Until fairly recently, the business model for adult entertainment performers was simple: Agents handled their business arrangements, and that was that.
But as the industry consolidates and develops new outlets, a different kind of star is appearing—one in charge of her own destiny. Though independent players are still somewhat rare (agents continue to represent most performers), a few big names are starting to branch out on their own.
Stoya, one of the most popular performers, recently left Digital Playground, where she had been on contract (exclusive to the company). While she hasn't quit performing, she's now focusing on directing, self-financing her first film which will shoot in February.
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"It was really scary at first, but then I remembered that when I chose to enter the naked lady business, it was a gamble," she said. "Every year is a gamble. Is my expiration date up? Do I go another year? And when I thought about that, it took the fear away."
Her former colleague Jesse Jane is still under contract with Digital Playground but does not plan to renew her contract this year, saying she will either retire or go to another studio. If she does remain in the business, she added, she will represent herself.
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"I've got an established name, and I've been doing this a long time," said Jane, who is also a co-owner of Diosa Tequila, which has been expanding into markets around the country. "I know the studios. And I know how this industry works. I was trained about marketing by one of the best, Adella [Curry]. And, luckily, I'm a businesswoman already."
Stoya also named Curry, a marketing executive in adult entertainment, as having a tremendous influence on her career.