Tag Archives: Dana DeArmond

“Good Luck with That!”

by Rich Moreland, August, 2013

This is a review of Adam and Eve’s The Perfect Secretary III: New Recruit, a film by Nick Orleans.

boxcover perfect secretary

Like all artists, adult film directors express their personal preferences in their work. For John Stagliano, the sex comes first; the story is built around it. Other directors, like feminists Candida Royalle and Nica Noelle, believe the story should be the reason for the sex. Then there are the directors who love the fetish. This is the case with Nick Orleans’ The Perfect Secretary III: New Recruit.

Despite the allure of a shackled Riley Reid on the boxcover, BDSM is not this film’s kink. Perfect Secretary is a pantyhose bonanza. Outfits of all sorts dominate the scenes.

Perfect Secretary offers a unique challenge. The cast is a winner, but at first glance the story is confusing.

Nick Orleans seems sloppy at times, looping the action in one instance and tossing in out-of-order editing in another. Expecting more from Adam and Eve, I decided to apply my skeptic’s eye to the DVD a second time, looking for clues to explain what escaped me. In short order, everything came together to create a delightful movie.

Riley Reid is cute and precious with just the right touch of naiveté and eagerness to be a convincing new recruit.  She plays Vanessa Brooks, a grad student who wants an interview with Dylan Baukriver, the director of a sex therapy institute. The story opens with a smiling Vanessa vigorously masturbating under the covers. She’s wearing her panties and this sets the tone for the film. Crotch rubbing and fabric is an ongoing visual motif.

The BaukRiver Institute sends Vanessa a flashdrive via snail mail with what appears to be clinic advertising. She’s expecting a confirmation of her interview request. The chief administrator, Mistress Mela (Katie St. Ives) in pantyhose, heels, and bra, appears on screen to personally invite Vanessa to the facility. In shock, Vanessa then sees herself in the next segment walking the institute’s corridors accompanied by the clinic’s “fet” girls who are dressed similarly to Mistress Mela.

“What the f**k,” is Vanessa’s response as she watches herself being caressed by Mistress Mela.

Here’s where the story gets tricky. We go immediately to the clinic and follow Vanessa’s adventures, but if I’m correct, the viewer has entered one of her masturbation fantasies. The looping and the appearance and reappearance of certain shots in the movie that seem at first to be choppy editing now make sense. A fantasy does not have a tight narrative.

After awhile, I confess I wanted to see the “fet” girls lose their pantyhose altogether, especially since they were beautifully inked. Only twice did this occur and with only one girl.

Speaking of the gang, here they are: Mistress Mela, followed by Bailey Blue—whose oral work on Jessy Jones begins the film’s sexual encounters—Holly Taylor, Cameron Canada, Staci Silverstone, and Alice Frost. The long-legged Staci blossoms as the only nude girl and a stunning one I might add.

It’s Bailey’s oral that offered the clue I needed. In a bit of clever camera work, James Avalon films the action from underneath a coffee table positioned in front of the couch where Bailey’s mouth is working vigorously on Chad Alva. The table has a glass top so Bailey appears to be going down and up simultaneously because her image is reflected in the glass. She meets herself with each stroke exactly what Vanessa Brooks and Dylan Baukriver will do when they unite. They seek the missing halves of their personalities, a Jungian dream theory. In this case it is dominance versus submission and their kinks are not always what they appear to be. Vanessa, who claims to be a submissive, is dominant in her thinking and the dominant Dylan is a closet sub, as we see later in the cage scene.

There you have it, a touch of Alice in Wonderland. What seems to be reality can be reversed and done over to find its completion. Kudos to Nick Orleans for his artistry.

Quick Matrimony

The mysterious and handsome Mr. Baukriver (Michael Vegas) has some kinks and quandaries but he falls in love with his new recruit, all part of Vanessa’s fantasy. Her anticipated interview disappears from the script (logical because it’s an unlikely focus in a sexual fantasy) and is replaced by the first sex scene between Vanessa and Baukriver. The story ends with the two coupling again for a fun-filled finish. Riley Reed is pure carnality and enticing to watch.

Chanel Preston’s scene with Prince Yashua is a classic Chanel rocking romp, although a bit outré. Teasing Prince with her mocking laugh, Chanel wears unexplained wings that flap with a coquettishness that only Chanel can pull off. Perfect, of course, for a dream or fantasy sequence. The boxcover bills their scene as Chanel’s first interracial. If nothing else, it’s a piece of history for any adult film library.

The only true bondage scene features Chad Alva (as Baukriver’s younger brother) and Katie St. Ives. She dommes him with a flogger, but it’s a bit awkward. A quick check of Katie’s BDSM porn history reveals that she films as a sub and switching may not be comfortable for her. The sex that follows is solid, but not spectacular. My sense is that Katie and Chad may be “rec sex” buddies beyond the film set who were just having some fun.

The anal scene with Richie Calhoun and Dana DeArmond survives on Dana’s sexual delivery. She is a respected pro and true porn icon who one day will be in AVN’s Hall of Fame. However, the ever present “fet” girls who watch close by are distracting. Apparently the shoot was lengthy (the bonus disc mentions that) and the room was hot. Sweat matted hair. The “fet” girls, who touch themselves non-stop through their pantyhose, contribute to the scene’s sluggish pace. At times they look uncertain and languid, glancing at the director with a questioning “What do I do next?”

It’s here that I felt the editing was a problem until I reexamined the scene. Staci Silverstone removes her pantyhose, puts them back on, and appears naked again. The same with Cameron Canada’s alternating opened and closed crotch snaps, very similar to the exchange of spit and cum between Holly and Bailey that is looped in the earlier oral scene.

Now that everything makes sense in light of the story’s purpose, the shoot reinforces the feel Nick Orleans intends.

*        *        *        *        *

Vanessa and Dylan Baukriver fall in love abruptly and without any build up (this is a dream-like fantasy, remember). Wearing a spreader bar around her neck that secures her wrists, Vanessa gets clumsily attached to a gate finial. Baukriver finds her and refuses to help because they have a brief dustup over her safeword. Later she finds him hiding in a cage watching his brother’s punishment. They kiss, express their love, and matrimony quickly comes out of nowhere.

At this point, my favorite character makes a brief appearance. Danny Wylde plays the minister and prefaces the ceremony with the importance of marriage, interjecting with a suppressed chuckle that he’s an expert because he’s had four. Later, after Vanessa promises she will be Dylan’s sub for life, he vows that he will forever be her “lord and master.”

Reverend Wylde comments dryly, “Good luck with that.”

I laughed out loud.

The final sex scene showcases Riley Reid’s oral techniques with the “fet” girls once more taking it all in, rubbing away mechanically through their collective fabrics.

Perfect Secretary III is a fetish film with a BDSM touch. It’s a well conceived and enjoyable tale with industry legends James Avalon and co-producer Jane Hamilton lending their expertise to its success. Recognized as one of the better films of 2013, Perfect Secretary certainly deserves a look.

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The Value of Context

by Rich Moreland, April 2013

Girls who shoot BDSM porn always risk losing work in the vanilla film world. The reason, by the way, is not because they are pigeon-holed as bondage models. Frankly, it’s an advantage for a girl to indicate a willingness to be bound, gagged, and disciplined as part of her repertoire whether she is with a modeling agency or a free agent. Hiring possibilities are expanded.

No, the reason is about that kind of work, what it does to her, the stress on her body.

Take Dana DeArmond, an A-lister who is much admired in porn. She’s employable, amiable on the set, and knowledgeable about how to elevate the quality of a porn shoot. She is every cinematographer’s dream. But even the best are challenged after putting in years of shooting.

Dana DeArmondPhoto courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Dana DeArmond
Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

“I had a really good time bottoming,” Dana says, “I did it for six years and learned a lot about my sexuality.” She tested her limits for pain and fetish interplay, an exploration so enlightening that Dana describes her career as a “sexual journey.” But change may be at hand. Framed in the past tense, her remarks hint that Dana is transitioning into another aspect of her profession.

Starting out at Kink.com offered her a level of security to act out her fantasies and a sense of family when the shooting was finished. “I’m comfortable there,” Dana says, “I have no complaints about the company.” She comments on what other girls who film at San Francisco’s old Armory say, Kink is performer friendly and cares about a model’s satisfaction, artistically and sexually, in a scene. Kink.com believes all shoots should honor model consent and its directors allow a performer to “steer the scene,” Dana adds.

Kink also has a reputation for honesty. “They don’t try to trick you into anything,” Dana says. Like many companies, Kink has a call sheet with everything spelled out for the performer before the scene begins. They try to make the experience rewarding so that popular models want to return. To accomplish that requires a staff that is well-schooled in handling BDSM shoots.

“They hire really cool people,” Dana says, and gives Kink the highest compliment. Hanging out with their employees “outside of work” is a pleasure for her.

Taking Chances

Dana DeArmond’s BDSM adventures have a developed a downside over the years. She is a veteran submissive and a perfectionist with an undeniable work ethic that pushes her over the top, sometimes to her detriment.

“I got to the point where I was trying to take so much pain, and was trying to be so extreme, I thought, ‘I’m going to I hurt myself,’” she says. That can be serious because of the negative carry over to vanilla porn.

If Dana’s too aggressive with the realism of her bondage scenes, she’s taking chances with her availability and her income. “I won’t be able to work down in L.A. doing regular porn anymore,” she states, admitting that in BDSM, risks can be high. In some cases marks from flogging, electricity play, and ropes can show up in a vanilla sex shoot if a girl has one booked the next day.

Dana explains that she is also putting herself in dangerous territory with her health because age is an ever present factor. “I’m not eighteen anymore. I’m not a young girl,” a thirtyish Dana declares, “I can’t risk injury.”

Dana’s attitudes about shooting porn are evolving. She’s been around long enough to know what she is doing and what she likes. These days Dana insists that she must be comfortable working with the people on the set and is careful about the toll extracted from her body and mind. In other words, she looks for the right “context” in a scene.

If a girl is doing an aggressive scene for a site like Bound Gangbangs, Kink viewers want her to take on as much as she can even if it strains her physically and emotionally. Perhaps a few years ago Dana would not have given that a second thought, but she is reluctant today unless the circumstances align the stars just right.

“If I’m not enjoying myself, that’s not for me,” Dana explains. She emphasizes that she must be the one calling the shots otherwise her heart is not in the scene. If guys who don’t know what they are doing are all over her, “it’s miserable,” she says.

Too much rough play and extended penetration results in its own set of difficulties and Dana considers the consequences.

Understandable, some performers have voiced similar concerns. On the other hand, authenticity in BDSM shoots is desirable from a customer standpoint, so good models feel a sense of obligation to produce the best content possible. But they must have a clear picture of what they are getting into and how the booking will be handled.

“A lot of people have bad experiences because they haven’t taken into consideration the logistics of rough sex, or gangbangs, or group scenes, or porn in general,” Dana says, extending her comment across the entire industry. Getting along with co-stars and being in the right situation—the context—is what makes shooting a pleasure. “Style wise sometimes people just don’t mesh,” she remarks.

But banking scenes is a great teacher. “You’ve got to learn,” she says, and reminds us that for her it took a bit of time.

Busy Signing at the Adult Convention in Las VegasPhoto courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Busy Signing at the Adult Convention in Las Vegas
Photo courtesy of 3hattergrindhouse.com

Of course, a porn education is ongoing and now Dana is dealing with a career change other performers like Bobbi Starr have successfully navigated. Dana’s working on learning to top or dom, trading in the “just let it happen” experience of being submissive for the other end of the spectrum. She’s discovered that taking on a domme’s responsibility is mentally stressful.

“You have to think of so many things simultaneously when you’re domming,” Dana explains. Circumstances dictate the play. Most important, planning is required. Anticipating the steps ahead of time, like configuring a move in chess, needs a quick mind. The pace of the scene and the careful application of any instruments like canes or floggers designed to stimulate and arouse must be taken into account. Obviously everything is consensual, Dana says, repeating the Kink mantra, and it is imperative not to injury anyone. Those are obligations the domme has to her submissive.

“I do care a lot about the people I work with,” Dana says. At the end of the shoot, it’s personally important that the submissive thank her and brag about the “good experience” he or she had. No matter which end of a flogger—application or reception—is given to Dana she will leave her mark on the scene.

That’s Dana DeArmond, the consummate pro, popular with her fans and her co-workers. From my personal contacts with her, I can clearly see why. In the business, Dana cultivates friendships with performers and directors whom she regards as reliable and honest, and reciprocates when she can. She refers to the women with whom she is very close, like Princess Donna, Aiden Starr, and Joanna Angel, as her “porn wives.” It’s an endearment that carries an emotional connection not often found in any career.

Call it the wisdom of age and the lessons of experience.

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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.

 *          *          *          *          *

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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