The Rude Awakening
In a hyper-sexualized, pornography-saturated digital world, Pastor Craig Gross has taken on the toughest of missionary positions: helping adult-movie stars and their disciples see the light, swap the physical for the spiritual and turn to God. GQ travels to the San Fernando Valley where the head of the XXX Church attempts to preach to the perverted.
IN A SUBURBAN Californian home, Pastor Craig Gross, a young, flop-haired Christian evangelist with a boyish demeanor and a spiritual mission to rid the world of masturbation and pornography, stares down 50 year-old porn star Tia Gunn and her spectacular 34 DD chest. Her milky breasts, marbled with veins, threaten to break free of a diaphanous cocktail gown. Behind, the dishabille figure of legendary porn star Ron Jeremy, clutching two barnyard lambs, streaks into the living room where he cozies up to a plump woman with glowing red hair known as Fatty Delicious on a capacious sofa. He asks to see her breast. She obliges. “Beautiful aureole,” he murmurs approvingly.
It’s a scene of licentitious mayhem, which Pastor Gross, a man of the bible stands amid, grinning. He sports a T Shirt: “Jesus Loves Porn Stars.” “I got ‘em all here,” drawls the pastor, proudly. “I did it. A couple of BBW’s, a couple of MILF’s.” For the uninitiated the acronyms stand for Big Beautiful Woman and Mum I’d Like to Fuck. For the ‘Porn Pastor’, head of the XXX Church whose mission it is to help those “in the ensnarement of sexual sin and addiction,” the phrases come easily.
The church is an online ministry, while Gross is based near the world porn capital of the world, the San Fernando Valley, just north of LA. XXX church offers help to those ‘addicted’ to porn and support for those performers who want to leave the industry. Two women here, Chrissie and Rayveness - the latter with glacial blue eyes and ensconced in a quiet corner reading the Recovery Bible, are both ex adult performers who have found Jesus.
During a lull in the proceedings Gross realizes that both Tia Gunn and Ron Jeremy have disappeared. “I can’t believe it,” says the pastor sidling up to me with a grin. “Ron’s in the toilet getting relief from Tia Gunn right now!” At that point his earlier utterances when I had first contacted him on the telephone a few weeks before seem a mixture of both prophetic and yet, to the pastor, disappointing. “The thing with Ron Jeremy,” he ruminated, “is that when he’s at a porn show and he sees boobs he can’t really help himself. But when’s in my world, and we get him to church, I really think he might be next.” Gross pauses, and then adds: “I really think I might be able to save Ron Jeremy.” Today, though, Jeremy is proving that he is an unrepentant sinner.
Gross is shooting a commercial with the aid of Jeremy and several other current porn stars (a few of which he paid to be in the commercial) and ex porn stars on how parents need to exercise responsibility in not letting their children watch porn on the Internet. “It’s the one aspect the church and the world of porn are in agreement,” says Gross. After having it explained I’m still not sure of the cheesy plot, nor I think is Pastor Gross who speaks in elliptical sentences that often trail off with no conclusion before he starts on another.
The story, I think, begins with two kids, in this case the Pastor’s son eight year old Nolan, surfing the internet when their parents are out. They enter the word ‘porn’ into a search engine. This is followed by a knock on the door as an array of motley looking porn stars start entering the house from various genres of porn; fat women, older women etc. Expertly, this was Pastor Gross’s idea. It culminates with Ron Jeremy striding through the front door clutching two lambs and the immortal line: “I’m sorry, I couldn’t find the goat.” At that point Pastor Gross casts his hands around the assembled porn stars and demands, reprovingly, of the camera: “Parents! Would you want these people coming into your house when you are not here?”
Aside from TV commercials, thirty-five year old Gross does the Lord’s work at the heart of the porn industry, taking himself and his crew to adult conventions around the country. “If Jesus were alive today,” says Gross. “He’d be at porn shows.” The phrase has gotten Pastor Gross embroiled in controversy with the evangelical Christians all over the US. “I don’t know why everyone is so shocked by that,” he sniffs. “At places like that people do not have the opportunity to hear the gospel. People think porn stars are lost causes but they are not.”
That controversy though was nothing compared to the threats he received from the Little People of America when he used a dwarf in another publicity stunt with the line: “Porn: It stunts your growth.” “I got the president of the Little People of America calling me at home on the phone saying they were going to get the IRS on me,” says Gross. “That was a weird, scary time.”
Undeterred, Gross presses on. “Porn is like Starbucks,” he says. “Before Starbucks no-one really drank coffee but now everyone has coffee all the time. Porn is the same. It’s everywhere now, all over the internet.” To combat the tsunami of porn Gross has developed a proprietorial piece of software, X3 Watch. Users sign up for $7 a month and the program tracks visits to porn sites on everything from your pc to your iPhone and sends a report back to Gross and the user’s ‘accountability partners.’ Currently, around 500 a day sign up for the software, at around 25 downloads an hour. The church also receives around 700 emails a day from those who feel they have a problem with porn and masturbation. These are handled by 36 year old Brian, a construction worker based in Michigan who himself was addicted to porn for several years but who has now come to understand that masturbation is wrong and “sex a beautiful thing devised by God for a man and his wife.”
The church’s anti-jerking off message is: “Every time you masturbate God kills a kitten.” Accountability ‘buddies’ are advised to keep each other masturbation-free by sending emails to one another asking if they have ‘killed any kittens.’
“Masturbation goes hand in hand with pornography,” says Pastor Gross, perhaps a little unfortunately. “We’re not saying there is anything wrong with a kid learning how his body works but a lot of the men we get are saying that they would rather masturbate to porn than have sex with their wives. We’re saying that’s a bad road to go down as it can create real problems later on.”
Gross is most proud of his friendship with Ron Jeremy. The pair travel the US debating the pros and cons of porn. Although the clash between their two world’s has made for some uncomfortable experiences for Gross, notably during a trip to Maryland. “Some female fan mobbed Ron and as we’re waiting to get on the bus to our next debate and Ron disappears,” recounts Gross. “We find him at 3 o’clock in the afternoon getting relief with some local woman behind a dumpster.” Gross’s wife, Jeanette, was appalled and cited it as another example of the ‘difficult’ missionary work her husband has undertaken. “I’m still trying to air the images out of my mind to this day,” she confided in me.
A few days earlier I had met Gross and Jeremy in a Hollywood diner near Jeremy’s apartment. Jeremy had said he debated Gross because: “Porn is under attack and no-one will defend it.” While Gross had said: “The difference is that if we walk out of this restaurant Ron is going to get high fives and ‘Hey, man, you’re awesome!” While my email does people who are affected who write and say pile up getting with: ‘I’m getting a divorce’, some say. Or I end up taking people to jail. I mean no-one comes up to Ron and says, ‘Look my husband cheated on me after looking at porn or ‘Hey Ron, I’m addicted to porn.’”
The two represent the age-old clash between church and sex, between liberalism and anti-censorship and the clash between morality and money. Pastor Gross and a growing number of competing Christian groups dedicated to fighting the adult film industry say that porn wrecks lives. Gross says that it degrades women and that the images filmed or photographed in a hasty moment by young women who need the cash cause a lifetime’s worth of problems. Yet adult’s biggest stars say porn has mainstream acceptance now, that the women performers are businesswomen and that the sex is both empowering, offering financial opportunities hitherto impossible to realize for women with little educational or economic background. Wherein lies the truth? For ten days in LA, I moved between Pastor Gross’s world and high-octane reality of LA’s thriving adult movie industry. “You think you’re going to get on an actual set?” asked Gross, excitedly.
FROM A LARGE, seemingly nondescript house in Canuga Park, a suburban neighborhood in Porn Valley, is Foxxx Modelling, an adult talent agency. Owner Chris Caine, a hefty avununcular man with an easy manner and a joshing sense of humor is my guide to the world of adult. Weary of the constant labels of the ‘dark world’ of porn and that women are coerced he’s enthusiastic to help in showing reality of the industry industry. “In the 70’s it was all run by pimps,” he says. “Now we’re businessmen. It’s a lot different now.” He runs the office from the home’s upstairs landing where a couch faces a row of desks and computers. Print outs declare: “Your boyfriend will ruin your career 100% of the time.” A few years ago he got 3 to 4 women a week approaching him. Today it’s at least 10. They fly in from all over the world and stay at the house while they shoot for several weeks. The bathroom waste buckets are jammed full with the packaging from vaginal douches.
Ten years ago the porn industry would use any woman who was willing to have sex on camera, but today, as the industry has become more accepted, casting directors and agencies are flooded with ‘talent.’ “These days the girls have to be really hot,” says Chris. There several thousand women in LA at any one time, a constantly changing sea of willing females looking to make it in the business. The average life of a porn starlet is around six months to a year.
“New faces are what sells,” he says. “A girl with natural D breasts, no tattoos could be making $150k a year. It’s a way for a woman to make a lot of money in a short space of time.” I ask him about the XXX church and their stance that working in porn is degrading and leads to alcohol and drug addiction. “I would say that at least 50% of the women who approach me are on hard drugs or alcohol before they get into the business,” he says. “Porn is like their last chance.”
Women make $1000 for what the industry terms a boy/girl scene. For many whose only recourse is dull Mac-jobs in gloomy places in the Midwest, it’s a huge sum of money. “They don’t know what to do with it all,” says Chris. “Rather than buy $100 pair of jeans they’ll buy a $600 pair. One girl got a check for $1200 and that same day went down and bought four pairs of $300 sunglasses. All in different colors.”
A DAY OR SO LATER Chris texted me to show up at a warehouse on an industrial estate in Van Nuys, just behind the 405 interstate. I was to meet Tiffany Brookes, (her performer name) a slender 24 year old brunette with a whip-smart attitude and a former career as a dental hygienist, who I’ve gotten to know the past few days. I peer around a door to see Tiffany, sitting on the toilet with her red shorts around her ankles, masturbating. She blushes. “Hi.”
Tiffany Brookes (her performer name) arrived in LA a month earlier. It is her second time back since quitting porn at the age of 19 when she did only girl/girl scenes which she says enjoyed. At age 24, having split from her fiancé a year ago and working as a dental hygienist from 6am to 7pm she decided to return to porn for a month to make $30 000 – enough to get her through her online degree in psychology. “It would take me a month to make what I earn her in a day,” she said. “I’m single, not hurting anyone and I’m going to get in and out and be done. I’m going to quit porn before it quits me.” Although her ex-fiancé calls her every day increasingly agitated at what he is starting to see appear online. “I fucking hate Google,” says Tiffany.
The day before a shoot, however, “she Googles the shit” out of who she is performing with in order, she says, to protect herself. On set, Tiffany is all business “So you can see,” she says, with a half-embarrassed grin and a sort of longsuffering didn’t-I-tell-you-so-before expression, “It’s really very matter of fact, just like a visit to the ob-gyn.” She stands facing the wall, naked, legs apart, while a short man struggles on tiptoes to enter her from behind, which, eventually he accomplishes. Tiffany winces. She concludes: “For me it’s only about the money.” The male performer, Jeremy, looks crestfallen. “For me it’s about giving you pleasure,” he adds, hopefully, caressing Tiffany’s well-formed backside with a lascivious grin. She rolls her eyes. The scene rolls on with a lot of orgasmic screams. I take a seat next door.
And then silence. Jeremy emerges from the bathroom with a large grin and his tumescence bouncing up and down. “She totally got into it,” he beams. “She says she’ll tell her friends that I am a good guy to work with.” After he puts on track pants, which I find myself quite pleased about. He bumps elbows with me. “That’s the porno handshake,” he enthuses. “I haven’t washed my hands yet.”
WILLIAM*, SWALLOWS HARD, pauses and then proceeds to confess, with his wife sitting by his side on the sofa, how he ended up at a dive LA motel, smashed on vodka with a prostitute at 3am. It’s awkward, as his wife, Caroline* an attractive blonde with large hooped earrings who works in public relations, absorbs the story. We sit on plush dark leather sofas in their well-appointed apartment in downtown LA. William had set up the illicit liaison when his wife was back in Texas visiting her family. “I ended up running out of there, throwing up in the car and then passing out which is when the cops came,” declares William, a young music executive.
I’m here with Pastor Gross, who flits over the US with a laptop and a cell phone, ministering to those who ask for his help. William is a long term project who got in touch with XXX Church when he realized he had a serious problem in 2008: he masturbated with the aid of pornography which led to more serious ‘acting out’. “I’m an addict,” he states, solemnly, while Pastor Gross nods his head in agreement. After much consideration and the drawing up of a basic legal document that I do not reveal his identity he has agreed to talk to me.
William and Caroline are both Christians who met in Dallas, Texas and decided to wait until they were married to have sex. William, though, nursed a long-standing interest in porn and later on, strip clubs during his engagement which he terms “as mind-blowing because it’s porn come to life.”
Still, William and Caroline held to their virtue until they were married sometime in 2008. But, the honeymoon, didn’t match up to William’s expectation from the porn he had watched. “Ohmigod,” he says. “I thought sex was going to be this amazing paradise I’d waited for my whole life. But, ohmigod, it was horrible.” Caroline, on the sofa, nods her head in agreement. “As a virgin it hurt and I cried,” she says.
Dissatisfied with the one thing he waited his whole life for, William took further refuge in porn, he says. “I’d go from Youtube to porn, to classified ads, to a prostitute in a hotel room,” he says. Often, on tour with bands, he found that the tour buses would show the Playboy channel. It would be like “someone setting a match to butane.” His inner demons would rage; “blood would start to boil and endorphins would go.” William ended being unfaithful to his wife with one of the women on tour. And then, later a string of sordid episodes in massage parlors and with prostitutes followed.
William had been in and out of touch with Pastor Gross at the XXX church after downloading accountability software. And over email the two men had built a friendship. The day of the prostitute debacle Gross had asked to meet William but he had blown him off, planning some fun in the evening. “I’d masturbate all the way through,” he says of his time watching porn, “but not release, get myself to a heightened state and then call a prostitute.” Caroline looks a little disgusted at this.
After the incident William called Gross who told him he risked losing his marriage.
Caroline stands by her man now that he has acknowledged his addiction, attends group therapy and stays in touch with his accountability partners. Although life is now a constant struggle, given that William has a porn reaction to almost everything. It takes the slightest trigger. Caroline censors all magazines with Taliban-like zeal before he can read them. “I go through every issue,” she says, “and like recently there was a woman in a bikini so I drew a high-necked dress on her with felt pen. Then he could have it.” He takes each day at a time, looking to get ‘sober’ from his addiction.
Aside from cheating on his wife, I told William I wasn’t all that shocked about the porn and the strip clubs – most of my friends are guilty of the same pleasures. Pornography, William admitted, while not directly responsible for his affliction certainly accentuated his problem. “It’s the trigger,” he explains. “Life if it wasn’t there it would take weeks, maybe months, to work up to have sex with a prostitute. But with porn, it like accelerates the process. It makes it super fast.”
IN A BLAZE of flashbulbs on the red carpet, Jenna Haze, a gamine 29 year old with an easy laugh and a come-hither demeanor, takes my arm and leads me. We stroll past Liv Tyler, escorted by her father Steven of Aerosmith, into the darkness of LA’s Egyptian Theatre. Scooting through a sea of Hollywood faces; the male stars flash recognition when they see Jenna, quickly averting their gaze, awkwardly. “They all know me,” she chuckles, flashing a coquettish smile at a US sitcom star. “All the movie stars know who we are. They watch us! Everyone watches us! But they won’t admit it!”
Jenna Haze, with over 500 adult films to her credit, is arguably one of the world’s most famous porn stars. Leading a clarion call for mainstream acceptance she’s won awards from Adult Video News for her performances – the Oscars of the porn world for which she buys a designer dress each year – and now runs her own production company, JennerationX Studios producing her own content. She’s away from home almost 300 days a year feature dancing at various strip clubs and doing signings at various XXX stores.
We’re at the premiere of James Gunn’s new movie, ‘Super.’ Jenna likes the graphic cartoonish violence, whispering ‘awesome’ into my ear each time someone’s head is sliced off. As the lights come up at the end of the show the auditorium was sprinkled with pornstars like Belladonna. Sasha Grey and Nikki Hunter rubbing shoulders with the usual LA crowd of Hollywood stars.
Jenna and I made our way to the afterparty at a club down Hollywood Boulevard where professional autograph hunters mob her. Jenny flits between stars like Liv Tyler and her pornstar friends. “I love my life,” she shouts above Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. “I make money having sex! What could be better! You can see how mainstream we all are now!” Taking another sip of champagne, she leans closer. “We’re going to have a great week hanging out. And next week you’re going to see me do a scene with a guy who is really hot! It’s going to be very special,” she promises.
“Right,” I say, swallowing hard. Frantically I try to erase from my memory the pictures I looked up on the internet the day before and the highly intimate information they contained; what Jenna’s genitalia looks like, the noises she makes when she has sex and what I saw her do in Anal Princess Diaries. But the images are stuck, lodged in my brain, hardwired it seems and in even more lurid detail the more I try to forget them. Jenna stars swinging her hips, rocking to the beat, beaming at me. “Fun night, huh?” she says.
A few days later I head out to Jenna’s house, about an hour north of LA. It’s a 4000 square foot brand new mansion with polished mahogany floors unremarkable for the others just like it on a new development in a sun-drenched Californian valley. She ushers me inside with a smile. “Crazy to grow up so poor and then to have all this,” she offers, frankly. Haze grew up the youngest daughter of divorced parents in a succession of homes in California and Minnesota. She has two older brothers and a sister significantly older than her.
We head upstairs. “The only thing off limits today is my bedroom,” says Jenna.
There’s a tacit tension between us. In porn films show it only takes a woman to do something incredibly mundane, run some sheets through a photocopier, or dust a room or perform some boring office function, to ignite a cataclysmic orgy of sweaty, pumping bodies and athletic, orgasmic sex. I’m finding myself subconsciously watching Jenna’s every move as if it’s loaded with significance and her opening a door or flicking a light switch will turn her into a sexually-charged succubus. . At one point in the day she seems to read my mind. “Just because I’m a porn star people seem to think I’ll throw down and have sex with anybody,” she says. I ask her how many people she has had sex with. “It’s not how many people I have had sex with that is important,” she says. “But how many people I have made love to.” How many is that? “Ten.”
We head to her office, next to her bedroom. A large mauve colored chaise-long faces a webcam. From here she does private webcam shows as well as running her business. “Today….goddamnit!” states Jenna, giggling and settling into a plush office chair. “You are going to watch some pornography whether you like it or not.” Jenna enthusiastically pops her latest release which she both produced, directed and performed in, Legs Up, Hose Down into the DVD. “I call myself a sexual athlete,” she declares with a sly grin. The movie starts out with a couple enthusiastically nailing each other in what looks like a luxury hotel bathroom. “A lot of people thought it looked a little too convincing,” says Jenna. The male star was dating one of Jenna’s friends, also an adult performer, and since watching the scene the pair have broken up. The movie rolls on and eventually Jenna is embroiled in the action. She starts with ‘the tease:’ she struts and weaves around a luxury hotel room in stockings and lingerie, in a gauzy, textured light that throws long shadows over the walls. The production has a classic, 50’s Hollywood noir feel to it. “Look see there,” she exclaims. “Can you see me wink?” Imperceptibly she does which is the signal for her male co-star, called Voodoo, to come in. Things heat up rapidly from that point on. Jenna begins a particularly fulsome blowjob. “See,” she says, proudly. “I pioneered that double-handed corkscrewing thing. In fact, I’m famous for it.”
As part of the process to quell any ardor I think back to one of Craig Gross’s books.
According to, Pure Eyes, I was messing with my brain, in essence rewiring it and possibly embarking on the gradual road into addiction. Pornography triggers the neurochemical dopamine to induce feelings of ecstasy and exhilaration, he writes. With porn, the chemical enters the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain where reasoning takes place, and strengthens the circuits needed to pursue and obtain a reward ie porn. Dopamine release into the amygdala leads the user to remember both consciously and subconsciously rewards, in this case porn. According to Gross, the release of dopamine while watching porn leads to greater reliance on the neurochemical and in turn a trend for harder material to get the same release.
Jenna giggles. “I like my stuff to be erotic, a real fantasy,” she explains. “Rather than showing everything in high definition close-up, I like to feel like you are really watching people having sex.” The images continue to swim in front of me, Jenna turning round and smiling every now and then as we watch her get penetrated from every position possible.
We’ve lost track of time. Jenna needs to book the hotel for tomorrow’s shoot. We heard downstairs. Online Jenna books a high-class hotel suite in Hollywood for $1600 with her credit card. They don’t know she is shooting porn so we’re all going to have to turn up tomorrow as if we are hotel guests: me, Jenna, a male performer and cameraman. “I haven’t had sex in a month,” says Jenna. “I am so ready for this. If they discover what we’re doing I’m just going to say it’s my wedding anniversary and I’m fucking another guy because my husband gets off on it. It’s like a gift to him.” OK, I find myself saying, nodding dumbly.
Jenna seems thrilled at the prospect and more effervescent than before. “I’ve been working all day,” she says. “I need a reward.” She produces a huge jar of almost luminous green ganja. Opening the slide doors to a patio with a rock pool, apple trees and some comfortable patio chairs, she fills a pipe and heads outside. After sucking in lungfuls of smoke, she fills a pipe for me. “Now,” she says, mirthfully. “This is either going to make you really hungry or really horny.”
It’s strong; hitting the back of my throat like a red-hot poker. I rasp and hack while my eyes fill with tears. A bullfrog in the undergrowth starts to let out a croak in sympathy. Jenna laughs. We stare out over the valley as the golden disk of the sun dips behind the horizon. Stoned on pot, it seems like a good time to bring up God. “Society has no right to judge me,” she says breezily, looking off into the distance. “I don’t believe I’m going to be condemned for what I do,” she says. “I don’t believe god is going to be mad because I smoke pot. You know what I mean!,” she exclaims as if it’s the most absurd thought in the world. “I don’t think he is going to be made because I have sex with women. I think he’ll be right on, Jen! Cool!” She pauses. “It’s always religious people who are the worst. I’ve seen so much of the destruction organized religion brings – I’ve seen how people kill over it. I’ve always considered myself a spiritual person not a religious person. I pray almost every night. I have my own relationship with God.” Jenna hangs her head in reflection, examining her shoes. Sometimes at porn expos she’ll face religious pickets. “I was at Miami Exotica and there were religious people outside,” she says. “‘You’re going to hell,’ the shouted. What does God think of you do? And I stopped, you know. And I was like, ‘Yo! Buddy! Me and god have a great relationship. Worry about you and God!”
PASTOR GROSS’s wife is Jeanette, a smart and attractive brunette, who welcomes me to their yuppie loft apartment after putting the children to bed. Jeanette is appalled by what she has discovered through her husband’s line of work.
“The thing that shocked me the most,” says Jeanette reprovingly, “is that I had no idea how many men watch this stuff. In fact,” she continues in suspicious tones, “I’m sure my neighbor here is watching it. He is married but has no job and is home all day.” I feel Jeanette’s eyes lingering on me a little longer than is perhaps necessary.
Reconciling the moneyed and famously licentious lifestyles of Jenna Haze with the women who contact Pastor Gross was difficult. He sent me heart-rending emails from women who had sought out work in the porn industry for money and then regretted the images online when their lives had moved on and they were to get married. “I know I did those pics and yes it was my fault, I want to get them OFF the Internet,” wrote one. “This will and is ruining my life. I am fearful that his friends will see and torture him about it, or the people I work with in the military. (they are all men) I am absolutely SICK over this. I can't eat or sleep and I honestly don't know what to do. I swear to you, I never thought this would happen. I mean, there are a million girls on the freakin internet….why me?! This is destroying me. I know I am 100% responsible for taking the pictures, it's my fault. But it was a long time ago, and I was single and I needed the money. But isn't there anything you can do to please help me now??? This was like 2 or 3 years ago? Why are my pics still on the damned internet???”
Jenna Haze, Tiffany and Chris Caine at Foxxx, all agreed that women need to think very seriously indeed before embarking on a career in porn. “Don’t give what you can’t afford to lose,” said Tiffany. All were worried that it’s not for everyone, and those that don’t think it through may well have buyer’s remorse later. And even Gross agreed that the fault for any ills porn has brought society is not down to the industry or the performers. “It’s not their fault,” he says. “It’s supply and demand.” Even if he had the power to shut down the industry he wouldn’t. “It will only close down if everyone, both performers and those who watch porn wanted it to. It’s their choice.”
THE FOLLOWING DAY I wait anxiously at Starbucks for a text from Jenna Haze. The scene was meant to be the highlight of my week in LA, I was going out with a bang. The shoot was meant to start at 9am but no text or call from Jenna. Then at 12.27 a note to say: “Sorry I’m having issues with the hotel room.” I drove around Hollywood expectantly, waiting for the glitch to resolve itself.
Secretly, I was a little relieved. I was apprehensive about the shoot, and in some senses dreading it. I noticed a change in myself. Before the assignment I had checked out Jenna’s ‘work’ online both pictures and videos. But now that I had gotten to know her; we had hung out at her house, she’d driven me around LA and, despite the artifice of journalist and subject, I felt as though I knew her. When I tried to look at her work online the night before I couldn’t get beyond Google. It felt weird, too personal and even invasive to be looking at someone I knew, naked and having sex. Pornography depends, to a large part, on a pact of anonymity and a complete lack of familiarity between the user and the performer for the fantasy to work.
At 4.27 I got another text from Jenna. “Hey I apologize my makeup artist completely screwed me today.” And then another at 6.36pm. “Trying to salvage the day but I can’t find a makeup chick.” I drove to the airport and caught my flight as planned.
*Caroline and William are pseudonyms