"As for p.c. culture, I don't believe it exists. I mean, kids in Christian camp are screwing on the bus and senators are getting blown in bathroom stalls. We're all doing wild shit!"
July 19th, 2012

Jackie Belle Adult Website Talent Booker

Jackie Belle is an events administrator and talent booker for Kink.com, a San Francisco-based adult entertainment website. We've known Jackie for a long time, and we are delighted that she agreed to untangle the fact from fiction behind working in this oft-maligned industry.

What exactly do you do at Kink.com?

My title is Event Assistant in the talent department. My day to day work takes on three main forms: booking, check reconciliation, and quality assurance. I book for the femme/domme sites at Kink — Divine Bitches, Whipped Ass, and Electro Sluts. The sites’ directors, Maitresse Madeline and Bobbi Star send talent requests, and I then contact adult model agencies and local models for shoots a month in advance per the lists they submit. Quality assurance is by far the weirdest thing I do. I watch content, mainly for the Upper Floor, on fast forward looking for, or confirming that everyone that attended, but especially if they “played,” and were added to the shoot and were appropriately documented. Sometimes I watch other sites for production quality assurance. In these cases I am watching to make sure the shoot complies to Kink.com’s shooting rules. I watch the shoots super fast. I call it “earthquaking” because of all the rapid humping!

What is the Upper Floor?

Upper Floor is a live feed, 24/7 BDSM “Edwardian house” taped on the entire top floor of the San Francisco Armory. The site is a nontraditional model for generating BDSM content. The premise originated from the site founder and owner of Cybernet Entertainment, Peter Actworth, who lived in the Armory. He had several “house slaves” that served him, but now there is a community of “house members” that come for play parties. Adult content is generated at the parties where members of the Bay Area and Northern California kink community play. I used to work there and ensure that everyone that attended the events had the required legal documentation to comply with Federal 2257 law.

Can you tell me a little about why you became interested in working in adult entertainment?

Indigence! I was a student looking for summer work. The preceding summer I cleaned the Anthropologie store in Union Square. It involved cleaning a semi-public bathroom in downtown San Francisco. It was pretty soul wrenching, so I was determined to find something a little better — easier on the spirit and the knees.

Going from Anthropologie to hardcore kink is quite a leap! I’m curious how you got from A to BDSM. Like, did you have an interest in the adult industry in some capacity?

Well I got from “A to B” doing “D” — roller derby. I am a quad roller skating enthusiast and have been a member of the Bay Area Derby Girls for three years. One of my teammates worked in the talent department at Kink, had a special short-term project, and needed a temporary employee desperate for money. The night before my first day at Kink, I was nervous and unsure, basic “new job” stuff: what should I wear, will they ask me sexual questions, will I be uncomfortable, will I seem cool. It was never a difficult decision, more a desperate one. This was the summer leading into my Master’s thesis year. Incidentally, working at Kink rapidly reshaped my thesis prospectus and did become an “academic” interest if only provisionally.

What sort of evolution or reframing of values did you go through to work in this industry? Have you learned anything? Are there still things that bug you about it all?

I think policing desires — one’s own or by some sort of moral majority — never works. For example, I want there to be a place for say, “race play.” Still, these images generated for pleasure negatively shape the public’s and even my own picture of black womanhood. To put it simply, sometimes it bums me out. I am talking about black women in porn which have very specific codes and visual themes.

Yet here you are upsetting p.c truisms as a black woman working in the most hardcore, not necessarily “violent,” but let’s say, “physical” and objectifying sex you can find. 

I have some really strong, unresolved feelings about histories of black people, desire, and “exchange,” and, to be clear, I think pornography in general and even some work at Kink are deeply racist and problematic. They depend on, rather than complicate or dismantle, the knotty intersection of race and sex. Sometimes I find this really stimulating. For example, the language used — slave, master, bull — are all deeply coded and tethered to race and gender. As for p.c. culture, I don’t believe it exists. I mean, kids in Christian camp are screwing on the bus and senators are getting blown in bathroom stalls. We’re all doing wild shit!

 

*Interview by Arden Sherman