Hot Rawks gets itself off… to a good start

by Brian Clarey

Julie Wilson surveys the space at the Venue in downtown Greensboro. The pill bottles make a neat stack on a promo table and the T-shirts cling provocatively to nippled mannequin torsos. The cake, white, adorned with the red Hot Rawks logo, sits atop a rear table, awaiting its first slice. She’s got the display set up on a small stage, and she’s coaxed her formidable figure into an ensemble chosen by a Melrose homosexual: black leggings, an elegant ruffled halter and zippered shoe boots with stiletto heels and a peep toe.

“I bought the whole thing,” she says. She’s fresh off a stint at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, where she and her partner, Joe Odell, showed their merchandise to thousands of sexstarved nymphs and pervs to great acclaim.

She lays a bottle of product, Hot Rawks, on a reporter sitting at the bar. It’s a unique combination of raw, organically grown, drum-dried herbs that Wilson is marketing as a libido enhancer, though she says it also boosts energy levels and the immune system.

“My mom feels like she’s 25 again,” she says. It’s got maca, the “Andes aphrodisiac”; catauba bark; raw cacao, which is the basis for chocolate; Korean ginseng, which according to product literature has a “black belt in copulatory performance”; cayenne pepper; tribulus terrestris, a testosterone regulator; and the secret weapon: epimedium, AKA “horny goat weed.”

At 6:20 p.m., the reporter pops a couple of them. He’s no stranger to herbs. He gives a couple to Josh the bartender too.

“Don’t blame me if you can’t get to sleep tonight,” she says.

She and Odell, she says, are “passionate about herbs, natural healing, holistic stuff,” she says.

“We have some personal testimonial to the powerful healing properties of herbs,” she continues. “One thing we realized: They don’t really market herbs to the mainstream. Herbs are for hippies, earthy people. They make fun of them. There’s sort of a stigma to it. But it’s sexy to be healthy. We’re trying to give it kind of a rock-androll feel.”

The room fills with the young pros and old hands; liquor circulates; the murmur grows to a din and Wilson takes the stage.

Don’t let the legs fool you: She’s got marketing chops and business savvy, a shrewd eye and a standup’s timing. And what she’s doing — using sex to sell a healthy lifestyle — resonates among this crowd of aging beauties.

“The human body was created to have sex,” she tells the room. And, “If [a company] says there’s a pill out there that will make your dick bigger, they’re lying.” And, “You really are what you eat. An herb can make you feel better, give you more vitality, increased circulation. It can make you feel like you’re 22 again.”

She closes with a slideshow, photos of her and Odell posing with porn stars in Las Vegas, and the party moves to the banquette.

It’s 8:20 p.m. and the reporter asks the bartender, “How’s your libido?” “Great,” he says. “I think it kicks in when you move.

You gotta be doing stuff.”

The reporter shrugs, packs his bag and walks out the door, leaving the road-testing of Hot Rawks to the folks at the bar. He later admitted to a slight tingling sensation that kicked in a few hours on, but he says he was still asleep by 11 p.m.