Calling all Models! Pornhub is proud to sponsor the Sex Work Survival Guide career summit, a free-to-attend, online expo for Models and sex workers. This virtual event includes keynote speakers with discussions on legal rights, tax information, creating multiple streams of revenue and much more. We spoke with Katarina Pierce, one of the passionate founders of SWSG for all the details on what Models can find at the summit. Katarina “The Domme Kat” offers advice for new performers, debunks harmful stereotypes, and offers critical insight on the pressing issues that sex workers face today.
Tell us about yourself! How did you get involved in adult entertainment?
Hi! I’m Katarina “The Domme Kat” Pierce! I also go by Domina Katarina if I have subbies using an honorific. I’m a professional Dominatrix, a fetish wrestler and a smut performer. Professionally, I’ve been doing this since 2017 or 2018. It’s difficult to remember when lifestyle turns pro. I started out slow; I worked for three whole days in a dungeon. I was a journalist before I was a sex worker and I told them so in my email. After three days of working, they sent me an email saying, “Hold up, you’re a writer? We can’t have you work here!” So, they fired me. Sometime before that, I got banned from eBay for trying to sell socks. Starting out flying solo can be rough!
What is the goal of the Sex Work Survival Guide?
The goal of the Sex Work Survival Guide is to ensure that no one has to go it alone. You aren’t alone, you have a community. Sometimes, it’s just a question of finding us. The main goal is to ensure that life-saving information and harm-reduction information that will minimize the risk of sex workers getting hurt mentally and physically, arrested, or killed isn’t gatekept.
How did the Sex Work Survival Guide start?
The SW Survival Guide started because life-saving information has been gatekept in our community, or been made difficult to find because of censorship and lack of networking between platforms. I’m a white, cis Dominatrix, so I have privilege on privilege, and I couldn’t access life-saving information. Not all mistakes are survivable in our industry, our learning curve can be deadly. I thought, "What about those who don’t have the privileges I have?" It just seemed completely asinine that survival was a luxury only for a few to afford and enjoy.
Myself, director and activist Tiana (AKA Glittersaurus Rex), and fellow educator Lola Jean were the producers of the first event in 2021. I thought it would be me in my living room on Jitsi or 8x8, but Pornhub sponsored the event and hosted it on their site. With that sponsorship money, we were able to pay our keynote speakers and our panelists, which was fantastic because we want to offer these resources for free (but people still should be paid for their work and for their time). Platforms that make money off sex workers should be supporting us, so we were glad to see Pornhub taking those steps. We believe in community call in rather than call out, and we welcome those who take the chances to do better.
Who is the summit for?
The summit is for sex workers from every single corner of our wonderful world: online, in person, street-based, cam models, porn performers, fetish wrestlers, phone sex operators… everyone! And they are free for sex workers and allies. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in this industry for 18 decades (bless you, you are a hell of a GILF) or if you were just thinking about dipping your toe in our sexy little pool, you’re welcome to join us and learn.
How was the turnout of the 1st edition?
The 2021 inaugural Sex Work Survival Guide conference was unbelievable. We were blessed with 3,000 virtual guests who came through during the two-day conference. We had panelists like Asa Akira, King Noire, Mistress Velvet, Jet Setting Jasmine, Sinnamon Love, Natassia Dreams, Ana Foxxx, Lotus Lane, Boomer Banks, Wolf Hudson, James Darling, Mickey Mod, Rex Whamming, Lana Luxor… I could go on and on listing the incredible humans that were there to share their wisdom and experience in the industry. Jasmine and Sinnamon will be back this year!
We also had keynote speakers and we covered topics from mental health, in-person safety, online safety, the legal ramifications of working in the adult industry when you have children, setting up an LLC, copyrighting your work, bitcoin, digital wallets, what to do when encountering a cop. We tried to get everything you need for your first day on the job in one conference!
We continued that spirit and covered more topics last year after we officially became a non-profit and held free monthly speaker series with speakers like Go Ask Alex who spoke on disability, Miss Juliette who gave a self-defence demo, and Dr. Christopher Awwad who spoke about gender-affirming healthcare.
What can Models find at the career summit this year?
This summit is focusing on our businesses because we are small business owners after all! Yes, we need to survive, but we also deserve to thrive!
This year, we have keynote speeches and moderated discussions on:
Optimizing Your Content
Creating Multiple Streams of Income
Cultivating Longevity in the Industry
Public Relations without a Publicist
Protecting & Monetizing your Brand
Building Political Power through Culturally-Component Civic Engagement
Knowing Your Rights
Utilizing & Supporting Community
Sustainable Product Development
The Aftermath of Being Doxxed
The summit is virtual, but it’s going to be expo style, so as you listen to the panelists and the speakers, you can also visit the vendors. The speakers and the moderated discussions will be recorded so that if you miss anything you can always go back and listen in.
The vendors are various sex-worker-friendly businesses that you can talk to, ask questions, and see if you’d like to avail of their services. We have tax experts, PR experts, website development, marketing and brand development, and a whole lot more.
What are you most excited for this year?
I’m really excited about all the support we’ve been getting! Sometimes it’s a little overwhelming, because we're just three board members, but overwhelming in a good way! The board is made up of me, Tiana, and Dr. Ash Dark who was a speaker in our first conference. Ash, the third board member in our non-profit, is a tax goddess who owns DiTa Inc., a tax service for alternative businesses. So, we’re planning the 2022 summit during her busy tax season! (Agents of Chaos! haha)
What can Models do to support the initiative?
Oh my gosh! Please follow us on social media! Share any of our promo about the summit! We would totally appreciate that. And come! Come through on May 1! The summit runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. ET. Instagram: @swsurvivalguide & Twitter: @swsurvivalguide
What misconceptions do people have about the adult industry you want to address?
There are two misconceptions, mainly. One is that it’s easy work. This can be seen, for example, in new foot models who think they can earn easy anonymous money. You won’t pay for your wedding that’s six months away by posting your toes on Instagram. Nothing happens super-duper fast on a fan club site if you don’t already have fans.
The second misconception is that we are simple beasts of burden. For example, when people who claim to be allies of sex workers — but are truly opportunists — make money off the backs of sex workers. This happens when our labor and our content is used without us getting payment or credit; or when credit is taken for our work and ideas. Particularly since our industry is an industry that is overwhelmingly non-white, it’s of course Black and Brown people and the transgender community who constantly get screwed the hardest.
courtesy of Katarina Pierce
What advice do you have for new Models starting out? What mistakes do you often see newbies make?
Your boundaries are your boundaries! Write them down! You can have your boundaries violated so quickly that you won’t realize it until months later, when you realize you’ve been spiraling and your mental health has been suffering. Write your boundaries down! Write them down and write down what you do and do not do. As soon as someone asks you to work with them, send them that document! If they bring up any of your hard limits or try to push you on any of them, tell them you are not working together. Feel free to share that name with your community. Tea is how we keep each other safe.
We should mention, being able to turn down gigs and clients — including being able to screen clients — is a privilege. But no one should ever make you feel bad for maintaining your own boundaries. You won’t enjoy longevity in this industry or even as a human being on this earth without respecting your own boundaries. If you don’t respect your own boundaries, no one else will. If anyone in your life has ever made you feel like your boundaries are negotiable, I am here to tell you they are not. I’m not an expert and you don’t have to believe me about anything else but believe me on this.
Another big lesson I learned when I started as a FemDom was that it’s OKAY to say sorry. You aren’t infallible. Communication and honesty help build trust between you and your subs. I really wish the rest of the world lived by the communication and consent code that the BDSM world does. I feel safest when there is clear communication. Building a safe container means I get to go wild within it!
What is a pressing issue for sex workers today that Models and viewers should be aware of that is often overlooked?
Every single issue that we face, from problems with banks closing our accounts saying our money is “tainted” because it comes from legal sex work, to being pushed underground when we are de-platformed by social media platforms that were built on the backs of sex workers but then decide they don’t want sex workers anymore (looking at you OnlyFans), to decriminalization, to FOSTA/SESTA and EARN IT Act, to the conflation of sex trafficking and consensual adult entertainment, everything has a common thread: sex workers told you this was coming.
It affects us first and then starts to creep into the civilian world and it upsets y’all, but y’all didn’t listen when we were screaming into the void. Listen to sex workers. Not that we have to prove our worth, but don’t forget that we’re lawyers, doctors, PhDs, nurses, journalists, librarians, sociologists, psychologists, licensed therapists, parents, accountants, bankers, insurance agents.
Most importantly, we’re experts in our own experiences, and that’s the part that matters. Truly, that’s the only thing on the resume that matters when you are looking for experts in the life experiences of a sex worker.
I’m a creative. Regardless of your morality or your thoughts on my art, I’m an artist. I’m making films in a field that is allowing a woman who wasn’t fully welcomed by male-dominated production sets run by dudes with tech boners in the vanilla world, to pick up a camera and make beautiful pictures. I create experiences for people, whether it’s connection that they crave, a moment of pleasure in this world or just a mental vacation. This job takes brains, business acumen, money acuity and emotional intelligence, in addition to the ability to navigate your life while managing the repercussions of stigma. My opinions are valid, and so is every sex workers’.
Where do you hope to see the SWSG in 5 years?
I’m trying to see what five weeks from now would look like! Haha! Definitely continuing free resources with more outreach to and involvement from the community. One thing that I have a hard time doing (and it makes sense as a Dominatrix) is relinquishing control. And it also makes sense that as a sex worker, I have some trust issues, but one of the things about building community is learning that it really does take a village to do these things! No one can do these things alone and when you do things as a community, that’s when you can accomplish undertakings you never imagined! It’s okay to have healthy skepticism and to protect yourself; that has kept you alive and helped you survive this long, but it’s okay to lean on other people. There are good people in our community and there are people who are moving through our industry supporting others and actively making it their mission to cause the least amount of harm. One of Sex Work Survival Guide’s missions is to uplift those voices.
We have a list of great sponsors this year! We have a couple of giveaways, so you can come and get some goodies from our sponsors and vendors. The incredible Know Your Rights crew is going to have a Spanish interpreter. And we are working on captions — not just for the playback — but for the live broadcast.
Donations are being collected to help support Sex Work Survival Guide’s free programming in the upcoming year and the Caribbean Equality Project.
Don’t forget that you can watch the playback of the 2021 conference on our Pornhub page as well as on the Pornhub’s Sexual Wellness Center. You can read a little bit about the fantastic contributors to the conference, the topics that they covered and watch the captioned videos.