Joanna Angel Interview

With bestsellers both as a performer and as a director, Joanna Angel‘s successes speak for themselves. She also founded the famous Burning Angel porn studio in 2002. We were lucky enough to be able to chat with Joanna about her career achievements, life with pornstar husband Small Hands, and much more! Check out this new Joanna Angel interview, exclusive to the Adult Empire Blog!

You’ve certainly achieved a lot in your career – performer, producer, director, and writer – would you rather be in front or behind the camera and why?

When I *just* have to go to set and fuck (which is very rare. I am usually producing and directing while I am talent however, lately, I’ve done a few scenes for other companies) it oddly feels like a vacation for me. But when a product comes out that is well received that I funded and created with my own blood sweat and tears, it’s a completely different feeling of accomplishment. In all honesty I am just thankful to be part of this industry for as long as I have been and I am happy to be on any side of the camera. It all has it’s own different kinds of perks and I love all of it in different ways.

How many tattoos do you currently have?

Ha! I don’t really know! Counting tattoos is like counting the amount of people you sleep with. The first few are so precious and then you just kind of lose count and they all start to blend together!

What’s it like being married to a male performer (Small Hands)?

After a messy breakup with another male performer I spent the first half of my career with, I told myself I would never ever date another male performer. And then I fell in love with a wonderful man who was not a male performer… and two years later I turned him into a male performer. So clearly it just makes sense for the way my life is to have the other person in my life be a performer. I think when you are a performer and you date/marry another performer it has its own unique set of benefits and complications. When you date someone outside the industry it also has its own ups and downs as well. When you find the person you are meant to be with, making a relationship work doesn’t feel like work. It just makes sense! I am married to the person I was meant to spend the rest of my life with and he happens to be a male performer. If his job happened to change, we would still be just as much in love as we are now. But with us both being in the same line of work we don’t have to defend or over explain our days on set as some kind of infidelity. We can talk about them as regular days of work which is something the world outside of porn doesn’t quite understand.

Do you and Small Hands ever watch each other’s movies?

Small Hands has to edit all my movies, so he has to watch every last second of mine. And some of the time I am directing Small Hands in scenes so I am certainly watching them as well! However, if you mean in the more recreational sense, occasionally I will watch some of his trailers that other studios put out and my reaction most often is to pause the scene, take a screen shot of a ridiculous face he is making, enlarge it and giggle.

Tell us about Burning Angel. How did the idea come about?

The short version of the story is that in 2002 when I was a senior in college at Rutgers University, my roommate and I had this idea to start a porn site. And… we did. The idea came from a bunch of other ideas, most of them stemming from not wanting to get a “real job” (even though this is most certainly my real job). With a punk DIY spirit we wanted to start something ourselves and not work for ‘the man.’ I was sexually awkward and was looking for a way to shout my inner slut out to the world, and my roommate knew a little bit about computer programming and he jerked off to a lot of porn. This cauldron of thoughts combined with the powers of the internet created BurningAngel.

Who are your favorite stars to work with?

Everyone I have ever hired/worked with is my favorite!

Congrats on the release of your book, Night Shift! How did you come up with the “Choose your own erotic fantasy” idea?

I was actually approached by Cleiss Press to write a choose your own adventure erotic novel, after they saw my writing in Asa Akira‘s Asarotica. I actually did go to college for writing! All the porno scripts I have written over the years is close to writing erotica as you can imagine, so I’ve had formal and informal training in the field of writing. I wish I could take the credit for coming up with the format myself but I did not. However they are the publishing experts and I am not, so it made sense. I did however come up with the concept and I chose to write a story about a girl that works at a porn store. That gave me the ability to incorporate fictionalized versions a lot of people I’ve met over the years – both fans, and other peers in the industry. The theme also complimented the format because so many different types of people come into adult stores, and each person led to its own adventure. Writing this book was very special to me, I truly enjoyed writing fiction and I got very attached to the world and the characters I created.

Who is your favorite author?

That’s a tough one. David Sedaris, Kurt Vonnegut, and well… my favorite sex-educator/author is Tristan Taormino.

Do you plan on writing more books in the future?

Yes! I do.

What’s your advice for couples trying to incorporate porn-watching as a way to spice up their sex lives?

While it’s a fun activity for couples to watch porn together I think it’s important for women to also watch porn alone and see what really turns them on without the influence of a partner telling them what porn they want them to watch, which I think tends to happen a lot. But also, I do tell couples to use porn as a fantasy or a helpful tool to get the wheels turning in your head and inspire your own adventures at home. Don’t just try to mimic everything you see on film. That’s not our intention as performers or creators. Just watch the porn, get horny, and see what happens!

It’s an unfortunate reality that roles for mainstream female actors diminish once they’ve reached 35 or 40. Do you find it to be the same in porn?

If you look at the top 50 porn stars right now there’s at lest 10 that I can think of off the top of my head that are over the age of 35. Hell, the most popular porn star in existence right now is Stormy Daniels, and she is certainly not a girl next door teen. I think everyone’s career is different and everyone ages differently as well so this really varies from person to person, Also these days performers don’t need roles from studios as much as they used to, so even if they aren’t getting booked for traditional mainstream porn work they can still have a long career in porn. I can’t speak for everyone but I’m 37 and I feel like I’m doing better than ever so… I don’t agree with your assumption here!

What is your take on the media’s coverage of the Stormy Daniels controversy?

I honestly wasn’t expecting the media to go into such a frenzy over this but they are, and I think Stormy is handling it very tactfully and wisely. It’s been entertaining to watch to say the least, and since I do come from a whole family of staunch Democrats they are all very impressed with the fact that I am friends with Stormy and they constantly give me messages of encouragement to pass on to her. This controversy has oddly helped make some of the members of my family who were squeamish with my career have more respect for it.

Of the numerous industry awards you’ve received, which is the one you are most proud of?

I think I will always go back to being most proud of my very first one! In 2005, Most Outrageous Sex Scene with Tommy Pistol in the movie Re-Penetrator. It was a movie I produced myself with money I made working at a strip club at the time! BurningAngel was a brand new studio (if you even wanna call it that, we had a catalogue of 2 movies!) and our scene had beat many other scenes from big studios with well established performers. It was a real life changing moment for me and I kept moving forward since then and haven’t looked back.

How did the idea of getting into whiskey come about?

For obvious reasons, with the state of the industry, and the fact that I am approaching the age of 40, I knew it was smart to branch out! When I first met Small Hands he was a bartender – a “Mixologist” which is the upper tier of bartenders who study alcohol in such an intense way you forget that it’s a liquid that is supposed to get you drunk! I remember (or… vaguely remember… because I was drunk) one night when he was telling me about the different types of whiskeys he likes and why. What he liked and disliked about the tastes and after-tastes of each one and what kinds of barrels and stuff they were distilled in. I told him ‘you should really make your own!’ He said he would love to. I did the research and figured out the means to turn this pipe-dream into a reality.

What are the differences between setting up and building a brand in the alcohol industry vs. the adult industry?

I am still learning about the alcohol industry and quite frankly I don’t know much about it but I think with making any product or building any brand, you need to create something quality that you stand behind and then just put it out to the masses in any way you possibly can.

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