Here I sit in my bed at home in Las Vegas writing on my new laptop. My birthday was last Friday and over the weekend was Exxxotica Denver, so it has been busy to say the least. Plus, I recently got a new rescue dog so leaving home for a work trip was extremely more difficult than normal.
In my daily life, I am ordinary and work from home mostly alone and love it. After years in dark bars surrounded by drunken people who are unpredictable, I enjoy being in a controlled environment. Conventions are the part of my career I push myself to go out of my comfort zone and be surrounded by people again. My nerves are apparent, but I doubt people know why I am nervous. It took me till this past weekend to realize going out of my ordinary controlled environment I have created here in Las Vegas causes me social anxiety. I love to travel and go places for fun, but mix in work and having to talk to people and I turn into a bit of a wreck.
After this realization I felt a bit of relief, but I cannot say I have found a solution. Today has been a day of self-care and loving myself for conquering my comfort zone. Starbucks, laser hair removal, chiropractor, quality time with the dogs, and a trip to the medical marijuana dispensary have all been apart of my day of getting back into my ordinary groove. I love my life at home and have finally created a life I do not feel like I need a vacation from.
This weekend was the adult convention Exxxotica in Colorado. It was an intimate gathering of adult stars, webcam models, press, and fans. For a weekend we invaded Denver to create a tangible adult industry community to remind us all why we do what we do.
People bombard me with their questions about fun at these events and it drives me absolutely insane. I am blessed to have the career I have created after retiring from stripping. However, I also believe work when mixed with passion should be fun/enjoyable. Mainstream society has such a skewed view of the adult industry and the work that goes on to keep the adult world available to the general public. It only makes sense that we like to get together and mingle with others who understand our work lives.
Work is work, but if you are fulfilling your purpose it should be fun(no matter the industry).
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” ~Pele
The AVN season is a season of freedom. As an industry we celebrate the best of the best and all the sacrifices that come along with being one of the best of the best. Resilient people make up the adult industry. Freedom mixed with resilience leads to many different places, but success and the freedoms of the adult industry bring us all together.
Avn season is always predictably unpredictable. Every year I try to plan and prepare for AEE and the AVN Awards in Las Vegas, but I also take into consideration that magical moments cannot always be planned. With a handful of large convention rooms filled with the madness of adult actors, webcam models, fans, press, sex toys, and excitement: I never know what will catch my eye and/or attention.
This year at the 2017 AEE and AVN awards I realized resilience is another key factor in being a successful part of the adult industry. People love to hate sex workers and adult entertainers. Therefore, it only makes dollars and sense that adult industry workers must be able to go against the odds tenaciously and persevere with resilience because we are all bound to publicly make mistakes.
“Meeting new faces. Catching up with old friends going places. Solidifying bonds in a networking atmosphere. Establishing professional relationships with the backdrop of a city that loves to party till the sunlight blinds your dehydrated self as the night blends into day like a perfectly mixed cocktail served chilled & stirred to a rhythm we all understand & fully embrace.” ~Enrique Arellano, Adventures of the Mayor(@EAFLOWS)
AE Expo 2017 was packed full of adult stars and it seems to get larger with every year. The crowds gawk at various things and people while I observe, mingle, and network. I remember my first AE Expo and just how huge and overwhelming it felt. With time the exponential impact of the adult entertainment expo on a career in the adult industry becomes less stressful, but in reality anything can happen for anyone who fully turns on their shine during this event.
“It is like a fun industry family reunion.” ~Joe Evans(@NoRealValue)
The 2017 AEE was filled with extremely business minded adult stars who were hustling and bustling to make it to all the different booths and to network and meet as many fans as possible. When you are your business, literally, there is a certain amount of drive required. No one person can or will hand you success. It is something everyone must manifest for themselves in the adult industry.
“I had so much fun this year! I didn’t keep a schedule, did a random expo for once! It was amazing and I even walked away with a contract! I focused more on meeting companies and networking than meeting with fans this year. Sorry fans, I have to grow the Shawna Lenee Show brand! It was well worth it but will definitely have to make up lost time with fans next year!!” ~Shawna Lenee(@ShawnaLeneeShow)
Interviewing adult actors on the red carpet at AVN 2017 felt like porn star speed dating. Another challenge I never thought I would encounter. However, after days of walking around the AE expo it was a welcoming test. So many stars, so many names, so many questions, so little time…
On the AVN red carpet Eva Lovia(@FallinLovia) and I had a moment to chit chat about her career and how she is now where she wants to be, but she made a lot of mistakes along her way to success. However, with hard work and trial and error she has made it! Eva Lovia has a career that continues to blossom. She retains tenacity with an always welcoming smile. Keep up with Eva Lovia on her favorite social media: Instagram @LoviaLongTime.
Overall AEE and AVN 2017 were an amazing season. Surrounding yourself with others who work in the adult industry is a freedom we look forward to all year long. A break from the stigmas of mainstream society, a chance to breathe much like when taking off stilettos after a long night of work. The relief of knowing you are not alone literally surrounds every adult worker who attends the AE Expo and AVN awards. Belonging is a priceless feeling we all seek.
The irony of the AEE and AVNs is often you learn more about yourself than the people you actually go to interview and meet.
Special thank you to Chris Meggs for contributing select photos! (@Meggs_Chris)
“AVN is always a blast! The more you attend the more like a yearly reunion it becomes which is really part of the overall experience, especially not being based on the west coast! It always renews the fire and motivation for the year ahead to see all the new tech and concepts coming out from all areas of the industry. Is it January 2018 yet?” ~Demon Seed Radio(@Demonseed69)
This book is dear to my heart. My magazine columns, journals, and tips on how to survive the adult industry are all included. I hope this book makes a great ripple effect in some peoples lives and careers.
Special thank you to Robert Bryant for being an amazingly patient book editor.
Mitchell Murphy and Heath Stillwell thank you for years of being amazing magazine editors and putting up with my kind of crazy!