April 11, 2019 01:24pm
AEE 2019: Ela Darling
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Rich Moreland
Well educated and politically active, Ela Darling is always an intriguing interview.
We begin with virtual reality (VR), apropos because Ela is the chief marketing officer for PVR Fun, an adult headset company.
“It's incredibly good, very lightweight, really good tech,” she says of the product, and “outperforms some of the more mainstream standalone headsets.”
The University of Texas grad has been involved with VR for five years.
“As you know, I created the first ever live broadcasting platform in virtual reality and I'm the world's first VR cam girl,” she declares.
Refusing to stand pat, Ela is learning code and building robots for her new company, Gonzo VR. It’s named after her dog and not porn related.
“VR is basically my life. I'm held hostage by VR robots and I escape the world through my PVR Iris,” she says with amusement.
Ela Darling received her master’s in library science from the University of Illinois, the gold standard for that profession.
“I was a librarian before I made the obvious transition to pornography,” she says matter-of-factly.
Ela is also the former president of APAC (Adult Performer Advocacy Committee) and recently got involved in California politics. She ran for Democratic Assembly District Delegate in her home area.
“I was second runner up which for someone who does porn is pretty cool,” she says. “It was great running with awesome progressives and getting to know the people in my community without [being] laughed out of the house.”
Chalk one up for porn star activism.
Knowing how outspoken Ela is, I ask her to reflect on the #MeToo movement and the adult industry.
“Adult film performers are feeling more emboldened to speak up about their experiences on set with people who act in ways that are unacceptable.”
That is no mean feat because people who report abuse are still “being ignored,” she says
Adult film performers are often marginalized, she adds. The public believes that if you’re a porn girl, what would you expect?
“But there are boundaries in any sexual experience and establishing and respecting those boundaries is paramount, especially in a professional workplace.”
People don’t understand that if a porn model claims she been abused on set, it isn’t easy to go to the police.
“The first thing they do is question your personal decisions. They look for any reason not to believe you and that goes twice as much if you're a sex worker,” Ela says.
To make matters worse, there’s pressure from within the industry to stay silent.
“We have this fear that if we speak up, we're gonna be blacklisted. No one's going to hire us again.”
Nevertheless, Ela is encouraged.
“People are sharing their experiences [but] I don't know that they're being granted the credence they deserve.”
From her end, Ela is there for victims who come forward. “I will always be here to hear them and listen.”
But the issue remains complicated, she says.
“When you're a sex worker, the rest of the world always sees you as a sex worker. You always have discrimination and marginalization.”
On the other hand, for today’s girl there is empowerment unheard of decades ago. Take camming and live broadcasts, for example.
“These days, you have the ability to work a lot more. Your financial opportunities aren't at the whim of someone hiring you. You have more control. You can decide 'I'm not shooting for a studio today, I'm gonna use this time to create something that I can make money off of forever.’”
I bring up the three-legged stool analogy and Ela suggests the modern performer is like a centipede with legs everywhere.
Beyond shooting scenes, feature dancing, and escorting---all choices available to any porn girl---they have other responsibilities.
The Texas native runs through a litany of responsibilities that includes making clips, cam work, production, and editing.
“They do every aspect of the business. They learn to do it themselves so that they can create their own content and own it and maximize their profits off of it.”
And, these days, often without agents.
Of course, stigmas remain, Ela Darling insists, but a girl in the business today exercises her own choices and that’s empowerment.