Interviews

Ask a Porn Star: Shyla Jennings

October 9, 2015
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Porn whisperer Vera Papisova talks with girl/girl performer Shyla Jennings about psych ward porn and lezzing out.

Shyla Jennings is a girl/girl performer who writes and stars in adult films. In 2014, her lesbian-only performances earned her “All Girl Performer of the Year,” ”Best All Girl Group Sex Scene,” and “Best Girl-on-Girl Sex Scene” at the AVN awards. We once talked about how girl/girl porn is more sophisticated than girl/guy, which may or may not imply that lesbians are more sophisticated than straight men. I also personally love that she has a hot yoga video that I initially thought was just a yoga video to get “that porn star body,” and *spoiler alert* it turned into lesbian sex on a yoga mat.

This year, Shyla stars alongside Slutever favorite Vanessa Veracruz in the new porn noir The Business of Women, in which “a lonely escort is recruited by a powerful businesswoman, and persuaded to leave the call girl life behind and join her empire.” The story comes to us from Girlsway, the production company with the slogan “all girls are lesbians at heart.” LOL. Considering the most popular category of porn watched by all women is lesbian, they kind of have a point there.

I caught up with Shyla and we talked about psych ward porn, shady agents, and how hard it is for porn stars to cross over into mainstream film/TV .

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Vera: What’s the most annoying question you get asked?

Shyla: “When did you lose your virginity?”

What’s your ideal date?

Netflix in bed with my lover.

We’ve talked about how girl-girl porn is more sophisticated than boy-girl, and you said you’ve learned a lot about sex from doing girl-girl scenes, especially with Girlsway. Can you tell me what you’ve learned that you now apply to your personal life?

I entered the adult industry at 18-years-old so, for me personally, everything I was experiencing sexually at that time came from learning from the older women who I worked with on set. For example, India Summer—she’s my co-star in The Business of Women and my first ever on-screen partner. She was someone who made me understand the importance of truly connecting with the person you’re with. Sex is supposed to be an act of two souls coming together and, through the vibrations of love making, becoming one. India really wooed my entire body, taking the time to make each and every part of me feel alive with passion. After working with a woman like that, it’s only natural I would go home to my husband and worship him in that same manner. 

You’re currently writing a porn script inspired by Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted. Who or what are your biggest inspirations for writing? 

I find inspiration for writing in all things I do, especially in my regular daily routine. For example, I could be on a train watching a couple embrace and a story would come to me as I start to wonder about them: who they are, what their day was like … Maybe they are on their second date and on the way to the theatre? Or perhaps they’re having an affair and running away together? That’s the fun part about writing stories – anything goes! Besides my everyday life, I find inspiration in movies I love, authors I’ve read, or the occasional beautiful actress I’m reading a biography on. Robert Frost, Grace Kelly, Stevie Nicks, and Focus Feature Films to name a few. 

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“Sex is supposed to be an act of two souls coming together and, through the vibrations of love making, becoming one. India really wooed my entire body, taking the time to make each and every part of me feel alive with passion.”

 

There are some people who would be offended by the idea of mentally ill characters in porn. Why shouldn’t they be offended? 

I’ll answer this with a challenging question! Were you offended while watching the mainstream films Girl Interrupted or The Virgin Suicides? Probably not, and if you were, chances are you’re still living under a rock and it’s 1955! My point is, I’m writing fiction – stories about complex characters experiencing real life, dramatic, and sometimes tragic situations.

In real life, people aren’t always perfect. We all have our demons and burdens that we must carry with us.  Our imperfections are what create our experiences. So I find it quite contradictory that, when writers create in-depth characters with twisted outcomes for a LESBIAN ADULT PRODUCTION, they open themselves up to being labeled as offensive. I believe that women having consensual, passionate sex with one another as part of their characters—whether they are mentally ill or not—is not misogynistic, disgusting or ominous. In fact, I only find the people who point fingers and advocate hate or ignorance as the real threat. 

Obviously, I can’t and won’t change everybody’s opinion on the value of great acting and intense realistic stories in adult films, but all I can do is hope that the perceptions of individuals within and outside the porn walls can voice their feelings in a positive light so that we can change our industry for the better.

How hard is it for porn stars to cross over into mainstream TV/film, and is that something that everyone in porn wants to do? 

It’s extremely hard for an adult actress to cross over into mainstream and it’s rarely done, if ever. Once you have performed in an adult film of any kind; whether solo, girl/girl or boy/girl, you’ve already lost the respect of the mainstream entertainment industry. As “liberal” as Hollywood bills itself to be, it’s actually one of the biggest conservatives in the United States. I’m sure there are a lot of adult actors who would want to cross over but, believe it or not, the majority of us love our careers and are perfectly happy acting, writing, and directing in our own little sex driven world. 

What’s something you wish people knew about the industry?

Nothing makes me more mad than when a girl feels like she has no choice but to say yes to something she doesn’t want to do. Some agents will tell girls they HAVE to do a certain scene. They take advantage of new girls who don’t know anyone. You don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to do. If your agent is trying to force you, get another agent. If someone tells you that you won’t get any work in the business just because you say no to something, that’s not true. No one can force you to do anything you don’t want to do.

Vera Papisova is a writer and sometimes standup comedian who writes for Teen Vogue, Yahoo Style and Complex. Read her previous Ask a Porn Star with Vanessa Veracruz here:

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