Average 20-something-year-olds attending college may experiment with pot, designer drugs and binge drinking. Joanna Angel, now 26, experimented with pornography, stumbling on an Internet pornography empire. â€œI didnâ€™t watch porn or care about porn, I never had friends that did porn or anything,â€ says Joanna.
Since pornographyâ€™s birth, women, the heart of its industry, take a backseat in operations, but continue to star in roles that attract paying followers. Enter Joanna, a woman with ambition, allure and assertiveness (â€œI have a company to run. Every minute of the day there is someone that needs something from me. If something doesnâ€™t do well, if something doesnâ€™t succeed, itâ€™s my fault,â€ says Joanna, an English major that, at first, found film a strong adversary, â€œIt was kind of embarrassing to be asking people that worked as PAs, like, â€˜What should I do?â€™â€).
Currently, the five-foot, Jewish woman, manages, directs and operates Burning Angel, and recently, she began hosting her own website (www.joannaangel.com) where members can view â€œall Joanna, all the time.â€
Format: Please explain how Burning Angel was created.
Joanna: Nothing really inspired me. What I am today, I just kind of made things up as I went along. When I started Burning Angel, I didnâ€™t plan on doing it, I didnâ€™t watch porn or care about porn, I never had friends that did porn or anything. I was in school, my friend, who I was living withâ€“and we still own the site togetherâ€“was like, â€˜Hey want to start a porn site with me?â€™ and I said, â€˜Sure that sounds like funâ€™ I didnâ€™t think we were actually going to go through with it, but once we stated working on it something told me to keep going. When the site first launched, it was this really crappy, terrible website; a few photo setsâ€“not even videosâ€“a few interviews with my friendâ€™s band and a few stories that me and my friends had written. When [Burning Angel] went up it was all anyone could talk about, people around me. It was really weird, the day it went up, because every where I went it felt like [Burning Angel] was all anyone could talk about on the college campus. It was really strange and I wasnâ€™t used to that kind of attention. To me, it was just a funny project that me and my friend were working on. I was in the punk rock scene, I was politically active and I went to protests â€“ I was in this subculture that was trying to get the worldâ€™s attention, whether it was by the clothing we wore or things we were saying; we were always trying to tell the world something. Nobody was ever listening until I put a few naked girls on a website and everybody turns around and has something to say about it. I really liked that. Everybody has some sort of feelings toward porn, whether they love it, hate it or theyâ€™re uncomfortable by it.
Format: Do you feel that Burning Angel is a vehicle to communicate on issues?
Joanna: I donâ€™t use Burning Angel as a political forum, but I think through the movies that I make and creating the community that I created, and using the voice that I am, on the website, I think that Iâ€™ve been able to do something positive. Iâ€™ve done that through the porn site, itself. I am not using the site for something thatâ€™s not porn â€“ we still put music interviews and stuff like that on there. [Burning Angel] is a fun, happy, healthy, sexual and perverted place.
Format: How does your family view your career in the pornography industry?
Joanna: When I first told my mom and dad, I told them that I was starting a porn site, but I didnâ€™t tell them that I was going to be on it. I just figured they wouldnâ€™t look at it, because it was porn so they wouldnâ€™t find out â€“ this was before they were Internet savvy, pre-Google news alerts. I told my dad and he wasnâ€™t angry, my mom was little confused. He asked me what it was called and looked at it and talked to me about it. They were all really concerned. They said I didnâ€™t have to do this if I was running the company and that I should take my pictures down, and, at one point, tried pinning it on my friends. Now it is OK. Iâ€™ve always been really close to my family and now Iâ€™m closer to them. I have friends that I grew up with or went school with that I donâ€™t talk to, because theyâ€™re weirded out by the porn thing. I have aunts and uncles that donâ€™t agree with what Iâ€™m doing and they donâ€™t talk to my parents anymore, because my parents still talk to me. That was a big thing for me. It really made me feel really bad. My mom and her sister donâ€™t talk anymore and itâ€™s my fault. I want to try and mend that over the next few years. It made me realize that my family really loves me and they will accept me no matter what.
Format: In your opinion, what was lacking in the pornography industry before entering it?
Joanna: I wasnâ€™t really into porn and now I watch a lot of porn. I like it. Some people thought I was rebelling against mainstream porn, but how could I rebel against something I knew nothing about, I never really cared. This is porn from my point of view.
Format: Please explain the work you do off set.
Joanna: Thatâ€™s probably what I spend most of my time doing, itâ€™s definitely not the most exciting part of my job. There is a lot of pressure, [directing] is a lot harder than performing. There was a little while when I didnâ€™t want to be a director, like after making my first movie. It was a lot of work and I wasnâ€™t even happy with the turn out, but now I do love directing. I love coming up with ideas and following through with them, probably because Iâ€™ve become a lot better at it. I was a director of a movie, trying to tell an entire crew and I had no idea what I was doing â€“ I didnâ€™t go to school for film, I didnâ€™t know anything, I just had an idea and went with it. It was kind of embarrassing to be asking people that worked as PAs, like, â€˜What should I do?â€™ There are some things that are not very fun about my job. People are like, â€˜Oh, you must like your job, because youâ€™re in a position of power and other girls that are just fucking on camera must not like their job, because theyâ€™re not in a position of power.â€™ Iâ€™m like, â€˜Girls that just fuck on camera, I know a lot of girls that do that and they have a whole lot of fun. They just have to set-up somewhere, do their thing and go home.â€™ There is no going home for me. I have a company to run. Every minute of the day there is someone that needs something from me. If something doesnâ€™t do well, if something doesnâ€™t succeed, itâ€™s my fault. When money is lost that is not even my money that is lost, that is money Iâ€™m supposed to pay my employees with that is lost. It is stressful and a lot of think about. Sometimes when Iâ€™m staring in my own movies that Iâ€™m directing, it is hard for me to relax and think about having sex. Now, I have a very solid crew that I trust, more than I trust myself, to make sure things are running smoothly. Iâ€™m sure, at the same rate, there are some other girls that are just there as talent look at me and are kind of envious of me, and my ability to do more than just that. I respect this industry. We would be nothing without the girls that just fuck. I respect them like I respect anyone else.
Format: Please explain the rise of women pornographers.
Joanna: I donâ€™t know very much about the history of women pornographers. I donâ€™t know who the first woman pornographer is, but there have always been women in porn. When people ask me about this â€“ if you think about Wall Street or a large law firm, how many of the top people there are women, not much. Women have to work ten times harder to prove themselves. I think the same thing is in porn. The majority of the directors and the producers are men, but then there is a small percentage of women and those women go above and beyond to do their job. There is a feeling of having to succeed. Iâ€™m not going to say that if youâ€™re a woman you have a better chance at being successful than a man in porn. I know some female directors that make some of the crappiest porn Iâ€™ve seen. I think no matter what any of us, women pornographers, were doing in the world, would have risen to power. It is the type of people that we are. No matter what I would have done I would have tried to rise to the top.
Format: Several decades ago, a stereotype was tough males with tattoos attracted women, however, the role has reversed, why has the popularity of females with tattoos exploded?
Joanna: I think it is hot. I remember seeing Janine on the cover of a Blink 182 record, sheâ€™s a pretty famous porn star. Sheâ€™s a hot girl with full sleeves and I thought she was so hot. I used to look at tattoo magazines and think that girls with tattoos looked so hot. People are attracted to girls that look really confident and for some reason tattoos make a girls look more confident or it makes the girl look like she doesnâ€™t give a shit, or a rebel. I think the girl that would be attracted to Tommy Lee, like a bad boy, I think there is something to be said about girls with tattoos, it is the same thing. Itâ€™s really hot.
Format: Burning Angel created horror porn, please explain the creation of XXXorcist.
Joanna: We made another porno horror movie and that was called the Re-Penetrator, it was a parody of Re-Animator and people really liked it so we decided to make another one. We want to make another one, too, maybe one a year, more than one would be a little too much. Our friend, Doug Sakmann and he used to work for Troma. He always wanted to make porn and we always wanted to make a horror movie so we got together and made it. It doesnâ€™t make you feel so sexy and that was probably the hardest shoot Iâ€™ve ever done. When I made Porny Monster that was a five or six day shoot and everything went wrong. I lost the location and a lot of things went wrong, but when youâ€™re really determined and into something we just kept going. It was the same thing with XXXorcist. Me, Tommy Pistol and everyone working on set were really into the idea. It took like 20 hours and it had to get done. Not in one take, but we could not take a few days to make that, because the whole movie was done in one place. It is not like we could close up shop and put the makeup on the next day, the same way.
Format: Being a pornographer, are there any challenges in managing a relationship?
Joanna: The thing is, is that this is not my day job. It is my day, night, afternoon and early morning job. Sometimes, I think it would be easier if I was just a porn star and not a porn star that runs a company. The relationship that I was in, before, ended, because I didnâ€™t have enough time, not because I was doing porn. Iâ€™m in a relationship now and it is fine. I donâ€™t like to talk about who it is, because he does the same thing I do, but I donâ€™t think that is the only reason it works. I think relationships are hard no matter what and when you find someone that you really click with it will work, somehow.
Format: Youâ€™re on a shoot all day, you come home, your man wants to have sex â€“ do you ever get sick of sex?
Joanna: People donâ€™t get sick of sex. People ask me that all the time, if you could have sex ten times a day you would. Sex is just one of those things, itâ€™s fun. One thing that is kind of annoying is that sometimes when Iâ€™m having sex I feel like Iâ€™m still performing. When youâ€™re on camera you have to open up. When youâ€™re getting fucked from behind you know that you have stick your hand back and open one of your ass cheeks so the camera can see. I notice myself doing things that like in my personal life, which is really silly, but I find them doing them in my spare time. Itâ€™s not the worst thing in the world, if anyone walked in, it would look perfect. It would not look sloppy!
More Info: http://www.burningangel.com/