We talked to the guy from ‘Hot Girls Wanted’ about what it’s like to be a porn agent

riley reynolds

Some people think the Netflix documentary is a condemnation of sex work. Riley Reynolds thinks it’s good business.

Florida native Riley Reynolds is the literal face of pornography thanks to Hot Girls Wanted, a new documentary that follows the work and personal lives of the young women he books for porn shoots through his agency, Hussie Models

Directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus (Sexy Baby) and produced by actress Rashida Jones, the documentary posits that young women are seduced into emotionally and physically hazardous work via the Internet, aided by exposure to a pornified popular culture. It has been both hailed by anti-pornography campaigners as an expose of America’s porn industry and criticized as reductive and cavalier about the data it presents by industry workers and supporters.

During Reynold’s on-screen time, he comes off as an entrepreneurial young man whose chosen hustle is particularly camera-friendly. Hot Girls Wanted shows him posting ads on Craigslist, talking to potential hires on the phone, and managing a household of five young porn performers, keeping them happy with a puppy named Ducati and driving them to shoots. He comes off less as a porn Svengali and more as a den father of sorts. 

While the film focuses on the women, Reynolds is an interesting character in his own right, an entrepreneur who has carved out a niche in a business that depends on his ability to connect with them.

Netflix

On Wednesday, Reynolds spoke to the Daily Dot via Skype. He was joined by two performers, Kimmy Granger and Adrian Maya, who currently live in one of his Hussie Houses (he’s expanded to two, up one from the time of filming) and his two dogs. 

Now 25, the Tampa native was 23 and relatively new to the business during the Hot Girls Wanted shoot. He started as a performer but worked as an agent from his first day in the business, when an industry contact in Miami told him that bringing in other performers was a way to increase his income.

“I’m dating my girlfriend, and she broke up with me for this guy who she friend-zoned all her life, so I said, ‘Fuck you, I’m doing porn.’ And that’s how I started,” he said. “I represented guys for about six months and I was killing it doing that, and then I represented like my first girl and I made quadruple the money.”

Reynolds places ads online to find new performers, or he’s contacted by young women who find him on Twitter or the agency’s site. His vetting process involves finding out if the girls like to party, so he can weed out potential heavy drug users. He also likes to suss out their motivations for doing porn, and most crucially, get multiple forms of ID to make sure they are of age.

“I’ve had a parent get mad because her daughter was over here and she refused to come home, and so her grandma decided to send the authorities over. She tried to say ‘He’s trafficking underage girls.’ The cops have come a couple of times. They’re friendly,” he said.

“The cops have come a couple of times. They’re friendly.”

When the girls fly out and start working, Reynolds tells them about the business side of things—to save all their receipts for filing taxes, how the shoots will work, etc. He delegates general porn education to the veteran performers in the house, who act as mentors to the new girls.  

“It was a blessing when I first began to have them giving me advice on how to act, what I should do, what I should say to certain people, what I should wear for certain sets. I can’t even explain it. We are so close,” said Kimmy.

Netflix

The camaraderie between the performers is one of the charms of Hot Girls Wanted. The scenes of the girls together in the house during downtime are the best parts of the film. They play with the dogs, do their makeup, and trade horror stories about well-hung performers. Those scenes reflect what Reynolds thought he was signing up for when the Hot Girls Wanted filmmakers first approached him.  

“It was originally supposed to be, like, ‘behind the scenes of porn,’ and that’s why I agreed to do it, and then the movie came out,” said Reynolds.

Adrian and Kimmy say their positive experiences in the industry weren’t reflected in the film. While it seems fair to allow for the fact that their landlord/agent is present while they’re speaking to me on Skype, the girls clearly think the film is one-sided.  

“I was a little shocked by how it depicted porn and people in the porn industry. It made them seem almost as if they were miserable doing porn, and there just wasn’t gonna be a good outcome for them.  I’ve been in it for a year and I’ve had nothing but good things to say about the porn industry and everyone that I’ve worked with and all the companies I’ve worked with as well,” said Adrian.

“They took all the negative aspects that could possibly go wrong, like certain times when you show up to a set and there’s someone that you’re not sexually attracted to and the whole day will just go shitty. They made it seem like that’s how it is for all these young girls,” said Kimmy. She said when she does have those days—for instance, when she gets on set and just doesn’t want to do the shoot—Reynolds is understanding.

“I’ve heard horror stories about what agents do when girls cancel last minute, cancel even two days prior, and I’ve literally cancelled on set,” Kimmy said. “So [Riley is] not only just a great friend but he’s compassionate and understanding, [and] super patient.”

Ava Taylor (left) with a male performer in 'Hot Girls Wanted.'

Ava Taylor (left) with a male performer in ‘Hot Girls Wanted.’

Netflix

At the center of Hot Girls Wanted is Tressa, whose tenure in the business is brief and dramatic as she deals with family members and a boyfriend who want her to quit. The movie pivots on a scene where her mother confronts her about what she’s doing, warning her about the stigma associated with porn.

While the film’s focus is solely on the potential harm for young female performers, Reynolds has experienced repercussions of the stigma associated with porn as well. While he says his mother will happily tell people that she has one son in the Navy and one who does porn, his father isn’t happy with his career choice and much of his extended family doesn’t talk to him.

“It’s not hard just for girls. Half my family, they hate it,” he said.

Tressa, who has since left the industry, sent along well-wishes to Reynolds through the directors when the film was released. Another central character, Ava Taylor, has had a more complex relationship with porn and the documentary. She’s done panel discussions and interviews where she’s talked about how she’s glad to be out of the business, even though she’s worked within the past month.

“She did that interview for AOL and I haven’t talked to her,” said Reynolds. But he thinks Ava still keeps him in her mind. During the interview, one of the guests, Mark Kernes of Adult Video News (AVN), questioned Reynold’s professionalism because he isn’t licensed and bonded. “Ava was backing me up, she was like, ‘Riley actually respected us.’ She doesn’t hate me so I don’t know why she’s not answering. She doesn’t like to answer her phone, she’s always been like that.”

Watching the AOL interview last week made Reynolds curious about some of the statistics about porn cited in the film, such as a stat from the Kinsey Institute that claims 40 percent of pornography depicts acts of violence against women. The number is cited during a scene in which a performer is shooting for the site Latina Abuse, part of a family of sites formerly known as Facial Abuse.

“40 percent? That’s almost half of porn. I would say maybe 10 percent is like abusive,” said Reynolds. “Facial Abuse is a one-of-a-kind site. It also seemed like it made me look like I book my girls for all that stuff, but that was another thing. If they’re cool with that, maybe I’ll let them, but I’ll make them watch like 10 to 20 movies before they even think about it. If they’re cool with it, they’re cool with it, but that’s a site that [will convince] a girl [to] quit doing porn because of how much it’ll fuck them up.”

Reynolds prides himself on keeping performers on his roster, even after they’re pursued by Los Angeles porn agents. He thinks that Miami is a good starting point for a porn career, but successful performers will eventually go to California and be targeted by other agents.

“They say whatever they can to get [a girl] to leave me…it’s like a trophy if you want a girl from me. I don’t make them sign contracts and they’re still with me,” he said.

Indeed, Reynolds appears to take a lot of pride in retaining performers. His attitude is at odds with one of his most-quoted lines in the film: “Every day, a new girl turns 18.” Reynolds says that quote was taken out of context by the filmmakers.

“We were talking about how shitty the economy is, and how the economy crashed, and everyone lost their jobs so everyone’s trying to do medical and military. At first everyone was like ‘boom, getting hired, hired, hired’ ’cause there wasn’t enough, and then now they’re cutting back,” Reynolds said. “And then [the directors were] like: ‘What about other agents, are you gonna be scared now?’ And that’s when I said: ‘I’ll never run out. A new girl turns 18 every day.’ I’ve been getting a lot of shit for that quote,” he said.

Adrian thinks that Reynolds said that as a way to “humble” his new performers. “I’ve been in for a year and he still tells me all the time that you need to remember another girl turns 18 every day, like, ‘Don’t get too big of a head on your shoulders just cause you get constant work,’” said Adrian.

“Every once in a while I have to tell them ‘I’m not being a dick, but you are all replaceable.’ I’m not being a dick at all, but it’s true,” he said.

When the film first came out, Reynolds was worried that it would make him look bad. But he says that so far, the response has been amazing. In fact, four new girls are flying out to work for Hussie in the next week.

“One of them saw the movie and she was like ‘I want to do porn!’ I’m like, “That movie made you want to do porn?’ She’s like ‘Yeah!’ I’m like, ‘…alright.’ She sent me pictures and she looks really good, so I had her send me pictures of all her IDs and I had her get tested today. She’s coming in Saturday.”

Turns out that one person’s industry exposé is another’s feature-length promotional film.

Photo via Netflix/YouTube

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