Photographed by Craig Rathgeber
So, when you explain what you do for a living, what do you say?
“Oh, God. I usually say, ‘Check Google, but not at work.’ Only because it’s uncomfortable to broadly describe oneself. It’s also, you know, I do the adult performance; I do more live theater, stage show stuff; I do the writing — I have such a range of jobs. Fleshlight
wanted me to do a promo video, so there’s a time I was asked to use hand puppets and scream. How do you describe that? Where do you put that in?”
You’re basically an interesting lady who has thoughts and reactions to sex in different ways.
“And, I’m usually not wearing pants.”
Did you plan for the writing thing to be a part of your career? Or, have people just reached out to you because of Tumblr?
"There was an adult blog site that basically had affiliate links where they review DVDs, and they set me up with a blog. I was like, 'Whatever.' I didn’t want to be bothered with capitalization and spelling. I started realizing that when you deal with members of the press — especially when it’s in the kind of environment where people would come to the Adult Entertainment Expo in 2008 — some of them literally sit down and go, ‘So, how messed up was your childhood? How much do your parents hate what you do?’ It’s like, ‘Dude! You’re, like, coming off super combative! I know exactly what your position is.’ Even when the reporter is neutral or positive, sometimes the editing process skews things. So, the blog became a platform for me to say things myself. I started paying attention to the structure of my posts more after that. Then, I moved it over to Tumblr once I realized that if you’re on Amtrak, you can’t look at an adult entertainment site. From there, people started assuming I was a writer. I mean, I write things and put them up on Tumblr, but I don’t know if I’d call myself a writer. Someone from Vice
interviewed me, and I jokingly said I wanted to write for them. Well, they hired me, and I was like, ‘Crap.'"
You speak openly about your mom being a total hippie. And, you just brought up the whole "reporters asking you, 'How effed up was your childhood?'" thing. There’s clearly a dialogue between you two about what you do. Was there ever a moment where you needed to convince her...or yourself?
“I started performing in films and thought that I should probably tell my mother about it before she found out from a neighbor. So, I told her. She told me that she would mail me her response. I got this box from Amazon, and she had drop-shipped me Factory Girl
. So, I watched it, and then I watched it again, and then I watched it a third time, but I didn’t understand what she was trying to say. I had a film-major friend come over and watch it with me to explain the subtext and references, and I still didn’t get it. Finally, I called her. ‘So, I went through all these things to try and understand, but I still don’t understand what you’re saying.’ She said, ‘I don’t know.’ I think it took her a while to unpack her feelings about it.
The thing that she did that rubbed me the wrong way was her conviction that what I do is a very mainstream, mass-marketable, heterosexual kind of feminine presentation. She wasn’t into the stereotypical sexual availability. She’d comment on the false eyelashes and heels. It took years, but, at this point, she’s able to accept that when you say, ‘You can do anything you want to do,' one of those options includes being kind of stereotypically feminine and being into high heels and fake eyelashes. There are lots of women in the world who are doctors and lawyers. I’m very grateful that her generation fought for that. I’m very grateful that I was able to make a conscious, actual choice as opposed to being pushed into it because I didn’t think I had any other options.”
It’s not the same thing at all, but it’s the same idea that people can make the choice to be a stay-at-home mom. You’re able to make a choice because, out of all the choices, you have the opportunity to represent this particular type of femininity. Do you ever feel like you have a responsibility to provide an alternative representation of a feminine narrative in the adult industry?
“I feel more and more the responsibility to provide context. Frequently, when it’s not knee-jerk anti-porn crusaders calling me a criminal against all mankind, then it’s the pro-sex feminist camp saying I’m not doing enough. I made the choices I made, and I’m happy — but (adult entertainment) isn't all sunshine and daisies. It’s like any other industry. Just because I
can do what I
want doesn’t mean everybody necessarily feels empowered to do what they want, or knows they have the right to insist on doing what they want. We’re not all sunshine and daisies yet. But, we’ll get there in, like...400 years.”