AEE 2017: Jillian Janson

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

This is the third of three posts on my interviews with Star Factory clients during the 2017 Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

I value all my industry contacts, but talking with Jillian Janson was an unexpected pleasure.

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Before interviewing someone I’ve never met, I like to chip away any possible awkwardness  with a brief “hello.” In the case of Jillian Janson, I stopped by the Evil Angel booth where she was signing.

In the past, my luck with Evil Angel girls has not always been the best, but this sweetie was the exception thanks to the great people at Star Factory.

After few minutes of small talk, we were looking forward to our time in the press room the next day.

Photo courtesy of Star Factory and AVN

Photo courtesy of Star Factory and AVN

Doing Everything Right Away

Jillian Janson is blonde and perky with adorable eyes. She entered porn at eighteen in 2013.

Describing herself now as “twenty-one going on thirty,” Jillian has seen a lot of the business but admits she doesn’t know everything yet.

2017-01-20-08-56-22-2I mention some girls get shot out early and Jillian must have buffered her career wisely to still be around after three years.

“The fans are all about the new girl because they see too much of girls who work every day,” she says. Veterans know this and are aware of the pitfalls that can eat up untested ambitions.

A new girl comes in with instant stardom created by “doing everything right away—anal, boy/girl, girl/girl, all day every day,” Jillian says, “then they wonder why six months later, two years later, they [finally] win an award but they’re never working because they are worn out.”

She has learned to pace her career.

“That’s why I been in and out the last three years. I’m just relaxing, having a good time, paying my bills.”

But Jillian remains in the mix.

“I’m still getting recognized for [awards like] female performer, best oral, best anal. It makes me want to work even harder, to just be out there more and show everybody who I am.”

Jillian knows how to brand her name. She’s added feature dancing to her resume and recently launched her website therealjillianjanson.com (see link below).

“I still have a few things in mind to work on, but I’m so excited to get that [the site] going, it’s going to be girl/girl because I haven’t been able to experiment with girls much,” she says with a smile.

Increments

Proclaiming her to be a porn veteran, something that surprises her, I ask Jillian what three pieces of advice she would offer a new girl.

img_0736-2Her attitude shifts a bit with the question. She’s suddenly very focused and less light-hearted.

“You don’t want to necessarily do everything right away. You want to do things in increments. You’re brand new and you don’t know what you want to do so take it in steps.”

In her personal history, Jillian began with photo shoots, did boy/girl, “then a week later, what was I doing? I was on the bed with my first girl who happened to be French-Asian, so I got to experience another culture as well,” she declares.

“So many new things to wrap my mind around, but I have a feeling that I’ve balanced everything pretty well. I take enough time off, kind of make everyone miss me,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.

What’s Jillian’s next tip for an new eager starlet?

“Be yourself, be charming, be unique, be caring,” and most important, “be positive, be nice, if you’re not going to say anything nice, don’t say it at all,” Jillian insists.

But be prepared for the downside of the business.

“You’re going to get knocked down, so get yourself back up again.”

img_0735-2Jillian is determined with her words now, measuring them carefully.

Some industry people will “help you out and be there for you,” she says, but they’re the few, so “be there for yourself.”

And, of course, there’s the third lesson every fresh face who is instantly awash in dollars must learn, Jillian declares.

“Be patient. Be smart with your money. You don’t want to blow it on everything you want right away because the little things don’t add up to the big things that you want.

“I spent a bunch of money on clothes, three thousand dollars on a massage chair, never home for it. It’s just sitting in a storage unit. So that’s money wasted when it could have gone into a new car or a new house or getting a business together.”

Hit-and-Run

Finally, I ask about Jillian about her background.

Her parents were not married, in fact they never dated, she says.

“I call myself a ‘hit-and-run.’ It’s like you go to a party, you drink, you have sex with somebody, and you don’t see them for four years. That’s how my mom pretty much had me,” Jillian’s smile softens her serious undertone.

“‘Hit-and-run’ or ‘one night stand’ is what you call ’em!”

Her laugh is punctured with a touch of resignation.

Jillian, who is not unfamiliar with the LA party scene, does understand the circumstances of how these things happen, however.

Photo courtesy of AVN

Photo courtesy of AVN

“You have to have some fun,” this blonde stunner says. “The industry is so fun, the parties, the events, everything that goes on here. It’s an entertaining experience.”

Jillian Janson began her career as a web cam model in August 2013 when she turned eighteen. She was still in high school in Minnesota, working to help support her mother. Once her school mates found out about her other more grown-up persona, hassles developed and Jillian left for California after an agent contacted her.

This Midwestern lass considers herself to be an independent spirit. Talking with her hints at concerns over approval and validation, not at all unexpected in performers who start very young.

One has to admire Jillian’s depth of self-understanding when she offers her “twenty-one going on thirty” declaration.

I sincerely believe she is more courageous than she realizes.

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Photo courtesy of Star Factory and AVN

Photo courtesy of Star Factory and AVN

Jillian Janson has won several awards, among them is NightMoves “Best Female Performer” in 2015 and “Best Adult Feature Dancer” in 2016.

This year, Jillian was nominated for AVN’s 2017 Female Performer of the Year.

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AEE 2017: Briana Banks

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

This the second post in a series of interviews with Star Factory clients recorded during the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

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An unexpected delight at this year’s AEE was Briana Banks. Her forthright perspective on the industry highlighted one of the most informative interviews I have done lately.

Before we get into her thoughts, an observation about this year’s show is helpful.

Photo courtesy of AVN

Photo courtesy of AVN

Cam girls are the new porn babes and they are meeting their fans on a personal level right out of their apartments or homes through member-driven online relationships.

What does this mean?

Today’s trade show is changing the way porn does business. Cam fans are physically meeting girls they chat with online rather than seeking out their favorite stars for the first time as often happens when a traditional porn girl shoots for established companies and maintains a website that encourages fan contact via social media.

Of course, there is a shortcoming for the cam girl. Whatever creativity she has is her own adventure, director and crew backed by studio money is nowhere to be found.

Caught in this transition, Briana is working hard to adjust to a new reality while maintaining her traditional porn image.

The first issue we discussed centered on technology.

A More Personal Level

Briana took a five-year hiatus and returning to porn has become a confrontation with change, especially with new delivery platforms continually being developed.

“Technology-wise I feel like I’m starting at the bottom again.” She mentions having to learn about twitter, for example.

2017-01-19-04-27-42-2But things are looking good.

“I’m learning the ropes again,” she says with a smile.

The focal point of Briana’s comeback is her website, brianabanks.xxx (for link, see below). She’s posted a host of recently shot scenes and all new content she knows her fans will appreciate.

Next on her agenda is the webcam. Briana’s already done some camming for other companies, but now she’s on her own and she’s a bit nervous about it.

“I’ve been scared to death because this is new to me. On my site I will be promoting [the times] when I will be doing live webcam so for everyone who’s been asking me, it’s happening.”

“Doing it out of my own house myself is really going to be entertaining for everyone except me.” She laughs.

But like every Chaturbate or myfreecams girl, Briana recognizes the value of the new platform.

“That’s how my fans are going to get on a more personal level [with me],” this curvaceous beauty says.

c4-j9csuyaayxeo-jpg-large-2MILF

Another change Briana has to accommodate is how she is marketed. She laments the loss of “glam porn” that features “pretty girls having sex with attractive men.”

Heavily driven by the internet, the industry is in flux, however, and today everything is in subgenres. The “glam” element has receded.

A few years ago, categories were minimal and MILF was sparingly used. But no more and by virtue of her age, MILF is Briana’s subgenre now, though she is not overly thrilled with it.

“I feel as though once you hit twenty-five, it’s MILF. I want to do scenes where there is just sex, I don’t want to be someone’s mom all the time, or doing my husband’s nephew and so on.”

Of course, MILF is part of a totality of subgenres like fetish, IR, girl/girl, gangbangs, blowbangs, bondage, and the like.

To win an award, girls are cast into categories.

Does Briana feel that porn has too many subgenres?

“I do. I think it’s ridiculous that I can’t ever win Performer of the Year, it has to be MILF Performer of the Year.”c5mgbiaxaaq-y3v-jpg-large

What she wants is open opportunity for all female performers without an age restriction, or anything else for that matter.

In other words, every girl should be eligible for that prestigious honor.

“I’m not trying to put anyone down, but some of the best performers are the MILFs, because we’ve been doing that for so long and we know what we are doing and we don’t get the opportunity to win those awards,” Briana explains.

In measuring the success of her comeback, Briana Banks is redefining herself and her brand, finding an exciting new niche in a business that can crush new girls while rewarding the talented performer with a solid fan base.

Experience counts and Briana Banks is among the elite, a rare porn commodity these days when the business is flooded with internet honeys who are often clueless about shooting a good scene.

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For pictures of Briana Banks, please click here:
http://www.starfactorypr.com/Briana_Banks.zip

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AEE 2017: Cindy Starfall

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

This is the first post in a series of interviews with the clients of Star Factory recorded at the Adult Industry Expo in Las Vegas.

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Cindy Starfall is an atypical porn star.

Born in Saigon long after the end of the Vietnam War, Cindy was raised by a nanny. At fifteen, she emigrated to the States and finished her education at an all-girl Catholic school.

Her strict upbringing nurtured the desire for everything taboo. Entering porn in 2011 as a cam girl, Cindy shot her first hardcore scene in March 2012.

This petite honey loves everything from IR to gangbangs, has an online store, and feature dances, all pretty standard for a porn girl. So what part of her is not typical?

Cindy is a swinger and loves to talk about it.

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A Strange Topic

How did she get into swinging?

“It was way before porn,” Cindy begins. In college, she was doing web cam shows and a friend approached her about swinging.

“He was introducing me to the lifestyle,” she says. He asked Cindy about watching others have sex, especially in “wife swapping” situations.2017-01-19-04-59-29

Uncertain at first, her answer was no “because it was a very strange topic for me,” she remembers.

“But I went to a swinger club and it was awesome. People were so nice and I like the environment when it’s just purely sex with nothing involved.”

Cindy is still in the scene today and has expanded her swinger friendships.

Just Sex

Do people in the swinger clubs ever make her uncomfortable?

“Sometimes,” Cindy replies and mentions online swinger sites where her profile can be accessed by people in the community.

“They like to stalk me, but in a swinger club there is security everywhere to prevent that from happening.”

2017-01-19-04-59-37Cindy sets her parameters to prevent emotional overreach.

“I tell every couple that I play with that this is just sex, no relationships. In the swing community it is very important that you set that rule because of all the drama that is going on.”

What’s more, there are practicalities everyone observes.

“You tend to show up as couples. You sign up for memberships on a site and you get invited privately so it’s not open for the public. You don’t know where it [the club] is exactly and yes, couples get in for free.”

Singles are not excluded, however.

“Single guy is no problem. Single girls, we call them unicorns. I was a unicorn.”

The atmosphere is congenial.

“It’s definitely a club. People are not afraid to sit down and say, ‘Hi this is my wife, this is my husband,'” Cindy says. If couples like each other, “you can take it to another level. You can go upstairs [to the] playroom.”

2017-01-19-05-00-35Couples may already be there having sex, Cindy explains, but it’s not necessary to get involved with them.

“You can just play with whoever you come with.”

On other occasions, she has a different agenda.

“Sometimes I don’t play at the club. The club is where I meet people. If I like them then I go forward to setting up a date, I call it a date, but it’s not.”

In other words, not like we think of dating, Cindy clarifies.

“It’s just sex. I don’t go to dinner, to a movie. I don’t do that,” she insists, because Cindy wants the couples she plays with to stay together.

Limits

What about sexual limits like those on a porn set?

Limits can be set, Cindy says. Every couple is different. Some may not like kissing, others may want their spouses in separate rooms or insist they be in the same room, and some people have rules about no pictures.

Her personal rule?

“I’ll only do it with your wife there. I don’t want to break up that marriage.’

In fact, Cindy prefers a threesome where possible.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Starfall

Photo courtesy of Cindy Starfall

The Turn On of Being Watched

Has swinging had a positive effect on her porn performances?

“Yes. Being a swinger and moving into porn [was] not a scary thing for me,” Cindy says.

“It’s actually improved my porn performances because when I started swinging I realized I like the turn-on of being watched. I love being in front of people.”

So, does Cindy get nervous on porn set?

No, she says. When there’s group sex in the clubs with people watching and photos being snapped (Cindy has no objections to cameras being present), it’s “essentially is the same thing” as porn except with adult film she becomes an actress.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Starfall

Photo courtesy of Cindy Starfall

“People watch me through the camera and I feel very comfortable doing what I’m doing on camera.”

“I was not a confident girl until I started the swinger lifestyle. I was very shy. You read my profile. I grew up in a strict household,”  she says.

Cindy’ s parents never encouraged her to be accepting of her sexual self, she adds.

But things are different today.

“I’m more comfortable with my body now. I’m a way more confident girl than I was, let’s say, years before porn.”

Porn is Very Safe

For the most part, an adult film set promotes a protective environment. Does swinging do the same?

Cindy with Star Factory's Tanya Tate. Photo courtesy of Star Factory

Cindy with Star Factory’s Tanya Tate.
Photo courtesy of Star Factory

“Yes, [but] you have to take care of yourself, to watch out for yourself,” just like in porn, Cindy says.

“Porn is very safe on set,” she asserts, nothing like the “misconceptions” people have about partying and drugs.

“It’s very business-like. You come in, do your work, and you get paid. Everybody is very professional. Everybody always looks out for your interests. But the one who cares most about your interests is yourself. It’s common sense, you got to take care of yourself first.”

Cindy offers what is most important about porn.

“You have to be very comfortable with your own body. You can’t be insecure, you have to know how your body works.”

This leads Cindy Starfall to reveal a personal secret as we close out our talk.

“I’m a sexual person, but I always held it in. I never say it out loud and I was never okay with my body. I always compared myself with other girls, but now I know who I am and I own it. When I see gorgeous girls, I compliment them versus trying to compare myself to them.”

This leads to her final thought.

“Before I got in the business, I make a promise to myself that I’m not going to change who I am because of the industry. I’m still the same person. My swinger friends who have been with me before porn see that.  I’m still the same girl. Yes, I am way busier now but I’m still the same, so it doesn’t change me.”

Now that’s healthy indeed!

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AEE 2017: Emma Hix

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

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The Adult Entertainment Expo is a rush for everyone. When I stopped by Foxxx Modeling for a quick visit, I notice a striking blonde named Emma Hix. She’s tall and slim with delicate features and something I’ve rarely seen on a porn girl: a wedding ring.

Intrigued, I asked her if she could give me a few minutes of her time.

I returned the next day and we talked briefly amongst the fans ready to take my place when Emma’s attention was free.

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Rough Sex

Emma is nineteen, from LA, and married with a “very supportive” family behind her.

“I got into porn because I love expressing my sexuality,” she says.

Her first scene was in April of last year. So far, she’s stayed on the vanilla side. “I’ve done four anal scenes, and soon I hope to do my first IR scene.”

Photo courtesy of Foxxx Modeling

Photo courtesy of Foxxx Modeling

Emma wants to turn her career up a notch and shoot for Kink.com.

“I do like rough sex,” she says, but when it comes to bondage, Emma is more into being tied up as an expression of art.

“I don’t think of the rough side so much,” she admits. “With them that’s going to happen, so I have to be prepared.”

For a youngster in this business, Emma has a grasp on reality.

“You have to know what you are comfortable with and what you’re not comfortable with. It’ll be fine, but it’s a little nerve-wracking.”

Since this sweetie hasn’t done any features, I ask about her acting experience and found out she took some drama classes in high school.

“I was better at acting back then because I felt more open with myself. But now that I’m in the adult industry I feel more pressure to be good at acting,” Emma says.

“My acting skills have gone down. I’m not going to lie. I’m going to take a course because I do want to eventually go into mainstream. It’s really hard to do that after porn, but that’s the goal.”

Be Yourself

What is the most important piece of advice she would give new girls?img_0737-2

“Be yourself and don’t change for anyone because a lot of girls in this industry will change for other people to look good. I try to be myself, I try to be friendly to people.”

It’s worked for her, Emma says. People who knew her before porn tell her she hasn’t changed.

Finally, Emma has a warning for every eager starlet.

Watch Out

“Watch out for people who will take advantage of you. If you’re coming into the industry as a new girl, you will get taken advantage of.”

It happened to her and Emma is very open about it. Her story reflects what I’ve heard from other girls.

img_0752-2“My very first scene, the guy is only supposed to cum one time. That’s like the rule. He came four times, he came inside of me, he did off-camera two times and I thought that was the norm, it was fine.”

In fact, she took the behind the scenes episode as a compliment.

“I felt good, ‘Oh he really likes me,’” she remembers.

But then reality kicked in.

“When I went back home to my agent, he said, ‘That is totally wrong.’”

Emma explains that the industry has good guys and ones that aren’t and the bad dudes will take advantage of an unaware girl.

“As much as you love sex, doing it off camera is different.  Some directors try to get you to have sex with them just to get work. When I pick that up I don’t want to work for them. I’ll just be friendly. ‘No, I don’t want to do that.’”

“You got to watch out,” Emma declares.

Emma Hix’s fans were a little restless by now, so we closed things out. Check this girl out if you don’t her at Foxxx Modeling. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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AEE 2017: Kasey Warner

by Rich Moreland, February  2017

My thanks to Girlfriends Films for providing some of the photos in this post.

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Talking with the stars of films I’ve reviewed is always a treat. At this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo, Kasey Warner fell my way, an expected surprise.

A text and a meeting at the AVN booth led to an interview after her signing time.

I’m interested in Kasey’s perspective on B Skow’s Color Blind, a film that was nominated for Best Drama, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at this year’s Awards Show.

She plays an unsighted girl who falls in love with a man of color.

To read my review of this socially significant film, click here.

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I Can Hear Your Voice

I asked Kasey how she prepared for her role.

“B Skow sent me some clips of a girl on YouTube and said study her videos and pick up on her mannerisms so you can play a convincing blind girl,” Kasey remembers.

At first, this adorable brunette realized that the YouTube girl wasn’t doing the things that seemed “stereotypically blind,” something she would have to take into consideration in her acting.

“At the beginning of filming I was trying to portray a blind person as blind people actually are, but then as it went on, [I started] doing the things that people do when they act blind.”

She references her eyes shifting around, for example.

Skow picked up on her mannerisms, understandable because he directed Maddy O’Reilly in Daddy’s Girls who also plays a girl without sight.

Kasey recalls his reminder, “‘Don’t look at people in the eyes, [because] you can’t see.'”

It was a struggle at first and she remembers telling Skow, “I can hear your voice and I can center my ears to find your voice. So it’s kind of hard trying to find a medium between a realistic blind girl and a girl that people could watch and say, ‘Oh, she’s blind.'”

But, she pulled it off!

Feeling it Out

The opening scene in the kitchen sets the tone for a powerful film. Were the scenes shot in lockstep with the screenplay?

“That actually was the first thing we filmed. I don’t think every scene was filmed in chronological order, but I do think that the team tried to have it that way because for professional actors it is a little bit easier to go through the movie and kind of feel it out as you go,” Kasey replies.

“By the second day I was is in the groove of a blind girl,” Kasey notes with a smile.

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And that was no mean feat.

“When you’re shooting a porn movie you don’t get as much time to practice,” Kasey explains. “You don’t have a table read, you don’t have run-throughs. So I definitely felt like as it went on I got more into my role, so that was good.”

No doubt, her performance is impressive.

Not Typical Gonzo

Kasey’s sex scene with Isiah Maxwell is far from a gonzo shoot. There’s a gentleness in it.

How did she balance being sightless and romantic at the same time?

Isiah Maxwell

Isiah Maxwell

“I was obviously already in the character and I love Isiah. He’s the sweetest guy in the world so it’s not hard to have him be my boyfriend and be all lovey-dovey with him.”

Because of her character’s circumstances, “each scene is a whole new experience” for the girl, Kasey says, and “I was able to use that to make it seem like it was new for me.”

In other words, her scenes had authenticity.

I suggest that losing virginity in the real world is hardly a romantic experience.

Kasey concurs.

“I read one review where they didn’t like the sex scene and I understand that because it’s not your typical gonzo scene and it’s not me riding like a crazy person. I am a blind girl from a sheltered racist family losing my virginity. It’s supposed to be kind of scary, timid, and very emotional and romantic because that’s what it is.”

Adriana Chechik

Adriana Chechik

Fans should understand that portraying a certain character does not mean every sex scene is an Adriana Chechik scene, Kasey points out. (Adriana plays her sister in the film and was voted AVN’s 2017 Female Performer of the Year).

She says fans often want gonzo “to be every scene” but her character’s situation doesn’t lend itself to that. “I’m not going to be on top, doing crazy stuff like ‘choke me, Isiah!'” Kasey laughs.

Filming with Skow

“I love shooting with B Skow because he allows me to do scenes that aren’t just, ‘Be my Stepdad, Again!’ It was really nice to be able to shoot a movie that really had some meaning behind it,” Kasey says.

Picking up on Color Blind’s theme, this East Coast girl remarks, “It was nice to do an interracial movie where the whole point is that we’re all the same.”

The idea is important to Kasey because she was on board with IR shoots as soon she entered the industry. It seemed natural to her, but she was in for a surprise.

“I didn’t know that some girls hold out on that.”

But no matter. Even if she had been aware of not doing everything right off the bat, Kasey wouldn’t have changed her approach to her career when it came to IR.

“It’s dumb to discriminate. The whole point of me being blind is I can’t see color so I’m the girl who says, ‘Why shouldn’t I have sex with this guy, I love him. He’s great.'”

At this point, Kasey interjects that too much of interracial porn is gonzo-centered, just another white girl banged by a black guy. “Usually it’s like, ‘Woo, you’re my black babysitter!’ I don’t know, some dumb stuff [like that].”

Focusing on Emotion

I’ve reviewed enough B Skow films to understand his intensity and his endearing maverick status. I explore this idea with Kasey.

B Skow

What makes Skow such a spirited and impassioned director?

“He refuses to adhere to what porn says he should do to make the most money. He’s not going to shoot the most generic, asinine thing just because ‘Big Butts 37’ is going to sell more than a politically, racially-fueled movie with a message,” Kasey says.

“He  really cares and he doesn’t care that some people might not like it. This is what is important to me. It’s nice to shoot with directors who are passionate [about their work],” Kasey explains.

“That allows me to do a good scene because it’s hard for me to care if the director doesn’t.”

My final question on the film concerns its shocking finale.

Because her theater experiences in her student days enables her to feel empathy for the characters she plays, Kasey is good at focusing on emotion and that showed up as the film closes.

But there is more. Kasey praises Steven St. Croix’s portrayal of her racist father. His intensity created the energy she absorbed to enhance her performance.

Steven St. Croix. Photo courtesy of AVN media

Steven St. Croix.
Photo courtesy of AVN media

Were her tears spontaneous?

“Yeah. I was like it would be cool if I cried but I didn’t mean to. But the emotion was building up, I let it happen.

“The PA had to leave the room because he was going to start crying. Because there was so much emotion, I garbled through the speech a little bit. I was glad they were able to get the crying and the speech through editing.”

Sexology?

Kasey and I are from the same part of the country, just outside Washington, DC, a continent away from LA. This interview is like old home week for us so I inquire about her background.

What motivated her to go into porn?

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The school she was attending had a stem program (science, technology, engineering, math), Kasey explains, but it was not for her.

“I’m not really into any of that. I just went there because they gave me a big scholarship.”

She didn’t much care for her classes.

“I wanted to pursue a culinary career or get a degree in sexology and study human sexuality professionally.

“So I’d be sitting in my room just watching porn—not masturbating or anything—thinking this is really good porn, you know, just appreciating the cinematography and the acting. It occurred to me, ‘Hmmm, that’s an actual job that people have. I’m eighteen, a young cute girl, I could do that.

“So I just packed up and moved to California and started working.”

Aren’t we glad she did.

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Prop 60, Part Two: Unity

by Rich Morelan, February 2017

In doing this two part series on Prop 60, a special thanks is extended to Star Factory PR for arranging interviews with Cindy Starfall, Derrick Pierce, Briana Banks, and Ela Darling.

Photos included in this post are courtesy of AVN and @IndustryByRick.

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Roaring Chorus

Was Prop 60 a game changer for the industry and APAC?

57c610b493674-cindystarfall-onbedfacingout-1600Performer Cindy Starfall thinks so. “The industry definitely united. We did the whole campaign . . . we came together.”

She affirms that adult performers are “not a health risk” to society and agrees with others in the industry that the whole legal exercise was pointless. By the way, Cindy does not personally mind using condoms so she could have adjusted to the law had it passed.

Casey Calvert believes Prop 60’s defeat was pivotal.

“One hundred percent,” she declares, “Huge, massive industry wide, business wide, game changer.”58998d41c76c8-imgl6451

“It’s something everybody’s still talking about months later. Our history [has been] we all fight within each other. We’re all respectful but we don’t actually have anybody’s back.”

Best of all, the battle has resulted in a degree of unification not seen before.

Should an issue like Prop 60 pop up another time, Casey is “confident that the same people that stepped up for Prop 60 would step up [again].”

Ela Darling agrees.

“There is strength in unity, there is strength in community, especially when you are a marginalized community, in some cases marginalized on a variety of aspects whether we are sex workers or women or people of color or queer people. All of those things just stack up and nobody is going to have our backs if we don’t have our backs.

“It’s very easy to dismiss a few voices, but it’s much harder to dismiss a roaring chorus of people aligning together especially when you establish the value of that population. We are just not just weird sex people. We are the laborers. We are taxpayers. We’re so much more than people would like to describe us. When we all stand together, that becomes apparent.”

Caution

John Stagliano is cautiously optimistic, perhaps because of his battles in the past with government overreach into porn. In his view, cultural influences have altered attitudes and how people communicate.

“I think the game changer was the fact that the people have changed and the internet has changed people and we were able to effectively reach them. Eric Paul Leue arguably did a great job [and] the results are stunning with regard to the fact that we won. They seemed to have turned the tide.”

With his stark realism, Derrick Pierce is not so sure because of porn’s place in our culture.

“I wouldn’t say a game changer, maybe a shift in tides. We’ll all be long gone in the business before APAC has a game changer moment because I think mainstream would have to take this business seriously [first].”

As for APAC, Derrick is straight forward.58998d60a3303-imgl6569 As a support group it works, but a union, if that is its intent, requires the commitment of time and money.

“To be one hundred percent honest, there is never going to be a union in porn. It’s great in theory but seventy percent of the business is female” and most girls, the under twenty-one crowd, are just passing through, he says.

“Why [would]  they spend any money on this because all they’re looking for is to buy a car, pay for some school–the good ones—buy a purse, buy some shoes, or move out. Whatever their short term goal is for that.”

The attitude is simple, Derrick has seen it all along. This is a stopover and most girls think, “I’m just going to knock out a couple of scenes, blow a couple of dudes, and I’m outta here,” he says.

Refreshing and Empowering

On the other hand, Derrick believes the story is different for the other thirty percent.

“The jessica drakes and the Asa Akiras and the Phoenix Maries, all those girls who have made a career out of this. Yes, they would be the ones who would benefit the most and also a lot of the guys that stick around.”

Derricks words bring to mind an argument I’ve heard before from adult legend Nina Hartley . . . organizing porn talent is like herding cats. But, could times be changing?

58998d2190b02-imgl6284At any rate, the industry can revel in its victory today and hope for a profitable future.

We give Ela Darling the final word by repeating and reinforcing what she said earlier.

“I’ve never seen the industry aligned so strongly on anything like they did on Prop 60. It was refreshing, it was empowering and amazing.”

Perhaps we have a new political force in the making.

 

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Prop 60, Part One: No More Debate

by Rich Moreland, February 2017

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Everyone knows by now that California voters rejected Proposition 60 last November. So, no condoms in adult film going forward!

But questions linger. How important was Prop 60’s defeat and what does it say about political activism in porn?

At the AVN trade show I decided to ask around.

Answers varied, as did opinions, and a sampling appears here.

First, however, performer Casey Calvert provides some background on the issue that has roiled the adult industry.

Measure B to Prop 60

The ruckus over Prop 60 began a few years ago in 2012 just when she entered the business, Casey remembers. The political dustup then was Measure B that required condoms for filmed sex in LA County.

img_0515-2“My first porn shoot was in November 5, 2012. Measure B passed in LA County on Nov 6, 2012, and I watched it on TV and thought, ‘What the fuck did I just get myself into?'”

Little changed, actually. The law was never really enforced, Casey points out.

“They don’t have the money to make sure porn stars are wearing condoms. LA as a political entity and a public service entity is stretched so thin,” the native Floridian explains and adds that the law is still around but is “unenforceable as written.”

Undeterred, the Aids Health Foundation’s  Michael Weinstein, who was behind the initiative, turned his attention statewide. Next came AB 1576 that did what Measure B advocated, Casey continues, and it, too, failed in the state legislature mainly because of cost.

Finally, Weinstein went the ballot route in the election and collected enough signatures to bring his proposal before the voters.

However, it expired at the ballot box because it was flawed.

“The issue with Prop 60 was less about condoms and more about enforcement and how every private citizen in California could sue a porn production company if they watched a movie shot in the state without a condom,” Casey says.

2017-01-18-07-18-13-3Evil Angel owner John Stagliano agrees.

“Prop 60 was a horribly written law,” he says, pointing out that it established Michael Weinstein as “the porn czar” with the power to “prosecute cases and collect his expenses from the state.”

Despite the proposition’s shortcomings, effort and planning was required to ensure its demise.

Political Unity

Unwilling to take chances, the industry fought the initiative. Ela Darling, the current President of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) comments, “APAC and the FSC (Free Speech Coalition) and a large number of performers did everything they could to defeat Prop 60 and we won, we got it!”

Casey Calvert reminds us that this was “the first time that porn stars actually rallied for a cause and we owe a lot of that to the Free Speech Coalition.” She talks about industry people using twitter and doing interviews to get the story out.

“I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post which I heard was very impactful . . . I also spoke on the radio,” Casey adds.

Ela and Casey give performers Julia Ann and SiouxsieQ and Free Speech Coalition’s Eric Leue much credit for organizing and leading the charge.

John Stagliano steps up to put Chanel Preston on the worthy list. “Chanel did some great interviews . . . She was very effective and active [in defeating Prop 60].”

And, everyone thanks California’s Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian Parties and the LGBT organizations for speaking out against Prop 60, a rare instance of political unity.

Activism

Ela talks about the lobbying in Sacramento.

2017-01-18-09-23-25-2“We spoke to legislators, we spoke to Senators . . . anybody who would give us time. Quite a few did. I got to be the voice of the industry to speak to the caucuses and the Democratic convention in Long Beach. It’s been a really big grassroots effort,” she says. Porn people even “led a protest through Hollywood.”

“I’ve never seen the industry aligned so strongly on anything like they did on Prop 60. It was refreshing, it was empowering, and amazing.”

Performer Derrick Pierce presents an unvarnished view of the campaign.

The FSC built a winning coalition of ” both talent and producers and production teams.” People “who are typically fragmented in nature” were on the same political page, Derrick remarks, because “even though we are socially amongst each other we don’t really function in that capacity.”

He characterizes the industry’s victory as a “David versus Goliath” fight.

In doing his part, Derrick went on Facebook to check postings from major media outlets where he found lots of comments.

“I literally went through every negative or misinformed comment and rebutted it. And who knows, maybe it reached five people, but that’s what was needed from every person who had a vested interest in this.”

But he had his doubts. “I’m glad that it was defeated though I was thinking that we were going to get screwed.”

Derrick interprets the victory as more than just a defeat for  poorly written law and its sponsor AHF.

“It wasn’t so much that prop 60 and us moving to Vegas or another place was necessarily the problem, it’s that it set precedent. That’s huge because, there’s no more debate.”

In other words, should similar issues arise with CAL/OSHA and safety regulations,”Now you just have to implement what’s already been said.”

Know the Process

Next Derrick sticks a dagger in the heart of deceit.

img_0726-2

“I would love to see what Weinstein’s real issue is. I know what he’s written and some of the things he’s said and I know who his donors and backers are.”

Moreover, the top male performer understands what spurs politicians and reformers.

“Anything to do with the adult business is a wonderful soapbox. You stand on it and preach to the people this is immoral, we have to protect these people [porn performers] that don’t know any better.”

He also calls out talent to educate themselves.

“Half the people don’t know what our testing process is. You should know because if you’re going to argue the point then you should know what the hell it is we’re doing. [Most performers] don’t know how many tests are done on us every two weeks . . .and they should.

“Know the process and how it works so  you don’t sound like a bumbling idiot when you talk about it.”

Derrick asserts that just screaming performer rights  “doesn’t mean anything” when it comes to debating health issues.

A Reminder of Reality

Finally, Briana Banks brings up a point that may have swayed some voters. She’s happy, of course, with the outcome but there is bit of reality that may have been missed when assessing the defeat of condoms.

Briana shot for the condom-only Vivid for eight years and her movies sold well, she says. But when she put up a recent condom clip she did for her website, her fans panned the scene.

2017-01-19-04-27-29-2“My fans were disgusted. They really were. We’ve put it out there so much of not using condoms that now if you use a condom, people watching porn can’t get past it.”

But there is something else at work here, Briana thinks.

The condom is a shock because of the reality it represents.

“Seeing a condom makes them think of STDs and HIV that they don’t think of when watching a porn movie.”

Condoms remind fans of the risks they take in their own lives, Briana believes. “To watch a porn star use a condom makes them think about the reality of life in general.”

Interesting. Maybe it’s something everybody missed in this battle. Porn is just fantasy and Prop 60 was about to take that away.

For the industry, however, there could be a darker underlying message hidden within this victory. Does it suggest that some fans may unconsciously regard porn performers as expendable?

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Next we’ll look at how the defeat of Prop 60 is seen as a game changer for the industry, if indeed it is.

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