Jenna Jameson’s Forbidden Desires
Can the world’s biggest porn star go mainstream?
By VANESSA GRIGORIADIS
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 Web site, 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 thirty years old, she still has the look of a slutty cheerleader, with a thick blond 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 minimansion decorated in the mix of suburban and gothic so often favored 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 movies, co-proprietor of her production company and Web site, and her only male onscreen 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 box covers of Jameson’s videos sometimes 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 HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and even romantically linked to Britney Spears’ in one tabloid-sparked rumor, something they both deny (“I wish,” Jameson says). Jameson owes a lot of her success to Howard Stern, who booked her constantly in the mid-Nineties and cast her in 1997’s Private Parts — she played the role of Stern’s first naked female guest. Since then, she has appeared in ads for Pony and Abercrombie & Fitch, hosted Wild On!, taped a voice-over for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, shown up in videos for Eminem and Korn, and starred in her own E! True Hollywood Story. She has never gone completely mainstream. “I’m so unaffected by the whole friggin’ Hollywood scene — give me the job or shut the fuck 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 in Montana 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 dick (surprisingly large, though she never spied it unsheathed).
Sex was an outlet for Jameson’s pent-up fury at her unfortunate childhood — her mother, a showgirl, died when she was three; Dad tried but was emotionally distant.
Offscreen, she puts the number of women that she’s 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 bisexual 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 sixteen, Jameson, who was born in Las Vegas as Jenna Marie Massoli (she chose Jameson because she liked the brand of whiskey), 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 at Crazy Horse Too. She was also raped by a relative of his. A nudie-magazine scout discovered her at the Crazy Horse, but 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. In my day you hardly had to have sex, let alone two dicks up your ass.”
As smart as Jameson was about incrementally selling herself on the way to stardom, since she got there she has been very 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 less than fifty films (which are, of course, relentlessly recut into new DVDs). These days, she makes only one or two movies a year, and they usually feature her in only a couple scenes. “I feel like I’ve evolved into this different person,” says Jameson. “I feel weird doing a sex scene in front of people with my husband. I don’t even crave the girl-girl stuff anymore. The fact is, I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to be butt-naked in front of thirty 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 framed collages that she made for him, hotel room keys and feathers glued to a construction board alongside 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 Jameson’s continued success as a brand can be attributed to Grdina, whose previous enterprises included health clubs in Japan, owning a studio used by porn filmmakers and buying every permutation of phone numbers one could misdial when calling 1-800-CALL-ATT. Now Jameson is his business, and whether he’s looking to guard the love of his life or a valuable asset, he’s quite overprotective. He discourages her from answering the door herself and doesn’t like her to be home alone; and when she is, he’ll send an assistant to play video games in the family room. He wants to gate their neighborhood, for safety, and cameras are strategically placed around the house, with an Internet feed to his office. Jameson also dislikes being recognized, and she finds the gaping Starbucks barista and lascivious gas guy so unendurable that she no longer runs errands. Jameson, in fact, is a very anxious person. She does not like going out in public much these days unless she’s promoting something, and in Scottsdale she rarely leaves the house, except to go to a few sushi restaurants; see her horse, which is stabled nearby; and hit one particular tanning salon.
Today, Jameson is even shooting at her house. She’s scheduled four photo sets for her Web site, ClubJenna.com, but even the effort of posing solo for Grdina, who is taking the shots, seems to exhaust her. In her walk-in closet, stuffed with brightly colored furs and sequined handbags and bearing a little sign on one vanity that reads queen of everything, she tries to be chipper. Naked under a fur coat, she selects different coordinated bras and panties, lifting a pair of black underwear with rhinestone trim up to the light to see how they’re holding up – they got a workout in Briana Loves Jenna and are a little frayed. “Whatever,” she says, and lobs them into a small 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 really beautiful. Everything except for her breasts is utterly in proportion, her skin creamy, thighs and ass taut, no evident blemishes or cellulite. She takes a seat on the bathroom sink, spreading her legs wide and showing pink, as Grdina lightens the mood with stories about farting from some chicken they had last night, or pretending he’s an invalid using the Clapper, or anything he can think of to make her stop pouting. “Oh, yeah, look at those shoes,” says Grdina. “Those are hot, baby. You’re going to come home later, and they’re going to be a little bit tighter, ’cause I’m going to have had some fun with them.” Jameson finally laughs and flicks her tongue against the side of her mouth back and forth.
The shoot moves into the den, and Jameson gets on the floor and arches her naked back against the leg of a massive wooden desk. There’s a book on the desk, with her purple 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 been through a battery of tests at a hospital, and the doctors say there’s nothing wrong, but she’s worried: She and Grdina have never used birth control, and she’s never gotten pregnant before, 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 out. “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 just how guilty, just how ashamed, Jameson feels about her problems getting pregnant — did she wait too long? Fuck too much? 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, the tattoo artist, lasered off. She wants to cut her hair short, too — it’s been so long since she had short hair, because in adult movies guys want the girls to toss their hair around. Jameson and Grdina recently spent two weeks in Costa Rica and loved it so much they bought a house there. She’s even planning to take Grdina’s last name officially, 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,” says Jameson. “There is going to come a time when my little girl or boy is going to look up at me and say, ‘Mommy, kids at school are saying you are 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 thirteen 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 Motrin, and so that’s what Jameson does. She’s in a two-bedroom suite at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and a bunch of Grdina’s friends are sprawled across the horseshoe-shaped couches drinking beer, as usual, and watching a video they made earlier of one of them downstairs in the sundries shop, clad only in his underwear. They keep pointing at the screen and laughing at the other customers trying to ignore him and buy sodas in peace; every time one of them hollers out, Jameson gets more and 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! I could have a tampon string hanging out or something!”
Grdina looks annoyed; Jameson is fully clothed at the moment, and there is a bedroom to change in nearby that she could use easily.
“Chill, baby, chill,” he says.
So things are not going great when everyone leaves for the Venetian hotel and casino, where Jameson is throwing a party tonight; 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. “It’s, like, ‘Good for you, but don’t put a finger up my ass.’ ”
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, nineteen, just here for 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.
Jenna Jameson’s Forbidden Desires