We know her as a living legend, because she’s the most famous porn star in the world. But meeting her in person is a uniquely different experience from seeing her on video. Nothing quite prepares you for the real Jenna Jameson.
She was Mandy, Howard Stern’s naked on air guest in his 1997 film Private Parts, and she has appeared countless times on television: three episodes of the Don Johnson series Nash Bridges several specials for E! Entertainment, including the Cannes Film Festival exposé “Wild on the Riviera” and even Comedy Central’s The Man Show, on which she offered her home improvement tips. And then there was her best selling 2000 J2K calendar, shot in the French West Indies by Brad Willis, in which she posed like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model but looked deliciously less than wholesome.
So when I finally meet her, I become completely unglued. She’s the perfect porn star, all blonde and insouciant and daring you to think your best dirty thoughts. And yet, as I tell her with some temerity, she appears much smaller in real life.
“Oh, everybody says that!” she counters, laughing. “I photograph really tall, like a big girl. I tour so much that I get to meet a lot of my fans in person and many of them say, ‘Oh my gosh, I thought you’d be bigger!’ They expect me to be six feet tall, when I’m only five foot three. I thank the heavens above that I photograph bigger than I am, because I think that’s sexier.”
She’s certainly looking sexy tonight. Wearing a black leather skirt and a low cut black velvet top halting at the midriff, she displays the silver piercing in her navel and the awesome cleft between her 32D breasts, braless under the plush fabric. “I used to be a 34D, but I lost some weight,” she explains. “I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve slimmed down a little bit. I lost my baby fat. My boobs are big, but my rib cage is really small, so my boobs look so much bigger than they really are. They’re huge on my frame!”
A peal of laughter dissolves into giggles, something I witness her do repeatedly throughout the evening. We’ve met early at Jenna’s favorite hangout, the Cat Eye Lounge in Scottsdale, Arizona, so we can talk. And we’re in her favorite physical space in the known universe, The Bubble Room.
The Cat Eye Lounge is an impressive 42,000 square feet of black diamond tuft booths and sparkling chandeliers, with Champagne buckets occupying the middle of each table. There are actually four bars inside this nightclub, two in the main club area, a patio bar out by the club’s entrance and The Bubble Room. The latter is for VIP patrons only, and Jenna always has a booth specially roped off for her whenever she visits. In the four years since the Cat Eye Lounge opened, many celebrities have passed through, including Britney Spears, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
When Jenna drops by, she usually arrives in her new midnight blue Ferrari 360. It used to be a blue Dodge Viper, which she’s since sold “I wanted to upgrade,” she quips. Sometimes she comes with her boyfriend, adult film director Justin Sterling, on his Harley Davidson motorbike. Whatever the mode of transport, all eyes descend on Jenna because of her fame and her gorgeous figure, 32 23 33, which she’s able to maintain despite an unabashed, self confessed weakness for garlic mashed potatoes, Taco Bell and all things carbohydrate. But she’s different from most of the rich and famous who pass through these portals, because she actually lives here.
“I love Scottsdale,” she says of the Phoenix suburb as we sit in a booth and order Champagne. She then tells me about her dogs, a Pomeranian named Stinky and an English bulldog named Puff, and about her house a five bedroom, Spanish style casita located near the McDowell Mountains. “I just like being in a place where you can walk outside and you can see mountains and you can breathe the air. I’ve been here for two years now. I wanted to get away from the craziness of LA. Did you know that Scottsdale is ranked number one as the cleanest city in America? Here I am, Jenna Jameson, the dirtiest girl in the world living in the cleanest city in America!”
She laughs madly, and then we traipse down memory lane. Jenna’s mother was a Las Vegas showgirl who died when she was four, and her father was a policeman now retired, he’s her biggest supporter and even attends the AVN Awards to root for his daughter. He was the one who gave her the nickname “Heartbreaker,” which appears in the famous tattoo on her right asscheek. It’s visible in all of her videos, as are two other tattoos. Her right ankle sports little flowers with the inscription “Crazy Girl,” and her left ankle has an illustration by the Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama, of whom she gushes: “I’m a huge fan. I would love for him to paint me!”
Her passionate nature rules her life, she says, because she’s three quarters Italian and one quarter Scandinavian. “I’m Northern Italian, and Northern Italians are always blonde haired and blue eyed. I’m not naturally this blonde, but I am blonde,” she notes, sipping Champagne and looking misty eyed. “Right away, from the time I was small, I wanted to be a showgirl like my mother. And so I studied dance for twelve years. When I turned seventeen, I became a showgirl at Vegas World, at the Stratosphere Tower, which was then the highlight of my life.”
The club Vegas World no longer exists and, by 1994, neither did Jenna’s real name. Inspired by Jameson Irish Whiskey, sometimes literally, she began posing nude for magazines. “I started dancing at the Crazy Horse Too in Las Vegas,” she recalls, “and then I decided to move to LA to get into films.”
Her first feature film is still unknown to most people, because it never received wide release on video. Fantasy Woman was directed for Adam & Eve in 1994 by Andrew Blake, and it also starred Dahlia Grey, Kaylan Nicole, Celeste, Nikki Tyler and Seana Ryan. “Jenna was just a centerfold model, a print magazine model, at the time,” Blake told me. “She was pretty much the girl next door. I didn’t look at her and think she would be a big star someday. She was the one who reinvented herself, and I can’t take any credit for that.”
“He must have thought I was this meek little mouse,” Jenna now says. “I didn’t say two words that whole time. I was just so shy. And I’m sure he was probably thinking, ‘Who is this girl?’” It was the first time she had to have sex on camera, and it was with Nikki Tyler. “I just went with the flow,” Jenna recalls. “I’d had sex with Nikki before, of course, because we were living together at that time. So I just did what I would do at home and, along with Andrew’s incredible direction, it just came out great.”
Her next film was Cameron Grant’s Elements of Desire, in which she had on camera sex with a man for the first time. “The poor guy that I was working with, he came right away!” she recalls. “I lowered myself onto him and he came! And I’m like, ‘Oh no! The whole scene’s ruined!’ We had to wait for a couple of hours before we could do it again.” But things started looking up from there when she was twenty, Jenna met Steve Orenstein, the owner of Wicked Pictures.
Signed to an exclusive contract with Wicked, Jenna won three prime trophies at the 1996 AVN Awards: Best New Starlet, Best Actress and Best Couples Sex Scene. The latter was for her furious coupling with T.T. Boy in Michael Zen’s Blue Movie, which also took the awards for Best Editing and Best Director. The following year, Jenna won Best Couples Sex Scene again by taking Vince Voyeur to task in Brad Armstrong’s period piece Conquest.
Later, Jenna again went to sea in Dangerous Tides, about a group of swingers on a ship invaded by terrorists, and starred in Wicked Weapon, a comic book fantasy in which she plays a newscaster who gets struck by a lightning bolt and becomes a crime busting super heroine named “The Jennarator.” AVN named Dangerous Tides its October 1997 Editor’s Choice, singling out a spectacular orgy scene featuring Jenna with Nici Sterling, Sindee Coxx, Laure Sinclair, T.T. Boy and Peter North. Every one of these Wicked films was directed by Brad Armstrong, who also performed in some of them and whom Jenna married in the summer of 1997.
There’s a scene from Wicked Weapon she remembers fondly, because she got to have on camera sex with her real life husband. “I remember being down on my knees, unzipping his pants and looking at him with nothing but lust in my heart,” she says, licking her lips at the memory. Despite such torrid moments, however, their official union as a married couple lasted only two months. “What happened? Can you say ‘mistake’?” she now reflects, giggling. “We were just very different people. I’m really outgoing and he is really introverted, so it just didn’t work out. But the movies that we made when we were together were absolutely incredible. My favorite film from that early period is The Wicked One. It was the very first movie in which I did two guys at once, Peter North and Mark Davis, and it’s still my all time favorite scene.”
The Wicked One is also known for a solo masturbation scene in which Jenna plunks herself into a chair, props her feet up on a desk, grabs a dildo and fucks herself into oblivion. From then on, she acquired a reputation as an aggressive performer, as evidenced by Armstrong’s Flashpoint in 1998. In that video, she gets well and truly drilled by T.T. Boy while dressed in bondage gear, and she also makes love to Brittany Andrews in a women’s rest room.
“I’m an aggressive sex performer on film because I’m not aggressive in my home life,” she tells me. “I play a character in my movies and that’s when all those little demons come out, because you’re allowed to do whatever you want. At home, I’m a very submissive person. Isn’t that crazy? But when I perform, I’m always the dominant one. Especially with women. I don’t know why, but I know what I want to do and I do it, whether she likes it or not. And usually she likes it.”
Girl/girl sex has probably never seen better on screen enactment than Jenna’s scenes in Armstrong’s all girl movie Hell on Heels, her follow up to Flashpoint, in which she takes on the entire cast Nikki Tyler, Sydnee Steele, Stephanie Swift, Emily Jewel, Shayla LaVeaux, Asia Carrera and Felicia. And then there’s Armstrong’s Dream Quest, the cr me de la cr me of big budget features. Now the best selling adult DVD of all time, it takes Jenna into the mythical world of fairies, elves and trolls, where she engages in dildo play with an ice queen named Tundra (Alexa Rae) and enjoys the sexual attentions of Vladamir the Overlord (Herschel Savage) and Arachna the Spider Queen (Asia Carrera).
Lately, however, Jenna’s found a new challenge: digital technology. In the summer of 2000, she left Wicked Pictures to form her own company, Club Jenna. Now she spends most of her time attending to its website, ClubJenna.com, for which she does live chats with members and directs streaming video sex shoots. “Wicked Pictures was really great to me,” she affirms. “They made me a star, absolutely. They had a huge hand in it. But I thought to myself, ‘I’m at the top of my game now. How long can I just spin my wheels?’ So I decided to make my own company. I left Wicked and got the ball rolling, and within six months, BAM! I had eleven employees. It’s really weird that now I’m the employer instead of being the one who’s employed, to be the one who signs the checks!”
Her other pride and joy these days is a two disc interactive DVD called My Plaything: Jenna Jameson, produced by Digital Sin. The viewer gets to have “virtual sex” with Jenna, with a choice of “nasty” or “nice” versions. Masturbation, foreplay and sex with her are shot from two angles and the viewer has a choice of using fingers, dildos and even a “virtual tongue.” There’s also a girl/girl sex option that features Briana Banks and a strap on and can be viewed from four different positions. The second disc offers an interview with Jenna, blooper scenes and plenty of behind the scenes footage.
“It’s totally interactive, so it’s like you’re having sex with me,” Jenna enthuses. “I made Virtual Sex with Jenna (a CD ROM/DVD produced by Digital Playground) three years ago and now this is the updated version, which dwarfs that one. I watch it and I know that if I were a guy, it would be the ultimate jack off for me. I know a lot of men out there would love to have sex with me.”
When it comes to having sex, the only thing Jenna usually desires from her partners is an active imagination. To illustrate, she tells me her favorite story of having sex in public, off camera, in Los Angeles: “Me and Justin, my significant other, were at a hotel one night and I was in this really long dress because we had just got done filming a show for the E! channel. We were drinking Champagne in the limo and we ended up having sex. Then we got out of the car and went upstairs. When we got out of the elevator there were these chairs, with a table and a phone. We started having sex in one of the chairs, with my dress pulled up around my waist, right there!
“This was probably around 1 a.m. and there was nobody around while we were doing it, but the elevator opened at least twice, which was really thrilling because we never knew if there would be people in it or not!” Jenna exclaimed. “Then we moved down the hallway and we were having sex there. At least three or four people opened their doors and looked out and sort of went, ‘Oh, okay,’ and shut their doors again But we didn’t stop, and I came, many times!
“I still do that sort of thing,” she admits. “I love that. You’ve got to be a little bit more careful here in Scottsdale, but there’s nothing like dark hallways at clubs!” Her favorite club sex story actually took place right here at the Cat Eye Lounge. “My best friend and I were here one night and I got up on the bar. They had these candles on the bar and I was pouring candle wax on her. We ended up having sex, right there in front of everybody. There were at least fifty or sixty people and I was eating her in front of everyone. She now pays me the best compliment ever she tells everyone I turned her gay!”
Being bisexual certainly has its professional rewards. Club Jenna has just released two new movies: Silvia Loves Jenna, shot with Silvia Saint before the Czech star’s recent retirement, and Briana Loves Jenna. “The good thing about being a girl director is that the girls will do whatever you want. I had these big vaginal beads, and I asked Briana Banks, ‘Would you put these in your ass?’ And she said, ‘For you Jenna, I’ll do anything.’ And let me tell you, I had never seen anything like that before in my life. She did it with a smile on her face. She loves anal!”
In August 2001, Jenna signed a two year contract with Vivid Video, under which Vivid will distribute eight features produced by Club Jenna. Plans are also afoot to shoot Jenna on the road, dancing at various strip clubs, for three Vivid documentaries. All this excitement, however, doesn’t obscure the fact that more than anyone else in the industry today, Jenna Jameson has been responsible for making the archetype of the porn star acceptable to a mainstream audience.
“I made it one of my missions to get this industry accepted by the public,” Jenna says. “And I think I have been pretty successful in doing that, especially in getting it accepted by women. They see my interviews and go, ‘Wow, she’s a real person! She’s like me. She has a personality like me. And she has no inhibitions when it comes to her sexuality.’ I think that has an impact on the way some women go about their sex lives.”
The very idea that she can affect so many people’s sexual desires so powerfully seems to excite her. Here’s a girl who has no qualms about being seen as a sexual person and who truly loves being appreciated.
When the club’s regular crowd begins to arrive, I thank Jenna for both the Champagne and the conversation. Then several young women, all very beautiful and scantily dressed, recognize Jenna and start making their way toward us. I seize the moment to ask her a final question: How much longer does she plan to stay in front of the camera?
“As soon as I don’t feel those butterflies in my stomach before I shoot, I’m gone,” she replies. “I absolutely do feel that before I shoot, every time. I hide it well. I talked to my father about it and he said, ‘Jenna, that’s just a sign that you care about the product and you care about how you come across. And as soon as that’s gone, that means you should leave.’
“I still care,” she concludes confidently, “so I’m still around.”