Thursday, May 28, 2015

Exclusive Interview With The Rub's Erika Icon

Alright guys, this is going to be an awesome treat and I am so excited about this because it is two firsts for my humble little blog. Not only is this the first interview with a women BUT the first interview with someone who works behind the scenes in the industry and it is a great one!
So I was first introduced to Erika Icon, adult publicist and owner of The Rub, a few months back when I posted about her interview with Cosmo and I was immediately intrigued. She was beautiful, outspoken, had awesome tattoos and was very porn and sex positive; basically I was looking into getting a divorce so I could ask for her hand in marriage. HAHA.
So imagine my joy when, just last week, not only do I get a notification that Erika left a comment on the write up I did on her interview but also started following me on Twitter! I asked her if she'd like to be interviewed and, to my great joy, she agreed and she did not disappoint.
I think there is still some stigma in the industry that all the women are forced to do porn by evil wife beating dirt bag men and that women are exploited so I was eager to get a feminine perspective on the industry and, since Erika works so closely with women in the industry, I couldn't wait to find out if women are really exploited in this business or forced to do it or any of the other negative connotations that go into the business.
 (Pictured Above) Erika Icon And Her Client Nikita Von James

Okay, enough of my babbling. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to give you The Rub's Erika Icon!

JOE: Let's start with the question everyone always wonders about, how did you get into the industry and what led you to do publicity?

ERIKA: I’ve had many jobs in different fields, including a short stint as a Diamond Grader for GIA. My last mainstream job was six years as an art director and copywriter for a few different advertising agencies. It was sucking the life out of me. I answered an ad on Craigslist to work for “the Netflix of Porn” (AKA WantedList). I worked there as a DVD buyer, sex advice columnist, and helped start their VOD program. Shane’s World was one of my vendors, and they asked me to do PR on a consultant basis—I was reticent at first, but took the leap and was good at it. When they sold their company, I decided to delve into it full time. Eventually, I left WantedList to start my own PR Company, and that was almost seven years ago.

JOE: Did you always want to be a publicist? How did you know that PR was where you belonged and how did you know that you were meant to do PR for porn stars?

ERIKA: Honestly, the adult industry is the only place I feel I belong—the tats, piercings and big boobs aren’t an issue, and people don’t treat me like a space alien. I’ve done different things in the industry like working for WantedList, but I also was a freelance writer for AVN, XBIZ and YNOT.

JOE: I have to say, The Rub, is the best name for a PR firm for adult entertainment, how did you come up with the name?

ERIKA: All the other PR companies had galaxy or star in the title and I wanted to be different, yet clever. It’s alliteration to Shakespeare’s line from Hamlet…”Therein lies the rub”. It means, “this is the deal”. It’s also a double entendre for rubbing one out.

JOE: What do you look for in a client? What makes a great client? What makes a bad one? And kind of going off that, what can a potential client do to stand out to you in the interview and get signed and what can a potential client do to not get signed by The Rub?

ERIKA: I only work with people I like and think I can help. Usually, I can see something in them. Like when I first started working with Nikki Delano, I remember telling my dad she was the “next it girl”. If I have a full roster, I don’t accept new clients, because I give personalized attention and I can only do that with a certain number of clients. Right now, we have a waiting list.

JOE: I am a mainstream actor and I have a publicist so I know what mine does for her clients but what does a publicist for adult entertainers do? What kind of events or interviews are you getting for your clients? Can you take us through a typical day for you?

ERIKA: There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. We do a lot for our clients, way more than any other PR firm in the industry. We get them places to sign at tradeshows, mainstream projects, endorsement and toy deals, and amazing interviews, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Some of our girls were recently interviewed for Cosmo, Elle and Refinery29. And, I got two clients on reality shows—one already aired (Botched on E! with Kimber James) and Brooklyn Chase is also on a reality show coming out later this year. Three of my girls had substantial roles in a mainstream dramatic movie due out at the end of the year that will be making the rounds of all the major independent film festivals, before being released in theaters. We focus a lot on mainstream, branding and marketing our clients.

JOE: How important is publicity and a social medial presence for your clients? My reps encourage all of us to have social media accounts; do you do the same with your clients?

ERIKA: Social media is extremely important and I encourage them to do Twitter and Instagram. Facebook is hard for the adult industry, because they’re constantly deleting accounts. But, the most important thing about social media is doing it right—always promoting your brand in a positive light and having a plan of how you’re going to market yourself. We show our clients how to use social media effectively and monitor their accounts to make sure they’re not putting themselves in a negative light. Yes, I am the Twitter Police.

JOE: What changes, if any, have you seen in the industry and what are your thoughts on those changes?

ERIKA: There are far less studios—many of the ones that weren’t so great are now gone. Part of this is pirating and people getting free porn, which is now a huge issue in our industry. Pay for your porn, people! You wouldn’t want to go to work and not get paid and/or have someone steal from you. It hurts our industry and means less work for the girls and even directors and makeup artists.

JOE: What kinds of clients do you rep? Only women? Only straight performers? Directors? Studios? Would you ever branch out and rep gay or transgendered performers or drag queens like Chi Chi LaRue who direct porn? What about taking on mainstream clients?

ERIKA: We rep performers, studios and adult-oriented companies. Most of the performers are female, since male performers make less money and can’t always afford it. We’ve worked with t-girls and have a new girl, Jonelle Brooks, starting next month. Right now, we have multiple girls including Karmen Karma, Ashlee Graham, Jada Stevens and Lolly Ink, in addition to adult studio ArchAngel, and radio show Demon Seed Radio that can be heard on adult and mainstream stations. Another studio and a few more girls will be starting with us in the next two months. In the past, we’ve worked with directors, toy companies, and award shows.
We also have a mainstream PR company that we'll be developing more. Some of our clients will be shifting from adult to mainstream, so we will officially launch it in the very near future.


JOE: When should someone get a publicist?

ERIKA: When you are really serious about your career, have something to promote and can afford it for an extended period of time. You have to want to do the work, like promoting yourself on social media, doing interviews and being professional on set and turning out your best performances. As for companies, they should get PR as soon as they can afford it to make sure their product succeeds.

JOE: A lot of people have an idea that all the women in the industry are forced to be there and are exploited and degraded. What are your thoughts on this and what are your views on women working in the industry today?

ERIKA: Women in adult are here because they want to be. No one is doing anything they don’t want. This is a myth that frigid civilian women who think they’re feminists like to promote. Many women are holding key positions in the industry, not just as performers, but also as studio or company owners, publicists, writers, directors, and much more. It’s definitely shifting from just being a man’s world.

JOE: Do you feel that mainstream Hollywood and people in general are becoming more accepting of porn and porn stars? We have porn stars who are guest starring on mainstream TV shows and appearing in studio features, will we eventually see a full fledged bridge of the gap between porn and mainstream and have an industry where people can freely crossover back and forth at will?

ERIKA: Mainstream is much more accepting of adult than they were five or even 10 years ago. I can get my girls in more than just music videos or horror movies. And with Sasha Grey and 50 Shades of Grey becoming mainstream, the market is ready for more adult stars to cross over.

JOE: What do your friends and family think of your job? Was it hard to tell them what you do?

ERIKA: Not all of my family knows, since they are judgmental. I can tell you that my father is very proud of me, especially when The Wall Street Journal and Cosmo interviewed me, and when I got multiple AVN nominations this year for marketing and an XBIZ nod last year.

JOE: Is it hard to have a relationship and work as a PR person for the industry?

ERIKA: Yes, it is because guys think I do movies. I never have, even though I’ve had many offers. They also want to date me to get closer to porn girls and go to the events and/or ask me a million questions about the industry and whom I know. I used to date a porn director and it was good because he understood my job and accepted me for me. But, dating in the industry is hard and I find it better to draw a clear line between work and personal life.

JOE: My publicist also works as a booking agent for some of her clients in terms of acting work, do you do that? If so how do you generally like to pitch clients for projects, interviews and red carpets?

ERIKA: I don’t book the girls adult work—I leave that up to the agents. I will get them mainstream projects, submit them to present awards and also interview people on the red carpet. This year, I got Ashlee Graham on the red carpet interviewing at the XBIZ Awards, and Kayla-Jane Danger interviewed performers and directors during AEE (Adult Entertainment Expo) and on the red carpet and backstage during the AVN Awards.

JOE: Do you think people who work behind the scenes should be honored and recognized more than they are at the various industry award shows?

ERIKA: It would be nice if there were more awards for publicists…hint, hint. NightMoves is the only one that has a PR Award. XBIZ and AVN do marketing awards. Makeup artists, editors and many others are recognized by the AVN Awards.

JOE: Will you stay in the industry? If not, any plans on where you'll be next?

ERIKA: I’m here to stay for now. If my mainstream PR firm starts taking off, I may switch over to the dark side.

JOE: You were recently interviewed by Cosmo for their Sex Work column. Are you a Cosmo fan? What do you think of the column and what it's doing for women in the industry?

ERIKA: I was honored to be interviewed by Cosmo. I don’t do very many interviews, but who would turn down Cosmo?! I am glad they’re doing the series on women in adult, and hope that we earn more respect. Usually when I tell women what I do, they roll their eyes. I’m a businesswoman and comfortable in my sexuality and own skin. They obviously aren’t and that’s sad.

JOE: Is there anyone in the industry, male or female that you admire and look up to?

ERIKA: They are a few women. My client Kayla-Jane Danger would be one because she’s multi-faceted, working as a writer, director and wearing many other hats, and she’s gorgeous. I know Tera Patrick and I’m amazed at what she has done and continues to do. Tristan Taormino is an amazing writer, filmmaker, and sex educator, and doesn’t get the credit she deserves.

JOE: How do you find the clients you rep?

ERIKA: They usually find me. Most of my clients are referrals from present or past clients. I have a good rep, work hard and produce results. Actions speak louder than words and people are watching.

JOE: How many people work for you and The Rub?

ERIKA: There’s my assistant, an intern and me. Yes, a small crew making all the magic happen. LOL

JOE: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be an adult publicist or someone who is thinking about or just entering the industry?

ERIKA: Being an adult publicist is hard work and it takes awhile to make good money. Many people try to do it and don’t realize how much hard work it is. Many fail or quit. There are a few of us who kick ass and get the job done.
As for performers, make sure this is something you want to do. Even if you make one movie, it’s out there forever and can keep you from getting a regular job. And don’t do anything on camera you don’t want to do. Stay true to yourself, work hard and always be professional.

(Pictured Above) Erika Icon And Her Client Julie Simone
Wow! Great interview huh?
I would like to thank Erika for taking the time out of her busy interview to stop by and visit my little blog, especially since she doesn't do many blogs, and giving both me and my readers an awesome inside perspective into the industry!