Since starting this blog, I have had the opportunity to interview a lot of people in the sex industry. They’ve expressed to me that working in pornography isn’t all peaches and cream. Beyond the backlash one faces with family and the community in general, only huge names make reasonable profits. With porn being fairly easy to make and accessible for free on the Internet; the people who work in the industry make less and less money these days. Even those that have steady gigs with an agency, still never make as much as that company. Also, let’s face it; one has a shelf life as a porn star. At the end of the day, you better have something to fall back on, or you could land in some serious financial trouble. When the money is good and the work is steady, okay. But, when the well runs dry; how are you going to pay your rent? I always ask the models that I interview, about their moves after porn. It is an extremely valid and concerning issue.
I had the great pleasure of meeting James Johnston and Kathee Claudio last week at Wicked Grounds cafe. They’ve created a website dedicated to solving this problem for models. They are the founders of playpen.com. Playpen.com is a site dedicated to model empowerment and facilitates an easier way for fans to access their favorite on-screen sex name. Playpen was a long-held dream of James Johnston. James considers himself a typical story of a misguided youth who came from a privileged household. He ran away from home and resolved to crime, often breaking into houses and burglarizing them. Ultimately he was caught and arrested and in result; spent five and a half years in prison. Prison was full of self growth and inner analysis, where James figured out what he wanted, from the rest of his life.
When he was released from prison he was energized and ready to turn over a new leaf. He was married and had a child, so providing for his family was the biggest concern. With big vision in mind, still sadly; James found himself working dead-end jobs that he hated. He wasnt making any money and started to become very discouraged. Eventually he became a sex escort and an independent hustler. He said: “I was escorting, selling used clothes, and doing phone sex. I was incorporating it all through a hub where I could manage people and cross-promote myself to a certain degree. But, it was very bootlegged. So I went on to try to start an adult website. I had no technical knowledge but I was great at marketing the site through the use of social media.” He really just did not have the technical skills to make it a long-term endeavor, so he put it on e-bay and sold it. In the process of attempting to sell it he met some people who wanted to mentor him in the adult industry. “I really enjoyed the marketing. I was building a social media and nobody was really doing it at that time. My mentor taught me how to use that, and do it with all the sites that were out there.” He went onto Craigslist and YouTube- ultimately making a lot of money as an affiliate through marketing.
James also learned about the adult community and discovered a group of life mentors that have remained strongly present along his journey. He became really good friends with the folks at kink.com . (Which is easy to do. I love the folks at kink.com !) Coincidentally James never lost his vision of an adult site that empowered models, and allowed them to make more money for themselves; while helping fans have more access to their favorite porn stars. His story took a turn when he met Kathee Claudio, through a mutual friend. Kathee worked at YouTube, when James was using it to market for adult sites. After a year of internet business connections, the real life introduction finally came. What neither of them expected was to meet a life partner, beyond business partner. James said after that first day of meeting Kathee, he knew he was in love. The dream was forged and the connection was what enabled Playpen.com to become a reality.
Kathee Claudio: “I am the Vice President and Co-Founder of Playpen. I have over 10 years of experience in Advertising Operations in the following ad mediums: publisher content, in-game, video, IM, blogging, and mobile. I have worked full-time and or consulted for the following companies: CNET Networks, Double Fusion, YouTube, Meebo, Sugar Inc, and 4INFO. At YouTube, I managed and built the Global Partners Ad Operations and the Global Partner Program that allows Premium Partners to sell into their videos on YouTube. When I am passionate about something I go full throttle. I was an avid snowboarder until I had major knee surgery. For eight years while working full-time at many of the aforementioned companies I would spend any break I had to fly to Vail and teach snowboarding to kids. I previously competed in boarder cross & slalom snowboarding and won medals in each. As a competitor and nerd, my sexual drive is excessive and publicly repressed by society. Most of society has had sex, but many repress the act of discussing it and even look down upon the act of being freely sexual. “Keeping it in the bedroom” is not only sad to me, but completely un-sexy. Playpen not only empowers the models to own their sexuality, it empowers any user to be apart of a larger community over any niche to openly comment on their sexual being in a very safe environment. It’s my job to make sure the site, the company, and the vision progresses and fulfills it’s mission.”
Playpen.com is truly a labor of love of two people who have a vision for a sex-positive world, not just the local community. The world would be a better place if people knew how to be comfortable and open with their sexuality.I think that time is coming. By embracing our sexuality we are all helping bring down the barriers that keep sex, sexuality, fantasy and fetish, locked away in the closet. Playpen.com gives porn models a way of taking charge of destiny. James has been through it and understands what it is to be that model. It is time for models to have more future and security.
Playpen.com allows the models to develop a fan base and generate more fans, while aiding in fan interaction. It gives the fans a much more personalized and gratifying experience. Fans can actually connect with their favorite sexy sirens and have a more fulfilling experience, than they would from just watching a porn. Webcamming is huge because the interacting is with a real live human being, so playpen.com offers that as one of their perks.
James and Kathee are an amazing powerhouse, and it was truly inspiring to meet them and do this blog. I think that what they are doing with playpen.com is a huge step for the porn industry. They are good people, aiding in the progression of the sex positive community. I think that this site is going to be huge and I think they have only scratched the surface of the many ideas that will continue to stem from this dream. We need more people like this in our community!
Check out playpen.com and playpenreport.com which explains their mission statement and intentions.
Stay with me folks, Nancy Peach’s BDSM show at the Jellyfish Gallery was fucking hot, and the Sunday Sex Brunch the next day was even better. This slutty writer has many more tricks up her sleeve, as the clock ticks on my one year experiment.
Fleur De Lis SF
Follow Fleur de Lis SF at her blog: http://fleurdelissf.wordpress.com