Category Archives: the business of porn

Anna Lee, Part 3: Behind the Scenes

by Rich Moreland, April, 2014

This is a brief look at a part of the Behind the Scenes interviews in The Sexual Liberation of Anna Lee.

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Prevalent in adult DVDs is a “Behind the Scenes” segment in which the camera makes impromptu visits with the cast. Fairly standard in its make-up, the backstage lens catches porn performers in their casual moments and is typically filled with small talk and clowning around.

On the Anna Lee set, director Jacky St. James chats informally with three of her stars about the film’s theme, repressed sexuality, examining the issue with a seriousness not usually found in BTS fare. The director, who also authored the script, offers insights into childhood upbringing as a factor in sexual attitudes.

Maddy O’Reilly

An A-list Spiegler girl, Maddy O’Reilly resides at the upper end of the adult industry food chain. Despite her true porn star status, Maddy confesses that her adolescence was similar to that of Anna’s character: sexually reticent physically, but intensely sexual mentally.

Because anything unforeseen could happen, Jacky asks Maddy if she had any concerns about being tied up and blindfolded. Maddy confesses she was definitely a “little nervous” and had “butterflies.” Her arousal level was sky high; she was “heated” and  “sweaty” before the sequence was filmed. But, Maddy adds, getting anxious before shooting sex scenes is normal for her.

“Why are you shy and nervous about sex?” Jacky inquires.

“I’m from a very conservative background,” Maddy says. Her childhood was shaped by the religious community in which she lived. There were “churches on every corner,” Maddy remembers, and going to church “three times a week” was an expectation that defined the norm in her Bible-Belt hometown.

Jacky, Steven St. Croix, and Eddie surround a shy, conservative southern girl. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Koga

Jacky, Steven St. Croix, and Eddie surround a once shy, church-going girl.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Koga

Maddy’s mother taught her daughter that the simplest physical contact could be misinterpreted as unacceptably sexual and therefore verboten. “Hugging someone was considered loose and not classy,” Maddy says with an innocent smile that bespeaks a small town upbringing and emphasizes once again that church attendance beyond the usual Sunday services reinforced her rural culture’s moral ethos.

“Being hit so hard with a religious background,” Maddy says, caused her to escape the southern backwater atmosphere of her childhood. The result? Porn became Maddy’s personal “liberation.” Entering the adult film business allowed her “to break free” to do sexual things she thought about but didn’t “have the guts” to do in her adolescent years.

Life is “very vanilla back home,” Maddy comments matter-of-factly. “People don’t talk about sex, ever.”

Jacky remarks that being in a sexually driven business must have been a big change for Maddy considering her upbringing.

“Absolutely,” the North Carolina native says. “Because it was so conservative, I wanted to go the complete opposite of that!” Maddy O’Reilly laughs and throws out her arms for emphasis.

“My mom and I never talked about sex until I was performing in the business,” she exclaims. The situation is different today, Maddy’s mother now believes it’s fine to discuss the once forbidden with her daughter. One has to wonder if others in Maddy’s hometown might succumb to their unspoken curiosity and also enjoy some small talk with her.

The Cast of Anna Lee. Photo Courtesy of Eddie Powell

The Cast of Anna Lee.
Photo Courtesy of Eddie Powell

By the way, Maddy O’Reilly’s favorite thing in Anna Lee was being tied up, especially in the St. Andrew’s cross scene where she was “liberated by everyone in the cast.” Jacky asks about Anna’s assignment in which she let other people “worship” her and how that felt from an actress’s point of view. Emphasizing that her co-stars were some of her favorite performers in the industry, Maddy insists that “not knowing” what each was going to do to her was exciting. That’s a stimulating aspect of doing bondage work I’ve heard from other performers, though for the record, not everyone adjusts to the blindfold as easily as Maddy appears to do.

Maddy loved the hot wax but cautions interested viewers to not experiment with real candles. There are special products made for that type of BDSM play. And for the curious, the twenty-four-year-old did orgasm when Johnny Castle skillfully applied the vibrator to her.

Look closely for hot wax residue. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Koga

Hot wax residue.
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Koga

Finally, Maddy giggiles about breaking the handcuffs in her scene with Xander Corvus. Because she usually gets “very romancy roles,” the psychological mood and rough and tumble sex of Anna Lee was a welcome change for her.

Maddy and Xander in the final scene. Photo Courtesy of Eddie Powell

Maddy and Xander in the final scene.
Photo Courtesy of Eddie Powell

For the record, Anna Lee has forged Maddy O’Reilly into a star any feature director should take into account casting his or her next film. Hopefully her hometown North Carolinians won’t hold that against their native daughter!

Jessa Rhodes and Steven St. Croix

In their Behind the Scenes segment, Jessa Rhodes and Steven St. Croix discuss another aspect of Anna Lee, their scene of fantasy sex with an older man. In the film it’s the therapist, Gaige, and the young staffer, Elize. Jessa comments on the “daddy” fantasy it represents and she speaks from experience. That’s “my thing,” she says, though until recently she thought it was “so wrong.”

Steven, a veteran of years in the business, believes the “daddy” issue is “a sublet of the authority figure fantasy,” like a policeman or a teacher. Jessa agrees, “It’s definitely an authority thing for me.”

At this point, Steven offers that his co-star’s fantasy (fetish?) may be a result of her background. Jessa was raised in a very religious home.

“What religion?” Jacky St. James inquires.

“Christian,” the A-lister responds, but offers no information beyond that. Growing up in an environment similar to Maddy O’Reilly’s, Jessa’s exposure to adult material “on a scale of one to ten was in the negative zone. I was in a bubble,” she chuckles.

Joking about masturbating at age eleven, the twenty-one-year-old was unsure of what she had just done, anxieties typical of an adolescent discovering her sexuality. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked herself at the time. “I felt bad.”

Jessa Rhodes Photo by Bill Knight

Jessa Rhodes
Photo by Bill Knight

Recovery from doubt was swift and the native Oregonian entered the adult industry at nineteen, quickly discovering that it’s “a healthy thing to live out your fantasies.” Though Jessa adds that some people don’t want their “dark side” to be seen by others, she assures them it is alright if they do.

Of course, performers in the adult industry can act out their fantasies in a safe environment, an advantage a non-industry person may not have.

Jessa Rhodes eventually realized what most people in business quietly understand. She can separate her “sexual self” from her “day-to-day person” because “it’s ok to be those two different beings.”

It’s an affirmation I’ve heard from several performers. In fact, an adult actor’s life off the set is more mundane that most people think.

Some years ago, an industry PR person mentioned to me that the public often assumes porn stars have unending rounds of partying and sex, burning the proverbial candle at both ends. Not in her experience, she said. Their lives are very ordinary. When I first began writing in the business, a prominent performer let me in on the secret about blogs and other social media that are a vital part of a porn star’s lifeline to her fans. “Sometimes we just make this stuff up,” she said. It’s what people want to read and believe.

A director I know put it best. The set is just about all the sex industry people have the time and energy for, he said, explaining that most performers go home to a typically uneventful American household. Take care of day-to-day needs and go to bed early.

Tomorrow becomes, as a performer friend of mine said, “just another day at work.” Porn is a business, after all.

 

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Eyes Wide: Another Day at Work

by Rich Moreland, September, 2013

Many months ago I was chatting with a veteran performer about Kink.com. A regular at the San Francisco facility, she mentioned that shooting there can take a lot out of a model. Kink.com is the premier BDSM porn company. Its websites define what it means to be kinky and performers quickly discover how psychologically and physically demanding a Kink shoot is. Some respond with reticence and prefer to go home after a single booking. Others consider the Castle an always welcome diversion from vanilla porn.

It boils down to the model’s soul.

Our conversation turned to a handful of new girls, “up and comers” the mid-thirties vet called them, who are experimenting with the Kink brand and seizing the company’s sexual fetishes as their personal fun house. Offering an example, she described the rigors of a Bound Gang Bangs shoot and how these young porn honeys are taking it all in stride. One name popped up, Floridian-turned-West Coaster Casey Calvert. I resolved then and there I was going to find out if this BDSM sweetie is the real deal.

Immediately upon seeing Casey Calvert on film, her eyes captured my attention. The eyes are the gateway to the soul and hers are bound, gagged and begging with a seduction that is irresistible.

Eyes Wide. Passion and Submission Photo Courtesy of David Hilton Photography and Casey Calvert

Eyes Wide. Passion and Submission.
Photo Courtesy of David Hilton Photography and Casey Calvert

When I finally made contact with Casey Calvert, she turned out to be receptive (not all models are, trust me). Our views and opinions immediately meshed. Among our topics, she discussed the authenticity of her version of kinky sex, mentioning Bound Gang Bangs among her Kink shoots.

Here are some of her thoughts.

Fantasizing

“It (the Bound Gang Bangs website) doesn’t actually exist anymore,” Casey began, because problems arose. “Finding girls willing to be bound and gangbanged” is difficult, she explained, putting to rest the theory that there are a slew of girls out there who can handle porn’s rougher edges. Also, there were some concerns “surrounding consent and the censors.” Ropes, perceived abuse, and explicit sex don’t always sit well with the entirety of the public mind, though the combination may be a blast for a performer like Casey Calvert who knows what she wants.

Incidentally, the site was renamed Hardcore Gangbangs, but a name change didn’t phase Casey. “I wanted to be bound with rope,” she said in a clearly disappointed tone, but that wasn’t possible for this revised version. So the Kink people, led by veteran director Princess Donna, decided on a different approach with Casey’s shoot.

The scene was set up to show me “fantasizing about being kidnapped and gangbanged,” Casey said. Undeterred by the theme change, she requested a cattle prod be used on her during the shoot. “I’m one of the few girls that really likes them,” she told me.

Casey is a pain lover who adores hard time punishment in a BDSM scene.

As the shoot progressed, the male co-stars got “a little reckless” with the instrument. Not really a problem, though, more like “boys being ignorant,” she commented. Nevertheless, Donna took a time out before the twenty-three year old had to use her safeword. Donna is a professional BDSM dominatrix who bottoms occasionally just to keep in touch with what her eager minions feel when she is in charge. Knowing what kinky sex entails, Donna never abandons the Kink ideal that the performer always comes first.

Casey praised Princess Donna, as have other performers I’ve interviewed. “Donna does an excellent job of understanding what a girl needs to feel safe in scene,” Casey said. Others “rave about how she (Donna) takes care of them like a mother would and I second that statement.”

Monitoring a Casey Calvert scene is a challenge for any director because sometimes Casey “wants to be pushed,” both “physically and mentally.” That’s a huge demand on a director, especially if Casey slips into subspace, a not always desirable outcome in a professional shoot. In listening to her, I got hints that Casey can top from the bottom if she sees the need to keep things from spiraling in the wrong direction.

Shamelessly Sexy

A Kink shoot emphasizes RACK: risk aware consensual kink. It’s Kink.com’s bread and butter and Casey looks for the thrills that emerge from it. Everything that happens to her is totally her call, but a bit of disappointment can creep in.

“At my gangbang, even though it was supposed to be a D/s (Dominance/submission) scenario, I never once felt out of control.”

But was that what she wanted, to have her consent tossed around like a rag doll? A follow up question clarified her meaning.

On the set, Casey doesn’t want her awareness to get completely away from her because the possibility of entering subspace can have dire consequences as mentioned above. Keeping things in perspective and being a professional is her mantra. At home, this is not always how the scene plays out, but that is a topic for another day.

I have a a lot more to learn about this girl, though one thing hit me the first time I saw Casey’s image on film. Her brown eyes, submissive, persuasive, and alluring, are her ticket to true porn stardom. I don’t just mean a “porn star.” Any girl who is hired by a cinematographer to screw on film can claim that title. Casey is sensuous and animated in ways that remind me of the great Hollywood icons of yesteryear.

This well-educated Florida girl has a special claim. She is a true sexual masochist cut in the mold of BDSM legend Madison Young. For those who are into the fetish and recognize their inner most feelings of dominance and sadism, gazing at a Casey Calvert performance redefines porn as art. She’s highly charged, energetic, prohibitively and shamelessly sexy, and loves to be restrained.

If her eyes are covered in the best of BDSM shooting, her submissiveness is heightened, not blinded. Though the doorway to her masochism is visually muted, Casey Calvert’s enticing vulnerability over whelms the screen.

A Blindfold on a Kink set. Photo Courtesy of Device Bondage.com and Casey Calvert

Eyes Muted.
Photo Courtesy of Device Bondage.com and Casey Calvert

Yet is this girl ever satisfied in her longings for the ultimate BDSM shoot?

Casey’s final assessment of her day in at the Castle was to the point. She enjoyed her experience, but in an imperfect world, nothing is ever exactly what it’s cut out to be.

“To be honest,” Casey said, “I was actually disappointed.” She never got to the tipping point of losing herself in the moment of the shoot, a delicate balance of reality and imagination. “I really wanted this to be a fantasy fulfillment, and it was just another day at work pretending.”

It was not the ultimate kinky shoot, spurring Casey’s never ending search for that Holy Grail.

We’ve all pretended a little at work, I’m sure, but how many of us can say that a workday has ever been a fantasy? Lucky girl.

*          *          *          *          *

Casey Calvert is in a business that touches her deepest sensuality and allows her to reach heights most of us can only imagine. By entertaining her fans, she finds a personal pleasure that makes work enjoyable. A consummate professional who demands perfection in herself, Casey travels her own path with the powerful compass of a thinking woman.

As long as her body holds out, Casey Calvert has the opportunity to test her limits and shape them for herself. She’s the very essence of the new breed my veteran acquaintance so aptly described at Kink.

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