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August 07, 2017

'Miami Vice': Inside the Crowning of a Vixen Angel

LOS ANGELES—Greg Lansky wants to put his star’s mind at ease. The show starts in five minutes and the Chief Creative Officer of Vixen would like Amia Miley to know exactly what’s going to happen when they go live on Instagram at 12:30 to announce her as the new Vixen Angel of the Month. “There’s nothing to worry about,” Lansky tells the 26-year-old performer, who is sitting on the gold couch in the middle of his Studio City headquarters wearing white Vixen lingerie under a pink silk bathrobe. “We’re going to make you shine. We’ll get you talking, get you your gifts and then we’ll head out to the photoshoot.” Miley made her adult industry debut in 2009 when she was 18, doing more than 150 movies in the years that followed in between appearing in music videos, starting three businesses and getting her real estate license. She shot two scenes for Vixen this summer—the first of which was released in July—and today joins an elite roster of women who have received the Vixen Angel title that started with Kendra Sunderland in August 2016. Sunderland, who landed a contract as the first Vixen Angel of the Year in January, is co-hosting the ceremony with Lansky on this first Saturday of August in what has become a monthly event that attracts tens of thousands of viewers on Instagram. Sporting a funky black-and-gold, vintage Versace shirt from 1984, black jeans and black Yeezys, Lansky gives the signal and welcomes Miley to “the Vixen Angel family” as his crew erupts in applause. She wipes away tears as she opens her gifts—custom black Christian Louboutin, red-bottomed shoes, a Tiffany brilliant-cut diamond necklace, and two sets of bespoke Vixen-branded bras and panties. “I’m shaking,” Miley says. She reads from a handwritten letter of congratulations from Lansky before they share a toast, sipping from glasses of the Rosé French champagne, Veuve Cliquot. Miley embodies everything the Vixen brand represents, Lansky tells me. “She gets it,” he says. “She’s right on every single trend. She is very cool for our audience. She’s got a big following, not just a random following. “She’s the Kim Kardashian of adult in my opinion. Yeah people hate on Kim Kardashian but she’s a marketing genius. In 20 years they will study Kim Kardashian in marketing schools—mark my words. She’s changed the world in the way we know it. This girl is the adult version of that. “She’s very much…the best word I can describe her—sure, she’s beautiful—is that she’s current. And that’s what our brands are about—we’re current. A lot of people come into the adult business following trends and then you’re really late to the party. We at Vixen, Tushy and Blacked, we always try to get ahead of the curve.” It’s an approach that has served Lansky & Co. well during the past three years since he launched Blacked in May 2014, Tushy in June 2015 and Vixen in July 2016. Those three studios, along with Lansky himself, have won a combined 31 AVN Awards—a remarkable achievement for the 34-year-old native of Paris who broke into porn in 2005. Three years ago Lansky’s GL Web Media consisted only of him, his wife Jennifer—who handles everything from wardrobe and styling to whatever may be needed—and his versatile executive producer Mike Moz. Now Team Lansky is made up of about 60 employees spread across offices in three different countries. They moved from Hollywood to Studio City last August, taking over the same offices that used to house Will Ferrell’s production company. “Before that we were on Hollywood and Vine and we were literally running out of space,” Jenn Lansky recalls. “We were only there for less than a year and things just exploded. First it was a couple people and then every month we were hiring a bunch of people. “We have an office in Barcelona that has all of our programmers and we have one in Montreal which is doing our advertisement stuff, and then one here that’s doing all the post and some pre-production stuff.” The immaculate Studio City space resembles a contemporary artist’s loft with its gray concrete floors, large glass-enclosed offices and specialty painted walls that can be written on like a whiteboard. “That’s really fun if you’re brainstorming ideas,” Jenn tells me. “We had that in our old office and it was so much fun.”  A former fashion designer for Guess who graduated from Otis College of Art and Design—a prestigious private art school—Jenn is styling Miley for her exclusive Vixen Angel photoshoot. Greg drew his inspiration for today’s theme from the iconic TV crime series Miami Vice that aired on NBC for five seasons between 1984 and 1990. Determined to go all out, they managed to snag a rare white 1987 Ferrari Testarossa like the same model used in the show.  “It took us maybe six months, I’m not kidding,” Jenn says. “It was so hard to find, and Greg’s very specific. It has to be that model, that year. That color.” Jenn even tracked down about 20 pairs of Carrera sunglasses—another style icon—for Miley to try, not to mention a selection of lightweight white jackets to complete her look. “It’s a very 80s-90s type of sunglass. It’s like what they wore on Miami Vice,” Jenn says. “It’s part of the theme. Everybody’s face is shaped differently, so there’s a lot of options. I know they’re going to come back, like Ray-Bans came back.” Greg Lansky has made themed photoshoots a signature of the Vixen Angel prize package; he rented a red Ducati motorcycle for Keisha Grey in February, a white vintage Rolls Royce for Natalia Starr in April, and brought out a gold AK-47 assault rifle for Vicki Chase in July. “Well if you’re going to do a theme, if you’re going to take the time, you’ve got to find the right shot,” Greg says. “I have two shots in mind—one at this garage in downtown and one we’re going to steal on top of this parking lot. If I get arrested at least I get arrested with a Versace shirt.” Pausing for a moment, the two-time AVN Director of the Year adds, “You know, at the end of the day the important part is to be noticed. That’s it. The rest, if your product is good it sells itself. But if you’re too shy about shit, if you’re too shy about getting noticed—about being too loud, about being too bright—you lose in 2017. That’s what most people don’t get.” It takes Team Lansky more than an hour to drive to the first location in an industrial park east of downtown LA, where the white Testarossa is parked outside on a scalding 93-degree afternoon. During the location scouting they discovered the rear of the building has a towering white wall ideal for the backdrop. Kendra Sunderland, who won her first AVN Award—Best Boy/Girl Sex Scene with Mick Blue for Vixen’s Natural Beauties in January—came to the location to give fans more of a behind-the-scenes glimpse on social media. “I’m really happy that I get to be a part of each Angel shoot because each girl is different in their own way and they’re so beautiful and represent the brands, and I just love crowning them and putting their necklace on,” Sunderland says. “It’s so special that Greg lets me be a part of that each time. “This is my first time actually coming to the set [of the photoshoot] and it’s been fun.” Sunderland admits doing the Angel ceremony live on the internet can be “nerve-wracking.” “Even I start shaking when I go to put the necklace on,” she says. “Sometimes I can’t do it because it’s a lot of pressure and it’s hard when you’re live. But it’s a very happy, emotional time.” While Mike Moz sprays down the asphalt around the Ferrari—which now features a Florida license plate that says 'VIXEN' in green—Amia is getting her hard body oiled up with lube. “Are we ready to rock ’n roll or what, motherfuckers?” Lansky says to his crew, clapping with excitement. “Are we ready to have a good shoot or what?” “That’s a little Duracell right there,” he adds, looking over at Miley. Lansky asks for quiet before he starts snapping the first round of shots that will see Miley fondling the hose with a Vixen red extension—that had to be custom ordered, of course—in front of the classic roadster. “Don’t look so beautiful,” Lansky tells her. “That’s perfect. “… Alright mama, you’re not doing good, you’re doing amazing. Keep shining baby, you’re doing great.” When Lansky gives directions, it’s loud and in no uncertain terms. There’s no doubt about who’s in charge on this set. Less than 40 minutes in, some curious guys from the business across the street some 100 yards away have noticed what’s going on and run across to get a better look. Lansky halts the shoot, Miley covers up and the guys backtrack. Then Lansky decides, “Who cares. Let’s go again. Nothing can stop us.” Now it’s 4:15 and the director envisions a different look for Amia. “Let’s pin up her hair, like bad fucking bitch. Like Kim K,” he says to his makeup artist Tara. Lansky keeps the energy on set high, dancing to the rap music that’s coming from the portable stereo. “That’s the move,” he says to me. “Once you free yourself from caring about what other people think, you can do anything.” Amia changes into black Vixen lingerie. “Let’s go again. We’re two hours late,” Lansky says half-jokingly. I ask him where that comment is coming from. “I always say that on set,” he replies. “‘We’re two hours late.’ Move with a purpose.” A seasoned model who was nominated for Best New Starlet in 2011, Miley can do no wrong in front of Lansky’s camera, gliding through various poses with each one seemingly sexier than the last. Lansky likes what he sees. “I’m going to do an art show on Sept. 16 and that’s going to be in it,” Lansky reveals, reviewing one of the images. Now laying on the ground for the next set, Lansky turns around and says, “I’m going to be filthy at the end of this day.” “You’ve got to get dirty,” he tells me. “I’ll outwork everybody—everybody. Don’t stop until you get the perfect shot.” He turns his attention back to Miley. “I hope you know you’re going to break the internet with those shots,” he says. Miley tells me she’s having a blast with the Miami Vice look and that it’s an honor to be named a Vixen Angel. “It’s amazing. Everything he does is awesome. It’s a really cool concept. I think it’s something that could be at an art show and sold as artwork. He made it into something so much more than just like adult stuff. It works everywhere,” Miley says. “Greg was one of the very first directors I ever worked with like a decade ago, for Reality Kings. That was a long time ago. I was 18, I’m almost 27 now. I shot for like a year or two then left. Came back a little and left. Came back again. But I shot with Vixen twice in the last month.” Entrepreneurial and ambitious, the California native Miley reveals she’s two weeks away from launching BellaLeah.com, a new online store featuring celebrity-inspired fashions. “It opens on the 19th. I’ve been working on it for over a year so I’m super excited. I built the website myself, I edit the photos myself. I do everything,” she says. “It’s glamorous, high fashion-ish celebrity stuff but at an affordable price. The same very good quality but you can buy an outfit for 200 dollars instead of $2,000.” Miley concludes that Vixen Angel ranks at the top of her career accomplishments. “I think it’s the highlight of fucking everything. I’ll always be proud of my store but as far as adult or music videos this is definitely the highlight of the last nine years,” she says. Minutes later, Lansky calls the first location a wrap and the crew saddles up to head to the rooftop finale for some sunset shots of Miley—and the Testarossa. “Dirty dreams really do come true,” Miley says. “I always wished there would be a company like this.”

 
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