opinion

Developing 'Slut Appeal' on Camera

Developing 'Slut Appeal' on Camera

I’ve only been in the industry for around two years, but I already know that this is my career. The way I see it, I am Cinderella and sex work is the shoe that perfectly fits. I started out sex work doing private kik sessions, then I branched out to making custom videos, did some online GFEs and lastly got into posting on clip stores.

Back in high school, I remember being so intrigued with the sex industry. I wanted to make my own porn site, because all the current streaming sites weren’t all that pleasing to me. I was already doing photography and I loved very explicit, yet artsy photos. I really wanted to steer my career in photography to a more sex work-friendly direction. I wanted my work to meet the edge of mainstream, yet push the limits of sex appeal ... and who’s better to push those limits than sex workers?!

We all sell more or less the same thing, so how do you stand out?

I was extremely sheltered growing up, and was slut-shamed before I ever even had my first kiss. I suffered abuse at home from my father, and I never understood why. When I was older I found out that he was just projecting his self-hatred for being a porn and escort addict … I learned off the bat that most men who say that they hate sex workers and “sluts” are usually the people who are embarrassed that they consume their work so heavily. Being shamed so much for nothing actually sparked my interest in the industry, and I started to do my research. I found that this industry, which is so taboo, is actually a beautiful and creative safe space. Seeing this opened my eyes and gave me hope. It was a group of people who were misunderstood and mislabeled, and I felt like I would be a perfect fit.

I’ve been doing photography since I was around nine years old, and have been making videos (mainly YouTube and music videos) since elementary school. When I was 18, I hit a creative roadblock in photography and producing videos. That’s when I started sex work, and I honestly don’t know why I didn’t offer my photo services off the bat. The past few months have really been the start of my career in photographing sex workers. I think that already being established in the industry really helped when I started to offer my services. If you’re interested in becoming a photographer in the sex industry, credibility is everything. You need to establish you are someone who is professional and safe. You also need to make it clear that you understand boundaries and that you know limits. Find what works for you.

Personally, I offer a lot of edited photos for an extremely low price. Being a sex worker myself, I totally understand the importance of quantity and high quality ... so I wanted to provide both at a price range that almost everyone in the industry can afford. My prices will go up as I grow in demand, but I will definitely stick to the value of staying affordable. Every day, my portfolio grows larger and it’s such a wonderful feeling. Having a good portfolio/website is so important when drawing attention to your work. I can genuinely say that after years of non-stop effort, I’m finally proud of my portfolio and the content I have to share.

I’m now venturing into production. I love being in front of the camera, but I feel like I can’t let my creativity flow while being both in front and behind the camera at the same time. I’m starting to produce under “slutappealvideos,” which is currently a clip store on ManyVids, but I’m working on branching out and selling on my own paysite by the end of this year. I want to build a company that showcases all genders and all body types, spreads positivity and is a fun work environment for talent. I want the content being created to be all the things that the talent enjoys most in their real life. Once I get a better feel for filming, I’ll be expanding from clips to full scenes. I’m already planning videos and brainstorming in advance so I’ll be ready when the time comes.

I want to grow in this industry and earn the credibility I deserve. I’m excited for my journey and so blessed to have all this success, not even being 20 yet. I have so much time left, and I believe time management and planning can play a big role in how your career goes. I’m hoping to star in some mainstream G/G films this year, so that I can be fully in front of the camera during shoots and have more free time to work behind the camera. I’m so grateful for all the amazing industry people who have lifted me up and reached out to work with me. In five years, I’d like to have a full photo/video production company with a legitimate studio to shoot and work in. Having realistic but high goals is something I strongly believe in ... manifest and bring them into reality! I’m going to work non-stop for myself and this community, to make positive changes in the industry.

If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that your brand is everything. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, it matters how you’re selling it. We all sell more or less the same thing, so how do you stand out? Is it your social media presence? Is it your unique look? Is it your original content? Maybe it’s your personality? Or is it everything I just said? What you’re selling is “you.” And you have to make “you” stand out.

I sell my content and I sell my camera services. There’s a good handful of people that already do what I do, but when you work with me I’m offering my brand. My favorite compliment to receive is when someone says they recognize my work without being told that I took the photo. My eye behind the camera captures beauty in a way that only I see it. I do edit the lighting in my photos, but I have a “no Photoshop” rule. Not that there’s anything wrong with Photoshop, I just don’t believe it fits my personal brand. I see lighting in a very specific way and I like the finished product to meet my standard of it. I think my minor tweaks to lighting really set my work apart and give it my signature. If you’re a creator, find your trademark … your specific look. Capitalize it. Brand it. Make it you, so when someone sees your work they can instantly recall the owner. Be original, be creative and be smart.

Follow Ashlee Juliet @SlutAppeal on Twitter and Instagram.