one day I saw a post seeking a tech reporter for the adult industry. At that point I hadn’t really thought about the parallels between technology and adult, but I was intrigued. I was hired as an editorial assistant five years ago and worked my way up. Having previously worked as a copy writer for a furniture store, the retail and pleasure products side of the business really resonated with me and have been become really fascinated by the all of the innovation within the industry, the changing attitude toward sex toys and doing my part to bolster the two.

What challenges have you confronted in your career and how have you overcome them?

I’m pretty sure I’ve been the biggest challenge to myself! In the beginning I was very soft-spoken and perhaps somewhat of a pushover, but over time I’ve developed more confidence in myself and feel more empowered to make my ideas known. Thanks to XBIZ, I’ve developed a tougher skin and have been humbled. I enjoy putting the spotlight on others but I’m also not afraid to bask in it myself. I’m constantly learning new things about myself and general professionalism that I’m always looking to improve upon.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is that I’m able to support everyone’s professional endeavors. I’m inspired daily by the accomplishments and dedication of the people and companies that I write about. I had no idea how deep the roots of this industry were when I first started covering it; and now I’m grateful to be a part of its continued growth and acceptance.

What is your personal motto or mantra that you live by?

“Don’t take anything personal.” I’ve spent way too much time over-analyzing the things that I’ve done wrong and obsessing over the approval of others that I’ve come to realize how much of a waste of time that is. To internalize all of the criticism of others is a heavy burden and I’ve finally come to the realization that you don’t have to carry it around with you; and it’s made me less fearful to step outside of my comfort zone.

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

The fact that I have a career as a writer — which is all I’ve ever wanted to be — is a major accomplishment in and of itself. Seeing how much XBIZ Premiere has grown — specifically, our pleasure products coverage — makes me very proud to be a part of that success. In January of this year, I also did the unthinkable when I moderated a panel during the XBIZ 360 Pleasure Products conference. I’ve always been beyond scared of public speaking but for the first time I really wanted to do it, and I think I did okay … I’m looking forward to getting more practice in the future.

What are your professional goals for the remainder of 2013?

My goal-setting almost falls in line with our production cycles. Every month I’m setting new goals to be the best reporter that I can be; I’m looking for the next major story and hoping that every issue of XBIZ Premiere and XBIZ Sensuals is an improvement upon the last month. For the remainder of 2013 I will be concentrating on our biggest events of the year: XBIZ 360 and the XBIZ Awards, and my goal is to be able handle it all — plus whatever is thrown my way — in stride.