Sasha Grey Interview: The Girlfriend Experience
To start, she is 21. Her stage name is inspired by both Oscar Wilde’s most notable protagonist and the Kinsey “in-between” scale of sexuality. The self-proclaimed transgressive artist and experimental musician is also a fan of the French New Wave and considers porn a “performance art.”
Almost four years after moving to LA, Grey has starred in more than 80 films. She was featured as “the next Jenna Jameson” in the November 2006 edition of Los Angeles Magazine, chosen as Penthouse Pet of the Month for July 2007, deemed Female Performer of the Year at the 25th Annual AVN Awards in 2008, and is recently on the 2009 Rolling Stone Magazine Hot List. Next for Grey is the leading role in Steven Soderburgh’s bold and sensual drama, The Girlfriend Experience.
OTB caught up with the world’s most elusive porn megastar to talk about sex, philosophy and working with an Oscar-winning director…
OTB: Can you tell me what it was like to be directed by Steven Soderbergh?
SG: It was amazing. I am a huge fan of Steven. He is so incredibly methodical on set. He is always coming up with something else on the day. Sometimes I’d wonder, is he telling me something he has put a lot of thought into or is this something he is inspired by at the moment?
The Girlfriend Experience is your mainstream feature film debut. How different was acting in this movie than in your average adult films?
As far as the technical aspects of shooting, it is sickly similar. But I guess in adult films you are not generally directed, so it is up to you to make your performance. In The Girlfriend Experience, obviously I had a character I was able to develop and live in her shoes.
How much of Chelsea, the high-end Manhattan girl, was Sasha Grey, the international porn star?
I’d say about five percent. It would be very easy to say, ‘Oh yeah, you are very similar—a film star and a prostitute, both having sex for money.’ But Chelsea/Christine provides an emotional connection with her clients, whereas I go on a set with co-stars. There is no false relationship being created. We all know why we are there.
You have come a long way from the Spiegler girls. How do you think you have developed as an adult film star over the past three years?
I think my tastes and opinions have always been pretty solidified from the time I was 16 or 17. But I think more now than ever, I am all about challenging the way things are done and taking an opportunity and running with it and not using anything as an excuse.
You often refer to porn as “performance art.” What exactly does that mean?
It’s a philosophy… It is about using my body as the canvas and exploring that and learning what I like and what I don’t like and observing people and the way the world works all within 30 minutes to one hour. It would be really easy to just have sex and be done. But I want it to be more than that.
You once told LA Magazine that what you do on film is “make it ridiculous, make it disgusting, make it loud and filthy.” How do you feel about sexual degradation now?
That is more with my performances, because when I got into the industry, one of my goals was to make it interesting and challenging. But now, owning my own company and directing my own films, I am more interested in making adult films that are more cinematic… and always keep the audience guessing.
You are a writer, photographer, transgressive artist and experimental musician. What is your purpose as a porn star?
To live; to not have any boundaries; to not put a fence between adult filmmaking and ‘mainstream filmmaking’ or photography or writing or music, and just living life and painting it out on a canvass—not necessarily living by any type of ideal or morals or superficial things that are laid out to us as kids.
What is next for Sasha Grey?
Oh wow. Everything is next. I am flying to New York after this and doing a stage performance. And in December, I will be shooting a film in France called Life. And hopefully continue with my music and possibly start touring in 2010. My book is coming out in the end of next quarter.