WIA Profile: Darklady

Gretchen Gallen

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.

Give us a typical Monday at your desk.

I've never really felt like I fit in anywhere

It depends on the Monday, actually. Generally, I roll out of bed at the crack of 9 a.m., wash the sleep from my eyes and begin reading through the spam and other email that's arrived since I closed up shop the night before. In addition to reading a wide assortment of free speech, sexuality, sexual freedom, adult industry and technology headlines, I'm usually juggling a few projects, either local to Portland, Ore., or throughout the country, which requires a certain amount of email or IM negotiations. Then I log onto the YNOT chatroom and hang out with my posse. While developing and assigning the day's articles, I watch a couple of porn videos for AVN, tend to a wide variety of industry and alt-culture-related tasks and generally build on the foundation I've laid over the years and which will ultimately result in my benevolent conquest of all universes, known and unknown. Then it's time for breakfast. I feed the neighbor's cats, too, because they don't. When the articles are completed, I give them a proofread for style, spelling and grammar; then upload them. I reboot a few times because my computer is possessed by the devil, and then I take a few deep breaths. I watch a few more porn videos for AVN, remind myself to get an eye exam, write my Thursday "Darklady's Sexpose" promo text and think about likely guests and advertisers for the show.

What do you think is your greatest challenge or asset being a woman in the adult industry?

In some ways the very things that can be my greatest challenges also can be my greatest assets. I've never really felt like I fit in anywhere — but I've always gotten along fine just about everywhere. On the one hand, I tend to feel like the perennial outsider, but I'm also fascinated by everything and everyone I meet. I'm able to make connections with people wherever I go, and I'm very open to their stories and experiences. I like finding the shared human element in the people I meet and the stories I hear, however initially strange, alien or extreme they may seem. We're an industry that thrives on novelty while also being accused of somehow enforcing a stereotype. I'm really enjoying the process of seeing how many stereotypes I can successfully break just by being myself.

What strategies do you use to maintain balance in your life?

I think the most important thing I've done to keep my balance is to combine pragmatism with passion. Once I left the mainstream and its suffocating stability and presumed respectability, I needed to accept that all of the rules of engagement had changed and embrace the fear and excitement within me, using it to fuel my success instead of hinder it.