Tag Archives: Adult Entertainment Expo

AEE 2019: Christiana Cinn, Part Two

by Rich Moreland, February 2019

We continue our conversation with Star Factory client Christiana Cinn.

Photos are credited to Kevin Sayers.

 

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Marketing

Turning to the business of camming, I’m interested to know if Christiana thinks the online models establish their own market trends. In other words, do they create a demand for their product?

She responds, “The beauty with cam girls is that they’re a niche market. They don’t have to adhere to what society says is a beauty rule. If a girl wants to have purple hair with blue pubic hair, go for it because that’s going to appeal to somebody out there who’s already on their computer looking for someone like her.”

“They (cam models) remind me of characters and dolls, things out of comic books and stories, like fairytales,” Christiana continues. “They can look any way they like and play a character, do a cos-play.”

It’s complete freedom.

“Regular beauty standards do not apply to them, they set the trend of what they want and as long as they have fun doing it, I think it’s great,” she says.

In a way, Christiana is referencing the new generation of porn fans who are young and tech savvy. Cam girls fit the bill for them.

“Think about people who do video games, are online, and spend a lot of their time on the computer. They want an outlet” that camming fulfills, she comments.

For the cam girl and her customer there’s another advantage.

“When you’re camming, you don’t have to face rejection” in an anything goes environment.  She offers an example. If a girl looks like an Avatar, painted blue or whatever, she says, that obviously appeals to some people.

“The possibilities for cam girls are endless and there’s something out there for everyone. There’s a fetish, there’s a taboo. And it’s safe because it’s all from the comfort of her own space. She’s not doing it for free. She’s doing it for business choices and for money because this is making her happy.”

The New Amateur?

If the studios shoot the professional porn girl while the cammer produces her own content, do we think of her as the new amateur porn star?

Christiana is not so sure, or should we say she has a more egalitarian view.

“That’s not a very fair assumption. I don’t feel there should be a divide in the industry because we’re all sex workers. We’re all selling an ideal. Maybe people who are close-minded and even unkind would say there’s two different tiers or three different tiers and we’re not part of the same family.

“But my opinion, we are absolutely a part of the same special group of women. This is what we do.”

At this point, Christiana concedes there is a little difference, however.

“Maybe to be considered an amateur means they haven’t been shot by a professional studio per se. But it doesn’t mean that she can’t do it on her own or do whatever she wants. The amateur style would be like setting up your own camera, your video, your camera phone.”

Can we say a cam girl can create an amateur feel in her shows?

“Yes, because that’s huge right now!”

Before exploring the amateur product, Christiana reminds us of what pays her bills.

“I do porn. People watch me when they want to get off. They want to watch the big production, the role playing, the different costumes.”

On the other hand, what pleases her viewer tastes is different.

“When I watch porn, I literally look at real couples, real people [who] don’t have to look like what society says is beautiful. As long as they’re real people having real orgasms with real intimacy, that’s what I want to see.

“I like watching ‘cause that’s reality, they’re not doing it for anyone but themselves,”  Christiana says.

Safety

Finally, we turn to some specific issues facing porn today.

Christiana is concerned about sex worker safety particularly with the changes in the online advertising sites. “Taking down Backpage and the sex part from Craigslist” is a problem, she says, because it cost sex workers “a lot of their independence.” The result has put them in a “more risky and dangerous place.”

Having said that, Christiana understands the reasoning of the online services. “What they’re trying to do is prevent sex trafficking, but now anything advertising something exploitative is taken off. So, now there’s nothing.

“They really should have focused more on the actual trafficking aspect and where that’s happening” rather “than taking away from everybody. Now what are the girls supposed to do?” she asks.

Butt Pads

Next, I bring up the AVN show’s Code of Conduct. It’s relatively new, but is it necessary?

“It’s good to hold people accountable, make them aware,” Christiana says and relates a personal story.

“For the first AVN I did years ago, I had to wear fake butt pads under my dress because people would pinch and squeeze your ass so much that it turns black and blue. Then what are you gonna do when you shoot tomorrow? Have bruises?

“But this year, people have been really respectful, really sweet. They’re just there to see you, take a picture, thanks for your time. They’re not mauling all over you. They’re not thinking it’s ok because they’ve seen you have sex.”

There’s a bit of humorous irony with the butt pad, though.

“I learned that trick from a girl who worked at Disneyland. She was a Disney princess. So, it’s not just happening here,” Christiana says with a wink and a nod.

Lastly, I mention the #MeToo movement. Has it caused people to be more respectful at the show this year?

“Well, it’s definitely made some changes. It’s brought attention to people who might feel entitled to your body or to touch you because they’re a fan and they paid to get in. Or, they’re with this company so ‘let me touch this’ or ‘do that’ because I’m gonna help you out.

“If that was their evil intention, it’s made them think twice because now we’re looking out for that,” Christiana Cinn says.

“It’s not just a free-for-all. Personally, I don’t mind touching, hugging, kissing or anything like that. But I don’t like being mauled by somebody and I’m struggling to get away. That’s never fun,” she concludes with a laugh.

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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.

colorblindcover

 

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.

2017-01-20-09-40-43

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?

kw1

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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The Meaning of Consent: Casey Calvert

by Rich Moreland, February 2016

Casey Calvert is popular with porn fans, having begun her career as a fetish model.  The 2012 University of Florida graduate entered the business at twenty-two, older than most girls who seek a career in adult entertainment.

Highly respected among her peers, Casey is active in the industry support group,  APAC (Adult Performer Advocacy Committee).

We talked recently at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

CZHKeriUsAA6qjR*          *          *

Casey Calvert reflects what performers understand, “You know what you signed up for when you show up on the set.”

The native Floridian explains that an informed performer is aware of what is expected and who her co-stars are that day. However, that doesn’t mean unplanned or uncomfortable incidents don’t happen.

“If something changes, whether it’s somebody asking something additional of you or [an incident happens] by accident, you say something and the problem gets resolved.”

Feeling Violated

Casey doesn’t want to get into the James Deen/Stoya controversy which she refers to as “a big scandal” in the business. Understandable and that’s not the focus of my question. But, I do want her take on how a newcomer should handle a similar situation that might occur on set.

“It’s one of the things we’re working on as an industry, especially now that people are talking about how do we make new girls feel comfortable speaking up and how do we make sure they know it’s okay [to do so.]”

Then the four-year industry vet touches on the second point everyone seems to make.

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

“Nobody wants them to go home feeling violated or upset. Everybody wants them to go home feeling good.”

Casey retreats a bit when I suggest that after a questionable moment during filming, some girls may believe they have been subjected to inappropriate sexual behavior.

“Right, but that doesn’t mean they got raped either. Getting raped is if you say ‘no’ and they say ‘yes.'”

Does that happen?

“Not that I’ve ever heard of,” the superstar replies. “It has not personally happened to me. I’ve never heard a story in recent history at all where that has happened on a set with anybody.”

Having said that, she clarifies her position.

“There’s a difference between I say ‘no’ and you try to convince me to say ‘yes’ and I say ‘no’ and you take it anyway.”

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

Getting It Fixed

Has she been on sets where this has happened?

Casey hasn’t, but she comments, “I’ve been on shoots where I’ve had to say ‘something’s wrong’ and it gets fixed.”

She measures her words, declaring that she “can’t be mad” because “the person who has created” the problem straightened it out.

Due to the nature of a business that shoots thousands of scenes a year with a talent pool that is in constant flux, Casey realizes questionable moments do occur.

Referencing the male performers booked to shoot with her, she says, “They don’t know me. We’re acquaintances. This is not my boyfriend of ten years who should be fantastic at reading my body language and should know the things about me. This is essentially a stranger, so I can’t fault that stranger for not knowing something if I don’t tell him.”

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

Is being a superstar an advantage that causes everyone to back off?

“Oh, yeah. For sure. I fully admit I’ve had additional privilege going in being a Spiegler Girl, even [when I was] brand new.” Casey signed with the Spiegler agency immediately upon entering the industry.

“People treat you differently. I can definitely say that, but I also have lots of friends who are not Spiegler girls and have lots of experiences on set.”

She doesn’t elaborate about those experiences, be they positive or negative.

A Three-Fold System

To educate newcomers, APAC has developed a “Porn 101” video similar to AIM’s [Adult Industry Medical] endeavor years ago. Performers are is issued a card that certifies they have viewed the tape.

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

“It’s a very positive step in the right direction,” the native Floridian says, and explains that it’s especially valuable for girls who come in at eighteen or nineteen.

By presenting “this piece of paper that says, ‘I understand what I’m getting into. I get it,'” Casey points out, a performer should be in a position to deal with issues that may arise.

But she adds a caveat.

“We have to make sure they actually really do get it and it can’t be like, ‘here everybody gets a piece of paper.'”

Even that does not fully address the problem.

“If the companies don’t adopt that as a procedure where they require that piece of paper or that card, then it means nothing . . . [because] it is a three-fold system. There’s the performers, the directors, the producers and the companies, and then there’s the agents. The change has to come from all three.”

In other words, communication and cooperation across the board is a worthy goal, though not an easy task.

Casey uses the following example.

“If the performers get educated, then the companies say, ‘Okay, we need proof that you understand what you’re getting into,’ and the agents don’t facilitate any of that, it still doesn’t work. It has to be a system where all three are working together which is why APAC is having such a hard time making it happen.”

Having said that, Casey brightens.

“It’s happening, but it’s happening very, very slowly.”

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

Photo courtesy of Casey Calvert

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The Personification of Allure

by Rich Moreland, February 2014

One performer’s dominating presence is felt within the pulse of the Adult Entertainment Expo. From the media room to the halls around the convention, Chanel Preston moves from one interview to another, corralled by PR reps, cameras, microphones, and journalists of every ilk. She’s stunningly gorgeous, an energized sex machine and a Spiegler girl, not to mention the co-host of this year’s Awards Show. The demand on her time and attention far outstrips any girl at this festival. But there is much more to the native Alaskan than a resume.

“Sexual Goddess,” a well-worn mythical title, is how Chanel is identified in a press release. I’ve been around porn girls for a few years now and no one has really impressed me as a goddess. That’s not a term to throw around casually.

But it fits Chanel Preston.

Chanel before the Awards Show Photo by Bill Knight

Chanel on the Red Carpet
Photo by Bill Knight

Goddesses’ have charisma, that special something that defines a woman who lights up a room with an emotional blaze that slays a million moths. Marilyn Monroe had charisma and so does Madonna. Chanel Preston, her looks, her personality and her professionalism, competes at the highest goddess level. She is the personification of an allure and magnetism that intimidates, hypnotizes, and arouses.

Crazy and Intense Adrenaline Things

After chatting in passing over a two-day period, Chanel and I finally sit down for a formal interview. Her energy drives our conversation. This 5’8” beauty thrives in an unforgiving industry that marches over the career carcasses of once star struck girls who figured anyone with a love for sex can’t miss in porn.

We talk about her film work in the BDSM genre. Chanel explains that it [BDSM] is not a part of her personal life but she does take what she learns in porn home with her and part of that is an affection for bondage play.

Talking in the media room Photo by Bill Knight

Talking in the media room
Photo by Bill Knight

“I love power play, I like switches,” Chanel says, in describing the dynamics of BDSM. She talks about having chemistry with some play partners and if it is just right, “I’m more than willing to be tied up,” she admits through a devilish smile. Chanel has her fun, of course, but BDSM “as a performance” is what excites her.

“I get off on doing really crazy and intense adrenaline things” Chanel says. “So for me, that’s like getting gang banged, I love doing that.”

This health club devotee films frequently for Kink.com in roles that are divided between submission and dominance, but admits she’s more submissive in her personal life especially if the guy is emotionally important to her.

“I do like dominant men,” she says, but prefers a bit of flexibility in their demeanor.

“I like it when a guy knows when to step back and I kind of take over a little bit,” though taking over is entirely relative.

“That doesn’t mean I have to take control over him,” Chanel declares, “that’s where the power play comes in, that back and forth.” She adds, “It makes me feel like the guy is comfortable with me and he can let go and he’s comfortable with himself.”

Maybe the best sexual lesson Chanel Preston offers everyone is being at ease and secure with yourself and your partner. It’s quite possible, in her mind, that the BDSM film genre sends this message better than any other. In fact, a youthful Chanel reinforced her belief in gender equality when she joined the wrestling team in high school.

Being told that she couldn’t became a challenge that she could.

The End of “Fifty”

The word at this year’s convention is Fifty Shades of Grey is now old news. The BDSM phenomenon is over, at least from a money-making point of view, and the likelihood the industry will increasingly invest in bondage films is not high.

As a BDSM insider, Chanel Preston references a movie she and I both know, Smash Pictures’ Bound by Desire series. The film is a “Shades of Grey type of movie where the focus wasn’t specifically on the domination but was testing the viewer’s boundaries,” she says. The idea is to use the “storyline” as an introduction to BDSM for the casual viewer.

It’s “for women who haven’t done [bondage] before but are kind of curious about it. They like the idea of it, but they don’t necessarily want to see it hardcore,” this former stripper says.

A fun moment in Bound by Desire Photo courtesy of Smash Pictures

A fun moment in Bound by Desire
Photo courtesy of Smash Pictures

I mention performers who shoot at San Francisco’s Kink.com where the BDSM landscape is true to the lifestyle and suggest that when shooting a bondage movie for anyone else it must seem pretty tame for a performer.

Chanel laughs, pointing out that “to us, it does feel really silly, but if I had no experience with it, maybe it wouldn’t,” a recognition that everyone’s tastes are different.

“But because I’ve had so much experience with it, it’s a little goofy.”  She laughs.

But isn’t sex supposed to be fun?

Porn as Art

As we move through our interview, I ask Chanel Preston about porn as art (it is, she says) and porn performers as artists (they are, is her response). She describes working with different director types, some of whom stick closely to the script and others who get more creative.

“You can tell when you work with [a director] to what degree they feel like they are an artist,” Chanel says. “For some it’s a true creation and they have an actual passion for it [and] for getting their vision to the viewer.”

Mentally sorting through some of the directors I know, I cannot disagree.

I’m left with one more thought.

My guess is that Chanel Preston is going to expand upon her own directing ideas in time and hopefully write a few scripts. Porn fans can rest assured that it will all be accomplished with merriment and lots of exhaustive sex to push every assortment of envelopes a little further.

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A Humanized Porn Star

by Rich Moreland, March 2013

If adult film ever decided to make a movie of Mata Hari’s adventures she would be portrayed as an enchantress and wanton woman, exotic and sultry, dark and promiscuous.

The supposed double agent of World War I was an exotic dancer pre-war. When she married, her choice was a captain in the Dutch Army stationed in what is today Indonesia. This femme fatale had a strong military connection, a provocative sense of exhibitionism, and a sharp mind. During the war she mingled with the top brass of Germany, France, and Britain, getting herself into trouble and unfortunately right in front of a firing squad.

If such a porn movie were ever made, Mata Hari would sexually exploit every man she met (and perhaps a woman or two for good measure), leading to some interesting on camera romps. In film image is everything and the usual porn stereotypes would not work for this legendary seducer of men, no cute blonde, sweet girl next door, or dim witted bimbo for this production. Mata Hari must be mysterious, sensuous, and alluring with a powerful manner of persuasion.

My choice for the leading role of this fantasy tale is Dana DeArmond.

An interview with the talented actress highlighted my recent visit to the adult film convention in Las Vegas. After a couple of years of relying on good luck, I finally caught up with her thanks to the fabulous people at GirlFriends Films. Dana and I had briefly met in 2010, but only for a hello. I wanted more on this fascinating woman for my upcoming book on adult film feminism. I was not disappointed.

Dana DeArmond at the GirlsFriends BoothPhoto Courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Dana DeArmond at the GirlFriends Booth
Photo Courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

The following is an introduction to this almost decade old veteran of the industry. It’s an excerpt from my  book and comes from our Vegas conversations. In a manner that would have delighted Mata Hari, Dana DeArmond captivated me with her charm.

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Be Nice to Everyone

“Like other women in pornography, I tend to be third wave, sex-positive, porn-friendly, sex-friendly, and non-man hating,” says Dana DeArmond, a self-proclaimed feminist who is a blend of feminisms. We’re sitting in the Girlfriends Films booth at the 2013 Adult Entertainment Expo in Vegas. The company is feminist in its filming and its attitudes toward performers so talking here seems natural.

Describing herself as an “army brat,” Dana is a product of liberal parents, a bit unusual for the military. “I don’t have the traditional football watching dad and the housewife mom,” she laughs. Her mother entered the service to pay for college. Dana’s father is gay, HIV positive, and noted for his cooking skills. He’s a “pastry chef” who can turn out “crepes and glaze,” Dana says with noticeable affection.

Her parents’ child rearing wisdom is evident in the aphorism they often repeated to her when she was a teenager, “If you act like an adult, we’ll treat you like an adult.” Important advice because unlike most young people, Dana found no purpose in organized education, dropping out of high school before eventually getting her GED. She tried community college to no avail, remarking that “structured education” is not part of her agenda. Dana pursued her own path relying on her determination and a self-education to “think outside the box.” The result is a woman who understands expectations and responsibility, a formula she uses to market her talents in a tough business.

Dana DeArmond thinks of herself as “a humanized porn star.” It’s an entertainment persona that gives her fans free rein “to do what they are interested in sexually,” Dana explains. She sends her message with an acting verve that has carried her career.

Some studios, she mentions Kink.com and Girlfriends, give her particular satisfaction. Shooting for Dan O’Connell’s all-girl company is especially exciting because she can use her intelligence and her “acting chops.” She likes improvising on the set. “It’s a fun exercise and good for your brain,” Dana says. Of course, filming with a female cast is enticing because of her “porn wives,” as she calls them, performers for whom she feels a special affinity.

Though she may lack the credentials of formal learning, Dana DeArmond is capable in ways that strengthen survival, perhaps the most important kind of smartness there is. I suggest she is a skilled businesswoman. Dana smiles and reminds me of the road to success in porn, “Stand out, be unique, market yourself, and be nice to everyone.”

Raised in Orlando, Florida, Dana discovered early on that entertainment was her bag of tricks. She began as a dancer for Universal Studios and worked parades for the Disney resort complex. But it was another kind of dancing that lured her. After turning eighteen, Dana appeared in gentleman’s clubs while keeping her day job at Universal. She relished both gigs and nightly twenty dollar lap dances wedged between minimum wage choreography became her employment reality.

A porn career eventually came calling but not until Dana was into her twenties. In February 2004 she gave adult film a shot in San Francisco. “I didn’t think I was going to be a porn star when I walked into Kink.com,” she says. Now years later, Dana has paid her dues. A well-respected industry personality who shoots in both the L.A. and San Francisco adult markets, Dana describes her career is a “sexual journey” that highlights adult film as an art form. Dana is an artist, she believes, a performance artist who captures the imaginations of her fans.

Not a New girl.

After years in the business, Dana’s radar picks up situations that are not a fit for her. “I am not a new girl,” she says. “I’ve been around the block. I know what I’m doing.” Using gangbangs as an example, she insists that she doesn’t want “a bunch of idiots who don’t know what they’re doing” all over her. “It’s miserable,” she says. Dana buys into what feminist-oriented directors preach: chemistry on the set. Some performers don’t “mesh” either “personality-wise or sex-wise,” Dana explains. But in time a girl will learn and select her scenes judiciously because the pleasure of being on camera is a reward in itself. Making adult film is challenging both mentally and physically and for Dana to appear upset and stressed out in a shoot isn’t her style or how she defines her art. Like Bobbi [Starr], Dylan [Ryan], and the others, she seeks satisfaction in her sexual expression.

thoughtful responsePhoto courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Thoughtful Response
Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Dana stands her ground in the face of criticism. “My parents don’t judge me and I don’t let people make me feel weird,” she says. Icy disapproval is of no consequence to her, a response I’ve heard from other adult performers. Though Dana’s attitude reinforces a tough exterior, her determination to do what she wants under circumstances she selects has honed her longevity. Behind it, however, is an intuitive understanding of the people who perform in adult film and a desire to protect them because working in pornography is a team effort. Dana mentors girls when needed, “take them under my wing” is how she phrases it. Dana believes in fairness regarding others. In her mind, it is part of being a feminist. “I don’t know if there is a word for my kind of feminism,” she adds, it’s all about how “people should treat each other.”

Dana DeArmond may lack the formal education necessary to speak academically of feminism, but she carries the commanding dignity of a feminist. She’s a businesswoman who is in control of her image and her filming experiences. Above all, Dana knows what it means to be there for friends, “to stick up for other girls,” as she puts it. She is well aware of the downside, particularly what it means to enter the business with naïvete and inexperience. She has seen it.

“There are girls who lock themselves in the bathroom crying,” Dana says of breakdowns on the set. “They’re so young and clueless.” Jumping into porn too early can become a nightmare. “You’re eighteen, you’re still a baby,” Dana observes. “Try something, anything other than porn.”

*          *          *           *           *

Dana DeArmond continues to build her career with a seductive flair that lures her fan base. I suspect that Mata Hari in all her feminine wiles would have found adult film had it existed in her time. But could she have equaled the sultry sexiness and the intelligence that is Dana DeArmond? After all, would not  Dana make a good fantasy spy when she comes in from the cold to seduce you?

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South Texas Friendly

by Rich Moreland, February 2013

The Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas sometimes reminds me of an Alfred Hitchcock film. The hero (or heroine) is inundated with sanity breaking stimuli in a world that is firing at a million miles per hour. The rush and demands coming from all sides like scud missiles can punish anyone’s nerve endings.

Needless to say, with its crowds and hectic scheduling, the annual convention tries the patience of everyone in the business.

I get flustered for another reason. I’m directionally challenged. That’s a polite way of confessing that I get lost with little effort.  When I go on long cycling rides with my buddies, for instance, I remember our routes using landmarks. Everyone else depends on road signs. If someone brings along a map (or a GPS nowadays), that is of no consequence to me. Just tell me to make a right turn at the big oak tree.

Little wonder that when I arrive at the Hard Rock Hotel Complex on this cool and sunny January morning, I need directions. Never mind that I was here last year!

Its media day and my photographer and I are picking up our badges so we can roam the premises, locate booths and kiosks for future reference, and, if we’re lucky, network. He’s new to the biz and the Hard Rock. Bill has a nose for airport navigation, I just follow him. But this is supposed to be my territory and I don’t want to aimlessly wander from one corridor to another trying to figure things out. The posted map at the entrance is meaningless to me, despite the Hard Rock’s good intentions.

So, it’s time to ask for simple directions with hopefully only a turn or two.

I should add that I believe opportunity comes and goes all the time. On this occasion, it shows up in spades.

Going through the first set of double doors that I’m guessing is the right direction, I spot a blonde leaning against the wall across the hallway. She appears to be taking a break from a maddening schedule that is on her mind, but not yet reality. Understand that my radar is set for porn girls. I’ve been around enough that I can spot them easily, not to mention that this is convention central. The thing about this woman is her manner and appearance. For lack of a better description, let me rely on my Hollywood movie preferences.

Like the femme fatale in a film noir of the forties, she walks into the detective’s office and Sam Spade says, “This dame has class. She can melt an ice-cube at forty feet with a wink of her baby blues.”

Daisy Layne Photo courtesy of Rick Garcia

Daisy Layne
Photo courtesy of Rick Garcia

Any graphic cliché is trite because it can’t match the vibes the blonde throws out. But I need something, so here are old standbys: statuesque, imposing, sensuous.

But, the best is approachable—tight jeans, stilettos, blue cowl neck top, and braless, notwithstanding. She’s 5’8” without the heels, is my guess.

In my school days I would never have walked up to such a girl. But I have more moxie now, plus I possess wordsmith power. Flash the badge and hope for an interview. But this moment is sans badge, so I whip out a business card and depend on my feeble persuasion skills.

By the way, there’s a six foot five, two hundred pounder, hanging close by. They’re obviously together, but he’s giving her space. Got to respect him for that, I think I can say ‘hello’ without any hassle.

In the porn world, girls sometimes have intimidating guys around to intervene if necessary and I don’t blame them. Some fans can be fawning, not to mention stalkingly rude. Just because she does porn does not mean she’s everybody’s baby. These girls deserve more credit than that, it’s a business.

I quickly find out her name is Daisy Layne and what I’m about to get with my directions is south Texas friendly.

I meet all kinds of people doing my journalistic thing, but Daisy is not just “all kinds of people.” She’s an exception. In an instance I like her, I really do. We chat as if old friends from way back and arrange for a later interview.

I love opportunity and it is knocking loudly right now. To quote Humphrey Bogart in Casa Blanca as he walks into the fog with Claude Rains, “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

    *          *          *          *          *

Two days later I’m waiting for my 10 a.m. interview with Daisy. We had exchanged emails and arranged to meet at Girlfriends Films. I talked with Dan O’Connell the previous day and feel more than welcome at Girlfriends. Coincidently, Daisy shoots for the company.

Dan and I are chatting a bit while the clock is giving away minutes. It’s after ten and no Daisy. Not at all unexpected, by the way. During this convention week girls don’t get much sleep with late night parties integral to their schedules. She’ll show up.

Dan offers to give Daisy a call and with apologies for her tardiness, she arrives within minutes. I’m relieved and will not forget Dan’s favor. I avoided sending a text and the appearance of being pushy. Thanks, Dan.

Daisy and I find a quiet spot and I pull out the recorder. Dick, that’s Daisy’s husband who is never far away, falls into conversation with Bill and the next hour flies by. Dick Chibbles and Daisy are a team, a rarity in adult film, and support each other.

In fact, the fascinating story of how Daisy ended up in adult film is related to her love for her hubby. It’s coming, no porn pun intended, with my next post.

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“No One is Famous in Porn?”

Nina Hartley talks feminism and respect

by Rich Moreland, January 2012

I just returned from four days in Las Vegas. It’s January and that means the Adult Entertainment Expo, the industry’s annual festival and awards show, made its way onto my calendar again.

While there I had dinner with some interesting people at an upscale Italian restaurant near the Strip. Among them was Bill Margold, founder of Protecting Adult Welfare and a veteran of the business; David Bertolino, off Broadway producer of The Deep Throat Sex Scandal; and adult film performer, Tara Lynn Foxx, about whom I have written in the past.

Tara is not a newcomer to the business.  She entered three years ago at eighteen, an age too tender to fully understand her decision.

Conversation turned to being famous in porn and Margold asked Tara if that was one of her goals. Knowing Bill, he was probing Tara to measure her commitment to the industry. She replied with an enthusiastic “yes,” though she appeared to be slightly uncomfortable with the question.

My thoughts drifted momentarily away from the table talk to what “famous” means in an industry that defines acting as a set up for fornication. A bit of searching for a definitive idea as it applies to pornography danced through my mind’s neural networks.

Two names popped up, Nina Hartley and Bobbi Starr, superstar women of separate generations and feminists in a business that is not considered receptive to empowered women.

I had the pleasure on this trip of interviewing Nina in person, though we knew each other from emails. She is the definition of “famous” when it comes to adult film, I believe, if such a thing exists. To say that she bowled me over is putting a soft spin on our chat. Total force, total domination of an hour’s time.

On Friday, I interrupted Bobbi Starr while she was signing on the floor of the Hard Rock Hotel ballroom. I wanted to say hello and my impatience took over, so I politely drew her attention away from a fan. As is her habit, Bobbi gave me that charming smile. She has a talent for this. We exchanged a few words and I mentioned that I wasn’t seeking an interview, this was just a quick “how are you.” She has been generous with her time in the past, but my intrusion at the moment was blocking her fans and I know how important they are to her. We made arrangements to visit later.

Nina and Bobbi, what can they teach us about fame?

Making everyone else seemingly disappear when she turns her eyes to you is an ingredient in being famous.

Leaving you with the feeling that you are the focus of her entire moment is an ingredient in being famous.

Speaking intelligently and voicing an empowerment is an ingredient in being famous.

Nina does these things really well, as does Bobbi. But few do.

In fact, the real issue is respect. Genuine fame follows respect.

At the Saturday night awards show, Bobbi finally garnered “Female Performer of the Year,” a deserved honor that has eluded her. Bobbi is a director now, as well as a performer, and you can read an earlier entry on her on this blog. To suggest that she is a living legend is an understatement. She, like Nina, is a wily veteran who has forged her own path in a business that can be filled with misrepresentations, sleaze, and shady behaviors.

Most important, both women operate under Nina Hartley’s in-your-face feminist tenet, “my body, my rules.”

Nina and Bobbi have paid their dues and have earned the right to speak their minds. Trust me, both will when openings are offered. Earning respect, Nina suggests, in a business that is primarily an “ole boy network” is a mighty task. Women are valued for their “hotness,” but not necessarily for their input into the day-to-day operation of making and distributing film. This is not to say that women are non-existent at the production level, Nina points out, but being a performer is a different scenario. The money flows to the top. Profit is made off the performers, not for the performers.

Incidentally, Nina commented that many men in the business “have women issues.” They don’t necessarily “want women as companions,” as in building a long-term relationships. They are perpetually dating, rarely settling down. Nina believes this male state of mind inhibits respect. She did concede, however, that attitudes are slowly changing. Bobbi’s new career opportunity behind the camera supports her assertion.

Though Nina is not involved in the business end of adult film, I can guarantee you she is respected, as is Bobbi. Why? From my limited knowledge, I can cobble together an answer.

First and foremost, respect is earned as veteran performer and director, Veronica Hart, told me. Porn is a business; making money is its reason to be. Nina and Bobbi are moneymakers because they demonstrate a control of their personal sexual agency that exceeds that of most women who ever walked onto a set. When on camera, they orchestrate the scene in fashion that dictates the flow of the other performers.

Both of them do the things that everyone in a business setting is expected to demonstrate. Show up on time ready to work; take responsibility for on-the-job performance; transform the word “dependable” into a personal mantra; and make every performance the best it can be at the moment. Of course, the pornography industry is not an ordinary corporate environment nor is it a bureaucracy where a person is a cog in a machine. Not everything is believed; not everyone is honest. Promises are made and can vaporize instantly. And, as Nina said, she’s always unemployed until the next shoot. That’s the norm.

By now, the table conversation had moved on and I made my way back into it, but not before one final thought.

Where does this leave the definition of famous in porn?

Mention Nina Hartley and Bobbi Starr to others in adult film and compliments are immediate. Both women are dynamic and their presence in a room lights up your senses. Their energy is infectious. Their personal opinions are valued. The proof hangs around during an industry event; someone will always be nearby with mic in hand, seeking an interview. That’s respect.

Will Tara Lynn Foxx earn such accolades and consequently become famous? Too early to tell, but I think she is on her way, if ever so slowly. She is dynamic in an interview and she is exploring empowerment. That’s a start.

But it takes awhile. Nina entered the business in 1984, the year after Bobbi was born. Bobbi is nearing thirty, moving into her seventh year in the industry. She has indicated to me she will leave adult film one day, but that may far off.

Longevity in porn is rare. Can a woman gain fame without it? Sure, but who admires the likes of Traci Lords?

At her tender age, TLF is just beginning. She has the ability and the brains to make it happen, it remains to be seen if time is at her back.

——————————————

Three years ago I asked Bobbi the same question Margold posed to Tara. Bobbi’s response is one I have yet to hear repeated.

I remember it to this day.

“No one is famous in porn,” she said.

I disagree. There are an iconic few and I have the good fortune to know two of them.

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