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 past six months have been a whirlwind of adventures, events, and emotions. So many things are happening in my life and career. It can get overwhelming. When I started this blog(in 2010) never did I think I would have come this far. But here I sit at home in Las Vegas writing at night with my Starbucks, just as I used to in Eugene, Salem, Portland, and Sacramento.
We may evolve, but our habits are what make or break us!
In the past year, I have spent an incredible amount of time alone writing. I have attempted and accomplished things I never expected to achieve in such a short time frame. In the past six months, I have published two ebooks on Amazon and iTunes. Finding a book editor who can deal with my kind of crazy is priceless. Goals I made many years ago are now manifesting into tangible products. It is exciting to have something you love and are passionate about finally become real.
Speaking of real, I also had breast augmentation surgery in December to replace my implants. This was unexpected and due to medical issues with the first set, but I am loving the results. I am so happy I had the surgery done again. My range of motion with my arms is better and I am no longer cold and in pain. It was quite the ordeal and costly, but so worth how I feel. If you do not feel normal after plastic surgery, listen to your guts and get a second opinion. The best irony is at the time I was just finishing my first book So You’ve Got New Boobs Now What? A Guide To Recovery.
Life throws us curve balls in the most bizarre forms sometimes. Now I have a small car invested in my chest and two ebooks published. Due to my surgery I was not able to travel for the holidays, but I could still type(after a few weeks). So, writing my second book A Decade On A Pole was the logical thing to do.
So finished Book 1… Had Surgery…Finished Book 2… And AVN Season Begins
AEE and AVN season are one of my busiest times of year. Networking, magazine deadlines, and all the responsibilities of owning and being your own business filled the air. My first full day of walking after surgery was at the AEE at The Hard Rock Hotel. I was in pain and worried I would hurt my new implants, but I went and conquered and completed most of what I aimed to achieve during AVN season. Sometimes things do not work out as planned or expected, but they still work out.
After AVN season concluded, I made my way to the Sex Health Expo in LA. It was smaller and more intimate of a convention and my first time attending. I had the opportunity to see Dr Ruth speak. All while blending and being one of the masses. Sometimes it is nice to just sit back and absorb some information. A huge thank you to Scarlett Black for always being a kind face in the crowd. Follow her adventures on Twitter @ScarlettBlackes.
Then after a quick trip home to Las Vegas, I changed suitcases and I made my way to Oregon to see family. My little partner in crime is always willing to go along and play in the country. Going “home” to Oregon to where I grew up is intense to say the very least. I have a very hard time making myself actually go. People in small towns think so differently, but at least they are predictable. The disconnect between sex work and “real work” in their minds is a huge barrier. Keeping my clothes on for work did not change this dynamic even within my own family.
Overall, my dreams are on the way to coming true and I feel so blessed to be where I have positioned myself. I realized I have neglected writing personal blog posts over the past couple years. This will change starting with this post. Regular personal updates will appear, along with posts from my personal journal over the past year.
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)