Wendy Williams and a Lifetime of Achievement
Wendy Williams is the preeminent trans star who set the tone and paved the way for so many performers after her. We were so excited to have a chance to ask Wendy a few questions about her new endeavours and her recent recognition for her trailblazing efforts.
HM: Congratulations on your Lifetime Achievement award at the Transgender Erotica Awards. After fifteen years in the adult industry, that moment of recognition with your peers must have been so special. For those of us who were unable to hear your acceptance speech, what were you feeling and thinking at that time?
WW: I have been very blessed to have been awarded many awards like 2009 AVN and 2010 XBIZ TS Performer of the Year as well as 2014 AVN Hall of Fame, so finally adding the Lifetime Achievement award from my own genre is satisfying. Sadly I was not able to be there, however, I did send an acceptance video and just wanted to thank the fans and companies who have supported me for the past 15 years.
What were your goals when you began performing in adult videos? Did you think this would be a career, or did you assume you would do it until you found something else?
When I started I was told I didn't have the "look" to be a famous trans porn star so honestly in the beginning it was to help fund my transition. It wasn't until 2005 when Joanna Jet moved me from Florida to California to help run her production company that I knew there was a chance to not only perform in front of the camera, but the possibility to turn it into a full-time job. Joanna really taught me how to be an independent business woman.
It was during this time that I figured out I would be able to use my marketing and PR education from college to change the face of PR within the trans community. Trans models having PR representation was very rare, and once I started it really helped change the genre as a whole. Models getting representation helped put our faces more into mainstream porn.
Your work has pioneered trans advocacy and “first time” performances like performing in the first interracial trans gangbang, and you are known as one of the first trans models in the adult industry. What major differences have you witnessed in the perception of trans porn from when you entered the industry in 2002 to now?
Thank you for the acknowledgement for this as it seems the longer I'm in porn the more people forget what I have brought to the game. In fact only Grooby and a few others speak up about those things. The biggest difference I have witnessed are stereotypes. For example, men who watch transsexual porn are NOT gay, they are straight who are attracted to the feminine aspects that makes us women. When I started, many retailers placed our porn in the gay section which is a BIG mistake. I'm glad to see this changing, but I hold out hope that more guys will cross over and stop having sex with us behind closed doors and enjoy it on camera.
Another big positive is the visibility of trans models in mainstream adult porn. Thanks to models like Vaniity, Kimber James, Venus Lux, etc. we see more ladies being involved in big events, parties, conventions, etc. Hopefully we will see a big company like Vivid or Wicked do some big projects with trans women.
What was your goal when you started your public relations company, HotWendyPR, and what challenges or surprises have you encountered that you might not have expected?
The biggest goal was to market myself more. Companies weren't really excited about me, and I needed traffic to my website and I needed to promote my DVD releases. I met Heidi at AVN and she really took me under her wing and introduced me to people and guided me how to market myself. Also at that time Pamela Peaks was doing a lot with her interviews, so she helped me build my publicity networking. Once I saw that I was good at it and enjoyed it I then started working for others.
You filmed your first scene with ShemaleYum.com and worked with Grooby and so many other notable studios. Steven Grooby has a reputation for providing a considerable platform for trans performers to promote and make a name for themselves in the adult industry. Would you say you’re following a similar trajectory with your PR company?
His platform is to launch models, especially new models, into homes. My trajectory is to help those models once they decide porn is for them to build their brand and name with blogs, website, affiliates, events, etc. I think many think to be successful is to just shoot as many scenes as possible. Once they see there are very few companies that shoot regularly they say "what next?" Well, I am here to help fill in those gaps.
Do you or your PR clients ever talk about fighting stigma with more mainstream porn? What forms of discrimination have you or other trans performers encountered?
I could go on and on with the discrimination but I think the largest is that we all are "dirty" or "diseased". Somehow that if mainstream porn actors work with us it will ruin their careers. We are held to the same testing standards as our female counterparts. I guess many areas like BBWs, interracial, etc. have stigmas that make it hard to climb the mainstream porn ladder.
Do you think that porn media does its job as far as representing trans issues when it comes to film promotion or giving print space to trans performers? What could we do better?
Absolutely NOT... many of the big outlets only cover those with popular PR agents. So, sadly only those models seem to get the spotlight compared to models who don't have representation. If media outlets had more people who were interested in specialty genres then you would see more acknowledgment and articles representing the ENTIRE porn arena.
It has grown a lot, but that's only because more models are hiring publicists.
What is the most positive aspect of being in the adult industry for you? How does adult work affect your life outside of filming and performing?
I am blessed to have made a career out of porn and that's the most positive aspect in my life. I am able to pay my bills and live a comfortable life because of shoots, website, camming, PR, DVDs, affiliate, etc. I have not put all my eggs in one basket, so I am able to have income from many different parts of the industry.
It seems that there are more trans models joining the industry than ever before. What advice would you impart on aspiring trans porn stars?
Contact me email@example.com and lets talk about PR and how I can help!
That's a good question but I have nothing to compare it too as there are very few aging performers left in my genre LOL. A few come and go but not sure who is working full time and still relevant when it comes to Trans Porn.
I would love to see directors in my genre use more MILF scenarios and give us a bigger platform. There are over-40 trans models who I see camming and have a website, so it would be nice to see our genre use those models more and give us a bigger voice in porn.
Tell us a bit about the Lexington T-girl parties and how they started. What other events do you host?
I started the parties almost 10 years ago here in Lexington. I had been attending the Allanah Starr parties in NYC and noticed how men loved having a place they felt comfortable to meet trans women outside of dating websites or taking a chance at a gay club. My parties really have given MANY, not only men, but women and couples a place to learn about trans women and see us and get to know us, instead of a shady place like Jerry Springer. I have them every 1st and 3rd Friday. More info at www.lexingtontgirlparties.com
I also have a monthly party in Cookeville, TN at the RoadHouse bar.
Between working in PR, producing your own content, performing, and running your website (running for ten years!), how do you make time for yourself?
I rarely have time to myself as I have so many irons in the fire, LOL. But every few months I'll take a trip somewhere for a few days to just charge my batteries. Sadly, I always am on the computer as social media is IMPERATIVE to remain relevant in today's world.
What career milestone are you looking forward to next?
I would love to have a major company reach out to me to produce a series for them! We see many females being assigned those jobs both in our genre and outside but not Trans women. Not sure why but since we live the lifestyle and interact with our fans why aren't we being given those opportunities?
How can your fans best support you?
Here are a list of places to find me so they can decide what they want to do to help me continue another 10 years: WendyWilliamsXXX.com, Tswendywilliams.manyvids.com, LexingtonTgirlParties.com, HotWendyCams.Chaturbate.com, WendyWilliamsBlog.com, @TSWendyWilliams on Twitter
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