It's a beautiful, bright, sunny afternoon in Los Angeles and I wanted to take one more break from our Art Basel adventures before we hit the home stretch. Today I want to shift focus to Annie Fuckin' Cruz. I've previously mentioned here before my long standing relationship with the Fetish scene. With any scene there is crossover. I first became aware of the Kink Community through my years of DJing in Goth/Industrial scene. In many smaller communities like Ithaca, New York (where I went to college and briefly ran a Goth/Industrial club night) it's one big scene. In larger areas like South Florida there is a lot of crossover but they are separate scenes. The major commonality between the two is the environment: alternative lifestyle people, dressed in dark clothing, with spooky electronic music (or something like that). The event scene is really only one aspect of the Fetish Community. Another big aspect is the industry.
In South Florida I worked for The Fetish Factory, which gave me my experience in Fetish Retail and taught me a variety of things about the industry side of Fetish including the major companies. When I came out to Los Angeles a friend of mine brought me in to a local boutique owned and operated by one of the major companies (who shall not be named). I inquired if they were ever looking for weekend help as my other job simply wasn't paying enough of the bills. They were hiring, I got the job, and worked seven days a week for 2 years. In the summer of 2013 I left my main job and fell back on my retail job while I searched for more full-time employment. For the first time in my tenure at the Fetish Shop I met the owner of the company and the Director of Operations. Upon discovering my background in film they offered me a more lucrative job creating video content primarily for their social media channels.
The Fetish Club scene crosses over with a few communities including The Goth/Industrial scene, the Gay scene, the swinger scene, the rave scene, and a few others, but the Fetish Industry's major crossover has and always will be Porn. Kink and Fetish aren't necessarily pornographic, but they are inherently related to our sexuality so those that shun such things lump it all in together, and those that choose to make a profit embrace both sides. This is essentially the equivalent of Pro Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts. In a broad way these things are very much the same thing. If you didn't know that Pro Wrestling was choreographed then you'd assume that these are variations of the same sport or entertainment. In a broad way the Fetish Industry and Adult Industry are interchangeable. This is how I met Annie Cruz.
In any industry a company must participate in conventions. Conventions are were you network, create new clients, generate business, and generally show that you are a player in whatever game you are playing. My company was offered a major slot at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. The Adult Entertainment Expo is the Adult Industry's major conventions where Porn Stars sign do meet-and-greets with fans, the major adult toy companies show the latest and greatest releases, and the end are the AVN Awards (the Adult Industry's version of the Oscars). Inside the convention there is also a section called The Lair where the Adult Industry's Fetish companies are housed. We were offered a large room, which we decided to make an interactive fetish room made up largely by a medical station and an electro station. These areas would be perfect for creating video content, but this was not my only mission. I would also be charged with coverage of the event itself. My partner in crime for this would be Annie Fuckin' Cruz.
Annie was wonderful to work with and the highlight of the trip. Annie is funny, dynamic, and overall just genuine. We would work together a few more times during my tenure with Fetish Company and she always served as a delight. After I parted ways with The Fetish Company, Annie and I sort of lost touch, though we stayed connected on social media. Annie saw my photos of another Adult Entertainer and from there we were reconnected and decided to shoot together.
Annie and I share a love of hiking and the outdoors so we decided to shoot in that environment. Due to scheduling conflicts we had to change from a day shoot to a night shoot so in my mind the hike was off and we would need a new location. Annie was still under the impression that we'd hike anyway. I had just hiked Solstice Canyon so it was fresh in my mind and the night hike was back on. Night hiking in Solstice Canyon with Annie Cruz was a super rad experience and the photos are stunning. At one point we went down the wrong trail and got lost at which point Annie sent off a spooky Snapchat. Even through getting lost Annie was a delight to work with and I look forward to shooting with her again.
Click the photo below and get lost with Annie Cruz