Porn to Sell

Product placement comes to adult videos...hey, watch where you put that thing!

Itís tempting to think thereís something twisted about her tale. After all, she was a mere 18 the first time she had sex in front of a camera -- for money, small change that would soon enough blossom into a pile of cash--and did so only at the insistence of her boyfriend, who had worked for months to get her to, well, open up. She swears even now that she had no idea what she was getting into the day she answered the newspaper ad looking for nude models, which turned out to be a job making all-girl amateur porn movies. To that point, she always thought of herself as "sexually inexperienced," but, she insists, she never for a moment regretted her decision. She liked getting naked in the movies, loved having sex with other women, and absolutely adored the money she could make being a fantasy.

Six years after making her first amateur film, 1994ís Fresh Meat, the woman known only as Jenteal is quite proud of her career choice and the dozens of films sheís made, among them: Open Wide, Riding Lessons, Sex Academy 4: The Art of Anal, and Champions of Munch. Sheís so proud, in fact, she says sheíll stay in porn until it kicks her out of bed. And the guy who pushed her behind the green door remains beside her as her husband. "I am really happy with what Iíve done," Jenteal says over and over from her Los Angeles office, where she runs Mesmereyes Inc., selling her product over the Internet. "I havenít really decided where Iím going to go from here career-wise, but I really donít think Iíll totally leave the adult business, because thereís so many great qualities to it."

This, despite the fact that next year, Jenteal will appear in her first non-porn film: Made, written by Swingers screenwriter-star Jon Favreau and featuring Vince Vaughan, X-Menís Famke Janssen, and Peter Falk. It wonít be the first time a porn starís gone "legit": Traci Lords and Ginger Lynn went from F-movies to B-movies in the 1980s, and just last year, Jentealís friend and frequent co-star, Kobe Tai, played a stripper in Very Bad Things, which also starred Favreau. But Jenteal insists she isnít going straight: She, in fact, hates the word transition--as in, "Are you transitioning out of porn?"--and audibly winces whenever it comes up during the course of conversation. It suggests that sheís somehow ashamed of what she does for a living, and that couldnít be further from the truth.

Come and get it: As this scene clearly demonstrates, women love a man in Eck√Ķ gear.
Come and get it: As this scene clearly demonstrates, women love a man in Eck√Ķ gear.

Jenteal--like her colleagues at Vivid Video, which grosses more than $50 million a year, making it the most profitable porn manufacturer and distributor in the world--makes a good living on the sex circuit. Luke Ford, the porn-gossip gatekeeper on the Internet, estimates that Vivid girls make about $100,000 a year "for about 20 sex scenes and a dozen personal appearances." Jentealís Web site, which offers everything from her amateur videos to signed photographs, also turns a nice profit, and she runs sites for a handful of her colleagues as well.

Jentealís not kidding herself--"I know Iíll never be a Sharon Stone," she says, chuckling--but sheís only too happy making her living lying down on the job. Itís too profitable and--seriously--prestigious a gig to abandon, no matter how alluring the call of Hollywood. Besides, who wants to be Sharon Stone anyway?

"Being a porn star is a trendy thing right now," Jenteal says, "and knowing porn stars is trendy. The term 'transitioní really irks me. Iím not trying to break into the mainstream business, not at all."

If you donít think pornís not just your fatherís dirty little secret anymore, you havenít been on the Internet, havenít watched MTV or VH1 (which airs the documentary Porn to Rock as often as it shows commercials), or havenít picked up a copy of GQ or Redbook, the latter of which recently picked Vividís Bad Wives as one of "5 Sexy Things Heís Longing For." Porn stars are this weekís rock stars, showing up in Metallica and Everclear videos, on Blink 182 album covers, on T-shirts (there is, in fact, a line of clothing called Porn Star), on the arms of musicians (Kid Rock used to date Midori, star of Anal Fever), and in fashion-magazine spreads (with their clothes on, a novel concept). Their posters pop up in episodes of Will & Grace; their videos air during Sopranos episodes. They are the latest thing in celebrity sightings and E! True Hollywood Story documentaries.

Porn, not so suddenly, is everywhere.

So perhaps itís not surprising to find that Vivid Video has brought Hollywood marketing over the hills and into the San Fernando Valley: Product placement has, finally, come to the world of adult videos.

E.T. sold Reeseís Pieces, Austin Powers pitched Heineken, Tom Cruise increased sales of Oakley sunglasses by 80 percent after the release of Mission: Impossible 2, and now Shelbee Myne and Jane Lixx and Charlie Angel are hawking a line of hip-hop wear in such hardcore films as The Watcher 8: Operation Voyeurism and Colorblind: A Van Fantasy, part of Vividís no-story-all-sex Raw line. Before the clothes end up in a heap on the floor, you can clearly see the clothierís logo brandished across the chests of men and women about to go at it: Eckõ Unlimited, the mark of the stud.

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