Every year, thousands of men and women decide they’re going to take the leap in some way, shape, or form and start sex work. As an agent and performer, my emails and DMs are flooded with messages from girls and guys asking how they can get into the industry, particularly working as porn stars. Hopefully the following tips can help people get a better insight on how to move forward.

Tee Reel
Porn Performer/Agent Tee Reel

1. Be Prepared Physically

Are you in decent shape? Are you a decent person? Do you have a valid ID? Believe it or not, those are some of the top questions I have to ask people on a regular basis. People forget this is a business, and people want to have professional, prepared coworkers in any business. I know people like to think that we just show up and have sex, but that’s not always the case. There is legally binding paperwork to prove you’re over the age of 18, and that you are making the decision to do this on your own. If you want to actively work as talent, you have to have the look. If you’re a guy, do a sit-up or two; if you're a female, consider not eating that extra slice of chocolate cake. You don’t have to have the body of a Greek god, but being a porn star is like being an athlete; the better physical shape you're in, the better prepared you are for game day. Take your clothes off, look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself this question: do you look like at least half of the people you see in the industry? If the answer is no, I’m not saying you should give up on your dreams, but the chances of you becoming next year’s Best New Starlet or Performer of the Year is less likely.

Nicole Aniston working out

Now that you’ve come to the conclusion that you’ve got to the look, how are you mentally?

2. Be Prepared Mentally

I like to break down production companies as an agent by categories: amateur companies, pro-amateur companies, and pro companies. To be considered a porn star, you have to have worked for all of these types of companies. Is it possible to shoot a couple videos for some small amateur companies and little-to-nobody finding out? Sure, but in this day and age with the Internet, tube sites, and social media, if you think you’re going to do one or two videos and your family or best friend from high school aren't going to find out, the chances are very slim. The days of VHS and DVD are over. Once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever. Some people are cool with that, and they have no problems with their friends and family finding out. Maybe in the future when you retire or decide to do something else, the people at your new job or in your new community may not care, but unfortunately we do live in a society that’s very judgmental. The emotional stress of friends, family, or coworkers turning their back on you or treating you differently because you worked as a porn star can be devastating. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and have a certain amount of understanding and confidence that if the world finds out what you did, you're going to be okay with that. You have to develop a sense of security within yourself and have coping mechanisms to deal with whatever life throws at you in an attempt to make you feel bad about being a porn star.

Adriana Chechik giving thumbs up

Now that we’ve come to the conclusion that you are physically and mentally ready, now it’s time to do your homework.

3. Do Your Research

Do you watch porn? You be surprised how many people come into my office trying to be porn stars and when I ask them if they watch porn, their answer is no. Do you know what reverse-cowgirl means? Do you know what a jawbreaker is? What a rimjob is? Are you comfortable performing these things? Don’t just watch porn; study it! Learning how to position your body towards the camera and hide your blemishes are the differences between getting booked for two or three jobs and having a two- or three-year career. Most porn stars who’ve had long careers in this business will tell you that they’re pretty embarrassed by their first few scenes. Maybe they were moaning too much, or not enough, or maybe they looked really uncomfortable on camera. It took them some time to figure out how to be a strong performer, and as stated before with the Internet, now that first awkward scene is there forever. Also what type of porn are you comfortable performing in? Do you think you can handle rough scenes? Do you like anal or do gangbangs? Can you deep-throat? What are the things that you're open to doing? You don’t want a director, agent, or other performer forcing you into doing something that you don’t feel comfortable doing, so make sure that you have watched clips or videos from the companies you're considering working with and know the style of shooting that you're going to be involved in. I tell models on a regular basis that your looks will get you in the door, but your performances will keep you there.

Sarah Vandella

Now that you have the look, your mind is right, and you’ve done your research, now we can get started...

4. Going Independent vs. Finding An Agency

There are literally thousands of production companies. There's companies you’ve probably heard of that are household names: Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler, and then companies you've never heard of. As an agent, I put these companies in three different categories: amateur companies, pro-amateur companies, and then pro companies

You can do general Google search of production companies' websites, and usually there is a tab that says "become a model." You submit your name, pictures, and the best time to reach you, and maybe someone from that casting department will reach out to you. As you can imagine, many of these production companies get hit up hundreds of times a week, so it might be weeks before you get a response. Also there are websites that offer adult work. Unfortunately anybody can place ads on these sites, so it may be very overwhelming, time-consuming, and frustrating trying to weed through all of the job offers that are scams vs. real production companies trying to find new talent. It’s not impossible to have a career in the industry without an agent, but it definitely makes it a lot more difficult to reach certain career and financial goals.

Lana Rhoades

Find an agent. This may sound a little biased coming from me because I’ve been talent and I am an agent, but there are about a dozen licensed and bonded agencies in the industry. Run a background check on someone at the company to show that they are not a scammer or convicted felon. "Bonded" means that the agency has a bond for the production companies and model in the event something were to go wrong. This is the safest way to cover everyone’s ass across the board. In my opinion, a good agent is someone who runs the agency like a partnership; you know your responsibilities as a model, they know their responsibilities as an agent. They should be able to reach out to production companies on your behalf, book you work, and negotiate the best rates for you. Agents understand the change of the industry from what new companies are currently booking, to which companies are going out of business, trends in the market, and other revenue streams for talent.

An agent should be able to answer questions including, but not limited to:

  • What production company you’re working for
  • Who the talent is that you’re working with
  • On average, how long the shoots last
  • What the expectations of the production company are
  • What you should bring to set
  • What your pay-rate is
  • How you're getting paid

I've always positioned myself to not talk shit about other agencies, but I always give talent the advice to find someone that’s a good fit for you. You have to be able to have an open line of communication with your agent on what your expectations are and what you’re boundaries are as well. Never sign on to an agency just because the website looks good or the girls look pretty.

Most agencies charge anywhere from 15-20%. They can assist and guide you with travel and room accommodations in some cases. The pros of having a good agent are that you have someone that can negotiate things on your behalf and tell you the pros and cons of working with certain production companies. Some companies have lower rates but they pay cash, other companies have higher rates, or ask for exclusivity, which effects your ability to work with other companies. A good agent will try to avoid as many pitfalls, headaches, and pick-ups that can happen to you as talent. Also many production companies will not book you unless you have an agent. They’ve been burned too many times with unprepared talent or people flaking at the last moment, so at the very least they can hold someone accountable either financially or with back-up talent for the scene.

5. Have an Exit Strategy

Whether you were in the business for two months or two years, think about financially where you want to be and be smart with your money. Many porn stars that have been in for years forget that anything can happen. We stop counting money and just count scenes. How much is that purse? Oh, it’s just one shoot. How much is your rent? Just two scenes. How much is your car note and insurance? One scene. You have to remember anything can happen that could shut you down. You could have an injury, or maybe you’re no longer the flavor of the month. You’re not going to make large amounts of money all the time throughout your career, the industry has highs and lows, and trust me, your bank account will too, so try to think about things you can do outside of the industry. Save a little bit of money before you go buy a brand-new purse, shoes, or rims for your boyfriends car. Put a little money aside, and ask yourself if what you're spending is a re-investment in yourself to make more money? Do I want this, or do I need this? Try to have other legal hustles, whether it’s investments, small businesses, or buying property. If you’re lucky, you're able to walk away before the industry pushes you away. Maximize your revenue stream if you are a girl: build a fanbase on social media, do as many bookings as you can, show up on time, and be professional. Build a good reputation with companies and let those companies help market you as a performer. You’re not going to work five days a week as a performer; you’re going to have a lot of time, so go strip, or create content and sell them on platforms.

Dana Vespoli & Chanel Preston

A typical Monday-Friday week should go as follows:

10AM - 4PM

Webcam and post on social media three times a day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner times are the best. Make sure you're posting at least two NSFW types of clips or content per day. Brush your teeth with your titties out, or invite that cute guy over for a kitchen blowjob that you can use for your custom clips or premium Snapchat.

4PM - 7PM

Take some downtime.

8PM - 2AM

Go-go dance or strip.

Maybe Friday you have a shoot, adjust your schedule to your shooting schedule. On the weekends you can sell custom videos, Snaps, one-on-one shows with fans, or mail out your clothing that you can sell to them as well.

Between shooting for production companies, creating your own content and selling it, webcamming, and stripping, as long as you're living within your means, follow that blueprint for three years and you’ll have a pretty decent career and will make some pretty decent money. Good luck to you!

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