The term suitcase pimp has been used in the adult industry for years, if not decades, but what exactly does that mean? Well, quite simply, a suitcase pimp is the boyfriend or « appendage » of a female star who pretends to be her publicist, agent, manager or something like that. The pimp of the suitcase always tries to defend his role in the lives of the stars by saying things like: I have a job, I am a publicist. It`s a real job. Or something like I manage her money for her, or help her find better jobs, or she makes more money from me, or I bring her to the set on time, without me, she would have lost her job. All these things are very typical suitcase-pimp defense reactions. A suitcase pimp, says Sean Baker, director of the brilliant new Red Rocket, is a man in the world of cinema « who lives off female talent in the world of cinema. So they are often interpreters themselves, but they are usually also the boyfriend, the partner, the husband, the female talent manager. Sure, not all male actors are suitcase pimps, but some are, including Mickey Saber, the washed star played by Simon Rex in Red Rocket. Although an overwhelming majority of suitcase pimps are men, not all are men. Everyone I spoke to knew at least a handful of women playing other actresses. However, no one knew a suitcase button for a man. No wonder, since guys can wear their own, right? Now that the independent film Hustle & Flow has made pimps cool, three-dimensional, and crappy, I thought it was time to dive deep into the world of a different kind of ho`s management, in the spirit of a personality who populates the San Fernando Valley (where, if you haven`t figured it out yet, I lived the summer). He is an integral part of the operation of the adult industry, whose background and motivation are complex.
It is ubiquitous, but underrepresented in the media and mysterious until it becomes almost mythical. I`m talking about the archetype of porn known as the suitcase pimp. Pimp Suitcase means: A suitcase pimp in porn is an unemployed friend who helps a star manage his personal and/or professional affairs. (in Community Dictionary, added by Vaughn Brown) « It really reminds me of Star 80, one of my favorite movies, » Rex says, recalling Bob Fosse`s 1983 film about the murder of Playboy model Dorothy Stratten. Eric Roberts essentially plays a version of that. He essentially lives this lifestyle only through his young and beautiful girlfriend, whom he pimps in Playboy magazine. He goes to the Playboy mansion and reaps all the benefits of his career. I think in general, it`s pretty hard to be the other half of a star, especially if you`re a man. Digital Playground director Robby D says a suitcase pimp is « a guy who can`t have his hard dick in front of the camera. If he could, he would be an artist. Unless you`re a current or former director or artist, there`s this stigma of being with a girl who makes a living in gangbang, which contributes to all porn stars` partners being labeled as suitcase pimps until proven otherwise. And although there are now hundreds, it was difficult to find self-identified suitcase pimps. I interviewed several alleged candidates and asked them the simple question: « Are you now or have you ever been a suitcase pimp? » « It`s really Sean Baker who deserves credit because he`s the one who has been living in this world for years and interviewing people, and he showed me some pictures of the archetypal `suitcase pimp,` and after about 5 minutes of watching an interview with one of them, I thought, `I got it.
I totally understand that. Case and Fox live in Dayton, Ohio, away from the hustle and bustle of the adult industry, and he recently began running a local strip club there. Both factors raise questions: If you have another job inside or outside the industry, can you still be a suitcase pimp? Is the suitcase button a way of life, a state of mind, or both? « I think it`s a very Zen thing, » Case says. « It comes from within. » Case has thankfully reclaimed both the term and his role, even though he wants people to know he`s not a bad suitcase pimp: « We have a mutually supportive relationship. It was her idea to get into the business and I supported her. I don`t call the producers to see who reserves Felicia for a double anal so I can get a new leather jacket. I could only find one who was willing to say yes: Tim Case, his wife`s suitcase pimp of 11 years, movie star Felicia Fox (feliciafox.com). Early in Fox`s career, Case came to a set with his bags, and a director gave him his porn name. He was immediately told it was a defeat, but he decided to turn things around and embrace her, « kind of like gays with the queer nation, » he told me. I think other suitcase pimps should follow suit.
Of course, we are a much smaller subculture. But in the end, we all laugh and laugh because we know the truth. We know that this person is really just a suitcase pimp and with all the justifications for his existence, he proves nothing but the exact opposite of what he is trying to do. As with any profession, there are also disadvantages. The most important thing for suitcase pimps seems to be the difficulty of earning the respect of their fellow men. The contempt for them as a group is intense. But maybe, just maybe, the skills, intentions, and value of the suitcase pimp have been misunderstood from the beginning. What about the guy who doesn`t aspire to be an artist, but simply strives to be the wind under his daughter`s wings (or the baby towel under his, as the case may be)? How can we not recognize the usefulness of having a personal assistant, bodyguard, roadie, salesman, publicist, manager and husband all in one? Experts agree that suitcase pimps can play a useful role: you can make sure the girl arrives on time on set (a not easy feat in porn country, believe me). And vouchers can do the job of an agent or manager. « Although I have portrayed them as an unseemly group, not all suitcase pimps are terrible smallpox scars on the face of society. I know a couple who, while lugging suitcases and wiping off sperm, love their daughters to die for and would do anything for them, and not just because they bring the bacon home, » says Milne.
They actually support their partner`s career, because if that`s what she wants, they want her to be happy. And support comes in many forms, as Milne illustrated with the story of a suitcase pimp who was « so supportive that he enjoyed her scenes while she filmed them. That`s dedication. Rarely explored in the film, with the possible exception of Bob Fosse`s Star 80 [contemporary considering the story that would involve Peter Bogdanovich, now deceased], the suitcase pimp is a male appendage, often a vaguely employed boyfriend or husband who manages, grooms, and uses a more popular female star. « But I searched the urban dictionary and it`s a real thing and then at the Los Angeles premiere, this guy from the movie industry comes up to me and says, `I just want to thank you because you did a great job describing this world and the suitcase pimp.