“The goal is to constantly grow and evolve and be more inclusive,” said Armand Peri, CEO of Hunk-O-Mania, one of the largest adult entertainment companies in the United States.
While many might picture homogenous crowds at adult entertainment shows — men watching women perform and vice-versa — Peri and his business partner Jeffrey Wachman are committed to creating experiences at Hunk-O-Mania shows that make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.
Founded in 1998 by Peri, Hunk-O-Mania started with just three performers and two backup dancers. Now, almost 25 years later, the company operates more than 40 locations across the United States and Canada. Peri came from humble beginnings and actually worked as a club bouncer and performer while he pursued his bodybuilding career.
Peri said that when he founded Hunk-O-Mania, the crowds were almost exclusively women. But as public opinion on the LGBTQ community in the United States started to change and become more accepting, Peri said he began to see more men attending the shows. After noticing this, Peri and his business partners started thinking of ways to make their shows more welcoming and inclusive to people of all genders.
“Everyone should have the same opportunities to be happy and enjoy a good, entertaining show,” he said.
“I’m gay myself, and I get this question all the time if [the show] is gay-friendly, and my response is always, ‘Well it better be!’” he said.
Wachman added that the company has always had an open-door policy and they want to create a positive and memorable experience for everyone who attends their shows.
“We absolutely love being able to be a part of everyone, and I mean that wholeheartedly, everyone’s special event,” he said.
Wachman, who has been with the company for 13 years (five as an owner), agreed that the diversifying of their crowds isn’t a result of Hunk-O-Mania changing its policy, which he said has always been welcoming of everyone, but more based in the more widespread acceptance of the LGBTQ community that has happened in America in recent decades.
One thing that shows this change is how the audience has reacted to men being in the “hot seat,” the seat on stage where a selected audience member will sit for a portion of the show. Wachman said that 13 years ago, guys didn’t typically end up in the hot seat and it tended to create an uncomfortable atmosphere when they did. Nowadays, he the crowd is equally comfortable with both men and women being in the hot seat.
While a big contributing factor to Hunk-O-Mania’s crowds becoming more diverse is the societal changes we’ve witnessed, Peri noted that the company has made conscientious decisions to create show experiences that cater to different audience members.
One example of this is Hunk-O-Mania’s drag show, “Diva Royale,” which is explicitly marketed to both bachelorette and gay bachelor parties. Wachman said that the show draws in every type of audience member, from gay bachelor parties to mothers and daughters on a girls’ day out.
“When we created the drag show, we created it for everyone,” Wachman said.
Peri and Wachman said they are both proud to create an inclusive experience. On top of that, their business has benefited from expanding marketing and the target audience. Like other nightclubs, shows, and socially based businesses, Hunk-O-Mania definitely felt the impact of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. They were, however, able not only to return to pre-pandemic business levels, but have been able to grow. Peri credits that to their larger audience base, which has helped generate demands for their services.
They also said they’re not done evolving and are always working to keep up with the times and keep their shows enjoyable for all audience members.
“We’re just going to continue to evolve as times are evolving, and become more mainstream,” said Peri.
Learn more at hunkomania.com.