Ink Intertwined with Industry

It is from a glance that most of us are drawn to the actors whose performance captivates us and turns us into fans. It is from a stare that the audience is brought into the land of day dreams that the adult industry is. The beauty that lies within this industry is something that we indeed see with not just our eyes but with our minds as well. It is from this premise that I wanted to truly see the industry from a particular type of vision, those of the model and performer within the adult entertainment business that choose a rather unique and striking form of expression: Tattoos. I think it is safe to say that those performers who choose ink as way of life, are sometimes looked at a tad differently than most performers. I spoke with many amazing performers who helped collaborate on this project and one thing that almost every single one of them said was:

“I know I won’t get cast as the girl next door.” and almost every single one of them followed up by saying ….”and that’s ok, because I still get booked because I am a good performer.”

At least those were the words of the amazing Sarah Jessie as we sat down to discuss this subject that had been on my mind for so very long. I wanted in the beginning to show the fans a bit of an insight as to how the woman they love in this industry might perhaps not be getting the same opportunities as other performers. I myself thought I had known as much as these lovely ladies did when it came to the subject and in all honesty, after the entire process was done, I found out that I knew absolutely nothing and that the things we see on the surface are not always the things that are the true definition or absolute of anything. There is an age old saying that a “day where you do not learn something new is a day wasted.” I found that out to be so true. As I sat down to interview the amazing blond bombshell, I was expecting to hear about a negative perspective when it came to the industry. I thought perhaps miss Jessie was going to let me in on something that I thought to be true all along but before we get to that I think that what most readers and fans do not know about these performers, is that more so than any other star, they have a giant shadow cast upon them by not just the characters they portray on screen but also by the way we see them as people who express themselves with the beauty of ink. I think it is safe to say that no matter the situation, the person we cross paths with on a daily basis, porn star or common stranger, command a second look once your paths have crossed. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad but one thing I think that is never said, is that these folks who choose that form of expression hardly, ever get a opportunity in most cases to show people who they are and what is truly beneath their beautiful body art, that is the perspective I wanted to show in this article more so than anything. I wanted to give these lovely ladies of our dreams a chance to tell me what they see everyday, inside the industry and out. I searched long to see where I could gain the most knowledge from and as I thought about the story I am writing right now, I wanted to show that there are indeed many faces to the amazing world of ink, industry and tattoos and no matter the woman, they all simply gave me a perspective I will never forget.

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As I sat down on a rainy Monday night, I set up all my equipment to gain the knowledge from one of the most recognized faces in the industry, the luscious Sarah Jessie. I wanted to hear her view more so than anyone because she fit my assumption of a blond bombshell who probably never got cast they way she wanted to in a film. With the body of an angel and a voice as seductive and sexy as they come, I honestly was just waiting to hear what she had to say. As she spoke, I began to see this positive outlook and happiness that honestly can’t be described in words. I asked Sara Jessie is she had ever missed out on any type of role because of her tattoos and she replied:

“A lot of companies are shooting the young girl look right now. No boobs, no tattoos, that is a look that is really in right now. I obviously do not that fit that type of role, which is fine because it is not like they don’t want to book me, I am good performer and I love what I do. My fans just want to see me perform no matter what and directors don’t always understand that.” 

It was at this stage that I began to see exactly what I was looking for, a view from one of the sweetest souls in the biz missing out on opportunity and being seen in a certain way because of the art work on her body. For years, I myself was a bit of a stereotypical person as well and it was not until I saw a film were the tattooed performer was not used in what I thought was a “traditional” way for the look that they possessed, that I began to see another side of them that was untapped in this industry. It was a scene were the ladies showed this grace, sexiness and elegance together that I never knew could come from a tattooed performer. It was a soft gentle scene, filled with passion and lust. As a matter of fact both ladies were paired with the above described performers in the rest of the film, the “girl next door” the “young and innocent” ink free beauties . It was at that moment I saw something I never did in this industry, I saw something that I did not think could exist, that a performer who looks like these two lovely ladies did, could put on a performance to rival any other performer in the industry when it came to that “girl next door” scene and film. It was actually at that moment that I got the idea for this piece, for I wanted to show fans, directors, producers and fellow talent that their is more than meets the eye when it comes to these amazing performers. There is something that is untapped and waiting to explode if given the right chance and opportunity. In an industry that is always becoming more and more innovative, I think the tattooed performer could simply be what ushers in a new form of adult entertainment in the very new future.

As I continued to talk with Sarah she opened up to me a very basic vision, that people with body art, love body art, plain and simple. As I went in to find this depth behind her art and expression she told me it was nothing as philosophical as I thought but more so a simple love.

“My friends are all tattooed and my ink is an expression of myself and simply an expression of body art.”

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I was amazed by this because I think I was overthinking the aspect of a love for body art, perhaps just like the directors she spoke of. “I like tattoos” It was that plain and simple, there were no deep inspirations like I had assumed, it was just this amazing passion for ink and as I found out she came up the ideas for her beautiful art all herself, I began to see how down to earth she was, how even I was still thinking in terms of judging a person by their external beauty. I found Sarah so fascinating because to me, she has that perfect girl next door look, as a matter of fact, the last two woman I have dated, lived next door and had “sleeve” tattoos of all sorts. Showing it has become a more common thing than we think in this society. As I was still in awe from such an amazing bit of knowledge I gained from the amazing Sarah Jessie, I set my sites on another aspect of the industry. The brunette with an amazing body and a passion for life that goes with it. As I had just met the sweetest gal in the biz, I so wanted to get the view of what some fans dub, the “bad girl.” We all know, the woman in the past who were only cast for shoots with raging beautiful motorcycles and cars were woman who sported ink and that “bad girl” look to go with the mechanical muscle they were adding their beauty to in order to capture the viewer. The woman who gave that look of arrogance and sexuality that would just make any warm blooded human being just stop and stare in awe. I got that insight from the lovely Lily Lane. Once again I found out there was no “crazy story” behind her ink, more so another person who had a love for art. When I asked Lily what she thought about directors views about casting she told me:

“…Realistically directors have certain roles that need to be cast and it would just be ridiculous if I was cast for the innocent school girl, or as a teen , or as my first time. It just totally makes no sense! I’d Rather leave that open for the performers that do fit that role!”

Some of me was taken back a bit, I have really admired this ladies honesty from the get go and I had to challenge that quote in my mind because once again, I could see her as a school girl, especially in today’s world. I may be silly for thinking that but in all honesty a woman with amazing acting skills like her could easily play that part in my eyes. I of coarse want to give directors and producers the benefit of the doubt but I think at times they miss that aspect that us, the audience indeed sees, especially the younger generation. Lily proceeded to once again show me like Sarah did, that perhaps my views were really askew, because she loved “every company” she has worked with and had nothing bad to say about any shoot or person. That gained her my respect so much so I gave her a question that I thought would perhaps press the envelope, I asked her how she thought the world in general saw her and she told me:

    “People will always judge. Tattooed or not. Except I do think people with tattoos get judged a little harder!  If someone didn’t  want to take the time to get to know me because of my tattoos that’s great. That just shows me that that person isn’t someone I want in my life. If something that minor will stop someone from being that person’s friend like me, then there’s definitely no room in my life for someone so close minded and ignorant.”


It is that statement indeed that had me go to other aspects of today’s adult world. I thought perhaps that if things were seen this way in the “mainstream” adult film world, I wondered how things would be seen in the fetish market and feature dancer aspect of the industry.

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As I looked to find an aspect that was not seen or given a voice, I thought of the beautiful Onyx Raye. One of the up and comers of the adult industry and a veteran feature dancer, as well as a seasoned cam model. I thought if there would be one view that perhaps saw my biased in a view of how others see people of ink in the industry like I did, it would be her. I for one have thought adult actors get this look of being the “bad girl” more so than any other performer. It is almost like the one aspect they fit which is turning into a cliche in my mind, is the tattooed, leather bound dominatrix. A role that floats some people’s boats but as I sat down with Onyx Raye one on one, I found out that she is anything but that stereo type and that she indeed saw things as I did.

“In my experience, tattooed individuals wear their artwork proudly and are the type of people that you would stereotype as hardcore or aggressive, yet so many of us are just soft hearted individuals that are open enough on the outside, to show what we feel inside.”

I could not sum things up better as to how I feel the adult actress, model and performer is seen by the world and how they are misunderstood in that one sentence. That is indeed what I see as a fan and critic when it comes to the industry and the films being produced today, or the shows that are seen at your local gentleman’s club. Speaking with Onyx Raye and wondering how she was seen by the men and women who attend her feature shows was something I was dying to know. I think if there was one aspect of the industry that might night have this bias, it may be indeed this one but once again, I was a student learning something new in the class room as Onyx showed me another view in her words that I did not see coming. Onyx told me one of the biggest aspects I was wanting to purvey to the public about the new starlets looking to make their mark in the industry. She told me about her experiences about trying to make a name for herself in the industry now that her foot is in the door and she climbs the latter of success rung by rung. She said:

“I do indeed feel there is a small bias that exists in this industry. With the push to portray the “girl next door” image, it has made it quite difficult to get booked for certain types of tattooed ladies. I have noticed you have to be a “bigger name” performer to get past the initial turn off of being a heavily tattooed or altered performer. I would love to prove to these companies that there are no limitations to justify a type casting of these beautiful ladies of the industry into any one role.”

Those were some of the most bold and articulate words I had ever heard. It made me see exactly what she saw as a new performer in the industry. As a performer who is catching fire, I could not help but think that this blond beauty has so much potential, that she has so much to offer but only if those with the power to turn our dreams into reality, truly see things from others stand points, namely the fans. I would hate to see the next generation of adult performers miss out on being the next Janine Lindemulder, simply because they express themselves the same way she does today. It is so easy to miss the next big thing in life, ask any Wall Street banker. It is this writers opinion that the ability to not just make money but to produce content no one has ever seen could be greatly missed, all because we choose to look an opposite way because we do not understand what is in front of us right now.

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The angle I would love to see directors see was indeed one that miss Tori Avano put better than I could, she said:

“Being tattooed has its ups & downs in this industry as far as booking goes. I have wanted to shoot with certain companies but can’t because they don’t “shoot” tattooed females. It sucks because my fans request me and want to see me in more movies.”

The aspect of that quote that is so powerful, as it was with all three previous ladies who collaborated in this article with me, which is that THE FANS WANT TO SEE THESE WOMAN IN EVERY ROLE. I did not mean to get blunt and I will indeed get flak for this but it is that plain and simple. Fans want innovation, fans want to see their favorite ladies in something new. Even the casual fan who follows a performer, they see so many scenes of their favorite performers and always want something fresh, something new. In an industry that is innovative and superb when it comes to turning fantasy into reality why not make the new innovation for a starlet who is looking for something new in her career a role like the shy, timid girl next door? Why not make these ladies show off all their true skills in the industry by putting them in softer, sensual scenes that seem to only be reserved for the members of the industry who do not sport their souls on their shoulders literally. Tori says it even better than I do:

“Most of the scenes I have done in Tattoo movies are always the rough anal scenes because we portray the “bad girl type” if that makes sense. I have never shot a scene with the “Girl Next Door” look because they are supposed to be bare skinned and “innocent” looking”

It did not surprise me how sweet of a woman Sarah Jessie was when I spoke with her. It did not amaze me the first time I did a collaboration with Tori Avano that she got back my requested info within a matter of hours faster than the most seasoned agent or PR person, it did not surprise me the first time I watched Onyx Raye perform in person, that she could out dance even the largest of performers including ones who catered to that aspect of the girl next door and this was on a night that one of the biggest stars in the world was at her club dancing as well. That says so much about these ladies and how a fan, producer and director can only find these things out with their own two eyes. It is these misconceptions we have in life that not only truly hinder the adult world but mankind in general in so many ways. I do not want to get too deeply philosophical here but I think as humans we judge what we do not understand far too often. We do not take the time to actually inquire and understand the things that do not fit our view of the world. All too commonly in the adult world, we tend to try and forecast what others like, spoon feed the masses as to what shapes sexuality, we in the industry have a power more so than ever to shape a person’s view on sex. The ladies of the 90’s helped to make the acceptance of sex a common household discussion. The ladies of the early 2000’s helped to shape fashion into something sleek and sexy, they helped woman to be excepting of the fact that if they want to look naughty, sexy, sleek and desirable, they have every right to like their male counterparts. They did things for woman that are simply not acknowledged. I believe this industry has that power. I think that the directors, producers, magazines and club owners big and small have the ability to shape things into something great if they choose to. I think with a culture that simply embraces tattoos and ink at every corner in the younger generation coming up, we in the industry can be ahead of the curve more so than any other form of entertainment. We can end that “bad girl” motif as the only way we see the performers we love on the screen in front of our eyes. Companies like Inked Angels and Burning Angel have one thing in common in their name: “Angel” because that is simply what these ladies are. Sarah Jessie said it best:

“I love every company I have worked with, from Naughty America, Zero Tolerance, Evil Angel and so many others, I have never had a complaint.”

As a matter of fact Sarah went on to tell me that she could not even pick a favorite performer she has not worked as with because of how well she works when the bright lights turn on and the camera starts rolling. She had to think for a few minutes, which showed a love for this industry and all the people with in it. As we talked more and more about our favorite companies and performers in the industry she finally settled on one being her absolute favorite. Sarah’s favorite performer to work with was Jessica Drake and she said she would love to work as much as possible with her because of how sweet a person she is and how well she treats others, including fans. I myself saw a lot of that in Sarah Jessie, a sweet, compassionate person, who loves this industry and what she gets to do every day for a nine to five in this thing we call life. I also think that because of that ability within her character, that there is no reason we should not see Sarah Jessie working with Jessica Drake in the future but with their roles reversed, with Jessica perhaps playing the “bad girl” and Sarah playing the sweet naive character getting ready to be dominated by a legend of the industry. I truly learned so much while walking in these amazing performers shoes, if only for a brief second and the one thing I found out about every single one was that I knew nothing about them, or their love for their art. Almost every single one of them designed their own tattoos which was so cool to learn, it showed the true vision of an artist for that is what they truly are. It was from within that their love for ink comes forward, it also from within that their passion for the industry and their fans and their work comes from as well but we seem to only see the ink as the negative aspect of their characters and being. I hope if anything that the reader has a chance to see what I saw in these lovely ladies and no matter if it is a fan or producer, that they leave with one thought in their mind, that they got to see the adult industry through their eyes and saw something that they did not know existed and what is truly possible when ink, industry and acceptance truly combine. I think that is the future of this industry and all of these things are intertwined and joined at the hips from here on out. I for one look forward to a future in this industry were ink and industry truly bring out the best in one another.

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Don Juan DeMarko

I have been in the adult industry since I was indeed a young history major out of college. I attended a "Public Ivy" located in Williamsburg, Virginia. I have a multiple degrees & certificates including one in graphic design that led me to this wonderful and amazing industry. I started as just a lowly consultant for a design firm in Los Angeles that led me to introductions with some amazing people in the adult film industry and the rest is history. I have fulfilled work and helped to write publications for some of the biggest names in music, sports and film but my passion, the place where I truly call "home" because it is where the heart is, lies within the adult entertainment industry. I am an XRCO Member and I always like to say the art of making "fantasy become reality" is indeed something that takes the effort of many people, from all likes & spectrums of this amazing world. It is indeed those people and the fans of this industry that drive me to always show the beautiful amazing side of this industry few know but many dream about.

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