Back Stories – Wicked Pictures’ Julie Russell

Julie Russell is the Chief Compliance Officer at Wicked Pictures.  No, that’s not some kind of kinky dominatrix job – this means she is responsible for creating and maintaining all of the 2257 compliance records for one of the industry’s most prominent production houses.

According to US Code Title 18, 2257, a single compliance violation may result in fines and/or up to 10 years in prison – holy goodness!! Given that a unique record must be created for talent every single time they work, Julie clearly performs some super-meticulous, high-stakes labor. (for more on 2257, click here)

In a partial exhibition of her awesomeness, she recently took some time out to answer a couple questions for Porn Valley Vantage…

So what exactly does a Chief Compliance Officer do?

“Well essentially it’s one of the most boring and most important jobs in the industry. I work with the federal regulation 18 U.S.C. 2257. The purpose of 2257 is to ensure that all producers of live or sexually explicit content maintain records proving all actors/actresses were over the age of 18 at the time the of filming. Among other things, those records include an ID, paperwork, a cross referencing database, and making sure that all content we produce has the proper labeling attached.

And what got you into the industry in the first place?

A friend of mine knew of a job opening at Wicked and wanted to know if I was interested.  Having worked in “corporate America” my whole life, it was quite the leap, and I honestly didn’t think I would make it past the first two weeks.  All the usual thoughts ran through my head – “do they film there? Are there naked people roaming the hallways?!” – but I quickly found that the perception of the business and reality are two different things. After the first few weeks I couldn’t help but laugh to myself… I was working in an environment where I could go on any porn site I wanted but was blocked from myspace and youtube!

As of this August, I will have worked for Wicked for 10 years.  It’s really a great business, and I’ve gotten to work with some of the most generous and caring people possible. I can tell you none of the common conceptions about the industry are true. We are the same as everybody else…we worry about our 401K, paying our mortgages, and throwing birthday parties for our kids.

Has working in the industry affected your personal life at all?

It has definitely affected my personal life in both good and bad ways. My biggest fear at the time of taking this job was what my mother would think. At first she was shocked; but once she understood that I wasn’t actually in the movies, she couldn’t have been more supportive. I think she gets a kick out of telling people where I work just to see the expression their faces.

Working here doesn’t help with the dating scene though.  Some people want to save me from the “evils” of porn, while others are thinking “I wonder if I can get a threesome with one of the contract stars? How cool would that be!? My friends are going be so jealous!”  Then, if you do go on a first date, the inevitable comes up – “so, we should totally hang out with some of your girlfriends from work…” Argh! It is very easy to end up dating within the business simply so all of that becomes a non-issue.

I tend to be hesitant on what I tell people. When they asked what I was doing at my high school reunion, my simple answer was “I work with government regulations and a lot of boring paperwork.”  Generally there isn’t much in terms of follow up questions… unless the person asking the questions is an accountant, and anything is more entertaining than that!! 

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I will still be doing compliance for Wicked. I think that the adult industry will a have different landscape in the next year or so, but it won’t die out.  There will always be a demand for erotica; the only thing that will change is how it is delivered. The industry will evolve as everything must, and Wicked will evolve with it.

Is there anything else you’d like to add …anything that people need to know?

At some point, as a society, we need to stop projecting our personal preferences on to other people. Whether it’s about the right to marry someone we love or the ability to watch an adult movie, we need to allow others to take responsibility for their own choices in life.  As long as you aren’t hurting another living creature, what does it matter what you watch or do in the privacy of your own bedroom?”

Dang!! Clearly Julie is a thoughtful force working in the world of adult.  Her experiences reveal much about what goes on behind the scenes – regular old stuff made “crazy” by the wider public misconceptions of porn.  If you’re ever lucky enough to cross her path, Julie Russell will most certainly give you a piece of her awesome mind!

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From performers to post-production, office workers to executives, PVVOnline Back Stories explore the lives of people who work in all aspects of the adult industry. For more industry insiders’ Back Stories, go here.

Image courtesy of Julie Russell.

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