XBIZ 2017: Performers of the Year Panel Inspires Excellence
LOS ANGELES — Brilliance and beauty took the stage at XBIZ 2017 as five of the 15 nominees for Female Performer of the Year were introduced and interviewed by Alejandro Freixes, XBIZ Associate Managing Editor, Digital Media. Anikka Albrite, Katrina Jade, Elsa Jean, Sara Luvv and Romi Rain shared personal insights into their work as adult movie performers, with wit and wisdom.
“They drive the traffic from the fans and make the adult business possible,” Freixes said by way of introduction. The participants soon began listing their years of industry service, then spoke about their work ethic, evolving goals and long-term ambitions, in response to the moderator’s questions.
Jade, who went on to win 2017 XBIZ Female Performer of the Year the following night, has been performing for three and a half years. It has been six for Albrite — ”time flies when you’re having fun,” she quipped. Four-year veteran Luvv, described by the moderator as a “tremendous actress,” said, “It’s my first time having this many nominations. I’ve done so many features.”
Rain said she has been doing hardcore for four years, but before that, worked as a webcammer and dancer, “so it’s almost a decade” in adult media. “I love what I do, and I love social media.”
“I really just came in to have fun,” said Jade. “As a performer I’m growing. I’ve learned a lot more about my body, sexually.” Jean added, brightly, “I’m better at blowjobs.”
“I like sex a lot,” Albrite remarked. “When I got in, I was planning to stay about a year... But it was fun. I just had a good time and stayed in,” adding about sex performance, “It’s something you learn to do, it’s an art.”
Questioned about their online followings and how they keep audiences engaged, Jade said her fan base has grown from 30,000 on Tumblr pre-porn, to several hundred thousand across multiple social media networks now.
“Be nice to your fans,” Rain counseled. “Keep them updated about what you’re doing.”
Albrite follows that advice. Her fans, she said, “become like my family.”
If there was a major theme to the discussion it was the huge importance of social media to today’s porn professionals, with Instagram called out as one of the preferred modes, despite its restrictions on nudity. “It’s something that wasn’t available to stars even just a few years ago,” Rain explained. “It’s an amazing thing to be able to reach out to fans. It’s an incredible tool that no previous performers had access to.”
Asked about their main income sources, the women mentioned “mostly shoots” (Jade), “selling stuff on my computer” (Jean), "feature dancing" (Rain), “camming, custom videos, clothing, DVDs” (Luvv).
“I highly recommend feature dancing,” Rain emphasized. “It’s such a good source of income.” Merchandising was singled out as another revenue stream, one of many open to adult stars today. “There really are a lot of ways you can make money... This really is a career... If you want it, be worth it.”
As for who has been the biggest influence on their careers, multiple mentions went to agencies OC Modeling, ATMLA and Spiegler Girls, resulting in beaming smiles of support from Mark Schechter (ATMLA) and Sandra McCarthy (OC Modeling), who were present in the crowded room.
Jade thanked, “My husband, obviously.”
Jean pointed to Schechter. “My agent — and Katrina.”
Albrite gave shout-outs to her former agent from her modeling days, to current agent Mark Spiegler and to her husband Mick Blue, “my number one supporter and my guardian angel.” She added, “My family is very supportive.”
Rain saluted her co-agents. “They have a work ethic. They talk to clients about goals. It’s very important to be in charge of your own career, to be powerful and strong. I’m happy to say I’ve had a lot of support.”
Sara: “My agent Mark [Spiegler] has been amazing,” also singling out producer-director Bree Mills in the audience.
Then, the moderator asked how starlets can take things to the next level.
“Care about your career,” Jade said emphatically. “Give 102 percent to whatever you’re doing.”
Jean: “Be yourself. Say no. Don’t overwork yourself.”
Albrite: “Standing up for yourself, doing what you’re comfortable with.” She suggested “mixing up” the work — ”a little bit of gonzo, a little bit of features,” but most importantly: “Be yourself.”
Rain: “Having your hand in every cookie jar — and making sure you wash your hand in between.”
The starlets were then queried about their goals for 2017.
Jade: “Start shooting for more companies. Get my brand a lot higher. Keep getting better.”
Jean: “Shoot more orgies, get more box covers.”
Luvv: “More blogging.”
Albrite said she wants to direct more movies than she already does (for BAM Visions/Evil Angel). She also hopes to get her own website, besides the one she has with Blue and Maestro Claudio. And also: “Make more money, obviously.”
Rain said she hoped to get into directing — ”just to see if I’m good at it.” She would also like to become a “porn ambassador” for people who “don’t know much about the industry” and who tend to think that performers are exploited.
Rain devised a mantra for today’s successful porn star: “Work hard, show up, don’t take shit.”