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Jenna Jameson - Portrait of a Mainstream Sex Icon
By Allison Kugel, Senior Editor - May 17, 2007

Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson isn't simply smart for a porn star. She is one of the most intelligent women with whom I have had the pleasure of conversing. That being said, it's no wonder that she has not only become the biggest star in the history of the adult industry, she has practically taken it over. As if to say, "Ok guys, I'll take it from here," Jameson boldly started her own mega production company, Club Jenna, Inc. which rivals Vivid Video and Wicked Pictures for the biggest player in adult film industry. As a testament to the profitability and cache that Club Jenna possesses, Playboy Enterprises recently purchased the company in 2006, turbo charging Club Jenna's production and promotion engines with the power of the bunny.

Jameson has long been courted by the mainstream entertainment industry. She has been an international correspondent for the E! Channel with their show Wild On, shared screen time with Howard Stern in 1997's Private Parts, offered up witty commentary for VH1 specials and turned up in bed with rap star Eminem in his MTV video for his hit single, Without Me. Jenna has also made guest appearances on The Man Show, Family Guy and Da Ali G Show. Hollywood seems to use Jameson as a spicy seasoning to sprinkle for instant effect. "Just add a little Jenna… and voila!"

Jenna Jameson speaks with purpose and precision, as if she has made self analysis into a full time job. She has probably dissected her own behavior and unconventional life more acutely than any psychologist ever could. She also sees herself as a true feminist and an activist for women's liberation and sexual freedom. In this interview, I bypassed the kid stuff (her impending divorce and petite frame), and went for the real deal: her life! Jenna Jameson is a full, three dimensional human being, and a fascinating one at that… (Allison Kugel): What's going on with your company, Club Jenna?

Jenna Jameson: My company is on a consistent growing spree. Since we sold to Playboy last year, we've grown so much. We went from one release every couple of months to six releases a month, which is a huge amount of work. It's just really exciting because it feels like we're on top of our game now. We're, like, the number one company in the adult industry. Are you now bigger than Vivid Video and Wicked Pictures?

Jenna Jameson: We're right on par. For me, I grew up in the adult industry, so I looked at people like Steve Hirsh, who runs Vivid and owns Vivid, as a role model when it comes to running a business. I just applied all of his business model and it really seems to have worked. Now we're in contention for the number one spot. Are you his competition now?

Jenna Jameson: (Laughs) Of course! I think everybody feels competition with my company, because we turn out the very best movies. Every year we're up for best film, best video. We just released Janine Loves Jenna, which is pretty much the biggest movie ever shot in the adult industry. How much did that cost you to make?

Jenna Jameson: Oh, it's a huge amount of money! I can't talk specific numbers, but it's been a year and a half in the making. Why are you calling this a crossover movie?

Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson: Well, I think that we applied mainstream techniques to this movie. There's a huge amount of acting, it's an amazing script, there's insane special effects! We're trying to set a new pace for everyone in the adult industry. It's not just about turning out twenty-thousand dollar movies anymore and just turning profit. It's about putting out good product. I saw a few little clips of Janine Loves Jenna online and it looked like you guys were flying and hanging from a trapeze... what is this about?

Janna Jameson: The story is about me, and I have a very best friend and she dies in a car accident. I end up committing suicide and going through, like, this subterranean hell, and all the different things I experience while trying to find my friend again. We set the whole movie pretty much on water, so we had all these elaborate sets built in a foot of water. It was insane! We really undertook a major, major project. The sets, the stars in it, the acting, the sex… everything was far beyond anything I've ever done or seen in the industry. I wanted someone to send me a copy of it ahead of time, before I spoke to you… you know, just for research purposes (laughs)

Jenna Jameson: (Laughs) Oh, of course, of course. Hahaha! I love it! Well you look at it and it looks like such high production. It's funny because when I was first going to do the interview with you, I wanted to watch some of your work. I rented one of your movies and I'm sitting there with my boyfriend and we're watching it. There was a lot of acting in it and we got so caught up in the story, that we were fast forwarding through the sex scenes (laughs). I think it was Jenna's Revenge.

Jenna Jameson: (Laughs) Ah, Jenna's Revenge. Isn't that funny? It was so funny! We're like, all into the story, and every time there'd be a sex scene, we were like, Ugh!, and we'd fast forward through it (laughs).

Jenna Jameson: That is so funny. You know, it's true. That was actually an earlier movie in my career, but, my entire career has been based upon not just being a sex star. It's about being a well rounded star, not just being good at sex. I always took pride in being a good actress and trying to push myself and push my boundaries, because I knew that sooner or later I would be doing mainstream films and I could apply all of that to mainstream movies. It ended up working out in my favor, so thank god I decided to take on those big acting roles when I was nineteen years old and had no idea what the hell I was doing (laughs)… absolutely no idea, no acting classes, no nothing. For me, my acting came from trial and error. I'll tell you something, you're interesting to watch on film. It makes me wonder… when you were younger, did you ever think about just going for a mainstream career, before you decided to go into adult movies?

Jenna Jameson: No, not really. Acting was never something that I felt was on my horizon. I wanted to be a model. I wanted to be a Playboy centerfold. That was the ultimate to me. I used to steal my father's Playboy magazines and practice the poses. My father was horrified! He caught me stealing his Playboys! I was just so infatuated with the women in these magazines. I always felt so incredibly comfortable with being nude and my sexuality. That's what I aspired to be, was a model. It's been really easy for me to transition into the mainstream, and I don't really know how. It ended up just kind of falling in my lap. I aspired to be the number one porn star. I never aspired to be a mainstream star, and it just kind of happened. I'm scheduled for two mainstream movies this year and I'm just kind of like, "Holy Shit!" You just finished shooting a mainstream film…

Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson: I just finished shooting a horror movie that's called Zombie. It was amazing. I'm a huge horror movie fan and when I read the script, I was like, "Oh my god! I have to do this movie." I just signed on to star in a Sony movie called Sick and that starts shooting in September of this year. It's a snowball for me. I don't even have an agent or a manager. I do everything on my own and it just ends up coming to me. To what do you attribute the astounding crossover success that you've had? You've basically made the impossible, possible.

Jenna Jameson: I attribute it to the fact that I am incredibly acceptable to not only men, but to women. I think that women feel akin to me in a way because I'm so incredibly honest about who I am as a person. I'm not this girl, [just] wearing a lot of makeup with big boobs, that nobody can access. I'm normal. I'm kind of like the girl next door with a dark side (laughs). I think all women in the world have that. Most women are pretty normal, but they are sexual beings. I think that women have been incredibly oppressed, and I just kind of accept who I am, and I put it out there. With my E! True Hollywood Story and all those different things, I was able to tell my story, and women relate to me. Did you find that your female fan base grew a lot after your E! True Hollywood Story aired?

Jenna Jameson: I think the turning point with my female demographic, was my book (Jenna's New York Times Bestselling Autobiography, 'How to Make Love like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale'). My book really changed peoples' perspective. Before that, people kind of looked at me as a sex star, a porn star. Once they read the book, they realized that there are so many different layers, and that I went through things in my life that a lot of women have, and that I have the same insecurities and the same troubles and the same worries that most women have. I think that it kind of changed things for my career, once I was finally able to get honest and just be truthful with everyone with who I am as a person. I read your book. What I found interesting was that a lot of the journal entries that you put in there, from when you were a little girl and a pre-teen… things you wrote about, like the kind of music you listened to, and saying that you wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid, or liking a boy… and I'm like, "Oh my God, this is me! This could be me!"

Jenna Jameson: I was a normal girl, yeah. I went through all those same exact things that most young women go through. Worrying about whether or not I was going to get boobs, or I had all those weird insecurities that every girl of twelve or thirteen years old goes through. It was really, really hard for me to be honest, but I knew in writing this book that I had to be 100% brutally honest, because if you're going to tell your story, you can't leave things out. Whether or not it hurts you or hurts people around you, you have to be honest. For me, that book was therapy. It was the best thing I ever did, career-wise and just mentally and emotionally. There were things in that book, where I'm sure when people read it, they really felt for you. There was not just one, but a few incidents of rape, including how you lost your virginity. Do you feel that some of that contributed to the career choice that you made?

Jenna Jameson: That's certainly something that I've waffled back and forth with. I question myself a lot about that. It's hard to say one way or another, because the strong feminist in me wants to say, "Absolutely not!" One way or another I would have been a porn star or a nude model or whatever, because I feel empowered. But there are certain times where I look back and I'm like, "Well obviously I was injured emotionally, and it's been things that I've totally stuffed down over years and years of enabling this abuse." I think that with writing the book, it made it ok, one way or another. It made me feel better about my decisions and made me sleep better at night. I was able to come to terms with the abuse that I did endure, and be a better person, because I was able to forgive and forget. One might also say if you believe that things are meant to be, that your life played out the way it did because you were supposed to become who you became.

Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson: Right, absolutely. And it might sound cliché, but it was really important for me to write the book and talk about all these different things, because I know that it helped a lot of other women out there, for sure. I know that a lot of women have gone through the things that I went through, and not many people can talk about it honestly and objectively. When I go out on my signings, I have these girls come up to me, and they're like, "Jenna you really changed my life. Thank you so much for being so honest." That's what makes it worthwhile. You talk about female empowerment a lot and that you feel like you're a role model for women. I don't know how that sits with the generation above us, but I completely understand it…

Jenna Jameson: Right, so you know… Yeah, although my fifty-six year old mother knew who you were…

Jenna Jameson: I love it! That is so awesome! That's the kind of thing that I strive for. It's not really about how much money I have in the bank. It's about whether or not I've left my mark. And I feel like I have. (Laughs) My mother asked, "So who's the next person you're interviewing?" I said "Jenna Jameson," and I was about to explain who you were and she said, "Oh yeah, yeah. I know who she is." (laughs) It's crazy! You might as well be working for Disney.

Jenna Jameson: I love it so much! I get really up in arms when I hear men say the word 'whore' or 'slut' and I open my mouth and say, "How come you don't say the same thing about your male friends who are promiscuous?"

Jenna Jameson: It's such a massive double edged sword. It makes no sense to me, and that's why I'm so outspoken about my sexuality. I think that women are entitled to sexual pleasure. I don't understand what is wrong with it. It's something that's good, and it makes you feel positive and happy and relieved. It's so funny because I watch these entertainment shows and they're talking about how Lindsay Lohan dates another man and she's a whore or whatever… and a million other women. They lay into these girls because they're actually having a good time and being open about it. Then they do a report on George Clooney, who's a 'playboy' and looked up to by everybody and how sexy he is, and how he can date all these women and he'll never get married. It makes me want to fucking vomit. What about Warren Beatty who has slept with everyone under the sun?!

Jenna Jameson: I think it was The Oscars or The Golden Globes, where Tom Hanks was doing this speech about Warren Beatty and he was like, "Oh, and he's slept with every woman in this room!" Then they did a cut away to Warren's wife, and the look on her face! I mean, it was appalling to me. If that were a woman, that wouldn't even come out of Tom Hanks' mouth because that is derogatory to a woman. It's really, really sad. I run into that consistently where people are like, "Oh, you're just a whore." I will always, for the rest of my life, have to fight that stereotype. People have said that to your face?

Jenna Jameson: Oh absolutely. People have no problems telling me exactly how they feel, and it's funny to me because if anything, I'm the last girl that would sleep with them. I am extremely monogamous. I hold out! (Laughs) I'm the girl who will not have sex with you for two or three months if we started dating. I don't feel like sex defines me, even though I am a porn star. I'm an anomaly. I love the fact that it makes people talk. It makes people want to know why. As long as people are talking and are questioning a woman's sexuality, then I feel like at least I'm raising that question in people. If you could sit down with Gloria Steinem for a debate on pornography, and how it represents and affects women, what would you say to her?

Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson: Obviously everybody is entitled to their own opinion and I totally respect her position. I love women that are able to really put a period at the end of their sentence. She's fought for what she believes in, and I believe in a lot of things she says. The issue is that for centuries women have been put under the thumb of men in this society, and what she does is perpetuate that. Because a woman has a right to be the person that she wants to be. Relying on everybody else's judgment is what makes this society so sick. Having a woman going on TV and saying, "That woman's a whore and she's ruining society for women," … there's always two sides to the coin. I think that it's important to be well rounded and not to be so incredibly one-sided. It's just not healthy. There are very many parts of me that are very conservative, and I think that she needs to come to terms with herself, and start maybe having sex more. So I wouldn't end up debating with her. I would probably end up giving her sex advice. (Laughs) What is the number one question about sex that other women ask you?

Jenna Jameson: Women always ask me about the best way to give a blowjob. That's a big thing for women. And the next one is masturbation. They ask you how to do it?

Jenna Jameson: Yeah, what's the best way and how to get off, during sex or being alone. I think it's a major epidemic in women, faking orgasms. So many women in this world feel like they are put on this planet to please men, that they have to fake, and they never worry about their own pleasure. Sooner or later I am going to come out with a sex tips book, because I am a wealth of knowledge (laughs)! You're talking about women feeling like they have to be objects to please men. A lot of people have accused the adult industry of turning out this product of factory made Barbie Dolls. It's usually all about men and men's fantasies. Will there be films made that are geared more towards women?

Jenna Jameson: Actually that's happening now. It's a big thing now in our industry, to shoot girls that are real. Like now, it's out of style in our industry to have a boob job. When you're looking for contract girls, are you signing girls that have natural breasts?

Jenna Jameson: Oh yeah. That's a total plus. I love girls that are natural, that are different. It's not about a bleached blonde, big boobed girl anymore, that's 100lbs. It's actually about girls that appeal to mass markets. Women are a huge buyer of pornography now. I understand the fact that it's hard to look at a girl like Pam Anderson, or to look at me, or Carmen Electra and to relate to them looks-wise. Our whole lives are based around our looks. I spend so much time getting my haircut, dyed, extensions, facials, lips done, tanning, nails… that's part of my job. You'll do whatever you have to do to keep up that look, and it requires tons of maintenance.

Jenna Jameson: Absolutely. Like any job, there are things that go into it and you have to make sure that you take care of yourself. My product is my body and my face and my hair. I have to make sure I keep in tip top shape. I go to the gym everyday! Yesterday I spent a whole day getting my hair and nails done. It's a complete nightmare. I can't wait until I can just eat chili cheese fries and not worry about it (laughs). I think that a lot of women who do watch porn are smart enough, and able to separate the fact that my job is my looks. They should not try to be like me because it's just not reality. I think that these people that are saying that women are objectified, [they're not] giving the American public enough credit for being smart enough to be able to separate things. With your book that is now being turned into a movie, is it going to be called How to Make Love Like a Porn Star (the book's title)?

Jenna Jameson: Actually, the working title is Heartbreaker. Where are you guys, right now, in developing your book into a film?

Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson: Right now we're writing the script and we are in final contract negotiations with Universal. It's going to go into production next year. We're really excited. We've already signed on Peter Berg as the director, and it's super exciting, because he read the book and he's super passionate about it. He was a big fan prior, and he had a certain idea for the movie, based on the book. When we met on it, we both had the same vision and I knew that he was going to be able to capture that essence of the book: that dark, witty reality. Will the movie begin with you as a young girl or with you as a young adult?

Jenna Jameson: We're not sure whether or not we want to start with me being young. There's obviously going to be a lot of flashbacks. It's important, I think, to have some part of my childhood [in the movie], because that was such a major part of me being who I am, so there are definitely going to be parts of my childhood in there. Do you have a leading actress in mind?

Jenna Jameson: The production company and Universal all have really great ideas, but my pick from the beginning was Scarlett Johansson. She's number one on the list for everybody involved, so far. I think she's amazing, and she reminds me of myself when I was young. I love the fact that she has curves and she looks like a real woman. At that time in my life, I was not a stick thin, little… monkey (laughs). You have said that every year, on the anniversary of your mother's passing, you sit at home and reflect about her. It was just recently, at the end of April. Now that you're around the same age that she was when she passed away, what types of thoughts have you had about her?

Jenna Jameson: What I usually think about is whether or not I'm doing my mother proud. Whether or not, if she were here, we would be able to sit down and she would look at me and say, "I'm proud of you." I just want to be the best person I can be. It's not really about my success in life. It's about the person that I am and whether or not I'm good to my friends, good to my family and feel good about myself. That's the most important thing to me, that when I lay my head down at night, I feel like I bettered myself that day. This past year has been very cathartic for me. Even though I'm going through a lot of things in my life, divorce-wise, I know that I've always had a good head on my shoulders and I do the right thing. I don't allow any kind of unhappiness anymore. I've been through it all, and there's no need, at 32, to sit and be sad. Do you see motherhood in your near future?

Jenna Jameson: Absolutely! Finally at 32, I'm at a point in my life where I feel like I can put things aside and I'm ready to be a mom, mentally and physically. Should you have a daughter someday, what would be your perspective, if she came to you and asked you about what you do or even expressed to you that she was interested in going into the adult industry?

Jenna Jameson: I think that honesty is incredibly important in being a parent. Once my child is old enough to understand the ins and outs of life and sex and all those kinds of things, when they get into their teens and start asking questions, then it's important for me to be honest and say, "Yes, I was young and this was my career choice and I felt comfortable with it, and sexuality is a natural thing. But it was my choice and it is not what mommy wants you to do (laughs)!" And not because I think that being a porn star is bad. I think that it's a really, really hard business to be happy in. I want pure unadulterated happiness for my child, and I feel like in my career, I had to fight and push and deal with incredible stereotypes and people trying to hold me down when it comes to being successful. I want my child to go to college and have all the different things that I didn't have as a kid. So I think that being a porn star would never even cross my child's mind, because I'm going to give it everything! (Laughs)

Jenna Jameson: No doubt! She's gonna be so friggin spoiled, Oh my god! My poor pets, my dogs, can't even stand me anymore. They're like, "Mom, leave us alone!" Do you ever feel overexposed? Like, when you're walking down the street and all of a sudden it occurs to you that half the free world has watched you have sex, and you have, like, a momentary panic attack?

Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson: (Laughs) Absolutely. I mean, I think that you would have to be an alien not to have those kinds of feelings. Every once in awhile I'll be sitting with my boyfriend and a guy will come up to me and say, "Oh my god! I j***** off to you so many times in college!" And I'm just like, "What do I say to that?!" Especially in front of your boyfriend…

Jenna Jameson: Exactly. So the people who date me have to be very, very secure. Every once in a while I get a little bit weirded out, because I feel like I'm kind of a normal girl, and I get embarrassed by the same things. I'm shy when it comes to that stuff. Especially if my friends are like, "Oh, I was switching through the channels and I rolled over the Jenna channel…" because I have my own channel, and they're like, "Oh my god! I saw you having sex and it totally freaked me out!!" That to me is the most embarrassing, when my friends see me naked or see me in movies. Strangers, I can handle. Do your friends generally avoid it?

Jenna Jameson: Oh my god, yes! They cannot even look at me that way. They know me as Jenna Massoli, not Jenna Jameson. They know the dorky, silly girl. Jenna Jameson is a character. If I were Jenna Jameson 100% of the time, I would be really sore (laughs). (Laughs) Well, you only do a few movies a year, right?

Jenna Jameson: At the height of my career, we released two [movies] a year. I seriously have had less mileage than most women. But I don't really talk about that, because people want to think that I am this monster, and complete sexual freak. I can't really deny that, because in bed I am crazy and I love sex. I have sex two, three times a day with my boyfriend. [But] if I don't have a boyfriend, or if I'm not married, or whatever, I don't have sex. It's not like I can just go out and meet a guy and have sex with him. It just doesn't work like that for me. First of all, I am so incredibly intimidating to men. I couldn't get laid if I wanted to. That probably sounds weird, but, I scare the living pants off men. Because they're worried that they're not going to be able to perform well enough for you?

Jenna Jameson: Exactly, that my standards are super high, and I'm the exact opposite. I can work with anything. For a contract girl who works for Club Jenna, what does she have to do, and how much does she work?

Jenna Jameson: Depending on the contract, the girl usually does anywhere from six to ten movies a year. It's mostly about promoting the company. They're out on massive promotions all over the country, just having a great time and being themselves. We put them through media training, and it's not just about being a porn star. It's about being a well-rounded human being. Before you sign a girl, do you make sure she's getting into this for the right reasons?

Jenna Jameson: I always sit down with the girls, prior. We'll go out to lunch, hang out, go shopping, and I kind of get a feel for their personality and what their outlook is on life and if they're doing it for the right reasons. I never want to hear from a girl, "Well, I just want to be like you. I want to be a star." It's not realistic. It's really important [to know] that once you do a movie, you are labeled a porn star for the rest of your life. That has impact not only on you but on your family, on your kids, on your friends. You have to be willing to work with that and understand the repercussions. That's the very first thing that I talk to these girls about. You have to be ready to be shoved into the spotlight. It's kind of like a mental stability test. Like before going into the army (laughs).

Jenna Jameson: Right (laughs) or like before getting plastic surgery. You have to be evaluated. I have major misgivings about talking to girls who are eighteen or nineteen years old about signing a contract. At eighteen years old it's hard to make a life choice. I truly believe there should be an age verification at twenty-one years old for this industry. Being a porn star, I don't think people understand that it filters into absolutely every aspect of my life. My whole life is about being a sex icon, and things for these other girls are starting to change because I have made it so incredibly acceptable to be a porn star. I have to be conscious of that when it comes to signing these girls and being the den mother. I have to be responsible for them, so I make sure that I explain it 100%. Do you still work with men?

Jenna Jameson
Jenna Jameson

Jenna Jameson: No. I haven't done movies for quite a while now. I'm still releasing the movies that I performed in from a while ago, and right now I'm on hiatus. I'm busy promoting the movies that will be coming out for the next few years. I'm pursuing other goals. I'm going to be launching my own clothing line soon and my fragrance comes out in October. I have a lot of different things that I'm doing. I really don't feel like I have to do movies anymore. It's super exciting to be able to focus 100% on running my company and promoting my movies, and not have to worry about, "Ok, I gotta go and have sex today." Is it safe to assume that you're a liberal and a democrat?

Jenna Jameson: Yes. I don't like to label myself as a democrat, but I'm certainly extremely liberal. Do you find that the climate of the adult industry changes when there is a Republican administration versus Democratic?

Jenna Jameson: Absolutely. The Clinton administration was the best years for the adult industry and I wish that Clinton would run again. I would love to have him back in office. I would love to have Al Gore in office. When Republicans are in office, the problem is, a lot of times they try to put their crosshairs on the adult industry, to make a point. It's sad, when there are so many different things that are going on in the world: war, and people are dying of genocide. It's sad that they feel that they have to target the sex industry, and not target the problems with insurance and the homeless and the AIDS epidemic. There are so many things that need to be cleared up before fucking pornography. I look forward to another democrat being in office. It just makes the climate so much better for us, and I know that once all our troops come home, things are going to be better and I think that getting Bush out of office is the most important thing right now. Who's your favorite democratic front runner for 2008? Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or John Edwards?

Jenna Jameson: I love Hillary. I think that in some ways she's pretty conservative for a democrat, but I would love to have a woman in office. I think that it would be a step in the right direction for our country, and there would be less focus on war and more focus on bettering society.

Jenna Jameson - Portrait of a Mainstream Sex Icon

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