Jenna Jameson: Girl On Top

Jenna Jameson is a happily married 30-year-old living the good life in Arizona. She's also the queen of the adult-movie world. As her anger-packed autobiography hits the shelves, she tells Vanessa Grigoriadis how to make love like a porn star - and live to tell the tale
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The Independent Culture

Jenna Jameson has no porn in her house. There are no adult videos or DVDs anywhere to be found, not even the kitchen magnets with Jameson's likeness that she sells on her website, and certainly not any replicas of "Jenna's Vagina and Ass" made of "ultrarealistic, lifelike" material and on sale for $159.95, with complimentary lube and talcum powder. What goes on in Jameson's frilly, pillow-laden bed is lovemaking, and while she doesn't rule out toys, it definitely doesn't include a video camera: "Please!" she squeals. "That's the last thing I want to see in there."

It's a balmy Sunday afternoon in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Jameson, wearing a bright-yellow T-shirt, jeans and fuzzy Birkenstocks, is shuffling back and forth from the kitchen to her veranda, which is where she goes to smoke an endless chain of Marlboro Lights. Now 30 years old, she still has the look of a slutty cheerleader, with a thick blonde mane swept into a ponytail that's a little too long, blue eyes a little too feral, her upper lip puckered in a sexy snarl even when she's exhibiting no emotion at all, which is often. She picks at pasta and veggies as her dogs gather at her feet: a couple of puppies, an English bulldog and Stinky, the teacup Pomeranian she's had as a companion for six years. They're always peeing all over the house, and now there's the sound of lapping at a toilet bowl. "Ugh," says Jameson. "That disgusts me, because then he comes up and licks me."

That Jameson would have such a reaction to an animal's bodily fluids when she makes her living swapping human ones might seem strange, but here at home, a Mediterranean-style mini-mansion decorated in the mix of suburban and Gothic so often favoured by rock stars, she's careful to present herself as a normal girl. In fact, the only clue that you're in the house of a porn star is the home office of Jay Grdina, her affable, quirky and not at all creepy husband of one year, the director of her films, co-proprietor of her production company and website, and her only male on-screen sex partner since 1998 ("He doesn't have problems in that department, but still, thank God for Viagra," says Jameson). With surgical steel and diamond earrings the shape of long fake nails that come to a very sharp point in either ear, Grdina, 36, huddles over a warren of computer screens, editing a grainy image of his wife in a latex nurse's uniform bent over a gurney carrying his naked body. "Just putting together a short entry for Sundance," he jokes.

The covers on some of Jameson's videos describe her as the "World's Most Famous Adult Star" and, indeed, Jameson's name is perhaps the only one, other than Ron Jeremy's, that people who don't watch porn know. Indeed, "Jenna Jameson" is a kind of cultural shorthand for "porn star", tossed off casually in arch comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm and even romantically linked to Britney Spears' in one tabloid-sparked rumour, something they both deny ("I wish," Jameson says). Jameson owes a lot of her success to the shock-jock Howard Stern, who booked her constantly in the mid-1990s and cast her as a naked guest in 1997's Private Parts. Since then, she has appeared in ads, taped a voice-over for the video-game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, shown up in an Eminem video and starred in her own E! True Hollywood Story biography show. She has never gone completely mainstream. "I'm so unaffected by the whole friggin' Hollywood scene - give me the job or shut up," she says. "I'm not a show pony. I don't want to hang out with you and your friends, and I don't want to leave a message on your answering machine: 'You've reached Scott, he's busy with me right now.' I don't want to play some part where I have to dye my hair, get my boobs reduced and change my name. Do you think people are going to go, 'Oh, that girl Ashley Smith is so cute, what a breakout star'? They'll go, 'Oh, there's Jenna Jameson in a wig and friggin' small titties.'"

This rant is just a hint of the deep anger at the world Jameson explores at length in her new autobiography, How to... Make Love Like a Porn Star, which includes revelations ranging from her being gang-raped as a teenager, to a harrowing account of her addiction to methamphetamine and later Vicodin, to a fling with Tommy Lee and the size of Howard Stern's penis (surprisingly large, though she never spied it unsheathed).

Sex was an outlet for Jameson's fury at her unfortunate childhood - her mother, a showgirl, died when she was three; Dad tried but was emotionally distant.

Off-screen, she puts the number of women who slept with at 100, and men at 30. "I'm definitely bisexual, and there have been times in my life that I've been so bi-sexual it's sick," she says. "I love girls. I'll never not look at a girl and think, 'How do you think she tastes?'"

At 16, Jameson, who was born in Las Vegas as Jenna Marie Massoli (she chose Jameson because she liked the brand of whisky), fell in love with the Vegas tattoo artist who did her first tattoos. She says he also did speed with her and encouraged her to start stripping. She was also raped by a relative of his. A nudie-magazine scout discovered her, and print soon led to soft-core girl-girl films, and then, "Well, one thing led to another," she says. She drew the line at anal sex, which she's never had on camera. "I look at these new girls today, taking on six guys and doing bukkakes, and I think, 'What the hell are they doing?'" says Jameson. "These girls don't know that you have to start slow, baby, and make them pay you more for each thing you do."

She was smart about incrementally selling herself on the way to stardom, and, having got there, has been equally savvy about what she does and does not need to do. There is relatively little tape of Jameson out there. In more than a decade in the industry, she has shot fewer than 50 films (which are, of course, relentlessly recut into new DVDs). These days, she makes only one or two movies a year, usually appearing in only a couple of scenes. "I feel like I've evolved into this different person," says Jameson. "I feel weird doing a sex scene with my husband in front of people. I don't even crave the girl-girl stuff anymore. The fact is... I don't want to be butt-naked in front of 30 people anymore."

Part of why Jameson doesn't want to do porn anymore is Grdina. She is utterly devoted to him, the way one might be to a puppy love. All over the house are collages that she made for him, hotel-room keys and feathers glued to sayings about falling in love cut out from magazines - silly ones, such as "Boyfriends cop a feel before the elevator door opens", and serious ones, like, "It was no accident: you were sent from heaven to take my bad dreams away and let me love again." One doesn't quite fit: "He who angers you conquers you." "Yeah," says Jameson. "Anger is powerful."

With Grdina around, Jameson has been tamed, for the most part. A lot of her continued success as a brand can be attributed to Grdina, whose previous enterprises included health clubs in Japan and owning a studio used by porn filmmakers. Now Jameson is his business, and whether he's looking to guard the love of his life or a valuable asset, he's rather protective. He discourages her from answering the door and doesn't like her to be home alone. He wants to gate their neighbourhood, for safety, and cameras are placed around the house, with an internet feed to his office. Jameson, for her own part, dislikes being recognised, and finds the gaping Starbucks barista and lascivious garage attendant so unendurable that she no longer runs errands. Jameson, in fact, is a very anxious person.

Today, Jameson is at home shooting photos for her website, ClubJenna.com, but even the effort of posing solo for Grdina, who is taking the pictures, seems to exhaust her. In her walk-in wardrobe, stuffed with brightly coloured furs and sequinned handbags and bearing a little sign on one vanity case that reads "queen of everything", she tries to be chipper. Naked under a fur coat, she selects different co-ordinated bras and panties, lifting a pair of black underwear with rhinestone trim to see how they're holding up - they got a workout in Briana Loves Jenna and are a bit frayed. "Whatever," she says, and lobs them on to a pile of sparkling costumes. "It's not like anyone's going to be watching my fashion sense."

She takes off the fur coat.

"God," she says. "Do I really have to do this?"

Her body is beautiful. Everything except for her breasts is utterly in proportion, her skin creamy, thighs and bum taut, no blemishes or cellulite. She takes a seat on the bathroom basin, spreading her legs wide, as Grdina lightens the mood with stories about farting from the chicken they had last night, or pretending he's an invalid, or anything he can think of to stop her pouting. Finally, Jameson laughs and flicks her tongue back and forth against the side of her mouth.

The shoot moves into the study. Jameson gets on the floor and arches her naked back against the leg of a huge desk. There's a book on the desk, with her lighter resting in the crease, and someone has circled points on a graph of low post-ovulatory points and progesterone levels. Grdina and Jameson have been trying to start a family, and it's not going well. She's had tests and the doctors say there's nothing wrong, but she's worried: she and Grdina have never used birth control and she's never got pregnant, so what does that mean? She's reading books such as The Infertility Cure and Pregnant Goddesshood, and she's heard about different kinds of herbs that might help. "I really, really want it to happen," she says, her eyes searching mine. "I'm trying to think positive. But sometimes I can't."

It's hard not to see how guilty, how ashamed, Jameson feels about her problems conceiving - did she wait too long? Have too much sex? The baby looms large for her, too, because in her mind it's her way out. And now Jameson is talking about getting the tattoos she got from her first boyfriend lasered off. She wants to cut her hair short, too - it's been a long time since she had short hair, because in adult movies guys want the girls to toss their hair around. She's even planning to take Grdina's name, even though it's "funky-sounding".

"Look: once a porn star, always a porn star, but I won't do porn anymore when I get pregnant," she says. "There is going to come a time when my little girl or boy is going to say, 'Mommy, kids at school are saying you're a porn star.' And I want to be able to say, 'Yes, Mommy was once a porn star, but when you came along, Mommy was no longer a porn star.'" Some couples might get a room ready for the baby; Jameson and Grdina have prepared by putting scenes for 13 movies in the can, so that the Jameson brand will live on and on.

It sucks to get your period in Vegas, but there's not much you can do about it other than take a handful of pain-killers, and so that's what Jameson does. She's in a suite at the Hard Rock Hotel, and a bunch of Grdina's friends are sprawled across the couches drinking beer, as usual, and watching a video they made earlier of one of them in a shop, clad only in his underwear. They keep pointing at the screen and laughing at the other customers trying to ignore him; every time one of them hollers out, Jameson gets more tense, pacing the room, then standing by the window taking short, angry puffs on a cigarette. "God, can't you get everyone out of here?" she finally snaps at Grdina. "I'm trying to get ready!"

Grdina looks annoyed; Jameson is fully clothed at the moment, and there is another bedroom that she could easily use to change in. "Chill, baby, chill," he says.

So things are not going great when everyone leaves for the Venetian, where Jameson is throwing a party; she ducks into a VIP banquette and sits back, fuming. A thin, ragged blonde, the girlfriend of a friend, shimmies over in a slinky black dress and perches on her lap; they coo at each other for a moment, but Jameson is again tense. "It's a little uncomfortable: all these girls think that because I'm into girls, I'll be into them," she says.

There's a bodyguard and a rope blocking the banquette, but people keep leaning over. "Do you remember me from that night in New York?" asks a guy with a goatee. "I spent $20,000 on you."

"Um, I think I would remember if you spent $20,000 on me," says Jameson, turning away.

Another man grabs her hand.

"You give me pleasure," he whispers.

"Eww!" she shrieks, cowering. "I'm so over this."

But then a girl comes up to the rope. She's from Sweden, 19, here for just a few days and looking like a porcelain replica of Snow White come to life (in a leather bustier). "Can I kiss you?" she asks.

"Sure," says Jameson, breathing heavily, and takes her face in her hands. Their lips linger on each other's, and when Jameson sits down, she's sexy, blissed out. For the first time, she looks relaxed.

'How To... Make Love Like A Porn Star' is published in the US by Regan Books, priced £15.99

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