I'm a Porn Star

I was nervous on the drive to the East Coast Video Show (ECVS) in Atlantic City. I've been to adult industry trade shows before as a fan, consumer, and reporter, but this year was different. I was there to promote The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, the video based on my book. It was released by Evil Angel in June, but I haven't done any promotional personal appearances. I wrote, directed, and produced the sex-instruction-meets-documentary-style-fuckfest, and the video culminates in my onscreen adult-film debut—as the object of a 10-person, coed gang bang. When I do something new, I do it big. It's true—I'm a porn star now.

A trade show is a trade show no matter what the product—crowded, overstimulating booth displays; salespeople, distributors, and retailers making deals; free candy. ECVS is as mainstream as any industry showcase, except a portion of it happens to be devoted to pornography. In one corner of the Convention Center there were overstimulating displays (how many blow-up dolls can you fit in a 10-by-10 booth?) and deal making (overheard: "What's the wholesale price on Gag That Bitch?"). But the candy here was blonde and busty eye candy. By taking part in the mainstream video biz, the adult-film industry cleverly allows businesspeople to attend on the company's dime and see their favorite porn stars five aisles away.

So, there I was on the convention floor, where producers, distributors, and other adult-related businesses had adult-film stars on hand to sign autographs. I had the pleasure of strolling by the gorgeous, perfectly coiffed likes of Shayla LeVeaux, Anna Malle, Stephanie Swift, and Jenna Jameson to get to the Evil Angel booth. It was intimidating, electrifying, and funny. After all, here was a world of stars named Allysin Chaynes, Jewel De'Nyle, Candy Apples, Cinna Bunz, and Stryc-9, and video titles like Cornhole Armageddon, Anal Addiction, Missionary Position Impossible, Inner City Black Cheerleader Search #28, Tushy Con Carne, and Biker Pigs From Hell.

This is beyond parody, which is also to say it's damn complicated to be a woman in porn. It's a place where women are objectified, hyper-sexualized, and work their asses off. But women also have power: they get paid more than male actors, they call the shots on whom they work with, they demand respect. There are women like Nina Hartley, Candida Royalle, and Veronica Hart who've successfully transitioned from porn starlets to directors. Younger actresses like Jill Kelly and Juli Ashton appear to be following in their footsteps.

Irony and contradiction abound in porn: women perform intimate acts for our viewing pleasure, then are often vilifed for doing their jobs. Within the industry, there are women who love sex and women who hate sex; women with low self-esteem and women with strong self-images; women in love with plastic surgery and women in love with their 100 percent natural bodies; women with drug habits and women who are clean and sober. I have met women who are sexually feisty, in control of their lives and careers; I also know women who are exploited.

I confess I am a reluctant porn star. One of my porn mentors and the executive producer of my video, John "Buttman" Stagliano footed the bill for my virgin voyage, but the process was a collaboration. Buttman's audience is primarily straight men who like a hot anal sex vid; I knew going into it that I would tailor the video accordingly. I wanted to make a video that taught people (especially women) about anal sex and inspired them to try it, without losing sight of what sells tapes—the jerkoff factor.

Making my movie was an intense, complex experience in which I worked with an incredible bunch of anal sex–loving, positive women and men. Since I also directed it, I created a safe way to be gang-banged by 10 people I'd never had sex with—I told them what to do to me and how to do it, then I surrendered and just let them all do what they do best. I fulfilled a fantasy and told a great story.

When I make my next movie, I will only change one thing: I hope to independently fund it so that the money shot is mine, all mine. Sex is a powerful, seductive force, and so is money. Both draw women into porn. I want to harness that power to make sexy, quality porn that does justice to the women who make it and the women who buy it.


— I watched the legendary Nina Hartley, an ultimate pro, interact with her fans and make it look effortless. Wearing false eyelashes, an itty-bitty dress, and mile-high heels, she can stand for eight hours greeting fans, signing autographs, posing for photos. From the first fan to the end of the line, she was gracious, warm, and sweet. In return, fans adore and respect her. She helped teach me to treat the whole experience as a performance: I was playing a porn star who happened to be named Tristan.

When fans approached me to sign a slick photo from my video, I made eye contact with them, chatted, and smiled. When they asked to have their picture taken with me, I positioned them sitting in a chair, climbed on top, ass stuck out, and looked back over my shoulder and smiled. A few men (out of hundreds) asked if they could touch my ass or breasts, but most were content to enjoy our cheesy porno pose. (A Nina tip! Take his hands and place them on your body where you feel comfortable being touched. She's right, then it's not a free-for-all.) I found that if I just took charge of the situation, the guys were more than happy to do what I said. I appreciated their mild ardor, and I wanted their respect. Yet I couldn't pretend that most of them were there to have a conversation with me.

Some did want to engage me and were surprised to find an articulate sex educator underneath all the shimmering body glitter. I'm not blonde and I don't have huge breasts, but I can work the smart girl routine. After all, an intelligent girl in glasses who can suck cock and do calculus is erotic because she's enigmatic. Rather than transform myself into someone I am not, I've got to work with what I've got. It's who I am and it happens to sell—I know it and the porn makers know it too. And there are plenty of women like me getting into the industry at a time when producers strive for the authentic, who want to catch the "real thing" on tape. That's why amateur videos have been so successful. Contrary to what critics say, not all porn stars are Barbie dolls with boob jobs. Some of us have brains, and some of us will make great porn. All I need is the cash.

Show Pages
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...