Emily Willis On Performing, Branding and Her 'Biggest Focus'

LOS ANGELES—Emily Willis went door-to-door selling DirecTV satellite packages before starting her porn career.

She says making those sales pitches sharpened her people skills.

"I killed it, too,” Willis says. “I love it. If I could do it again I would do it for like maybe an hour just to get the thrill. It was so good. I’m so competitive.

“It’s like a game… You’re out there and you’re just seducing the people to get what you want. They’re buying from you, not necessarily the product. If they like you they’re going to buy from you. You’re a brand.”

Now less than two years later, the 20-year-old performer from St. George, Utah, is becoming a brand in adult entertainment thanks to what many industry insiders say is a potent combination of looks, personality, performing prowess and marketability.

“Emily Willis is literally a ray of sunshine,” says Sam Phillips, production manager for Penthouse Media, who also manages the Penthouse Pets as director of Pet projects.

“She is a great example for other models. She’s a sweet girl. She loves her job. She’s in it for all the right reasons in my opinion. She’s just a professional on a set. We love using her. We would use her more, but she’s always booked.”

Willis joined the key club in May, adding Penthouse Pet to her list of accolades in what has turned into a terrific sophomore season in Porn Valley.

Represented exclusively for bookings by Motley Models, Willis started this year as Cherry Pimps’ Cherry of the Month in January before earning Twistys Treat honors in March and receiving Girlsway Girl of the Month status in April.

In September, Willis secured another major title, accepting the Vixen Angel crown in an Instagram Live ceremony at Greg Lansky’s Vixen Media Group headquarters in Studio City, Calif. And in November, Bang! Productions named Willis their Ambassador of the Month.

The evidence is overwhelming that companies want to align themselves with the charismatic star.

“She has basically achieved everything you can achieve in this business in a year,” says Motley Models president and “Backstage Pass” podcast host, Dave Rock, who signed Willis in May 2018.

“She shot for every major brand. She has gotten every monthly accolade you can achieve. There is something about that girl’s energy. Very few girls have that positive energy—that smile—where they’re always on.

“Emily’s energy is always so positive and happy. It’s refreshing to have someone like that who’s so successful. There’s no diva in her, no negativity on set, no talking shit about other girls.”


Willis this year also landed her first star showcase, appearing in all four scenes of Francesca Le and Mark Wood’s Emily Willis: The Anal Awakeninga LeWood production distributed by Evil Angel that hit the streets in March.

That same month Willis found herself ranked in the Top 100 Most Popular Porn Stars on Pornhub—positioned at No. 92 with almost 93 million video views and 75.5K subscribers.

At press time in mid-November, Willis had more than doubled her Pornhub video views to 220M, increased her subscriber base to 182K and was ranked 11th. She is the youngest performer in the Top 25 models listed on the world’s most trafficked porn site.

Mark Wood, the 22-year veteran, AVN Hall of Fame performer from Las Vegas, says he and his wife Francesca Le shot Willis for the first time for the 2018 release Anal Darlings 2.

"I just felt like she was extra cute, extra bubbly and very professional,” Wood says. “We haven’t done a showcase since the Remy LaCroix one [in 2013] and that did really well for us. Emily was very professional. She followed up when I needed to talk to her about it. She didn't give me the run-around and that shows me you're interested.”

In The Anal Awakening, Willis does boy/girl anal scenes with Wood and Ramon Nomar; a girl/girl anal with Kenzie Reeves; and a three-way anal with Wood and Francesca Le.

“Our niche is the new girls,” Wood continues. “I felt like she had a little something extra. She did a really good job in the showcase, too. She really tried hard.

“I think performance-wise she’s got it all and looks-wise, obviously—and her personality. It’s so hard to predict why some girls become more popular than the others. But potentially she has all of it.”

The LA native Francesca Le, a fellow AVN Hall of Fame performer who co-founded LeWood Productions in 2001 and has produced an average of two movies a month ever since, agrees.

“We shoot primarily brand news girls and we have a knack for picking who’s going to be the next up-and-coming, big-name girl,” Le tells AVN. “When we first shot Emily we knew she was going to be a star… She loves sex. She’s not just pretending. She does incredible scenes and it’s a pleasure to shoot her.

“When she’s on set she wants to be there. She’s happy to be there and it makes the whole day better.

“Some of the new girls just have it and you know which ones they are. I knew Emily was going to be one of them and that’s why we offered her a showcase."

Le says they shot the movie from October 2018 to January 2019 because at the time Willis was spacing out her anal scenes.

“She knows what she wants to do with her career, too," Le adds. "She’s very focused and she’s very smart and she’s so fun to be around. That’s why Mark and I enjoy shooting the brand new girls because you get to see them really progress into what their career is going to be overall. It's like they’re growing up before my eyes.”


Jules Jordan also likes what he sees in Willis, so much so that the AVN Hall of Fame director/performer says he is shooting his next star showcase on her. She will be featured in every scene of Jordan’s Ultimate Fuck Toy: Emily Willis, which is coming in early 2020.

Emily has the ability to play the innocent role or the filthiest, dirty-talking animal and these are two traits that give her extreme star power,” Jordan says. “She’s definitely one of my favorites.”

Willis says becoming a Vixen Angel—which includes an editorial-style photoshoot, a Tiffany’s diamond V necklace, Christian Louboutin heels and Vixen lingerie gifted by three-time AVN Director of the Year Greg Lansky, had been a goal since before she even got into adult.

“I actually ran across [Greg’s] Instagram before I even did porn,” Willis recalls. “And I didn’t really watch porn before I did porn. So I had this image that porn girls were like bimbos. They were just porn girls. And when I ran across Greg’s Instagram I was like, ‘These girls are so beautiful. I want to be a part of that team. I want to do that.’

“And it was a huge goal of mine since right before I started the industry. So achieving that was so surreal. It was such a dream for me. So it’s an honor for me to get to represent that brand.”

For her Vixen Angel photoshoot, Willis went to Vazquez Rocks Natural Area Park in the Santa Clarita, Calif., area.

"It was really cool because I had never been there and I was like, this is a great place to actually come hike,” she says.

Willis says she shot her set with one of Vixen’s go-to photographers from Europe.

“My call time was like 3:30 and we were done with photos at like 6:30 and on our way back,” she says. “It was so fast and so good. And there was no [cell] service, which was good because it kept us focused. And I need that.

“But the photographer was great. Usually, I’m like nosy and I’m like, ‘Can I see a photo or two?’ Like I want to see what I’m doing. But I think he showed me one of the photos while we were shooting and that’s all I needed to see. I was like, ‘I trust him.’ … I was very happy.”

Willis adds, “It’s perfect because I’m from Utah and it’s a very red-rock vibe. So I was like, ‘Oh my god, I feel like I’m home.’ It was very on brand. I felt like my whole ceremony was very on-brand—like the whole carnival thing.

“Because I did a lot of the carnival stuff all summer. And I was like this is so perfect and fitting for me. I was very happy with everything.

“It was so overwhelming in such a good way. Because I’m always at the [Vixen Angel] ceremonies where we’re celebrating other girls. I’m always so happy for everyone but it’s never necessarily where all the attention’s on me and I definitely basked in the glory.

“And you know when you have a lot of stimulation and then the next day you wake up and you’re like, ‘Oh my god yesterday was so great.’ And you almost are kind of like, ‘I wish it was still that day.’ That’s how I felt.”

On the heels of her Vixen Angel crowning, Willis flew to Ibiza, Spain, to shoot for Vixen and Blacked last month, making her second overseas trip for Lansky.

“It was a very wonderful five days,” Willis says. 

The occasion marked the second time Willis had shot for the AVN Award-winning interracial site Blacked.

“My first one was good but this could not have been better,” Willis says. “I don’t want to sound cocky but every time I shoot a scene I’m like, ‘This is my best one yet.’

“And then I do it again and I’m like, ‘This is my best one yet!’ So I’m really excited for these to come out. It was really, really incredible.”

Willis says she loved the local culture in Ibiza.

“It was so beautiful. I got to venture out a little bit. I got lost…Thank god I speak Spanish,” she jokes. “It was kind of cool because I worked on my Spanish. I never really get to speak in Spanish here [in LA] with anybody for some reason. So I was like, I feel like I’m home or something."

She says the locals view porn performers with admiration; one of them recognized her co-star Little Caprice when they were shooting on the beach.

“He was like ‘I’ve seen you,’” she recalls. “And we were wearing our Vixen gear. And he was like, ‘Are you guys shooting something? Is it for a website?’ And the photographer goes, ‘Yeah, it’s for Vixen. We’re online.’ He said it so casual, too.

“And it just baffled me because here in LA you don’t get to do that. He’s like, ‘Yeah we’re shooting for a site. We’re shooting porno.’ And he was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s so cool.’ And they just viewed Little Caprice like a celebrity. It was really cool to see just how open they were. It was like a nude beach. You could have your tits out.

“So it was very nice to see because everyone always says Europeans are so wild and open. It was cool to experience that.”


Willis, a 2019 nominee for AVN Best New Starlet, performed in Ibiza under the direction of Vixen producer/director Julia Grandi, who is also the owner of the Budapest, Hungary-based JulModels talent agency.

Grandi, who teamed with Vixen to produce European scenes almost two years ago, in July transitioned into a full-time directing schedule.

“She’s amazing,” Willis says. “I always think that her crew likes to make sure that the girls have a really good time on set and are being treated with maximum respect and making sure all our needs are taken care of. That we have water, that we have food, that we have sunscreen.

“They gave me like a cute little beach bag and it had sandals and a hat and all these things to make sure I was taken care of at the beach.”

Willis says she was pleased that Grandi’s crew also was receptive to some of her input during the Vixen scene—which features her tangling with Little Caprice, Apolonia Lapiedra and Alberto Blanco.

“They took a lot of my suggestions into mind. Because it was a big scene. There was three girls and a guy. And it can be tricky,” she continues. “I was like, ‘Maybe let’s do this and that.’  … I’m on set a lot, so I know what’s going on. They took in a lot of my suggestions and that made me really happy. …I got quite a bit of freedom to do what I wanted with my photos. And the girls were really cool. I was really nervous to meet Apolonia, especially.

“She’s beautiful. I’ve seen her on Twitter and she’s just like a huge public figure, especially in Europe. I was really nervous to meet her and she was so sweet and fun.”

It was the second time Willis worked with Spanish stud Alberto Blanco, a go-to guy for Vixen and Tushy in Europe.

“And he’s one of my favorites. He’s on it and he’s really cool to work with,” Willis says.

Blanco, a 10-year porn veteran from Barcelona, tells AVN the feeling is mutual.

“Emily, for me, is a very positive person,” says Blanco, who worked as a construction and air conditioning assistant before porn. "She’s always happy and a beautiful girl. It was really a good experience shooting with her.”

Julia Grandi, a 13-year industry veteran from St. Petersburg, Russia, who relocated to Budapest about seven years ago because of changes in Russian laws, tells AVN her agency now reps more than 200 Europe-based models.

Grandi remembers meeting Willis for the first time last December when she shot for Vixen in the Carribean.

“Me and my team fell in love with her the moment she arrived,” Grandi says. “Due to her tight schedule she had to take two night flights—eight hours of total flying—and start working straight away.

"Her sexual energy was on top and she definitely lit the scene with it. And her smile and mood made that shooting day easy and successful even if it had been long. I remember after dinner we were chatting on the terrace with Emily, where she fell asleep. We covered her and decided not to wake her up before her flight super early in the morning.

“She’s a hard worker with an amazing personality, a happy mood and top sexuality. That’s all my thoughts from my first meeting with her.”

Grandi says she had been talking with Greg Lansky, the chief creative officer for Vixen, about shooting Willis in Europe again.

“And finally I got the green light and she fly to Ibiza for two scenes—Vixen and Blacked,” Grandi adds. “I can’t talk much about the scenes before they are released. But we are preparing something special.

“Both scenes were foursome scenes with top European performers. I am very proud of of the possibility of what Greg Lansky gave me to shoot—that mix of US and EU performers and erase this difference and tags of ‘American' or ‘European’ porn. Now it's just porn—the number one international porn in the world.

“Oh I wish I can say more, but I can only tease you that you will see Emily with underwater shots, incredible sunsets, white-sand beaches and top performances of our fav Emily Willis.”

Grandi adds, “I can’t wait to shoot her more in the future. Me and all my team are in love working with that lady. She is pure sexual energy and a star of the adult business nowadays.”

Willis stayed in a villa with a view of the pool when she was in Ibiza.

“I’m always just really happy any time I get to go to another country for anything,” she says. “Because it’s new. I’m very thankful to be going anywhere for work.”

Not long after she returned from Europe, Willis stopped by Penthouse headquarters in Chatsworth with fellow Motley Model and Penthouse Pet, Scarlett Sage, to participate in the key ceremony for December Pet of the Month Anny Aurora.

“We helped do some Instagram promo stuff for Penthouse,” Willis says. “I’ve known Penthouse since I was a little girl and my mom and dad know Penthouse. So for me to tell them, ‘Guys, I’m a Penthouse Pet.’ They were like, ‘What?’ 

“So it was very iconic. It was very rewarding. I had a lot of… almost all the accolades this year. And that’s so incredible to me. … It’s been a really great year for me. I’m happy.”

Penthouse’s Director of Pet Projects Sam Phillips says asking Willis and Sage to do the keying of the new Pets was a no-brainer.

“When we were talking about the Pets who were going to partake in the keying ceremony, I immediately looked at Motley,” Phillips says.

“Their girls are punctual. Their girls are professional. Their girls are polite—all the good P words,” Phillips says. “If I want to count on someone showing up and doing a great job, I know I can turn to Emily Willis. I can turn to Scarlett Sage, let alone any of their girls, period.”


Willis has formed a close bond with Motley Models, revealing that president Dave Rock “hypes me up” and agent Ryan Kona has become a confidant.

“It’s like a family. Ryan is like my best friend. He’s amazing,” Willis says. “I’ll like be on set nervous for whatever reason and with Ryan, he’ll be like, ‘Can you go to the bathroom and call me?’ I’m like, ‘Yes.’ And then I’m fine.

“Or sometimes I don’t talk to Ryan for a day when I’m off for three days and I’m like, ‘Something feels off.’ And then Ryan calls me and I’m like OK. I’m pretty close with the Motley crew.”

Willis continues, “A big thing for me is I don’t feel like I work for Motley. I feel like we work together, which is important for me.

“Because I love my independence. I like to also say when I want to work and when I don’t want to work and respect that. And yeah, they’re really great.”

The Las Vegas-based Kona, who formerly worked in finance and accounting services for the U.S. Department of Defense, recently started his third year with Motley. He tells AVN he has built “a fantastic rapport” with Willis.

“Not only is she a great model, I consider her a friend as well,” Kona says. “She can tell me anything. She doesn't need to hide anything from me. It helps me help her get through a lot of tough times. We do have that level of honesty with each other. It makes for a great working relationship.”

Kona, who moved to Vegas from Columbus, Ohio, says Willis’ year has been nothing short of remarkable.

“It’s just one thing after the other with her,” Kona continues. “We knew last year how amazing Emily was going to be as a model and 2019 has just surpassed any expectations we had. And it’s all her. She shows up to set and just knocks it out of the park every single time.

“She really is somebody special.”

Willis, who has more than 354K followers on Twitter and had 500K-plus on her primary Instagram account before it recently got deleted, says she’s thinks about her career progression “all the time.”

“I would say this is my biggest focus,” Willis says. “This is what I’m focused on right now and I have goals of where I want to take my career. So I’m constantly thinking about what I’m doing, how it’s going to affect me later. When a big scene for a certain company gets booked I’m like, ‘OK, is it too soon for this?’

“So I’m constantly sitting back and thinking about one, how amazing it’s been and two, how I use it to brand myself and further what I’m doing now. There’s always room for improvement.

“I just constantly feel like I can do more and there’s room for growth.”

She continues, “I’m happy. I’m thankful. But I’m never like, ‘OK, cool. My work’s done. I’m chillin’. I’ve achieved what I wanted.’ There’s always more I feel like. I don’t know how that sounds, but I’m just a goal-driven person I guess.”


Photography by Rick Garcia/@IndustryByRick