Interview with a porn star

Interview with a porn star

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A couple of weeks ago I caught up with former Boise State student, now turned porn star Maranda Jay. Miss Jay is better known to some by her porn star stage name, Ariel. She had just recently returned home after spending several weeks in Florida shooting various movie and Web site scenes.

Scheduling a time to talk with her was hardly easy since she was now busy shooting photos for her newest project www.arielvixen.com, as well as working as a full-time female escort. During our conversation she joked that I was her fourth appointment that day, having already went out with one client earlier and two more that were scheduled for later that night at $300 apiece. At the time, my photographer and I were asking ourselves when the last time either one of us had made $900 in one day.

Throughout my conservation with her I found her to be a very intelligent woman who stressed to me she worked in the one industry that was able to turn the gender wage gap on its head. I found her to be a very funny, smart, and extremely candid woman.

Below is a transcript of my interview with a porn star.

Q: First off, I just want to thank you for taking your time to meet with me and answer some questions. Let's just start off easy and have you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

A: I grew up and lived my whole life in Boise. I was always a straight A student and was into ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop dancing for 13 years. I was a really goody good girl and had a totally awesome family. I graduated from high school when I was 16-years-old and started college at Boise State University on my 17th birthday I started the basic classes for a social work degree because I wanted to get my master's and open up a drug rehab center for teens. I finished my first year there and then a lot of personal stuff started to take its toll so I decided to take some time off from school. I did not want to risk failing any classes or wasting all that tuition money. I figured it was smarter to take the time.

Q: How did you go from somebody who finished high school early with aspirations of going onto a master's program to the adult entertainment industry?

A: I got started in the adult entertainment industry the day after I turned 18. I met with a lady who told me I would be doing private dancing for bachelor parties and that kind of stuff and later learned it was really an escort agency. I was good at it and made a lot of money so I stuck with it.

Then I met the owner of Erotic City and worked for his escort agency, by then I was 19 and had start working up at the club as his waitress. They had a hustler competition and he wanted me to be in it, so I did.

The people having the contest were also shooting videos and asked to shoot me, so I did it. Now a year later, a company in Florida flew me down and shot me for a few weeks. Since then I've been making videos and Web site scenes.

Q: What's a hustler competition consist of?

A: All the strippers at the club and whoever from the general public wanted to enter would one at a time go on stage and strip/dance for a full set. The audience then votes by cheering for their favorite and the girl with the loudest reaction wins.

Q: What do you mean you were "good at it" in regards to the escort service? What exactly were you doing?

A: Escort services are in all legality and technicality just paying for the company of a young (or old) female (in most cases). If the client and an escort engage in anything sexual then it's consensual sex between two adults and is not affiliated with the agency.

However, we all know no one calls an escort expecting nothing sexual and chances are if you don’t have sex with them you won't make it long because no one wants a tease. So, it's basically just f–king a person for a rate, which is how they get you to the house.

Q: You mentioned you made a lot of money during your time as an escort. On average, how much money could you make in a night or on a date?

Custom TagA: My rates were $300 an hour and overnight from 9:00pm-6:00am was $1600 dollars. Most of the guys would pay for an hour but I’d be done in 15 minutes and the client was more than happy. So $300 for 15 minutes of work was pretty easy.

Q: The videos these people shooting, were they porn videos? Why did you agree to shoot the videos?

A: Yes, they were porn videos (laughing)! I agreed to the videos because it was a chance to shoot porn and I wanted to at least be able to say I've been in a real porn. They also paid me very good money. I do it now because the money is good and I have the ability and gateway necessary to make it at least a little ways.

Q: How much money do you typically get for doing these Web sites and videos?

A: Anywhere from $600 for an easy 30 minute scene, up to a $1000 for 2 hours of studio time, which is pretty damn good considering however long I'm in the studio only 1/3 of that is actual filming while the rest is make up, wardrobe, and clean up.

Q: You said you have the ability and gateway now to make it at least a little ways doing this type of work. Where is it exactly that you want this to take you? What is your ultimate goal here?

A: I just want to make enough money to get out of debt and be able to live comfortably. The money also provides a way for me to finish school so I can have an awesome future.

Q: What do you think the long-term benefits doing porn are now instead of making progress towards your degree at Boise State?

A: Well if I do this now I might actually have enough money to finish getting my degree at BSU.

Q: So you plan on going back to school at BSU and finishing your degree?

A: Definitely. I plan on coming back to campus full time after I do this for another year or two. My goal is still to get my master's degree and open up a drug rehab center for teens.

Boise is really lacking in quality facilities like that and I would like to be part of the reason that changes someday.

Q: Are you worried any students or teachers will recognize you when you come back to school?

A: Not really. I’m not modest, embarrassed, or ashamed about what I do by any means. Besides who's worse, me for doing this or them for looking at it?

Q: Do you see any sort of moral dilemma doing this, i.e. using money made from selling sex to pay for an education?

A: No at all, in fact I think it's really a noble thing to use the money for. I'm not using the money for materialistic things, or driving some big fancy car. Saving this money now and using it for an education later makes it all worth it in the end.

Q: There seems to be a pretty big stereotype that drug use is rampant in the adult entertainment industry. Do you think this is true in your experience?

A: It depends on what part of the industry you're talking about. I found that drug use was very common among the escorts. In fact, I believe many of them got into the job as an easy way to support their drug habit.

Doing porn though is totally different. We wouldn’t be able to do the work required of us if we all did drugs. You have to have a certain mind frame and natural energy for this type of job. Without a clear head that wouldn't be possible. Plus it would only make our jobs harder because we'd have to deal with all problems drug use creates.

Custom TagQ: Do you ever feel objectified as a porn star or female escort?

A: I would probably feel that way more if I was a male talent. They are paid considerably less and have a lot more pressure on them to perform. As an escort, most of my clients worship me and would do anything for me. Who's using me in that type of situation?

Q: What did you think the biggest misconceptions of the porn industry are?

A: That the work is easy and anyone can do it. It is very hard work and can sometimes be painful and ruthless. The people filming these scenes don't care about you or how bad it hurts to have an enormous sized something tear you up inside. You have to just take it and make it look like you're enjoying it.

Not just anyone can do this job. It takes a lot of self-confidence to be able to have producers break you down to nothing and still be able to walk away not feeling like a piece of crap. Also, another huge misconception is that porn stars are just sluts without any feelings. We're people too and more than half off us don't enjoy what were doing. We just try to forget about it at the end of the day.

Q: How has this job affected your relationship with your family and close friends?

A: I'm sure my family isn't necessarily proud to go around telling their co-workers and friends that I'm all over the Internet having sex on camera. However, I don't think it has really affected our relationships in a negative way. With boyfriends however, they find that out about me, and even though I won't shoot films while I’m in a relationship, it makes them distrust me and insecure about the relationship. I've caught a lot of accusations and grief from them for it.

Q: Is there any sort of STD testing that goes on in either the porn videos you've done or as an escort? Are you worried about your health at all regarding STDs?

A: Male talent is tested biweekly and females are tested monthly. The test has to be an AIM test (Adult Industry Medical test) and all your results go to an online lab database where anyone can view your record. If your record is not up to date within the two weeks for males or 30 days for females, they will not shoot you. I also have several limitations in what I'm willing to do which minimizes my risk for any sort of heath problems. I don't do anything anal and most of the work I've done is with a condom.

Q: Last question, do you like what you do?

A: It's a job and it can be more demanding and hard to do without being persecuted for it. But it is a job and at the end of a shoot I'm always glad its over and to be walking out of the studio.

It takes a very strong-minded person to do this without having some serious negative effects mentally.

You really have to be two people and understand in your own head that I am not the one who goes out on a set and does that.

That is someone totally different. I am not going to get what "she" does confused with who I am as a person.

It's really exhausting mentally and emotionally sometimes, and I really hate having to defend myself, and my work, all the time.

Check the Opinion section for Women's Center's official response to 'Interview with a porn star.'

DREW MAYES
Opinion Editor