by Robin Perez
SexHerald: Whatís your one wish for the adult industry in 2009?
Nica Noelle: Thatís easy! I would like the industry to become more legitimized as a true art form, and I would like the performers and the directors and writers to elevate our industry to a higher standard. I do believe erotic films are†an art form, and I think thereís a lot of snickering and giggling when you say that, but it truly is when itís done right and the performers are enjoying themselves. †When everyone involved is approaching it as an art form, itís amazing what you can do.
SH: You described it on your blog as a stigma but a stigma that you feel comfortable carrying. Do you still feel that way?
Noelle: I do. Anybody who has ever changed anything in the world has not been afraid to have to deal with stigma; perhaps be an outcast for a little while or shake things up and not be very popular. For whatever reason, some of us feel more comfortable in that role. Some people take the conventional route because they couldnít stand to be looked at that way. But I like to have dialogue with people about why they feel the way they do about the adult industry. Iím comfortable carrying this stigma. It doesnít mean I donít think it shouldnít be done away with but Iím comfortable with it.
SH: Whatís one Christmas gift you have for Sweetheart Video?
Noelle: I want Sweetheart Video to keep growing the way itís been growing. I have so many ideas and things i want to make happen in 2009. I would love to see my dream of bringing Victorian lesbian erotica to life. Some of my favorite books are the old victorian erotic novels, like†A Man with a Maid. †I really want to bring that to the little screen next year, and the fans are really excited about the idea. So, just being able to follow my muse and have the fans continue to appreciate what we're doing.†
SH: Do you also want men to watch your movies as well?
Noelle: Absolutely! Most of our fan base is men. Iím not going to lie about that. Our movies are the type of movies women feel very comfortable about and we do have a female following. And of course, couples really love them. But by and large, the number one consumers of porn are men. Thatís changing but it hasnít completely changed. So, of course I think about men and what they want to see. But at the same time, I stay true to my own vision of whatís sexy. I certainly donít do anything that I wouldnít feel comfortable watching or that I feel doesnít accurately represent the way women interact with each other.
I'm branching out this year and we're starting a boy/girl studio. We hope to bring the same sensibility to boy/girl films. Our new studio is called Sweet Sinner Video. My partner is Jonathan Blitt, who also owns Sweetheart Video and our parent company, Mile High Media. Weíve already shot six boy/girl movies, and our first release is slated for March 2009. So Iím very excited to see how that goes because Sweet Sinner is marketed toward women and couples, as well as men that are not totally comfortable with the porn thatís out there right now. Sweet Sinner is for the fans who canít find what they really want to see, which is real passion, real intimacy, real sex.†
SH: Is directing boy/girl scenes much different than directing girl/girl scenes?
Noelle: Itís different in some ways, and not so much in others. Obviously, boys come with their own unique set of issues and potential problems, some of which are just technical. So itís become more important than ever to create a very nurturing, loving set. And to make sure the boys are comfortable. It's my job to make sure the sex is real and the performers really like each other and want to be doing a scene together. The boys have responded very positively. Theyíre just over the moon about what we're doing. They want to work for me all the time because theyíre not used to being allowed to really make love. It sort of breaks my heart because I wonder how theyíre treated most of the time and what they have to go through on most shoots. †It's a bit like in the early days of my girl/girl stuff, what I would hear from the girls is the same type of stuff now weíre now hearing from the boys. Which is, ďWow, I canít believe it. Iíve never done anything like this before.Ē
SH: I know you recently did a scene with Manuel Ferrara. As far as performing with other men, is that in the works?
Noelle: No. Manuel was a special thing for me. I met him at AVN, and like so many women, I was completely speechless. I was under the Manuel Ferrara spell. I hadnít really met any male performers beforeóof course, I have since. But at the time, I didnít know any. He was my first male performer friend in the industry, and I had to do a softcore boy/girl scene in a movie I was filming at the time. So, I asked him if he would do it with me. He was just lovely about it, and he said that he would, but he suggested we just do it hardcore and see how I liked it. [laughs] It was a great experience and I learned a lot, and it was quite different than doing girl/girl obviously. [laughs] Although I loved it, I donít see myself doing boy/girl scenes. Maybe if the situation was very unique or itís a project I really feel strongly about. But in general, Iím pretty true to my girl/girl roots as far as performing goes.
SH: Itís been almost a year since you started Sweetheart Video. How do you feel itís gone so far, and what sort of feedback are you getting?
Noelle: Itís better than I ever could have imagined. Itís a huge success. Our only real competitor is Girlfriends Films, my former studio. Sweetheart rose right to the top. I donít mean to brag [laughs], and Iím not really bragging. Itís more the fans are just so hungry for what weíre giving them. I talk to the fans every day on the Lez Love Forum, and on our own website forum, and I listen closely to what they want so theyíve repaid that effort by buying our movies. Weíre up for four awards at AVN, which is an incredible honor, to be recognized so soon.
SH: Have there been any challenges in running a lesbian studio?
Noelle: There havenít. I love it. I have a great relationship with all of the girls because Iím one of them, so thereís a deep sense of camaraderie. The only problem has to do with the industry itself; some inherent limitations, like being able to produce elaborate scripts with multiple locations. †Or sometimes youíll cast somebody and the week filming starts you find out theyíve left the industry [laughs], so you have to recast. It can put a limit on some of the more elaborate things we might want to do. What Iíve tried to do is get a really dependable, core group of women who love doing girl/girl, who love performing and can do all of the things that are important to our fans: real passion, real intensity and intimacy. Within that little group, weíre doing amazing things. †But thatís sort of the only problemólocation, budget restraints, things like thatójust because thatís the nature of the business.
SH: You can probably answer this question better than most . . . why do you feel itís taken so long for the lesbian market to be recognized by the industry and for movies to be aimed at them?
Noelle: Things go back and forth in society in terms of what's acceptable. There [are] periods of times throughout history and in different cultures where people were more comfortable with homosexuality, both male and female. Lesbianism is interesting in that itís one of the few areas where male fantasy and female fantasy dovetail; where both sexes do fantasize about it. And I think weíre just in a period of time where, for whatever reason, women are feeling more comfortable being bicurious or bisexual, and you certainly see that reflected in mainstream TV and mainstream movies, too. Lesbianism is very popular in our culture right nowóit's not just in porn.
SH: What is it that lesbians want to see in adult movies?
Noelle: Thatís a good question and what Iím going to tell you might not be what a lot of lesbian companies would want me to say. Real lesbians want to see real lesbians. [laughs] So if youíre talking about the real lesbian consumer, for one thing they donít want to see acrylic nails. They donít want to see hair extensions. They donít want to see breast implants. They donít want to see all of that artifice. They want to see women who look like real lesbiansónot necessarily bull dykes, but definitely more androgynous-looking women. They want to see very natural women and even some body hair. And do we provide all of that? No, we donít, because weíre also thinking about men and what men want to see.
The talent pool we have to choose from are primarily the mainstream porn girls that are with adult modeling agencies. So within that pool, we find the most authentic performers we can. But sometimes Iíll recruit someone from the civilian world that I think has an amazing look. I did that with the movie†Angel.†Angel†was a real success with women, but some of my male fan base was like, ďHey, how come the girls arenít pretty?Ē [laughs] They were upset that they werenít the typical beautiful girls that we often have in our movies. So, we are not exactly addressing all of the needs and wants of true lesbians. I think weíre somewhere in the middle. Weíre more authentic and have more natural women than most porn studios, and we depict real lovemaking and intimacy, a lot more than youíll see in most hetero or lesbian productions. But at the end of the day, weíre still basically catering to guys, I think, with what we do. †Men and couples.
SH: You think hetero women or women who consider themselves bisexual want to see the male-produced lesbian stuff?
Noelle: No, no. Women, whether straight or bi, are more comfortable watching our movies because the girls are pretty but they're not inaccessible. They're beautiful but they still look real. And Iíve found that for whatever reason, bi girls tend to have similar sensibilities to men, as far as what looks 'hot' to them. Also, a lot of straight women like to watch lesbian porn, even if they personally identify as straight. †But the difference is, a lot of the things that make women uncomfortable about porn are not present in my movies. The things that make them go ďugh, this is gross,Ē and kill the moodóthat make them think porn is not for them. They feel a lot more comfortable with my movies. Just knowing that itís written by a woman and directed by a woman, I think that makes women more comfortable. They feel like itís a female perspective, which it is.
SH: Which performers do you use often in your films?
Noelle: Elexis Monroe, in my opinion, may be the best girl/girl performer of all time. Elexis is on top of that list, and I use her in practically every movie. Then thereís Samantha Ryan, an absolutely amazing girl/girl performer. Some of the other girls I use on a regular basis are Satine Phoenix; I use Nina Hartley quite a bit. Iíve been using Melissa Monetóshe just came out of semi-retirement and started performing again. I use Michelle Lay a lot. The reason I use the same women over and over again is because not everyone has what we're looking for. Not every woman has it in her as a performer, as a lover and an appreciator of other women, to reveal themselves on camera and have a real orgasm. Not all performers can do it. I look for very specific things, and if the girl canít do it, I donít care how famous she is, I wonít cast her.†
Elexis Monroe is the most natural, most authentic of any girl performer Iíve ever seen. Samantha Ryan is probably one of the top three most beautiful girls Iíve ever seen in porn or anywhereósuch an authentic performer, such a natural and terrific actress. Satine Phoenix is the sexiest woman Iíve ever met. She just oozes sexuality. I have a relationship with her in real life and she is absolutely real. She doesnít put it on for anybodyís benefit. She loves sex, she loves women. She truly enjoys all of her scenes, she savors every moment and that comes across. Stephanie Swift is another girl I use all of the time. She does everything right. Sheís a big-name porn star, but sheís one of the few hardcore, big-name stars who is still completely realójust the most natural performeróand she loves women so much. Sheís right up there with the best of them. So yes, I will use the same girls over and over again because they do what the fans want to see, and they do what I want to see.
I insist the women I work with are at least bi. No gay for pay. [laughs] If the girl says that sheís straight but she can "do a good job faking it" or that she doesnít really like women, then no. I donít care how great of a performer she is, sheís not going to be in my movies.
SH: What are your professional goals for 2009?
Noelle: Well, Iím really excited about Sweet Sinner Video. I want to see that come out strong. Sweetheart is sort of familiar territory and I know what I want to do with Sweetheart this year, but Iím not worried about how itís going to be received because we already have our fans. But with Sweet Sinner, Iím kind of on the edge of my seat. I want it to be a big success and I want to bring the same sensibilities to hetero porn as I have to my girl/girl movies. †We're excited to see if itís something people are ready for. BehindtheSceneswithNicaNoelle
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