In an industry where the commodity for sale is fantasy, it can get very easy to lose yourself. Something that can anchor you to sanity is branding (or you can start to believe your own hype: Be warned). The consistent manner in which you present yourself as an entertainer will help you develop the reputation and following that you prefer, but first you have to define the fantasy you want to offer. Although this link connects to a blog that focuses on branding for corporations, perhaps it will jog some ideas for presenting yourself as a brand: What is your story?
There are a variety of ways in which you might approach this. Ask yourself the following questions: 1) What are my preferences, and will working within my own personal tastes make the job of branding easier for me? 2) If I want to maintain a complete separation between work and home, does working within my preferences hit too close to home? If so, what can I offer my patrons that pleases them but doesn’t undermine me as a person – what can I create that I can be comfortable maintaining? What do I need to preserve that is mine alone and not shared? 3) To what extent do I want to interact with clients, and how much does my work life get appropriated into my private life?
My advice is that you get very specific at first and then tinker as you go. If you are not attracting the type of clients you want, evolve and hone your branding. Everything about your presentation should work toward the single goal of reinforcing your brand. And when you’re not at work, you have to be ready to fall immediately into character whenever you happen to meet a patron in the real world.
Be creative, but find a way to make your image serve you (as opposed to the reverse of that). Avoid being gimmicky, and eschew redonkulous stage names (e.g. Big Daddy Long Stroke, Envy, Juicy <insert noun here>, Baby Caramel, <insert your “cool” city/state of birth here>, Blaze, etc.), unless that type of humor is an integral part to your brand. This is how I created my stage name (GASP! “Devon Hunter” is a stage name???). Do not become a slave to your brand – it should empower you and shield you. Hopefully it is not a burden to you. Here are a few basic archetypes, but you should tailor and/or mix-and-match to create a look/style/demeanor that is specifically your own:
- Twink: generally hairless, lean, and youthful.
- Jock/Athlete/Body Builders (Please don’t say “Sup, bro.” I may have to vomit on you): not age or race specific; look for muscularity and/or athleticism.
- Boy/Guy next door: any type of regular, cute guy who suddenly turns out to be way sexier than expected once undressed.
- The “I’m-just-a-nice-regular-guy-who-is-chill-and-friendly” type (aka “Everyday Joe”): what you see is what you get; no surprises, but no disappointments.
- Rockstar: a flashy guy with a huge personality (and ego?); lots of fun, but don’t expect a quiet time.
- Goth: beautiful in a dark manner; often quiet and introverted, but not necessarily so; often far more gentle and vulnerable than the exterior would belie.
- Rough Trade (gangsters, gangstas, cholos, poor White trash, etc.): use caution, as some people embody this a tad too authentically; be wary around Rough Trade guys that act like Hustlers; otherwise it’s all bullshit (enjoy taking the hot air out of heteronormative masculinity with this one)
- Boyfriend: friendly, complex, pleasing; the perfect fantasy… ahem… FANTASY!
- Bears/Wolves/Cubs/Otters/insert animal here: whatever the age, race, or body type, expect hair
- Bad boy: no particular physical type here, but there’s something dangerous (and therefore alluring) about these guys
- Leather/Latex: whatever the material of preference, and regardless of the age/race/type of the guy doing it, the material is everywhere (clothes, toys, etc.)
- Cowboys (Oh, just go ahead and do all the Village People, you costume queen! LOL)
- Culturally specific archetypes: please do not embarrass yourself pretending to be something you’re not (White guys dressed in Japanese clothing), or embodying a stereotype that is cringe worthy (Black guys dressed in “authentic” African costumes)
- Kink/Fetishes: is outside my realm of knowledge. Seek specific communities that discuss your interests. Be safe (within reason)!!
A few basic modalities:
- Live performers (dancers, cam models, phone models, etc.) – Make sure that your clothing, movement, facial expressions, voice, language, demeanor, and all other forms of interaction with patrons falls in line with the brand/mood/fantasy you are interested in sharing. Anytime you are in a performance (of whatever kind) you should be 100% “Insert Stage Name.” Most performances are about 15-30 minutes. Go rest in the dressing room, but when you are visible for any reason (working the floor of the club, waiting in a public room to do a private chat, etc.) make sure you are “on.” Whatever style you choose, make sure it offers you the protection you want without being forced and fake.
- Video models – As with live performers, you have to pay attention to all forms of communication; however, you can turn the performance on and off with the camera. Bear this in mind: You will probably supplement your income with other modalities of entertainment, so be sure to know your brand well enough to turn it on and keep it on when your viewers (who are normally invisible and separate from you) are standing only a few inches away. You can go to the dressing room to rest and recharge when your character and/or patrons use up your internal resources.
- Escorts – The advice is the same; however, you will need to create a fantasy you can maintain for extended, intimate lengths of time. For this reason I have decided that I am my own best brand. It would exhaust me to try to pretend to be something or someone else. This, however, may not be possible for you. We all have different personalities and needs. I need transparency. Other people need fantasy. I would utterly fail as a fetish model/escort. It’s not in me. That might be perfect for you (and it may or may not be an accurate reflection of your personality outside of work). Escorts, in particular, should take very great care to offer of themselves only that which is available to share.
Consider this as well: The unintended interaction. How will you handle it when you meet people who know you from Adult Entertainment gigs? Do not assume all accidental interactions are necessarily bad. In general, people are not trying to embarrass, undermine, or surprise you. They are often excited to see someone attractive who made them happy, and they sometimes react without necessarily thinking about consequences. There are mean/hateful/vindictive/fearful/ignorant people, too. Have a plan, make sure your inner circle knows how to follow along, and rehearse it in your head. Be ready to fall into character with a moment’s notice: GET USED TO RESPONDING TO YOUR PROFESSIONAL NAME AS IF IT WERE YOUR LEGAL NAME. A few instances where patrons might cross the line into personal space:
- Recognizing you while you are out shopping/running errands alone
- Evolving into stalkers
- Approaching you while you are out with friends/family
- Creating (un?)intentional effects on romantic relationships
- Beginning to confuse fantasies with romantic feelings
- Bumping into you at an unrelated job
- Starting (un?)planned chatting/social networking encounters