A Few Words With...Sara Jay
by John A. Wilcox
Exciting. Unique. Unforgettable. Thinking of Sara Jay, those words immediately popped into my head. I had the pleasure of meeting Sara back in 2010 and was impressed by her openness and her energy. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with her to discuss all things Sara...
PS: You once told me that your favorite film is The Breakfast Club. What is it about that film that you love?
SJ: When I saw it the first time I was probably in middle school. I was going through typical teenager drama where you don't really fit in. It really spoke to me at the time. Over the years I just feel like that's a microcosm of life. It doesn't really change once you get out of high school, it's the same.
PS: Who did you most identify with in the film? I was always the quiet, artsy kid, so I guess I was most like Ally Sheedy.
SJ: I was mostly between Ally Sheedy and Judd Nelson, with a little bit of Anthony Michael Hall. I was a little bit like all three of them! I was kinda weird and I was really smart. I was a little bit too grown to be in school. Too grown for my own good, so I think I kinda fell into all three of those characters.
PS: Where were you born?
SJ: Cincinnati, Ohio.
PS: For some reason, I always associate you with the East Coast.
SJ: I spend a lot of time in the East Coast. I travel a lot. Depending on what I'm saying, I say things in the accent of the area that I'm in because I pick up accents pretty quickly. A lot of times I'm trying to communicate better with the people around me and I end up naturally picking up the language of wherever I'm at.
PS: Forgive the obvious question, but what first drew you to the adult entertainment business?
SJ: I feel like there are so many people out there who can't really fathom making that choice. That's what it really all boils down to: What made me decide to make that choice? I was a very sexually aware young woman. At the time I was just new on life and everything. I moved out on my own when I was 18, before I graduated high school. I started college right away. I was going to college full time and I was working 4 jobs because that's what I needed to do in order to pay the bills. My boyfriend at the time made the suggestion that I start stripping. I had never even thought of that, it hadn't even crossed my mind. I'd never been to a strip club, didn't know anybody that'd been to a strip club. I started checking them out just to see what they were like. I thought it'd be fun and it'd be something interesting. I really started to develop my sexuality there and I wanted to explore that more. Before you know it, I had never had sex with girls and now I'm having sex with girls. I was really exploring my sexuality. I wasn't even aware of the ability to be so sexual.
After I danced for a while, I started wanting to get out of it just for the simple fact that it was hard. I'd moved to Las Vegas to become a professional stripper. I thought that the money would be better there because there would be more opportunities. But in all reality it was about the same because there were many more girls and there were tons of clubs to dance at. In Las Vegas your income is also in competition with gambling and drinking and eating - all these other things people spend money on in Vegas. It was a little bit disappointing. Being that I really enjoyed the sexuality side of it, I thought I would just do porn. I didn't really like the hustle of being a stripper. I didn't like trying to sell somebody a dream of having sex in the champagne room. I didn't like any of that. I thought "wouldn't it be better to know what you're getting paid when you went to work?" You're still your own boss but you go to work and you make X amount of dollars, then you come home and go to bed. More of like a regular job - but not to the point where I'm working for someone - and still able to use my sexuality as a way to make money.
PS: Did the business model in the stripping industry prepare you at all for the business model within the porn industry?
SJ: It was completely different. The only similarity was that I was still using my sexuality to make money. Porn is much more like a 9 to 5 than stripping is. Whereas stripping, you may have regular hours, you're in a rat race. It's stiff competition. It's like a job in sales where you're in competition with other people in your office. Only these other people are young women that are catty and ruthless.
PS: What do you feel sets you apart from others in the porn biz?
SJ: Oddly enough, I just have to go back to the way that I was raised. My Mom taught me to be a strong, confident woman. Proud of myself, proud of my accomplishments. Proud of the differences that I have - the things that make me stand out from other people. I really just built on that, honestly. I felt that there was enough room for everybody out there. The confidence I had from stripping let me know that there was a place for me in pornography. People want to see me naked. People want to see me having sex. People want to have sex with me. This is sex. I really felt that if I was just myself I would succeed. I see all these other people trying to be something else. Girls with the same hair and the same nails and the same nose and the same boobs and the same ass. Everybody gets the same everything because that's what they think they're supposed to look like. It's like a porn star look.
I didn't watch much porn before I started, but the things that I did - the people that stuck out to me were the people that didn't look like everybody else. One of the girls I remember - and she's not even my type of girl, but I always knew who she was way before I started porn - is Stephanie Swift. Stephanie Swift doesn't look like a porn star. She's a very petite brunette with little features. She had a tiny tiny little mouth and great big brown eyes. At the time the porn stars had giant fluffy platinum blonde hair, big boobs, and little stick figures. She stuck out to me. I thought "You know, there's nothing easier than being yourself." Being yourself is easy, so might as well just be yourself and maybe you'll get noticed more and have opportunities that some of these other girls don't because they look like everybody else. But in that, it was a little bit frustrating going through my porn career because a lot of the girls that had just started doing porn and were in the same league as me as far as starting at the same time and having the same opportunities - some of the girls had more opportunities to be, for lack of a better word, random. Say a spokesmodel, modeling clothes, or they just want somebody that blends a little bit better. Whereas someone like me - if you put me on a music video shoot, I'm going to look different than everybody else there. I'm not going to blend in - I'll stick out like a sore thumb.
PS: You're anything but generic.
SJ: I'm anything but generic. So that worked to my benefit and it worked against me financially.
PS: But did you find it worked to your benefit in terms of longevity?
SJ: Absolutely! Not only longevity. Fame isn't worth much unless you make something of it. The fact that I do have the fame and I have had longevity in my career - I can do whatever I want with that. I have an opportunity there that a lot of people don't have.
PS: As someone who has worked around the world, are the business model and the work ethic in porn the same in other countries as it is here?
SJ: Hmmmmmm... I don't feel I can answer that question completely because the scenes I shot overseas - it was a big deal that I was there. It was my production where I had hired a camera person or we were trading content and I was using somebody else's camera person... As far as being on a company set overseas, the only one that I have done was in the middle of a convention, which was very different than anything that we're allowed to do over here. We actually filmed a sex scene onstage during a convention in Barcelona. That was pretty interesting and pretty exciting. It seems as though everything is about the same as far as business. I will say one thing that I did notice that was definitely different is that in America we are capitalists. That is what we do - we make money. Not all the girls unfortunately, but the ones that have lasted have made a business out of pornography. They make money doing so in every way possible. Overseas, a lot of the girls are not quite with it as far as the business and making money. A lot of the girls overseas don't realize the value of having their own website. At this point they're probably about 10 years behind us as far as progress in capitalism in pornography in general. A lot of girls don't really understand the importance of having their own website. Meeting up with other models. Networking. A lot of girls don't realize the value of their vagina. Things over there are real cheap and girls over there do things real, real cheap. When I come in to the Berlin convention, and I'm selling pictures with me for 5 dollars, these girls are looking at me like I'm crazy, or what's even crazier is that I'm definitely getting it. I'm looking at them like "You're the ones who are crazy, actually!" A lot of these girls don't even understand the concept of a brand, let alone having their own brand.
PS: In terms of your own brand, how are you able to minimize the theft of your own material? Is that even possible?
SJ: The only way that you can do it is to police it. Unfortunately I have to go on to these tube sites or have somebody else go on to these tube sites and let me know if anything that belongs to me is on them. We know that by things that are watermarked that have been ripped off from my site. Then our legal team has to send a cease and desist letter requesting that that site take it down and that whoever the user was that uploaded it be suspended or not allowed to use their site any longer.
PS: Does having your own merch such as body pillows and skateboards help your business & your brand a lot?
SJ: It does! It does help a lot. It helps create the brand. It also makes the fans happy. I always like merchandise. Merchandise, if you've got a good brand and you've done it correctly, not only does that merchandise make that one particular fan right then and there happy. The whole time that fan is using that item, or has that item on, it's advertising for you. The way that I see it is that if there's a fan out there that wants to use something with my name on it, or with my picture on it I would be more than happy to let them advertise for me for free. Thank you! I think it's wonderful.
PS: Are you always looking for that next piece of merch that you can be on?
SJ: Not just what I can be on, but I want to be a part of. Being on things is easy. Being a part of a project? That's a different story. That's what I like. For example: I had a Fleshlight for a little while. Not only was I photographed, but the Fleshlight was actually molded of me. It was something that I could be a part of. I could sell it myself on my own site. I made revenues from it. I think that kind of thing is great where you can have a collaboration.
PS: When you work for a site like say, Plumper Pass, do you retain any control over what you will or will not do, or do you leave it up to them?
SJ: I give them that control completely. It's like a day off for me. If I'm being hired by another company, I wanna do nothing. I actually enjoy those days where I can get up in the morning, take a shower, wash my face completely of all make up, drive to work, and have it all done for me there. Then I get paid. I don't have to worry about the storyline or the set up - besides produce and direct as well. When I don't have to do any of that other stuff, it's easy.
PS: Take me through the process of a scene. Let's say you're doing a 30 minute scene for Score. How long a day is it to end up with 30 minutes of video plus photos?
SJ: All companies do it at a different pace, a different speed, and they require different things. Score - they take a lot of extra time with wardrobe, hair, and make up. A lot of times you get there and start with hair and make up right away. Then you go to wardrobe. They also take their time with the sets to make sure that the set looks nice. With location, if we shoot outside their studio, which is rare, but on occasion they shoot outside their studio. You can figure you'll be in hair and make up about an hour and a half. Then you take about another hour to shoot pictures. Between wardrobe and the time you're ready for video, another hour, hour and a half. Then they bring the guy in and you do another half hour of pictures with the guy. Then you do video. Now we're already up to about 3 hours at the minimum. This is definitely at the minimum. Most often it's 1 camera. You also have to realize that video lights and still lights are different. Switching over from stills to video the crew has to break down the lights and put up all new lights. Usually we're blocking the video during the pictures - it makes the video go a little bit quicker. If you get 30 minutes of footage, then we shot 45 minutes to an hour of footage. Then I get to go use baby wipes and wipe all the cum off my face. And that's the end of my day!
PS: Are there any particular videos or scenes that you feel are the best representation of what you do best?
SJ: My first thoughts are always "which scenes did I enjoy the most?" When I think about it, I have done porn for a lot of very selfish reasons. Most of them involve enjoying sex. Some of my best scenes that always stood out to me - one of my first scenes was Balls Deep 4. That was with me and Lexington Steele and Danica Grey who has been out of the industry for like a decade. The great thing about that was that it was one of my first scenes that I really, really, really on all levels enjoyed. I had a great time shooting that scene. They were both friends of mine - I had partied with them, I had worked with them before. It was my first time really enjoying work. I really had a great day that day. It was so hot and sexy. One of my other scenes that I think about a lot is a scene I did with Shane Diesel for Bachelor Party Fuckfest! 4. That was a very hot scene to me because I kept on blacking out. The orgasms were that intense! Then I think about some of the more difficult scenes. I did a scene in May in California which is not really the warmest time, in the morning. Still a little chilly. We started outside at the pool and we were told that we needed to have sex in the actual pool. Not on the side, but in the water. Cold water and penises don't really get along too good. It was a really rough day. The light kept changing because it took so long to shoot anything because he was having some wood problems. Understandably so.
PS: Where are you looking to take Sara Jay next?
SJ: Sarajay.com will always be my Grand Central Station. Anything I do always goes through Sarajay.com. I'm also working on some other projects, to start some new sites that aren't so self centered. That's the direction I'm going in. I really like producing and directing. It's fun. That's where I'd like to stay in the porn industry when I'm not so much in front of the camera. Not that I'm anticipating that anytime soon. That's just the direction I'm going in.
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