Anna Bell Peaks is retiring from performing in professional adult scenes at the end of 2018. Turns out, her decision to retire is part of a much bigger plan.
In just four short years in the Adult industry, Peaks made quite the name for herself. Working with top studios and performers, she worked even harder to create unique experiences for her fans that would further elevate her brand.
Making the decision from the beginning to approach her career like running a business, Anna Bell’s learned a lot along the way. Now, she would like to share that information with other performers. “I want young girls in the business to realize they could follow steps like I did and make themselves successful,” Peaks enthuses. “I want them to have an exit strategy and put money away for retirement.”
We spent a few minutes with Anna Bell Peaks to talk about her amazing career, the importance of setting goals and boundaries, and her plans for the future.
I wanted to kick things off by saying congrats on your AVN nomination for “Favorite Pornstar Website.” You run your website yourself, right?
I do. I’ve won twice in that category before for the Inked Awards. I’ve been nominated three times by AVN and never won it, so maybe this year is my year. That’s really incredible that I’m nominated so often. I hope that means people are looking at my site and are impressed with it and sees all the stuff I put on it and how full it always is. I really work hard on it.
I know it’s a lot of work. You have to be part nerd to do that stuff and it’s not always easy.
I am absolutely a full-blown nerd, yes. There’s no “partial” about it. People that really know me – that know more about me than what I do on Brazzers – totally know that I’m a nerd.
Early on in your career you were making responsible, smart decisions that would protect your brand and your finances.
When I started in the business I definitely… I was a businesswoman before I ever got into porn. When I made the decision to enter the industry it wasn’t just, “Oh, let’s have sex!” I decided to run it like a business. I knew to market my name, otherwise no one was going to know I existed. I was going to need to own my content so I could sell it – for the rest of my life, maybe, and have passive income. I put together a really good brand and business plan. That’s the nerd coming out, I’m sorry!
We can’t go any further without mentioning your “MILF Of The Year” nomination. That would be quite the way to close out your career.
Let me tell you how amazing that would be if I actually won any AVN award. But, out of that category, that is an incredible list of amazing women. To have them recognize me and tell me I’m the best out of all of them… I would be so flattered because there are so many great females on that list.
“MILF Of The Year” is such a powerhouse category.
It really is. I prefer MILF. I know where MILF comes from because I’m older and I know what I want. I would say MILFs know what they want. They’re older women that have been through a little bit of life and they know how they want to have sex. They know what turns them on. They know how to make themselves cum. They know what they don’t like and they’re willing to say “I’m not into that.” That’s a really important thing. I like to watch a MILF way more because I know they’re making sexual decisions that they believe in that they actually like. They are going to get pleasured instead of just taking a dick. Some of the young ones, I don’t think they know what they want yet. They’re just there taking a pounding and I’m hoping they learn what they like one day. We know what we like and I’m not afraid to stand up and say, “I’m a grown woman and I’m not into that right there. But, we can make it this way and I’m really into that.” I’m not about saying, “No. I won’t do anything.” I’m about making that scene into something I know is super pleasurable to me. Isn’t that what sex is about?
Not long ago you announced your retirement. How did you know it was time? I’ve heard you say before that you should always have a plan. Was retiring now always part of your plan?
It was, actually. I didn’t have a complete exit strategy, but what I did have was a five-year plan. When I went into porn four years ago, I knew I couldn’t do this the rest of my life. I didn’t want to. I’m a nerd at heart. I want to be a CPA. I want to be life-changing in the business world, not just in the porn world. I knew porn wasn’t a forever thing. I had a five-year plan and knew that I wanted to hit certain goals. I’ve hit most of them. Some were financial goals. I wanted to make sure I saved up this much money and paid off all my loans. I made myself a comfortable retirement goal. I have passive income streams built into my career. You have to have goals and a plan to get out.
You don’t hear phrases like “multiple revenue streams” and “monetizing content” often enough. That’s more important now than ever before because the old business model has been completely shattered.
Correct. It used to be that the only place you could get porn was on video and the only time you could see a girl was when she featured around the country. The revenue stream was totally those two things. You were a contract girl for Wicked or Brazzers and that’s where you made all your income. Now, with the internet and porn everywhere, it’s super important to own the content you have out there. You get paid once to shoot a Brazzers scene, and they pay well. They’re a great company and I love shooting for them. If I shoot a scene and own the content, I can sell it forever. It will take a while to sell as much of that content to make what you’d get paid on a Brazzers scene, but you’re getting paid on it forever. If you do a really good job of monetizing the content that you own and managing it well and putting it up where it needs to be, it will make you a lot more than what you would make on one scene on any professional porn site.
Should camming or having a clips store be a priority?
Absolutely. I got it from the get-go. The truth of the matter for me, if I did nothing but webcam, I’d be bored. It’s like doing something monotonous over and over. Cam is not monotonous. I’m not trying to make it sound negative. I like to do lots of different things. I’m a busy woman. I like to stay active and my mind needs a lot of things going on. For me, it’s about webcamming sometimes. Feature dancing sometimes. Going to conventions sometimes. Shooting professional porn scenes sometimes. I go out on public dates with my fans – nothing private because it’s not super safe. I do Snapchat all day long. All of those things are different things so I’m never bored. I have a YouTube channel where I just post everyday life stuff. Every single one of the things I just mentioned makes me money. Now I have multiple ways I’ve made money and multiple ways to live life without being bored or dull. All of those ways reach different audiences and it helps create a really wide customer base.
The “Revenue Peaks” article in XBIZ World should be required reading for anyone in the industry, especially those just starting out.
One of the things that I’m transitioning into, now that I’m stepping back from producing professional scenes, is a model mentor program. I have a lot of really good information and I want to share it with people. I want people to make good choices and have a five-year plan. I want young girls in the business to realize they could follow these steps like I did and make themselves successful. I want them to have an exit strategy and put money away for retirement. It’s something I believe in strongly and that’s what I do for a living. I manage money. I do taxes. I give professional financial advice. That’s what I did as a CPA and I could do that for girls that really need it.
This sounds like it could be part of the “Roadmap For Performers And Producers” that you mention on your website.
Yes, it is. This is something I really want to do. When performers sign up they’ll get a weekly YouTube video that explains how to set certain things up. It could be branding your name or setting up Microsoft Excel so you can streamline different things. Setting up a “No List” so you know what you’re comfortable with sexually and what you’re not comfortable with. How to withhold taxes and basic strategies. How to open up your income streams to multiple revenues. I can think of 20 to 30 videos I could do right now that would be helpful to somebody. A lot of cam girls know this stuff already. They have to figure it out themselves because that’s what they do for a job. There are people out there trying that may not be successful yet because they don’t have all the tools. I want to give them a way to organize themselves and then put stuff in place to make money.
Is porn empowering for women if it’s handled correctly?
Yes. That is a great statement, actually. If handled correctly, porn is very uplifting for a female. It’s empowering. Females have all the power in the industry. They don’t use it all the time. A women can learn and really feel great in the industry. I’ve never had a bad experience but I also knew when to say “no.” I discussed it with my agent. My agent said, “This person wants to shoot you but I think it’s not what you like to shoot.” I said, “Yes, you’re right. I won’t shoot that. But say ‘thanks’ and if they want me to shoot something a little different, here’s what I will do instead.” I’ll offer an alternative. I might get booked and I might not. You have to be willing to not get booked. I’m sorry, but I’ll never do triple anal penetration. Never. Nope. Not gonna do it. A lot of girls get into that because it’s more money to do butt sex. “OK. Got it. Wait – they’re going to give me even more money if I put two in there? I suppose I could try. Holy crap – look what I’m going to get for three!” You have to be willing to say what’s good for your body and what’s good for your brand. Do you want to be known as the super slut or the sexy MILF or the cosplay girl? Make sure what you’re shooting is in line with what you want personally and professionally.
I’m nervous for the girls that do the sex just for the pay. I swear I can tell when a girl looks like she doesn’t enjoy it. You can see it on her face. Some guys are into that, right? Pound her harder! As a female, I can’t watch that because it looks like she’s in pain. As a female, when you’re watching porn you try to put yourself in the girl’s shoes and I don’t want to be in pain! Click! Next. I tend to watch MILFs and they look like they’re enjoying the hell out of it.
How do you remember your first year in the industry?
I remember my first year being like, “Wow. They like me!” I was amazed. I was getting to work with all these great performers. One of my first scenes was Reality Kings, Bang Bros., Brazzers, Evil Angel. I got shot by the big companies right away. I got to shoot with big names, people I watched in porn. People that performed with me told me I was wonderful – and I really felt great, let me tell ya! I was so surprised and everybody was super nice and professional. This was a really great place that you could express yourself sexually and get paid doing it.
It was so great to catch up with you Anna Bell. Good luck in the next phase of your career. Do you have anything you’d like to say to wrap things up?
I was just notified that I’ll be able to do a meet and greet, a big party bus, and a feature dancing engagement during AVN. Fans have been asking to meet me and hang out with me and now I finally get the chance. I’m excited and will be posting about it all over the place so hit me up on my social media!