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Alison Rey: Challenging the Status Quo for Success

Alison Rey: Challenging the Status Quo for Success

Alison Rey was always the responsible kid. Under constant pressure from conservative Catholic parents, she felt like her value was measured solely by her academic success. She was the only girl in her junior high honors math class, then an overachieving straight-A student once she moved on to an all-girls high school.

It wasn’t until Rey finally moved out to go to college that she finally felt free to be herself. Suddenly emboldened by having enough independence and privacy to fully explore her sexuality, she hooked up with a slew of guys those first few months on campus, relishing her new experiences.

Dealing with the stigma of sex work has been the biggest catalyst for positive change in my life.

With one person she started dating, Rey quickly discovered a common interest: swinging. This was something she had always been curious about, so they went on a swingers website. The first couple they met, the female partner turned out to be an adult performer. Also a student, she told Rey about her experiences traveling to California to shoot for one week each month, then coming back home and devoting the other three weeks to her course work without distraction, thanks to the high pay.

Rey was working as a nanny at the time, and finding it increasingly difficult to juggle both work and her studies. She had previously struggled with more conventional jobs, since her class schedule would change every six months and the bosses she encountered were inflexible about her shifts. Now she was intrigued by the prospect of adult work as a possible solution. Besides, she loved sex!

Of course, she had plenty of questions. Her performer acquaintance was kind enough to help coordinate a visit to the set of a Nubiles Films shoot, so Rey could see what it was like.

That did the trick. Rey felt very turned on by the experience, and excited to try performing herself. At first she thought of it as a temporary job, just a way to make some extra money while she studied to be a therapist. But when graduation came and went, she realized that wasn’t what she wanted and decided to get serious about her performing career.

Now, nearly a decade later, Rey has starred in nearly 500 scenes for every major studio and landed multiple award nominations. She has racked up more than a hundred thousand fans on social media and created a successful indie content business, offering her followers intimate, self-produced videos. The pro skills she has gained on set have served her well as a self-shot creator, enabling her to interweave her indie and studio careers into a synergizing whole.

As this month’s cover star, she opens up about her journey thus far, her approach to industry longevity and her goals for the years to come.

XBIZ: How has being an adult performer changed your life over the years?

REY: When I started, I was battling a lot of internal shame. Growing up Catholic, just having sex outside of marriage would send you to hell, so I couldn’t even imagine what sort of moral peril I was putting myself in doing this job! To cope, I told myself it was only for a little while and that I didn’t “need” to be doing this work. But I was doing it because I wanted to do it, for sexual pleasure. It was definitely a holier-than-thou perspective, and one I deeply regret. Yet having that deeply rooted Catholic shame whilst doing this job helped me challenge my own belief systems in ways that I don’t think I ever would have if I hadn’t entered this industry.

Doing this job teaches you a lot about how to love and respect yourself, because much of society won’t when you are in this profession, so you have to be able to give that to yourself. And with that, came a lot of self-confidence about my physical appearance that I didn’t have before.

Dealing with the stigma of sex work has been the biggest catalyst for positive change in my life; it helped me realize that I am capable of building wealth for myself, learning new skills and providing a life for myself, while helping me see that what I truly desire is an equal partnership. Being in this industry has brought me closer to who I truly am and to figuring out what it is that I really want out of life, rather than going after the cookie-cutter suburban life that many of us are conditioned to believe that we want.

XBIZ: Talk about a few of the biggest professional milestones you’ve achieved in your nearly decade-long career.

REY: One of my favorite milestones to date, which came very quickly after the start of my career, was being on the cover of Hustler’s Barely Legal. When it happened, I just thought it was the coolest thing ever and it was very validating.

The next big milestone came a few years later, when I was nominated for best supporting actress at an awards show. Features have always been my favorite projects. To be recognized for my work in Sweet Sinner’s “The Call Girl” was incredible, and although I didn’t win, the nomination still meant a lot to me. I also received XBIZ nominations for best girl/girl sex scene in 2021 and 2023.

As my studio career has gone on, I have also gotten involved behind the scenes. In 2021, I directed a limited docuseries for Adult Time called “Between the Sheets With Alison Rey,” where I would interview couples in the industry, visit them in their homes and get a peek into their real lives that they don’t necessarily show the world all the time. Now, I work with Adult Time’s social media marketing team, mostly overseeing their TikTok account.

XBIZ: When did you begin focusing on creating your own content and what platforms are you now most active on?

REY: It was in 2019 that I went full speed ahead with independent content creation. I had done several content trades during my career before that, and had some videos up on clip stores, but I was not consistently updating them like I am today. I’m most active on OnlyFans for one-on-one interactions, and I have an assistant who helps me stay active on ManyVids, Clips4Sale, Pornhub, etc. I do plan on launching a premium no-PPV Fansly account in the near future, so that’s something fans can look forward to.

XBIZ: What do your fans most often request from you as a creator, and what is your signature content style?

REY: I actually get a lot of requests for hypnosis content as well as daddy role-plays. A lot of those fans frequently comment on my acting skills and cite them as the reason why I am their favorite content creator. Although I don’t shoot a lot of that content outside of custom video requests, it is fun to indulge fans in their taboo fantasies.

Lately, my content style has been all about authentic experiences. When I shoot with another content creator, I generally don’t edit out our water breaks, our banter and our awkward transitions from one position to another. I think it’s really important for people to see real sex in porn. There are plenty of creators out there that pander to pure fantasy, and I know that type of content is more profitable, but I have found that I am happiest having real connections on camera, and the fans that watch me are typically genuine people that I can have real conversations with, rather than a one-sided or transactional relationship.

When I started in this industry, I was mainly interested in having sex with attractive people and having a good time. I didn’t plan to be a social media personality or an editor! So tailoring my content to my personal interests has made this career much more fulfilling for me.

XBIZ: How do you handle collabs with other talent, and who brings out your very best on screen?

REY: When I collaborate with other talent, it’s typically people that I have already met in real life and whose company I enjoy. Because I am looking to have authentic pleasure in my content, I’m not really interested in shooting with Joe Schmo who hits up my DMs on Twitter. Chemistry for me is all about personality, and unfortunately, it’s hard to gauge someone’s true personality based on their online persona, which is why I generally choose to shoot content trade with people who I have met on set or at a work function.

I have a series on my OnlyFans that I call “First Time Fridays,” which focuses on doing something — or someone — for the first time. When I approach creators to shoot together, I let them know about this series and I also ask them what sells for them. For the most part, people love the idea of shooting something candid. Once in a while, I will have a creator that wants to focus on the production and the angles more than the experience, but I find that as long as we set up two cameras, it doesn’t interfere much with the sex itself.

When it’s another female creator, we will typically document our first time together, then shoot one or two more scenes and some fetish content. When I collaborate with people for the second or third time, we’re usually very focused on making a good product, but this has been my favorite series to shoot so far because the fans love seeing how we navigate consent and explore each other’s bodies for the first time.

XBIZ: Describe your strategy for marketing your pro studio scenes, your own content and yourself as a brand.

REY: I wish I had a magical answer for your content-creating readers who might be looking for advice! But honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out myself. I didn’t go to school for business or marketing. I’m just learning as I go. For the most part, I post a photo on all of my platforms the day before a scene drops and the day that it’s released. I will also retweet studio scenes when I get notifications about them.

As for TikTok, since my brand centers around authenticity, I mostly share about my personal life rather than directly promoting my work. I find that I get a good conversion rate there, just because people like who I am as a person and want to support me. If it wasn’t already clear, I actually do not have much strategy in my marketing! I know that I have a long way to go as an independent content creator on that front. Thankfully, I do have a wonderful, albeit small, team that helps me stay on top of distributing my content and promoting it and I would probably be totally lost without them.

XBIZ: What’s your approach to staying on top of your responsibilities while also taking care of yourself?

REY: I have implemented a productivity system from a book called “The 12-Week Year,” which has been a major part of my life since early 2022. It has not only helped me to prioritize my professional goals, but also to achieve personal ones that have improved my quality of life. It allows me to get really focused on those goals, while feeling completely at peace during my free time, because I have planned for it ahead of time. For anyone looking to create a better work/life balance, I cannot recommend this book enough. It is, without a doubt, the single most effective tool that I have ever used, and your girl loves a daily planner. I won’t lie, it’s definitely for Type A personalities! But it has the potential to alter the course of your life in profound ways. You can thank me later.

XBIZ: Speaking of work/life balance, what are a few of your passions, hobbies or favorite leisure activities when you’re not working?

REY: I’ve been rediscovering hobbies that I loved as a child and getting a lot of joy from that. I also have ADHD tendencies so I do tend to get hyperfocused on one activity, only to abandon it a few months later, then come back to it after several years. I have far too many interests for the limited amount of free time on my calendar, but I enjoy painting, sewing, reading, doing yoga, journaling, doing puzzles, camping, snowboarding, country line dancing, playing board games, raving, arts and crafts, to name more than a few.

XBIZ: How do you cultivate a support system, either inside the industry or outside?

REY: My primary support system has always been my romantic partner, but this was a particularly difficult year in my love life, so I have had to work on my relationships outside of my romantic partnership. First and foremost, I see a therapist twice per week. I truly believe they are the best support system you will ever have, and if you think you don’t need therapy because it’s for “broken people,” I promise you that you probably need it more than most.

Second, I have really made an effort, this year in particular, to reach out to friends to talk about how I’m feeling, especially friends who have experience with what I’m going through. I used to be somebody who pretended I was fine all the time, but that just made me lonely. Being vulnerable with people has really strengthened a lot of these relationships, because they in turn are coming to me to talk about their feelings.

It’s a really empowering thing to know that you’re not alone, but it’s nearly impossible to realize that when you are keeping everything inside for fear of being a burden on others. This has been a big year for self-growth and learning that it’s OK to need people and to reach out and ask for help.

XBIZ: What are a few of your ambitions for the coming year?

REY: As I mentioned before, I’d really like to start a premium subscription page for my most devoted fans, and I see that goal coming to fruition fairly quickly this year. I’ve also been toying with the idea of filming my first studio-shot anal scene in celebration of 10 years in this industry. And I’d really like to do another feature movie! I didn’t film one in 2023 and I’m itching to dive into another script and character again. Lastly, there are still a few studios that I have never shot for, and I’d really like to make some debuts with Brazzers, Vixen Media Group, Dorcel and Bellesa.

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