CC2K

The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Sex Week: Interviews With Porn Stars Nica Noelle and Chanel Preston

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor


To conclude Sex Week, CC2K is very excited to have interviews with two well-known names in the adult film industry, Nica Noelle and Chanel Preston, who each have an interesting relationship with pop culture.  Noelle recently directed a film, My Girlfriend’s Mother, that was inspired by The Graduate, and Preston will be starring as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Justice League XXX.

A very special thank you to both Nica Noelle and Chanel Preston for their participation.

Note: Some of the links included in this article are not safe for work.

First up, the multi-hatted Nica Noelle.  From her bio:

Nica Noelle is a writer, producer and director of storyline-driven erotic films. After helping to guide a lesbian erotica producer from inception to niche powerhouse, lightning struck again when Noelle and Jon Blitt of Mile High Media created all girl studio Sweetheart Video and couples’ feature line Sweet Sinner Films. In its first year of existence Sweet Sinner nabbed AEBN’s Feature of the Year award, and sister studio Sweetheart Video was awarded Most Watched Studio; prestigious honors based solely on video sales. Noelle’s films regularly dominate video sales and rental charts industry-wide, and she was named a “top adult director” by ABC Nightline News, who interviewed her in 2009.

2010 was a phenomenal year for Noelle and her leading erotica studios. She earned 14 award nominations including Best Director (for body of work) and once again nabbed two AEBN awards, for Best Feature Film and Best Lesbian Movie.

An accomplished mainstream journalist as well as a tireless speaker and writer on adult industry related topics; Noelle is a regular columnist for Hustler magazine and industry trade paper Xbiz. She is also the host of internet radio station Radio Dentata’s new show “Intellectual Intercourse with Nica Noelle.” As a mainstream journalist she has written on topics ranging from insect behaviors to environmental issues and pop culture trends.

The coming year promises to be Noelle’s most rewarding with the addition of her third erotic studio with Mile High Media, Sweet Sinema, inspired by her love of Hollywood cinema and trademark eroticism.


Q: I understand that you’re a big lover of classic movies.  What are your favorite films, and why do you love them?

A: When I was in grade school I’d go through the TV guide each week from beginning to end, and circle all the old movies I wanted to see. Anything with James Cagney or Marilyn Monroe. Ava Gardner. Rita Hayworth. Bogart. I was fiendishly clever about cutting school if that was called for – I’d wake up with a sore throat or stomach ache on the day the movie was set to air so I could stay home and watch it. Or if that didn’t work, I’d play old-fashioned hooky: get dressed and get on the bus to school, and then take the next bus right back home again. I was literally addicted to old movies.

I was no different than anyone else in that movies were a great escape for me – a fantasy world where everyone was beautiful and fabulous and where exciting things happened constantly. I preferred movies from the 40s and 50s because they were bigger than life; they were magic. Modern films tended to be more gritty and realistic and I wasn’t into that. It’s ironic that as an adult filmmaker I’m known for depicting “real” sex and emotions, because for most of my life realism was not my thing.

Q: You do a lot of writing (in addition to your movies, a column for Hustler magazine and for the industry paper Xbiz, mainstream journalism writing, a blog on the Sweetheart Video site, and—I’m guessing—a lot of other things that I’m missing).  How did you get started with writing?  What authors/books do you really like?

A: I don’t think natural writers ever really “get started with writing.” We’re compelled to do it from a very young age. I was compelled to the point that it actually interfered with other things in my life. I needed to write all the time. Any blank sheet of paper, or napkin – anything I could get my hands on, I would write something on it. My bedroom walls always had stuff written on them. Not graffiti, but little phrases. Words were constantly going round in my mind, almost like getting a song stuck in your head. You know how when you get a song stuck in your head you start singing it out loud or whistling it? For people with a compulsion to write, words get stuck in your head so you have to write them down. I think the condition is now recognized as “hypergraphia” but I don’t think it’s considered a true mental disorder or anything. It’s more like a pain in the ass. But it can come in handy sometimes, as it’s afforded me a career.

My favorite authors are the Russians: Dostoevsky, Gogol, Tolstoy, particularly Tolstoy’s philosophical writings on religion and death, which are fascinating. C.S. Lewis. Jonathan Franzen. David Sedaris, who is such a brilliant writer, one of the best of our era, but he isn’t recognized quite as much as the others because he’s a humorist. Richard Yates. Philip Roth. Truman Capote, whom I actually knew when I was a kid. He was friends with my dad. I have a signed copy of “In Cold Blood.” And my two favorite writers of all time, the Ultimate Writing Gods in my opinion, Nabokov and David Foster Wallace.

Q: Your film, My Girlfriend’s Mother, was inspired by The Graduate.  What other movies/book/comics/etc. would you like to see inspire erotic films?

A: I’m going to disappoint you here and say I’m not at all interested in interpreting comic books as erotic films. Erotic cartoons can be hot. But I’m not into the “porn parodies” at all – I don’t want to see Herman Munster, Mr. T., or the Incredible Hulk (complete with green genitalia) have sex. When I look to a mainstream film to “inspire” an erotic version, I look for one where the relationship between the two main characters is what drives the narrative forward. Not the car chase. Not the shoot out. Not the aliens. But the relationship – particularly a forbidden one. Something with age-play, like the Graduate where you have multiple conflicts, is always great: the age difference between the two main characters, the quasi-incestuous aspect of mother and daughter sharing the same lover. The conflicted male’s betrayal of them both. There’s suspense and fear and this undeniable lust wreaking havoc on everyone’s lives. That’s what makes the movie hot. That’s the kind of thing I like to explore as an erotic film, be it inspired by a fairytale, film, or book I’ve read.

Q: One of the things you seem interested in is creating erotic films that have more developed stories and emotional resonance than “typical” pornography.  What made you interested in making these types of films?

A: My friend, the erotic filmmaker Ernest Green, said to me once “Behind every great porn movie is one guy’s hard on.” And I think the same is true for female directors. Meaning, I shoot what turns me on. There was no equation or algorithm that I used to form a strategy. It was just “what do I want to see?”

I never watched boy/girl adult films because I found them dumb and insulting – and they lacked any sense of urgency or passion. I didn’t like the way the guys were depicted; it wasn’t erotic to me. I didn’t want to have sex with those guys.  So when I started my boy/girl studio, Sweet Sinner, I decided to make the movies I wanted to see. Everyone told me I was crazy, that it would never sell, but my parent studio Mile High Media believed in me and they backed me up 100%. It was their willingness to take a chance on me that made this possible. I can’t think of any other studio that would have gone out on a limb that way, and now all the studios are scrambling to try to do what we do.

Q: Adult films tend to be a genre that appeals more often to men than to women.   Why do you think this is?  What do you think could bring more female viewers?

A: I think that perception is a little bit skewed. I think the porn that was out there appealed primarily to a male audience, yes. But that’s very different from saying ALL men liked that type of porn. There was, in fact, a large percentage of male viewers or potential male viewers who didn’t like what was being offered. They were settling for it, though, because most people don’t stomp their feet or publicly protest that they aren’t happy with their porn options. It’s something you keep to yourself, and you sort of quietly look for what you want and you quietly feel frustrated if you can’t find it, and you just live with it. Or you decide, “I guess I don’t like porn.” And a lot of women came to that conclusion: “I don’t like porn.” Because there was nothing out there with the female erotic experience in mind.

For many years now, women in erotic films have been depicted as sex freaks from Mars, with bodies that looked engineered in a lab, having passionless sex with men while posing in weird, uncomfortable positions. Or being physically or verbally degraded by men – and not even in an interesting way.  Many women do have humiliation fantasies, but generally they’re pretty elaborate and involve psychological dominance. Not just some guy grunting insults at them and slapping their ass.

So what I try to bring women – and men, frankly – is my own sensibility. First of all, let’s see some guys we might actually want to have sex with. Let’s give them some personality and vulnerability and inner conflicts. Let’s make them human – and even capable of love. Let’s show them really making love to the girl. That’s what I depict in my movies – we don’t stage the sex and we don’t make the performers angle their bodies a certain way for the camera. I want their bodies intertwined when they have sex. I want sweat and passion and even tears, which has happened. We’ve had performers cry from the beauty and intensity of the scene. They feel things they’ve never felt on a porn set before. That’s the brass ring – that’s what I’m going for. Sex as truth and as art. That appeals to women, because women like to be emotionally engaged. But the surprise is, so do a lot of men! I have guys writing to me, “I didn’t think I liked porn until I started watching your movies. Thank you for giving me something I can enjoy.”

Q: How did you get into the erotic film industry?

A: I was always fascinated with the adult industry and I dabbled in it – sometimes full time, sometimes peripherally – from the time I was 18 years old. Not really in adult films, but in other things: I worked in a psychodrama house when I was 18, and then I was a stripper for a while. I was also a paralegal and a journalist, so I had “regular” day jobs, but I liked the energy and humor and honesty of the adult industry. It’s interesting to me from an intellectual standpoint, as well as the more obvious prurient reasons. So I was always drawn to it, but I thought I’d have to give up my involvement once I reached “a certain age.” I never imagined that my destiny was actually to become one of the leading female porn directors of my era. I couldn’t have planned it – it happened with no scheming whatsoever.

Q: You’ve spoken, on your blog, about the negative perceptions people have about the adult film industry, and those associated with it.  Does it bother you?  How do you handle it?

A: Most people watch porn or they’re intrigued by the sex industry in some way, yet they don’t hesitate to judge those who perform for their pleasure. It’s a privilege when someone is willing to bear the scorn of society and carry the stigma, just so you can watch an erotic film. The proper response is to feel grateful to the brave men and women who are willing to perform this way. They’re not drug addicts, they’re not crazy, they’re not “messed up.” I’ve met the most incredible people here, and it makes me angry that they’re forced to endure the hostility of the very people who should treat them with respect. I think the negativity comes from a very deep-seated sense of shame people feel about their sexual desires. They project that onto the performers.

But the media is partially to blame for that – when the media mentions “porn star” it’s generally in some story about Charlie Sheen. Porn and its stars are regarded as a symptom of someone’s life falling apart or taking a tragic turn. To judge all of us by a few is a huge disservice. If everyone in this business was acting like an imbecile or doing drugs, I wouldn’t want to be here.

Q: Could you tell me about some memorable experiences you’ve had working in the industry?

A: I can tell you there is no other career I could possibly have where there are so many memorable experiences on a daily basis. It’s hard to pick only a few. One was the first time I directed Manuel Ferrara, who is a truly gifted erotic performer. That was when I realized that some people are gifted in sexual performance the way a great martial artist or baseball player is gifted at what they do. It’s a type of physical grace and sense of timing and, in Manuel’s case, a preternatural ability to read his partner’s physical and emotional cues.  Another memorable moment is when I realized that my strategy for how to shoot erotic scenes was actually going to work.  I was directing Samantha Ryan and Joey Brass in a scene for “The Solider,” and there was a sudden sense of “Oh my god, it’s really working!” Everyone felt it – the crew, the performers, all of us.  

That’s the wonderful thing about working in erotic films, where so little is expected of us. When you’re able to do something really magical you feel a huge sense of pride, because you have the whole world telling you it’s impossible to make beautiful, artistic porn. That porn is inherently harmful to women, or fundamentally “sleazy,” etc.  So when performers express how they feel after working for us, how proud they are to be part of something so beautiful, it makes all the obstacles worth it.


If you want more from Nica, You can find her on Twitter @nica_noelle and for more on her latest movies follow @milehighmovies, http://www.facebook.com/MileHighMedia

 

Author: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor

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