So you wanna be a porn star, huh? You've got the hot body, the one-way ticket to Los Angeles and a top agent’s number on speed dial (don’t be tardy!). Yeah, you’re totally ready to conquer porn valley.
However, on your way to set, the male talent cancels, your Twitter page is deleted for extreme profanity (pfft) and the fill-in can’t keep his boner up, so production is held back three hours. Ugh!
The first thing is always be yourself. Don’t let anyone change you. Nobody can be a better version of yourself than you. Being on time or a little early is something that I have always been known for. I would rather be a little early than ever be late.
“Cut!” calls out the director, mid-orgasm. You’re stuck in a warehouse out in the middle of NoHo on the hottest day in July, and the humidity has your tits (or balls!) sweating profusely. The shoot requires an enema and ... uh oh. You totally had burritos for lunch! (Good luck!)
Really, you’re starting to realize filming pornography is no afternoon quickie. And hustlin’ on social media to get your name out? Man, that ain’t easy either! It’s rough, especially in the modern age, when porn is free and anyone can call themselves a “porn star” simply because they’ve uploaded a homemade sex tape online. And with companies looking at your Twitter following before deciding to hire you … it’s a lot to handle! (Maybe more than the six dicks at your last gangbang shoot …)
So how, then, do you sail across the ever-changing tides of the adult industry to really, truly get your name on the map? Well, XBIZ has traveled far and wide in cyberspace to ask some of the biggest names in the biz for some dirty little secrets on how to be an adult superstar.
And who better to squeeze for pearls of wisdom, than the Princess of Darkness herself, 2017 XBIZ Female Performer of the Year Katrina Jade? "First things first — and the most important — is that you have to have a genuine passion for it,” she cooed. Okay, it was more of a hiss and a cackle, but you catch my drift. “You need to really love creating porn, having sex and performing … all in one. Porn is for life, and it's a business ... whatever your goals are, do it right or don't do it at all.
“I interact with my fans as much as possible and pay attention to what they enjoy the most,” she continued. “Even if it's rubbing my butt on their faces! Mostly because I love performing in any way, whether it's sex, making them laugh or just telling some of them to fuck off (ha!). When Villains (my fans) demand, I deliver."
In a similar vein, 2017 XBIZ Male Performer of the Year Xander Corvus (the Prince of Darkness) offered, “You have to be humble and take this job seriously. Yeah, it's fun and you get to do stuff that most people will only imagine, but it is a job and you have to see it that way. People aren't going to put up with shitty attitudes and cocky bullshit, so stay humble and come correct if you want to make it in this business. There will always be someone who's better looking, a better actor or a bigger dick. So, be the best performer you can be and be yourself. Don’t try to be the next ‘blah blah blah.’ Be yourself. Be the best you.”
As for the dashing 2016 XBIZ Male Performer of the Year Ryan Driller, he swears by these six words: professionalism, conviction, resilience, charm, connectivity and enthusiasm.
“To be successful in this industry, you have to treat it like it's a job,” he said. “Treat those you work with and yourself how you'd expect at any job. Be on time and ready and willing to work with everyone else there, and understand the job itself. Know that it's not going to always go the way you envisioned it, that day, and that sometimes, you're going to have to bear through a little of it. I don't mean that you're going to have to do anything you don't want to do (see conviction and professionalism), but some of the positions, environments, seasons (summers are brutal and winters can be too) are going to be a bit more trying. “You're not going to appeal to and be liked by everyone,” Driller advised. “There are whole groups of people that make it their mission to publicly bash and emotionally abuse adult performers. As an adult star, you're going to be their target, and you must learn how to avoid or ignore that kind of interaction. Avoiding those interactions are hard, given the times that we're in, and social media being almost a greater characteristic of your resume than your own CV. How many fans and followers you're bringing with you through your social media is just as important as the wardrobe in your bag, for many companies. You're part of the advertising.
“Which is why that ‘star power,’ the personalities you've idolized in Hollywood, sports, society, that command a presence, and turn heads when they walk in the room for either their physical attraction, or that something-something you can't quite figure out, but you're drawn to, is just as important and what creates the current adult star,” he enthused. “Everyone with a phone these days can upload themselves to a tube site, Twitter or Snapchat having sex. But the personalities that make the star carry themselves to a higher standard.”
Abigail Mac, who holds the trophy for 2017 XBIZ Best Actress in a Parody Release, agrees with Driller, indicating that porn — despite the on-set fun and squirt-inducing orgasms — at its core is a job.
“I think to be successful in the adult industry today you have to treat it like a career,” she remarked. “I'm constantly learning from the people around me to get better at what I do. When a company is working on a big project I want my name to come to mind, because they know I'll show up on time, knowing my lines and with a desire to put out great content.”
In addition to timeliness and professionalism, Mac reveals that the body, which is instrumental in the biz, should be fine-tuned at all times.
“Being in the gym every day has also been important for me,” she expressed. “You're judged by everyone each time you step in front of the camera. Overall, this is a business and I want to be great at it!”
Mia Malkova, this year’s XBIZ Best Actress in a Feature Release, believes confidence is pivotal to a long career. And, she even insists that performers should pamper themselves, because when you feel good, your work is better.
“You don't need to be the most beautiful women in the world as long as you are confident, confidence is sexy!” she enthused. “Have fun with it, it's sex after all! It shows on camera when you are enjoying yourself and people really respond to authenticity. Social media plays a very important role in our industry as well. Promote yourself, new scenes and events you will be attending.
“Take care of yourself! By feeling your best you look and perform your best,” Malkova continued. I get regular facials, work out often and eat lots and lots veggies. Feature dancing and attending conventions help because I get to meet current fans and make new ones.”
Abella Danger’s words of wisdom echo that of Mac’s and Malkova’s, but she stresses the importance of having a strong agent, a hunger for sex and the willingness to leave your hometown — even if she’s a Miami girl ‘til the day she dies — and making L.A. your home.
“In my opinion there are a few qualities that are quite imperative for having a successful career as an adult performer,” she started. “Some examples are good representation like my amazing agent, Mark Spiegler with whom I was lucky enough to start my career with, a good body figure, decent work ethic, professionalism and a pretty face.
“But without a perpetual hunger for sex, I don't feel like I personally would've made it far at all,” Danger continued. “So to me, that's the most important thing to have what it takes in adult, an obsession with sex ... oh, and you have to move to L.A.! All the porn action is here.”
Fellow Spiegler Girl and 2016 XBIZ Foreign Female Performer of the Year Angela White has her own definition of success, and encourages new performers to create their own.
“I think it depends on how you define success,” White cleared up “If success is defined by earning potential then it is important to develop a distinct and marketable brand that resonates with consumers.
“However, I believe that success is measured equally by job satisfaction, which requires you to build a brand that authentically represents you as a sexual being and allows you to express your own desires and fantasies,” she continued. “I think the most successful porn stars have been able to achieve both. It also cannot be overstated that many of the keys to success in adult entertainment are the same as any other industry: professionalism; consistency; always looking to evolve and improve your skill set; maintaining a great attitude; and remaining gracious and grounded.”
Likewise, AJ Applegate believes performers should have an honest passion for sex, and stay true to themselves in the process.
“To be a successful adult star today is to just be yourself,” Applegate said. “You want to come into this industry wanting to be sexual and not care so much about the money. Companies, directors and fans will recognize how much you love sex and will want to see more of you.
“You shouldn't care about what everybody else is doing, and you should do what you feel comfortable with,” she also expressed. “I love my job for all the right reasons, and I feel like that has come across to everybody out there watching.”
Anikka Albrite shares the belief that passion and sincerity are important factors in making adult a full-time career.
“It's important to keep your head on your shoulders and be passionate and sincere about what you do,” Albrite remarked. “Yes, it's porn, but these days it is so much more than sex. The adult business is a business and should be looked at as any other business. If you keep your head on your shoulders, are responsible and are passionate in what you do, then you will be successful!”
A good work ethic, XBIZ Award-winning Elsa Jean says, is really the key to climbing the ladder of success in this industry.
“My opinion about how to be successful in the adult industry is pretty simple: good work ethic,” Jean indicated. “That’s the most important thing — meaning showing up on time, having a good attitude, bringing the things you need for set. Everyone likes to have fun, but staying out of trouble the night before a shoot is very important!”
In addition, Jean believes you can easily apply skills from non-industry related jobs to porn.
“Some days are longer than usual, and I think you have to be used to working multiple hours,” Jean explained. “Basically, if you have the drive to be the best in any job, you can definitely achieve it in the adult industry.”
2017 XBIZ MILF Performer of the Year Cherie DeVille, who got her start in the industry in 2011, has seen a notable change in curating a successful career now.
“I think there are more factors to being popular now than there were 10-20 years ago,” DeVille revealed. “You still need to be attractive, stay in shape and perform well in your scenes ... but that alone is not going to make you stand out as a top girl! First of all, there are way more performers now then there were a decade ago!
“That means more girls who are competing for way less scenes, so if you are hard to work with or a diva, production companies don't have to deal with you,” she added. “This makes professionalism more important than it used to be. Also, you can't ignore the power of social media! Many directors/companies will check how many followers you have to help them decide if they should book you. It is imperative that you have a good social media presence to stay relevant!”
But in a sea of young ingenues and a million and one tweets, how does one stand out? Well, Brett Rossi has an answer.
“In the modern age, branding is key!” she enthused. “It takes a long time to figure out who your ‘persona’ is. Is he/she who you really are in real life? Or maybe your porn persona is a little bit different than who you really are off camera? Get them to love your brand and love you!
“Also, as tough as it may be to keep up with social media, I find it's very important to interact with your fans and be active on social media,” Rossi said. “Cross promote on each platform to build your brand. If you are just starting out, do not buy your followers as it defeats the whole purpose of building your brand and fan base. The more the fans feel like they are your friend and know you on a personal basis, the more loyal they will be.”
Aubrey Kate, who sports the current 2017 XBIZ Trans Performer of the Year crown, also stays true to herself and keeps her brand in check.
“The first thing is always be yourself,” Kate advised. “Don't let anyone change you. Nobody can be a better version of yourself than you. Being on time or a little early is something that I have always been known for. I would rather be a little early than ever be late. As a performer, you are your brand and it is important to be professional.
“You should also know how to say no to something that you don’t want to do or isn't right for your brand,” she added. “Remember everything you do will be online for the rest of the world to see forever, so really do some soul-searching before deciding on anything. Be kind. Being nice will always get you further than acting like a lil' diva.”
Mick Blue, similarly, focuses on maintaining the brand and then watches his fandom grow organically.
“To be honest I am just trying to be myself and focus on delivering the best work possible for everybody I work with and for,” Blue said. “The fan base grows on its own if you show your appreciation and maintain a consistent update to your social media outlets and so on. Cultivating my relationship with my fans and putting in some in-person time at adult events allows me to build up my fanbase.
2017 XBIZ Gay Performer of the Year Sean Zevran accepts the harsh reality of a consumership downright obsessed with social media, and uses it to his advantage.
“I think what it takes to be a successful adult star in the modern age is having a strong social media presence,” he said. “Gone are the days when all it took was being sexy and a skilled pornographic actor. Consumers want more, and the way a model accumulates a loyal and enthusiastic following is by creating themselves online, expanding their presence and interacting with fans. Porn stars should treat themselves as a work of art both on and off screen.
“I maintain my stardom and keep growing my fan base by putting as much of my personality on display as possible,” Zevran unveiled. “I’m also very passionate about sex. After all, that’s what this is about.
Some of my fans have called me a ‘sex god,’ and that’s exactly how I choose to create myself. Sex is power, and I’m here to be powerful.”
Kendra Lust, who boasts an impressive count on Twitter consisting of more than 600,000 followers and over two million on Instagram, keeps the advice short and sweet.
“It takes a lot of hard work, self promotion and being able to tap into different fan bases,” she imparted. “I have a great team behind me and I am always looking for more ways to promote myself!”
Another successful social media mogul (and star, of course) is Romi Rain, who sits on more than 400,000 Twitter followers and over 1.5 million Instagram worshipers. And the way she’s reached such a high number is keeping busy.
“I think to be successful in adult entertainment you pretty much have to be working 24/7,” she elucidated. “Or at least try to be busy all the time and that takes initiative and a whole lot of energy! Have your hand in as many cookie jars as possible without sacrificing the quality of your work. Set goals and consciously try to build the kind of the career you want step by step.
“Hard work pays off but you need to be prepared for long nights and early mornings,” Rain also counseled. “We live in the social media age, and I personally think it's really important to capitalize on that fact. I'm very active on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and even have a YouTube channel and have had a members-only website for years! I know it's important to reach as big of an audience as possible. I interact with folks in and out of my industry and am constantly promoting what I'm doing, working on or would like to be a part of. In all honesty, it's a 24/7 job if you want it to be.”
The man with the million dollar penis, Keiran Lee, believes success also lies in humility.
“To be successful in the industry today I think you should take advice from seasoned pros,” Lee recalled. “When I first came to America I thought I was invincible — the best thing since sliced bread. But as years went by, I calmed down and became more humble and listened to advice from people that had been in the business a lot longer than myself and only then did I really flourish as performer.”
Lee does not deny there’s a tad bit of luck involved with successfully advancing in the industry.
“I have been very lucky that working for Brazzers has given me a huge head start on growing a large fan base,” he explained. “One thing I did when I first started was interact on member’s forums. Nowadays you have so many ways to reply to fans, whether its via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook fan pages or Snapchat.”
He also offers male performers an important piece of advice: “If this is a career you want longevity in ... then you should treat it seriously. That means no crazy party nights and turning up to set late or hungover! This goes especially for male performers as a couple of bad scenes and you’ll notice work is a lot harder to come by.”
When it comes down to it, achieving success in the adult industry has the same precursors as any mainstream job; if you want it, you can achieve it. Business is business no matter the act, and these stars are proof that XXX performing can be a stellar career option — with financial stability and a damn good fuckin’ time.