Interview with Melissa Monet - June 7, 2001
Pornstarempire.com: What's a nice girl like you writing reviews and articles for Adult DVD Empire.
Melissa Monet: Oh, well...I need to make a living, which of course, you know how that goes! And I need to be able to have my spare time and my free time because I'm looking to build a house!
Q: You're living in Los Angeles right now?
Melissa Monet: Yes, West LA.
Q: How long have you been living there?
Melissa Monet: It'll be seven years in July.
Q: Moved from New York City?
Melissa Monet: No, I moved here up from Hawaii.
Q: Okay...I did a little research, and I understand were born on July 16, 1964 and that you were born in New York City...
Melissa Monet: Yep.
Q: Did you grow up there?
Melissa Monet: I did. I came to California once when I was 17 years old for awhile. I moved back, and I lived there until I was 29. I went to high school, I didn't go to college.
Q: I thought maybe you had a degree in film or something, especially considering all the work you've done for the medium in front of and behind the cameras.
Melissa Monet: I did one documentary [Porn: It's a Living]. I've done quite a few porn features as both a producer and a director. I've done two movies that have been on Cinemax, one film that is premiering on Showtime sometime this year. One is called Sexually Bewitched, and the other is called Sin in the City and both are adult oriented films.
Q: Your documentary, Porn: It's A Living was made in 1998...but I can't seem to find it's release [onto home video]!
Melissa Monet: I don't know if it ever will be. I don't know what they're doing with it. We made the movie to show the dichotomy of the industry, their opinions, how things have progressed. Everybody was wonderful. We had the best time! Sometimes documentaries take a really long time to come out...
Q: Were there any adult actors or actresses in the mainstream films?
Melissa Monet: There were adult actors and actresses in the film. It's softcore. Veronica Hart did an acting role in Sin in The City...
Q: Veronica Hart, who is a director at VCA...have you seen any of her movies?
Melissa Monet: Oh, yes!
Q: Do you still stay in touch with the adult community even though you've moved on to more of the mainstream?
Melissa Monet: Of course! That's like saying, "oh, you've got a new job so you've left all your friends behind!" [laughter]
Q: Well, before you started doing porn, at about age 30, your background was in finance, correct?
Melissa Monet: I started out in back offices for a large mutual fund company in New York. I've never had a corporate job in California.
Q: How many years did you live in Hawaii?
Melissa Monet: Under a year. I loved it there! I loved the food, I loved the people,. I loved the culture I loved the land!
Q: Living in so many cosmopolitan cities, you probably couldn't see yourself living in a small town?
Melissa Monet: I think people take for granted that even the smallest state has a so much to offer, there's so much to be a part of. If you can make friends easily, you can live anywhere!
Q: What did you do after Hawaii?
Melissa Monet: I came out here about a week or two before my 30th birthday, and that's when I met Jim South and I moved here to stay in porn.
Q: That's Jim South the adult agent at World Modeling Agency?
Melissa Monet: Yes.
Q: Previous to that time, were you involved in adult entertainment?
Melissa Monet: I was a sex surrogate when I was 19, and what I did was...for lack of a better term...a "hands-on sex therapist"
Q: Just hands?
Melissa Monet: No, it's not a literal term...
Q: I know, I was just kidding...I can imagine what a sex surrogate is all about, but I want to know if what I'm imagining is correct...
Melissa Monet: I would help men with their sexual problems, and women too.
Q: Was it a dirty place?
Melissa Monet: No, it was very clinical, like a doctor's office, I went there like you would a real job, 9-5...it was a living.
Q: You continued to that for how long?
Melissa Monet: About eight months to a year.
Q: What else did you do involving sexual practices?
Melissa Monet: I was a madam for awhile.
Q: Is that right?!?!
Melissa Monet: Yeah, but that's all I want to say about that...I don't want to talk about the years, because the IRS loves shit like that!
Q: Let's move right along to talking about meeting Jim South. How did that happen? Did you respond to an advertisement?
Melissa Monet: My friend who was with me at the time...he saw an ad when we were visiting here. He wasn't my boyfriend, just a friend, at the time anyway. I was coming back from Florida and he was on his way back from New York and we hooked up in LA for a few days. And he was looking through an LA Weekly and saw the ad for Jim South's office and said, "Hey! I've really always wanted to do that!" [audition for adult movies]. And I said, "You can't do that!" And he goes, "Why not?" But I really didn't want to tell him why! Then we went to Jim's office and they tell the guys to go in the back, take off their clothes and get a hard-on. They take a Polaroid of you with your dick hard. And they couldn't find his dick when they took the picture!
Q: Umm...was he just nervous?
Melissa Monet: No, they couldn't find his dick because there wasn't much there to look for!
Q: Was that the first time you saw him naked?
Melissa Monet: No...but I knew that he shouldn't have tried to become a porn star with a two-inch dick?
Q: Is that what they look out for? Not just if you can sustain a hard-on, but how many inches it is?
Melissa Monet: Well, it helps to have a dick [laughter]. It's one thing to have a small penis. There are men in the business which have average penises. But nobody wants to see a guy with...you can't! You can't get the camera in there to see the penetration!
Q: Poor guy...so his audition didn't work out too well.
Melissa Monet: No, it did not. They said, "sorry, we have no work for you" and then they turned around to me and said, "but if you like, you could work!"
Q: And what were you thinking at that time?
Melissa Monet: What the hell? What have I got to lose? I was going to be 30 years old in a week! What was the big deal?
Q: How did you audition for that sort of thing?
Melissa Monet: A woman doesn't have to audition.. They took pictures of me. I was actually in pretty good shape at the time, because all I did was walk on the beach and surf!
Q: Of course! I've seen your movies...you're gorgeous!
Melissa Monet: Thank you!
Q: How long was it between the audition to the first time you performed on camera?
Melissa Monet: Three days, which is how long it used to take to get your AIDS test.
Q: When you went for your first movie, do you remember who you were paired with and the name of the movie?
Melissa Monet: The name of the movie was "Woman on Fire" and it took forever for that movie to come out.
Q: Do you remember who the actors were?
Melissa Monet: There were two of them. A thin little brunette- Chanel...and I can't remember the stage name this guy used. I can remember his real name.
Q: Is this actor still in porn?
Melissa Monet: No he is not.
Q: And how did the scene go?
Melissa Monet: It went okay. It was more funny to me than it was anything else. Neither one of them was the most attractive people to me. I mean, they were okay! But they weren't people I would pick on a regular basis. But I didn't know you could pick who you want at that time!
Q: So when you were performing, was that a prerequisite? That you wanted to find your partners attractive, or could you just go through the motions with someone you didn't really...
Melissa Monet: It's not going through the motions with me. I'm able to separate things, so to me, I could still have sex with the ugliest person. I don't know how to explain it. I'm very good at turning off certain things around me! [laughter]
Q: You must have had some training from when you were a sex surrogate years back
Melissa Monet: Yeah, but that's very different. You can make the mind play any trick you want.
Q: So did this film come out?
Melissa Monet: Yeah, it came out...
Q: I don't think that's on DVD. As far as I know, about fourteen of your titles have been released on DVD. You were in the Pussyman series, which is being released one-by-one by Digital Playground...
Melissa Monet: Yeah, I was in Pussyman 8 and 13 and some of the compilations.
Q: Some of them haven't yet made their way to DVD, but fans will be looking out for them. Were you ever with a girl before Chanel?
Melissa Monet: Oh, yeah! My first experience was when I was 19! There was this woman, she was a lot older than I was. Not that she was old, she was younger than I am now. It was okay, it was fun!
Q: Was that the first time you ever wanted to do it with a girl?
Melissa Monet: Oh, no! I had been wanting to do it for years and years!
Q: And was this something you were doing regularly before porn?
Melissa Monet: Yes!
Q: In fact, in a lot of your movies, you've done a lot of lesbian scenes. Any favorites?
Melissa Monet: I really like working with Jill Kelly. I really liked working with Careena Collins, even though our scenes were more S&M kind of stuff.
Q: Did you like working with Bunny Bleu?
Melissa Monet: Yes, I did a few scenes with her, she's a fabulous person.
Q: Bunny Bleu, whom you did in Kept Women?
Melissa Monet: Yes, I did about three scenes with her over the years.
Q: I don't recall if she is still in the business?
Melissa Monet: No, I don't think she is...
Q: Have you kept in touch with her?
Melissa Monet: No, I have not spoken with her in quite some time.
Q: But Jill Kelly, of course, is still going strong! She even opened her own production company...
Melissa Monet: Yes! I actually have one of her DVDs here, waiting for me to review!
Q: How about male actors? Anybody memorable in your mind?
Melissa Monet: Probably. I did some of my best scenes with Alex Sanders...
Q: Who was also in Kept Women?
Melissa Monet: Yes...but I did a scene in a kitchen in another movie that I can't recall the name, but I did a scene with him which was probably one of our better scenes.
Q: Anyone else?
Melissa Monet: You know what? There's maybe only two actors I didn't really care for that I worked with over the years.
Q: I noticed that you did over a hundred videos...not even including the ones you directed. You also did quite a few S&M videos. Is that a particular hobby of yours?
Melissa Monet: I have always had an interest in S&M since I was pretty young. I get a real kick out of it! It's a lot of fun. Most of the people who enjoy S&M are really great people!
Q: The kind of people you wouldn't expect, or that we stereotype...
Melissa Monet: I think that people in general stereotype. I think I've been in it way too long for me to think anything of anyone other than the fact that they're just good people that are enjoying themselves.
Q: How about the ones that you directed?
Melissa Monet: Most of the stuff I directed was couple-oriented films with story-lines. I think I only directed two or three S&M movies.
Q: When you participate or direct in the bondage or S&M movies, are you frustrated by the fact that you can't be more sexually explicit in them?
Melissa Monet: Yeah, sometimes but I did make one movie with Careena Collins that was distributed by her company that has everything in it. I forgot what they ended up calling it! If anybody is really into some nasty stuff, that's the one to see! I doubt if it's on DVD!
Q: So if it's available, it's probably edited.
Melissa Monet: I believe she distributed it as/is. There is no real law -- I think it's an unspoken law --- I don't think there's an actual law which says you can't have S&M and sex in the same movie.
Q: You're right; there is no actual law. But producers can get scared of obscenity charges, and the adult industry gets harassed enough as it is on minor things.
Melissa Monet: Well, you know how it works. If you're distributing a movie, it's much more difficult to worry about what region it's going to. So if you have everything kind of in code with every region, then it can just go anywhere.
Q: When I was primarily watching porn videos as a fan while you were performing, I noticed that I saw your name begin to go from the acting credits to the non-sex roles and later to having credits behind the camera. Was that a move you wanted to make eventually? To stop performing and start doing things creatively?
Melissa Monet: I knew that I was going to do that after the first week in the business!
Q: Really? Why is that?
Melissa Monet: Because I was 30 years old, and I knew that my shelf-life would not be long!
Q: But when I saw you in videos, you didn't look 30 years old! Not that 30 years old is old at all, but I would not have guessed your age! Is that something the producers or directors mentioned to you?
Melissa Monet: When people found out my age, it made a big deal. They wanted 19-year-old girls. And no matter how hard I tried, I could never be 19 again [laughter]. It's people's perceptions. According to most video companies, people want to see very young, and very new...That's the other problem with this industry. A lot of the girls don't realize that if you're not new, a lot of the girls are going to be overlooked anyway. A lot of the girls have staying power, but let's face it, what's the percentage [of continued success]?
Q: That's true. And another problem is, videotapes don't have the longest shelf life. Some otherwise great scenes or great performances can get lost in the crowd.
Melissa Monet: Because there's 10,000 titles being made a year! Also, I'm not the cookie-cutter girl. I didn't have big fake plastic boobs. I wasn't willing to eat carrot sticks everyday and exercise for fourteen hours. I wasn't willing to do the things that girls have to do to stay in that kind of shape!
Q: And do you find it regrettable that there is pressure to get a boob job, for instance?
Melissa Monet: Well, that's become a society thing, and it's not something that can even be localized here [in the industry]. Everybody wants to get their tits done! I just saw now that they're doing plastic surgery on toes because people feeling that their toes are bad...
Q: My god, we've gone nuts!
Melissa Monet: Yeah, we have gone nuts! [laughter]
Q: So now you've moved away from the front of the camera and gotten behind it. As a producer on a porno set, what do you have to do?
Melissa Monet: They call it a production manager on a porn set. You're not making the [directorial] choices, but you're procuring everything, you're procuring the crew and the location. You're making sure everything runs on time, everyone does their paperwork, everyone gets paid. It's the same job as a line-producer on a real film.
Q: And how did you get into directing? Did you follow any particular director or study film?
Melissa Monet: I'm a big John Frankenheimer fan. He directed The Manchurian Candidate. You're not really afforded the same [privileges] in the film or the porn business unless you really get up there in the upper echelon to do a lot of big budget stuff. I produced two low-budget mainstream features last year that we had only 18 days [to shoot].
Q: And that was for the Spice Network?
Melissa Monet: No, these were real movies [laughter]. They are not out yet.
Q: And is that your goal right now? To stay in the mainstream?
Melissa Monet: I've done a lot of mainstream stuff. It's a lot of fun. I like doing the adult, though. It's very different.
Q: Do you have aspirations to move away from all thing adult? Like doing comedy or drama?
Melissa Monet: I have aspirations of doing all those things. Except, if it doesn't happen, I'm not going to cry over it. And all it is, is just another challenge. But I don't have to leave the adult industry to do that. I don't want to be one of those people who has to turn around and say, "oh, it's porn that fucked me up! Oh, it's all porn's fault that I can't succeed!" I don't want that. I want to say, "hey, I could do a porno today, and mainstream films tomorrow, and then do another porn..." That's what I want to do.
Q: I notice that your transition from performer to producer to director to working in the mainstream has been in a remarkably short amount of time!
Melissa Monet: Yeah, I was very lucky. I was really moving along there. I had a very busy year last year. And this year, I'm just kind of kicking back because I want to build a house.
Q: Your boyfriend now, is he in the industry?
Melissa Monet: Nope. He's not in the industry but he's a very intelligent guy, and like most intelligent people, he's very open-minded.
Q: I assume that when you are writing, it's a creative exercise. Because I did read your review of Kept Women on Adult DVD Empire, and you were very frank with your opinion. You gave an insider's point of view, you were unrestrained in your criticism.
Melissa Monet: It just depends on what I'm writing. I like creative writing. Talking from a journalist point of view, doing on-set pieces, my observations are watching the director and watching the crew. I want to see the truth.
Q: Many of the reviewers on the Empire are long-time fans. But when you watch a DVD you have a unique perspective from your experience.
Melissa Monet: Absolutely, and I told them at Adult DVD Empire that I like to be able to not pull my opnions on things. That I would like to say, "this is the way it is, this is how it is" and if someone's snotty, I'm going to write that they're snotty! [laughter]
Q: I agree. Adult DVD Empire gives me a lot of leeway to speak my mind in my reviews, of course within the limitations of fairness, correctness and good taste, of course. No one should allow insults, or to state wrong facts [but] reviewers get to offer their informed opinion...
Melissa Monet: Oh, of course. Believe me, there is one or two actors out there, if my paths crossed with them again, I would not hesitate to write exactly what I think about them [laugher]. I tell everybody the same thing: I don't know what would have happened to me if I had come into this business at a younger age. I may have fallen into every other pitfall, that all the other kids fall into. It could be drugs, it could be a luggage pimp. It could be a multitude of things. Doing stuff that I normally wouldn't do, like doing a gang-bang, or an anal scene, before I was ready. Doing girl-girl thing if I didn't have a proclivity for it. Or...just things in general that people do! You can't take a kid out of the country and put them in the middle of the city and not expect them to come away completely unfazed. And even though some of these kids didn't come from the backwoods of Arkansas, they might as well have.
Q: Do you have an opinion, then, on what age --- if you could recommend an age --- a girl should begin, or refrain from, entering porn?
Melissa Monet: No, because I've met people 30 years old who have no business being in this industry.
Q: So the age doesn't necessarily correlate with the maturity?
Melissa Monet: It has nothing to do with physical age. [For example] Roxanne Hall when I met her was very young. But she knew what she wanted: she was a very smart girl. I believe she was 18 and she's a very savvy girl. In her case, she knew what she wanted and when she was done she was done! She was the most likely of all the young girls that I met...that wouldn't do stuff [something she might not otherwise do] it was only an experiment thing. And that's fine. Because you expect people to take the opportunity to experiment. I mean, I did at their age! When I did everything, I was of the age. It was that era. I did coke in the coke era and acid in the acid era and smoked pot in the pot era [laughter].
Q: Sure! We all become accustomed to our times and surroundings!
Melissa Monet: But the thing is, I did that stuff so very young, that by the time I was 23, I didn't even smoke cigarettes anymore...along with everything else!
Q: Speaking of Roxanne Hall, she did do a few videos with Max Hardcore. Do you have any feelings about his type of aggressive porn?
Melissa Monet: Well, if you make a conscious decision to do it, then you're doing it! I know a lot of girls who worked with Max Hardcore and never had a problem with him. If a girl goes in there and speaks her mind, then he won't take advantage of that.
Q: You mentioned anal, there is at least one video out there [While You Were Dreaming] which states that you did an anal scene?
Melissa Monet: No, I never did. I know they [the studio] said that, but I did not.
Q: And is that something you resisted while performing?
Melissa Monet: I performed anal on a few men...but none of them did it to me [laughter].
Q: How about in your private life?
Melissa Monet: I just did it for the first time in a very long time...
Q: With your special guy [the boyfriend] I guess?
Melissa Monet: Yeah [laughter].
Q: How about a website?
Melissa Monet: It's not finished yet. It will be soon MelissaMonet.net
Q: Since you first entered porn, was there any particular crisis or hardships you endured while in the industry?
Melissa Monet: Yeah. A personal one, but nothing I didn't survive.
Q: Care to talk about it?
Melissa Monet: Naah...It's so over and done with, it's not worth it!
Q: Fair enough. How about telling us about your ideal guy
Melissa Monet: I like them tall, dark and handsome [laughter]. Really intelligent and a great sense of humor!
Q: For those who haven't seen you on video, or yet looked at your Pornstar Empire pictures, are you Italian?
Melissa Monet: Half, yes!
Q: What does Melissa Monet do when she's not exercising her creative mind, or writing reviews for Adult DVD Empire?
Melissa Monet: I'm a beach bum. If I'm not lying on the beach, I'm walking on the beach. And I'm a big animal lover! I spend most of my time with my dogs.
Q: Do you attend porn conventions? Like the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in January of this year?
Melissa Monet: Uh, huh! I sure do!
Q: We should have looked out for you at that time! Adult DVD Empire had a private room exclusively reserved for talent!
Melissa Monet: You wouldn't have seen me...we were only there for a brief time because my boyfriend and I had the flu [laughter].
Q: Do you hope that all the movies you've directed or performed in eventually see a release on DVD?
Melissa Monet: Sure! Anytime you get to see what you've done out there, it's great!
Q: You stated in your review of Kept Women that you were your own worse critic...but do you ever get turned on watching yourself?
Melissa Monet: No! Watching me? In a film? Absolutely not!
Q: Well, I feel something when I watch you, rest assured! Any favorite titles?
Melissa Monet: There's a couple I really enjoyed making. I loved working for David Christopher and Will Divide.
Q: The makers of Pussyman and Rainwoman videos...
Melissa Monet: Yeah, I was Will Divide's production manager for a few of the Rainwoman movies and the earlier Flash Flood series. We just had the best time. I would write some of them, and we'd produce it...it wasn't like working! You're among friends. Even when things go wrong and something disastrous happens...it's kind of fun!
Q: Maybe you and I will fight over who gets to review Pussyman 8 and 13 when they come out on DVD.
Melissa Monet: [laughter] Also Rainwoman 9 and 11. They just sent me Bad Girls 3.
Q: Oh, and you were in that title under Vivid Video.
Melissa Monet: Yes, I was.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the future? Family? Kids? More pets?
Melissa Monet: I don't know if we're going to have children. I would probably adopt at some point. The doggies? Yeah, if we get a big enough house with a big enough yard, we're going to get lots and lots of doggies! I have a pitbull and a husky Doberman mix! My pitbull is best doggie friends with Madelyn Knight's rottweiler she also has a Chihuahua mix that's just great!
Q: A lot of your friends are mainly in the porn industry?
Melissa Monet: Well, Madelyn Knight and I were friends before and I'm friendly with a lot of people in the porn business, but most of my friends have been my friends for over 20 years.
Q: From Hawaii?
Melissa Monet: No, from New York! Actually, I've known Madelyn since she was a teenager.
Q: Have you done scenes together?
Melissa Monet: We did a few, but I just recently did something for her website...
Q: Is this one of those streaming videos, where you pay money to see what's going on?
Melissa Monet: Uh, huh!
Q: Well, maybe I'll whip out my credit card later and get a more intimate look at you.
Melissa Monet: [laughter] That's on her website, and we also did a Fat Dog movie, umm...
Q: Is that A Girl's Affair?
Melissa Monet: Yeah! A Girl's Affair...god knows what number!
Q: Yeah, they're in the millions by now.
Melissa Monet: Yeah, one of those.
Q: Well, I guess that's it for now. Welcome aboard Adult DVD Empire...
Melissa Monet: Welcome aboard to you, too! I know that I think I'm your first interview, right?
Q: First real interview, yes, you are! And someday I'll get it right and talk to you in a few more months and get an update on you!
Melissa Monet: Okay, then I'll talk to you soon!
|birthplace:||New York City, New York|
|born:||July 16 (Cancer)|
|height:||5 ft. 1 in.|
|measurements:||34D - 24" - 34"|
My adult career began in July of 1994, starting out as an actress I appeared in over 100 adult movies, DVDs and CD-ROM games. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest names in porn and have proved that I can out fuck the best of them. I have starred in many hardcore features and S&M videos that I am extremely proud of. In the fall of 1994, I wrote, produced and directed one of the first CD-ROM games made specifically for the adult market which was nominated for 5 AVN awards in 1995. I subsequently went on to write and produce movies and CD-Rom games for the next two years before I broke into directing on a more frequent basis. I was nominated by AVN for best screenplay for a comedy in 1997 and all of the CD-ROM games I have written have been nominated for AVN awards from 1995-1996. I am also featured in my own comic book, which has gone on to spawn a sequel, and two spin offs. In 1997, I became the person to produce and direct movies made exclusively for the Spice Channel and I have directed half the movies the Spice Network had produces. I have completed a mainstream documentary on the people in the adult industry titles, "Porn. It's a Living" and have directed two mainstream films now airing on Cinemax and one film airing soon on Showtime. I have also produced two 35mm independent feature length films. Although my pre-porn background is strong in finance, I looked for a more creative avenue, finding it in the entertainment industry where I continue to grow and prosper. I am currently writing for several magazines including Hustler and Looking Glass, a swingers magazine where I have my own super nasty column. I am also working toward the completion of my first novel based on my eighteen-year foray into the sex industry. Currently, I am proud to be writing feature articles, reviews and on-the set reports for Adult DVD Empire and it's sister site, Pornstar Empire!