WHACK! MAGAZINE Hi, Nina! It’s pretty unthinkable that anyone reading WHACK! wouldn’t know who you are, but just to be safe, can you give us a little bit of an introduction so that everyone knows who you are?
NINA MERCEDEZ Ok, I’m Nina Mercedez. Obviously I’m a porn star. I was signed with Vivid for four/five years. I was a feature dancer before that and was on the road frequently. I have a bunch of titles, like Miss Nude Universe, Miss Nude International, Miss Nude America. I now do websites, I run XXXFastPass.com, so I do sites for girls like Nyomi Banxxx, Briana Banks, Raylene, Sophia Santi, Isis Taylor, Alexis Ford, Kortney Kane… I run twenty sites total, and then I also run a feature dance agency called Feature Elite.
W! So… you’re… a really busy person, then.
W! Well thank you for making some time for us! I know that you met our fearless leader, j. vegas, recently here in New York when he went to see you dance at Sapphire Gentleman’s Club. So, obviously, that was part of the feature dancing part of your business. So, how often do you actually do feature dancing?
NM Well I used to do it between once a month and twice a month, but now that I’m doing the feature dance agency, I kind of take a backseat on going out myself. I’m promoting the other girls and trying to get other girls on the road.
W! Right, that works. I would imagine that it must be exhausting to be feature dancing all the time. You can probably use a break.
NM Yeah. I’ve been doing for over ten years, so it’s good to kind of take a break from it. I usually do it for three or four years and then I take a year off, so I usually take breaks, because it’s easy to get burned out from being on the road.
W! I bet the dancing part is fun, but hotels and constantly driving and flying…
NM …airports… Yeah.
W! Yeah, airports are the worst. So, you started out modeling, so did you do feature dancing kind of between just modeling and the adult industry?
NM Yeah, I started out when I was like fifteen, modeling. I did stuff for like Wal-mart and Target, and then I did feature dancing when I turned nineteen. I did that for a long time. I did that for a while. I used to do like forty, fourty-two weeks on the road, straight. And I did that for four or five years. I had a truck and a trailer and we drove everywhere, and every weekend it was just a different club, a different club. And then when gas prices and stuff went up, I stopped that and started flying to all the places I went. And then flying kind of got harder. So I went down to twelve bookings a year, sometimes twenty-four bookings a year. And then I went to doing movies from there.
W! Yeah, how exactly did that happen? I mean on the one hand it seems like a natural progression, but there must have been a moment where you said, ‘Yeah! I’m going to do video!’
NM I kind of did everything that you could do. I don’t know how to say that without sounding like a bitch, but I won every major award that there was to win. I won the Exotic Dancer Entertainer of the Year award, which is like the Oscar. Like if you won that, you won an Oscar. There really is nothing higher in the feature dance world. I won all the pageants. I kind of got to a place where I couldn’t do anything else. I couldn’t go anywhere else. The only thing I could do to move up was do porn. So I looked into porn, and someone told me that Vivid was the best company to be with at the time; they had the most beautiful girls, the highest-paid girls, and they were the best at doing PR and stuff. So I went in and had a meeting with Steve [Hirsch], and he signed me an hour later.
W! Well I don’t think that makes you sound like a bitch. It makes you sound like you needed a new challenge.
W! You have won every award, especially nude body awards, which is a whole circuit that I don’t know much about. Can you tell me what goes on during a nude pageant? What do you do? I mean, obviously you’re not wearing many different outfits.
NM At the time, they were very prestigious contests. You had to be the best of the best to get into these contests. They usually only had like twelve spots open. So the best girls on the road, the girls who got booked a lot and who had amazing shows and reputations for having amazing shows, got invited to, like, Miss Nude International. And you had to win a title in order to get into Miss Nude World or Miss Nude Universe. So it was kind of a progression thing. I had to win a local thing, like Miss Nude Louisiana, which is what I won. And then you had to go to Miss Nude International from your state, and then you could go on and do the World and Universe. They were held in different clubs, it was four nights. They judge you on beauty, your show, your costumes, how you present yourself, and they actually do ask you a question. It’s on a point system. When I say I won Miss Nude Universe, a lot of people say, “Well, what does that even mean?” But I worked all year long to win that award. You don’t understand how much work I had to put in to win that. It’s not like I just showed up and I had a stupid song and I won. I had to work all week to qualify.
W! I’d imagine that you must have been working out constantly. How much upkeep goes into keeping the kind of body that can win those kinds of contests?
NM Well I kind of won three contests in one year, in 2003. And at the time I was doing Fitness Magazine. And I had done the cover of Muscular Development and I did four layouts in that year. So the year that I won everything that I won, my body was amazing. I had a trainer in Florida that I would see four times a year. He had me doing like 30-pound backpack hiking, and you know those stairs that move? He had me on those for like an hour. It was a lot of hard work. Eating a lot of wood and cardboard and dirt!
W! So obviously you keep yourself busy doing a lot of things, but still, when you started doing adult video, was it almost like time off after all that work? Was it kind of easy, physically?
NM No. I still went on the road just as much, even when I was doing movies. The business was really good to me. I only did six
movies a year, and they flew me in for all my movies and put me in a hotel and took care of all my food. I think Vivid was the most amazing company ever. To this day I love them to death. If they asked me to do something I would drop everything I’m doing and do it for them. I owe them a lot. They were really accommodating and they understood that I went out on the road and danced.
W! That’s fantastic. I’m really interested in your movie career because you’re a person who’s always had a lot going on, on the side. So when you started doing video, how much of a leap was it for you? You’re a performer, but how difficult was it for you to perform that way? Did it come naturally?
NM No. If you watch So I Married a Porn Star, which was the very first movie I ever did and their big movie of the year. I had never done a movie. I had never been in a room where people were having sex. I was totally… I had no clue what I was getting into. I had never worked for another company. I mean, it’s not like I had done an internet scene or an amateur thing. I just walked into Vivid’s big budget. [Paul Thomas] was directing… They were all really nice. They sat me down and said, “Do you want to watch a scene?” And I was like, “No not really.” And they said, “Well you should!” In the behind the scenes on So I Married a Porn Star, in the bloopers, you’ll see my face is like on the floor as I’m watching these people have sex!
I did my first scene with Mario Rossi, and he knew that it was my first scene so he was really gentle and really nice… and… I kept my eyes closed the whole time!
NM So you’ll notice that in So I Married a Porn Star, my eyes are closed. And in the bloopers they’re like, “I wonder if she’ll open her eyes?” And at the end of the scene, they’re like, “Nope, she never did!”
W! Wow, so were you just kind of holding one position? I mean, don’t you have to open your eyes at some point?
NM I did, but I was really nervous and I didn’t know better.
W! But you must have had a pretty pleasant experience, because you went back for more, right?
NM No, no, it was great. I had a really good experience. It was just my first one, and I was nervous. But, you know, I got nominated for [an AVN award] for Best Actress for that movie. I think it was like an 85-page script and I memorized it. I worked really hard on that movie, and actually, I got nominated for Best Actress. And then that following year, we did Where the Boys Aren’t, and we wont for Best All-Girl Group Scene. So I got the hang of it eventually.
W! Yeah, it sounds like it! But then again, you sound like the kind of person who doesn’t do anything half-assed.
NM No, I don’t. That’s kind of the important thing with Feature Elite. I just started it. Over twenty girls jumped in right away and I think that they’ve seen from what I’ve done with pageants and with movies, starting my own company and putting out my own DVDs, everything I do is… I’m either going to do it all the way or I’m not even going to bother. XXXFastPass just blew up. I mean I started just running Sophia’s site and Gianna Lynn, and then I got Alexis Ford, and now I have twenty girls. None of them have left, none of them are unhappy. I’ve never lost a girl that I’ve signed. We’re doing really, really well with XXXFastPass, and now we just started FeatureElite. So I’m sure it’s going to take off and be successful.
W! Congratulations! Well, just FYI, I did some research about you, and I was really interested to see an interview where you said that you were not an attractive teenager. And I’m wondering how you went from that to, A) being totally gorgeous, and B) deciding that you wanted to model and get into pageants and things that require physical beauty. How did that happen?
NM I don’t know. My girlfriend had DDD boobs naturally, and she always got all the attention. And I got married when I was fifteen, I mean, the first guy who looked at me, I was like, “Oh, I’ll marry you!” And that didn’t work out! I don’t know, to be 100% honest with you, when my parents passed away—they passed away within a month of each other — the only outlet I could get from stressing myself out was to work out. And so I was at the gym, and I worked out four hours a day, every day. That’s the only thing I could do to deal with the stress. And I just kind of worked out, and you get to a point where you look in the mirror every day and you get critical of every little thing, and I had a great makeup artist who taught me how to do my makeup and took me out shopping. He was this awesome guy, and I had a lot of people help me along the way, I guess. That’s what I would attribute it to.
But I was not attractive. I was not popular. No. I had the right help and I got there.
W! I’m kind of picturing you in one of those high school movies where she’s kind of the geeky girl and nobody looks at her, but then she gets a makeover and suddenly she’s the hottest thing ever.
NM I did that. I did Jenny Jones “From Geek to Chic.” I did that show. Yeah.
W! Wow, I was so right! Well, so, once you got used to utilizing your body in that way, you started out doing modeling and worked your way into the porn industry. But what I’m wondering is, why did you decide to go all-out for sex right away? You could have done softcore or something to ease into it. Why did you go straight into XXX material?
NM I didn’t even know anything, to be honest with you. When I got into it, I had never watched a porno in my life. I had never seen it. I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know that there was softcore. I guess I grew up kind of shielded from all that stuff. When I signed my contract, I didn’t know what a porno was. I still had never watched one. I was like, “Yeah, I’ll do it!” and signed away, you know? I mean, I knew the gist of what it was, but I’d never seen one. Some people have seen it before, but I was not that person.
W! Well you’re a very open-minded person, I guess.
NM Yeah, I was open to it. It wasn’t a far reach from what I was already doing, nude dancing on the road. It wasn’t a big deal. My friend Devon Michaels was doing it. She had been really successful doing it. So I called her and said, “How do you like doing it? What is it like?” She said, “Well there’s testing, and if you go with this company or that company they use condoms…” She kind talked me through it and I just thought I’d go ahead and try it.
W! Cool. Well you might not have known that much about it but you went into with your eyes open. …well… Technically, no, you went into it with your eyes closed!
NM Yeah, they were closed. laughing
W! Ok, let’s say that something happened, like you got a genie out of a bottle and he said that you had to pick just one part of your career that you had to focus on for the rest of your life. What would you pick?
NM I guess the websites. Because I think that’s where the future of XXX lies. I think it’s evolved onto the internet, and I think that it has nowhere to go but to improve. Technology is getting crazy with iPads and iPhones and who knows, soon you’ll probably have a virtual girl in front of you doing it in 3D! It’s just getting so technologically advanced. So I think that that’s going to be huge, and so that’s the part that I would like to stay in. I’ve kind of stepped out of performing in front of the camera, so the website is what I’m more excited about.
W! That’s a good point. But when you said “virtual girl,” it made me think… You did the Lovable Doll, right?
NM I did. I got into a big fiasco with Real Doll and I don’t think it actually turned out very well so I’m not sure what’s going on with that whole thing. I know that they had already sold a couple, and they had already made one, but I don’t know what’s going on with that. I know they went to court last month.
W! Oh, wow, I’m sorry. That sucks. Well, I was going to ask you about the process of how they make those. Do they take like a full body cast of you?
NM No, they do a body scan! I have an action figure that I did when I was with Vivid. It’s the same process. They put you in a box, and then these two cameras go around and they scan you while you’re standing in different positions. And then to get the likeness of your boobs and your mouth and your ass and stuff, they mold you in those spots, and then they put it all together.
W! Wow, what an intense process.
NM Yeah, it’s a lot of work.
W! It sounds very futuristic. It’s kind of cool.
NM It was really cool. They asked if I wanted to have one, and I was like, “I don’t know what I would do with it!” It would freak me out to have an exact replica copy of me down to the tattoos and everything. I don’t know if I want that in my house.
W! I was thinking about what would happen if they made a huge amount of them and then brought it to life and had an army of identical Nina Mercedezes.
NM That would be scary.
W! That would be the coolest cheesy-sci-fi porno ever, though.
W! Well we don’t want to give them any ideas.
NM Yeah, please.
W! Well, ok, so let’s say the genie didn’t make you pick a career. Instead he said you had to stay in porn, but you only got to pick one person that you got to perform with for the rest of your life.
NM Oh, that’s easy, I would take a male and a female. If it was a male, I would take Ray [Balboa] cause even aside from the fact that he’s my husband, he’s an amazing performer. Sex with him is always amazing. If it was a female, it would definitely be Sophia Santi.
W! Wow, that was easy. A lot of people take forever trying to answer questions like that! I thought I was so clever.
NM Oh, she’s my wifey.
W! Well that’s easy then. Well, ok, what if the genie said you could only do feature dancing, yourself, on stage, but only to one song… What song would you pick?
NM Anything by the Cult. I get off to their music. Maybe “Sweet Soul Sister.” Or some Billy Idol. I’m all classic rock, I dance to classic rock on stage.
W! Cool! I can dig that! Well ok, we’ve got to wrap this up, but do you have any big events you’d like us to send people to?
NM I’ll be in Miami from September 7th through the 11th at Tootsie’s Cabaret. I’m going to be at Exxxotica LA next weekend. My site just got redesigned. When you join me, you get fifteen sites. And new movie just came out, it’s my first DP with two guys, it’s called Popular Demand. You can get it online at AdultDVDEmpire.com. And FeatureElite just launched, so that’s really exciting, too.
W! Ok, I have to ask you about the DP really quick, because I keep hearing different things from different people about doing DPs on camera. One person says it’s actually really difficult and kind of painful, and then other people have said it’s totally great. What was your experience like?
NM It was a lot of work. I’m sure that if I did it in my bedroom it might be different, but because you’re on camera, you have to think about too many things, like your body, and you have to give both guys the same amount of attention because if you give one more attention than the other, he’ll lose wood. The most important thing is that you have to make sure their balls never touch.
W! That’s so weird.
NM It’s stressful.
W! I mean, does it make sense to you that they don’t want their balls to touch? I mean… they’re already that close. What’s the big deal?
NM It’s weird. But what are you gonna do? It’s their preference. Personally, I wouldn’t do it again. I didn’t enjoy it that much. I mean the actual scene was fantastic and everybody else enjoyed it, but I don’t think I would do it again.
W! Well there’s only one way to find out how you feel about something like this. And now you now. That’s a good life experience.
NM Yeah, definitely!
W! Well thanks so much, Nina!
NM Thank you!
—Interview conducted with cool confidence by the crazy correspondent of cooze, Miss Lagsalot.