People-pleasing porn stars ready to shake hands, meet fans

Porn stars may be better at customer service than any industry in America. They smile at fans, thank them, sign autographs freely and pose for huggy photos.

So there’s a lot of friendliness going on this week at the Hard Rock Hotel during the Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Video News Awards.

"These people paid a lot of money and bought expensive tickets just to meet you," says Joanna Angel, creator and star of Burning Angel website.

"You’ve gotta be nice to them or there’s no point in being there."

But there are other reasons why adult actors are so welcoming with customers.

For one thing, performers are not typical employees. Many are entrepreneurs, building web business. They have big stakes in being nice.

Besides, Angel says, meeting fans is fun. And word spreads fast when porn stars behave like jerks, which can ruin careers.

Above all, porn stars are people pleasers (obviously). The effervescent Jenna Haze says she’s been a people pleaser forever.

"I worked a lot of random jobs before I got in the business. I was always really good at customer service. I was a damn good waitress," Haze says and laughs.

Angel says porn stars do enjoy their work, too, not just the money. She took a male friend to a porn party once.

"He said it was like ‘hanging out with a bunch of perverted dudes — but they’re chicks,’ " she says.

The biggest misconception about porn is that it makes her and others wealthy, she says.

"People just assume," she says, "that the second you do a porn, somebody comes to your door with a big box of money, like, ‘You just did porn, here’s your money, you’re rich!’

"Lady Gaga and Katy Perry — those people make millions of dollars. But even your most famous porn star might make several hundred thousand dollars a year," Angel says.

Another sign of the normalization of porn: Tonight, Angel hosts a 6:30 p.m. cocktail hour at STK steakhouse at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Since the industry has been hurt by online piracy, porn companies are looking for new ways to make bank.

Allison Vivas, president of Pink Visual, is trying to convince other businesses to market on porn sites.

"Any male product should be advertising on an adult site. Razors, colognes and condoms should be targeting this audience," Vivas says.

A decade ago, Vivas was one of those women who thought, "Only dirty people look at adult entertainment," she says.

Back then, she had just graduated from college. She was 21 and looking for work in Internet marketing. She saw an opening at Pink Visual. She asked her fiance if she should go for the job.

"He said, ‘You have to do this!’ " she recalls, and laughs.

"I thought porn was a little demeaning to women," at the time, she says. "Then I went on set and met the performers, and I didn’t think that at all.

"They’re very empowered, very in control, they get paid more than the male, and they have a relatively easier job than their male counterparts," Vivas says.

Working behind the scenes helped Vivas personally.

"It gives me a lot of insight on men and the male brain," she says. "And the orgasm for males and females has proven to be extremely healthy and beneficial, emotionally and physically."

She swears reaction is always positive when she tells people what she does for a living in Arizona, where Pink Visual’s corporate offices are located. (Videos are shot in California.)

And now all these porn people — the people pleasers and the people behind the people pleasers — are in Vegas for the week.

Keep an eye out for Alexis Texas. She’s nominated for 10 awards, including performer of the year, and will walk the AVN red carpet with scores of others.

"It’s always nice to put on a pretty dress and clean up nice," Texas says.

Her competition includes Lexi Belle, who loves working with Texas.

"She is truly the girl next door," Belle says. "She has a body that is unreal and unbelievable, and she has one of the best, most genuine personalities I’ve ever met in my entire life.

"The fact I get paid to (have sex with) her is a bonus."

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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