Last week we brought you a review of Oriana Small aka Ashley Blue’s new book, Girlvert: A Porno Memoir. Our reviewer, Miss Lagsalot, was so intrigued by the book that she immediately hunted down its author, multi-AVN winner and Girlvert Ashley Blue, known in real life as Oriana Small, for a chat about memoirs, life, performance art, and extreme sex.
WHACK! MAGAZINE Well, first things first, Ashley. Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to talk to WHACK! Magazine! You’re a huge star and a really interesting person, and now an author, too! I’m sure your time is valuable — thanks for sharing it with us. So, here we go! You’re a multi-AVN award-winning adult performer, an outspoken advocate of hardcore, and a perv, as I understand it. The Girlvert, in fact, star of JM Productions’ multi-award winning series. Would you describe yourself as a pervert from birth?
ORIANA SMALL aka ASHLEY BLUE I started being curious about sex at thirteen. That was my break through year. Before that, I was only interested in animals and drawing. I was never molested either.
W! You recently released a book, Girlvert: A Porno Memoir, about your life and times in the world of hardcore porn. What made you decide to write about your experiences?
OS/AB I felt like it would all just go away forever if I didn’t write the stories down. I had to save them from being forgotten from existence. The old me was dying, and it was hard to let go. And all the experience was still fresh in my mind, so it was important to me, still. All the petty bullshit I still cared about, was included. Those details make the story authentic.
W! In your book, you describe your entry into porn as a combination of disgust and curiosity, mixed with some arousal, and as the story continues, it seems that these seem to be ongoing themes throughout your life and career. You were very conflicted very often about your career in porn. Looking back, do you think it was all worth it? Were there things you’d do differently?
OS/AB I know it was all worth it. I am very happy today. Happier than I ever imagined I could be, EVER. All of these experiences brought me to this point, so I can’t say I would go back and do anything differently. All the stupid and fucked up things I’ve done have made me a more interesting person. If I was nice, business savvy, p.c., and perfect my entire life, then I would be an incredible bore. And I don’t think I could live like that.
W! I was very impressed with your ability to write a memoir that showed every side of your emotions as you went through extremes, both physical and emotional, without putting much of an op-ed spin on it. You’re telling the story like it was, but not trying to exhort your readers to feel any particular way about it. What do you expect them to feel in response?
OS/AB Thank you! That is exactly what I wanted to achieve with writing. I respect anyone who decides to pick up this book, read it and think for themselves. Readers and thinkers make make their own conclusions to whatever emotions connected in this story. I don’t want to tell anyone how to think or feel. That is what I hate most- being manipulated and told what to do. I wanted people to feel free while reading this.
W! The book, as such, is a pure memoir. There’s no real moral to the story, which I find fascinating. Many would be hasty to tack a “meaning” onto it to give it “literary merit,” missing the point of memoir and literature entirely. But, let’s just play along: if you had to tack on a moral, what would it be?
OS/AB Thank you again! I didn’t think it really needed a spiritual spin, or validity to wisdom either. I don’t know what moral there is to my story. I don’t even like the idea of morality. I can’t tell anyone how to live, love or not to fuck up. It really doesn’t matter. But eventually, you have to grow up. That is what I learned, still learning. And it sucks.
W! You painted this world in a very gritty, very honest light from your firsthand experiences of extremely hardcore pornography — double penetrations, double anal, gangbangs, piss play, and etc. This book isn’t going to end up on Oprah’s book club. But it offers insight into a world that most of us only see through the lens of a camera. How is this insight valuable to those of us who don’t take part?
OS/AB My story takes you through the exciting, seedy, druggy, hardcore side of porn. There is nothing left to wonder about the life of a young porno girl after you read this. There is no glamour in this book, so you are completely informed. There is a lot of value to that. Many people have asked me about what it’s “really” like. I think because they have not gotten all the good, gross, grimy details that we all know are there. My book is the one that fulfills the honesty, respecting what makes porn lives fascinating in the first place.
W! You rose to the very highest heights of the porn industry during the early-to mid 2000s, and you were the right girl at the right place at the right time. Porn back then was experiencing a surge toward hardcore and gonzo — really extreme acts that freaked out a lot of people and might be responsible for the likes of current public porn detractors like Gail Dines, Shelley Lubben, and etc. What do you think were the merits of that kind of extreme porn?
OS/AB The merits of extreme porn are higher than any other kind of porn. I was definitely the right girl in the right place when I was doing it all the time. It’s more entertaining. We are just a facet of entertainment. Harder and weirder just impresses me more. But that is just my opinion. I am not trying to force that on anyone else, because it is wrong to do that. I have respect for other people’s interests.
W! What do you think of the current move toward features and parodies in the industry? Good or bad? Any interest, yourself, in doing feature roles with acting?
OS/AB I want people to keep making movies, no matter what. I think the other girls are far better at it than me though. I’m really not mainstream enough in porn to fit in well with that group.
W! You played the Girlvert, and called the performance one of the greatest accomplishments of your life. Performance art. Do you think its relevance was recognized by many outside the industry?
OS/AB It was my husband that first told that to me. And he is my authority on art. I had to learn to recognize it. I don’t know if anyone feels the same, or will see relevance in it.
W! You made a very strong case in your book for the freedom of expression in pornography, as regarded an obscenity case brought against JM Productions. What’s been your take on your friend Max Hardcore’s incarceration, Ira Isaac’s impending trial, and so on? What’s the deal? Is the government trying to shut down porn, or just put on a good show to the moral majority?
OS/AB It’s sad that Max had to go to prison. I don’t think he did anything wrong. Governments should spend more time solving real problems and crimes, instead of picking on people for their “moral” issues.
W! Do you think Max Hardcore made performance art? If he continues making movies when he’s released, what are the chances you’ll work for him?
OS/AB I’m too fat to work for Max. I think he has a certain type of girl that fit best in his starring roles, and I am not quite up to par. But if he would agree to be in a Girlvert… that is a different story… He is a crazy performing artist! I love watching him and that’s really all I need to call him a performance artist. It’s not like studying hard and being a lawyer or doctor.
W! I was intrigued that, in the book, most of the way through, you talked about morality and perversion in surprisingly traditional ways and placed yourself squarely into the perverted camp, claiming little in the way of moral rectitude. But doesn’t part of you feel that maybe it’s the rest of the world that’s screwed up morally? You’ve created a life for yourself based on your sexual performances and “perversion.” Do you think maybe it’s the ones wearing the morality police t-shirts that should be considered immoral for calling you the pervert and the degenerate, but still wanting to see the things you do badly enough to sponsor your career through their consumer dollars?
OS/AB I always felt bad about myself, for not doing anything right. Not even being born right, to the right people, etc. So, I never tried very hard to follow rules. I never had any. It was a bummer to feel so low as a kid, like a degenerate, but I just went with it. And it made me more free. That freedom is what I cherish most in life now. I have learned to love that about myself.
W! As far as “degeneracy” goes, you never played around with the solo, girl/girl, softcore stuff. You went straight for hardcore, performing acts on camera that many people find degrading. But your book seemed to me to imply that any degradation you felt came not from your sex acts, but from the emotional manipulation you went through off screen. What is it, do you think, that draws you to such extremes in both your on-camera persona and off-camera emotional state?
OS/AB Solo and G/G stuff is for pretty girls. Girls who want to be more glamorous than me. I didn’t get into porn for glamour. It was the opposite. I had a need for men to use me, because it was somehow empowering. I was seeking the experience and the cash to go to Coachella and have an exciting life. Everything emotionally, as described in the book, is what I was learning about relationships. I was only twenty, so I had a lot of mistakes to learn from. I was naive.
W! What would you want to be written in your obit, or on your gravestone?
OS/AB Obit definitely! I don’t want a gravestone. I don’t want to litter the poor planet with more garbage, my dead body in an expensive box. I would like for it to say that I am the author of a ground-breaking, revolutionary memoir! That I was a brave and lucky person. That my art is worth a ton of money. And that back in the day, I was hot.
W! You’re working in porn occasionally these days, and drawing and painting. Do you have a website where readers can see your art?
OS/AB Everything that I put up online is on my blog: http://davenaz.com/oriana/
W! Any public events or internet thingamajigs we can send readers to?
OS/AB I am doing a book signing Aug. 18th at Booksmith in SF. I will have more details on my blog soon.
I will be showing new work in an art show at The Hive Gallery on Aug. 6th. Downtown L.A. More on my blog soon.
W! What’s next for Ashley Blue?
OS/AB Ashley Blue needs her AVN Hall of Fame Trophy. 2012 I will be eligible! Then I can retire officially.
W! What’s next for Oriana Small?
OS/AB I am all about this book. I will be traveling to promote Girlvert. Recording the audio version right now, so Girlvert will be a book on tape! Then I’m planning to do some podcasts of my own. Writing another book. Will be putting together a graphic novel. And continuously making, showing and selling artwork.
—Interview conducted by our raunchy reporter and Editor-in-Chief, Miss Lagsalot.
—Photos by Dave Naz.