Former Porn Star: “Montana Fishburne Is Good For Porn; We Need More Women Of Color”

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We interviewed Jennifer Ketcham about being a former porn star, her sex addiction, her recovery and departure from porn, and her thoughts on Montana’s self-esteem.

But, there is another side to the Montana Fishburne saga. There really aren’t enough black women or black men in the porn industry. Tristan Taormino, a Vivid Entertainment producer, applauds Montana’s decision to get into porn for, well, porn’s sake.

Taormino, a Wesleyan University graduate, author, and self-described anal “sexpert,” and has been featured in media ranging from The New York Times, to Playboy, to HBO’s Real Sex, and Out magazine, among others, and travels the lecture circuit for Ivy League institutions. She says she didn’t need to get into the porn industry just for money alone, but also because she just simply enjoyed sex and wanted to practice it in a safe environment (porn stars are required to get consistent STD testing and can opt to use condoms during filming).

Still, somehow, I don’t quite buy the “I just like to experiment with sex argument.” If that’s the case you can have an nice little orgy at home and call it a day and your mother doesn’t have to hear about it from her male co-workers. But Taormino is insistent that Montana has made a statement for women’s sexuality and here she explains why:

Q. What was your first thought when you heard what Montana Fishburne was going to do?
A. My first thought? We need more women of color in the porn industry, and we need them to get attention and we need them to get paid. No more skinny white debutantes. Vivid acquires these celebrity sex tapes and then there’s all this hub bub in the media and they are offered a multi-picture deal. What I’m impressed with is that she said I am not making porn to have a mainstream career. She said I made porn to get into porn.

Q. Well initially she said she was getting into to porn to get the mainstream success that Kim Kardashian pulled off with her sex tape. Since then she has changed that and said she’s gotten into porn just because she likes sex.
A. There is this new model of modern porn performer, people like Sasha Grey or Belladonna. They represent this generation of women who get into porn as a career, they get in with eyes wide open. It’s not about stumbling off a bus and being coerced into making dirty pictures. They have a mission and they’re walking in with a plan and they see porn as a career choice. This contradicts everything mainstream media wants us to believe about porn stars. Mainstream media wants us to believe that no one wants to be a porn star that people are porn stars to support drug habits, or they have no other choice, or they have low self-esteem, and that’s not the case. And that when a sex tape surfaces they are ashamed. Montana is presenting this other picture, she’s walking through the front door saying, hey, I think I might want to do this and I just say more power to her,  for helping to change the way we view women’s sexuality, for adding her voice to the mix.

There’s a big segment of women in the porn industry who really love sex and love sexual diversity and like to have a lot of sexual partners and they like to do it in a safe environment and those people don’t make it on CNN. I am happy to have Montana Fishburne become a porn star. Welcome.

Q. People say maybe she has Daddy issues, that Laurence Fishburne is narcissistic, that she has low self-esteem..
A. Who among us doesn’t have Daddy issues? Do women in porn have them? Yes. But do women in banking, international relations, people working at Kinkos have Daddy issues? Sure. Our culture is so obsessed with why, why would you do this? Some people think it’s a really fun job, some people like to have a lot of sex and are super jazzed that they get paid to do it. Some people like to explore their sexuality in the porn industry. Again, in a room full of a people where it’s safe, rather than trying to pick up some random person in a bar which is decidedly not as safe as being on a crew with STD testing. Is it a job for everyone? Of course not. Can it be a career that a woman can get into and enjoy it. If you’re picky you’re not gonna be a good porn star.

Q. So you can’t be on the set like, “He’s cute, I want him?”
A. No, you get there and they’re like, ‘Okay, let’s make this work,’ and there are people who can just do that. And those are really good successful performers.

Q. What do you think drives Montana to want to do porn?
A. If she has a passion for sex that’s great. What she needs to add to that is to treat it like a business. I’ll tell you the most respected performers for me, the ones who top the list of who I want to work with are professionals. They show up on time. They have a really good attitude on the set, they deliver scorching performances. And they really are uninhibited and have the ability to draw the viewer in, that makes a good performer. If she can approach it as a business, Let’s be responsible. Let’s return phone calls on time. Let’s show up on the set. Bring the outfit we asked you to bring. That will take you really far, those are some of the women still working years in the business. They have built a reputation on being a professional.

Q. Another argument is that she likely won’t make it to the mainstream via porn..
A. I think these divisions are both getting looser and remaining firmly in place. Once you do porn, it is with you forever. There is still a segment of society that will brand you as a porn star. However we’ve seen people like Sasha Grey and Jenna Jameson and seen them have mainstream appeal. I think it’s more possible now. But, I think what’s important is to do what you love. I appreciate she’s not using this to then turn around and say I’m not in porn anymore, now I’m a respected actress.

Q. Maybe white women can do that but black women will be called all kinds of names for it.

A. Yes, there’s absolutely a double-standard. Like I said if we look at the women who have achieved success via porn, we see Paris Hilton, the blond, blue-eyed white girl, there is a double standard for women of color and I think we need to bust down those walls. I think there are performers of color that have been working their asses off, literally, in the porn industry–Marie Love, Jada Fire–who have been in the industry for quite a long time and are still in it and they are two of the best performers working today. But I think their white counterparts get more attention and I think that needs to change. If Montana wants to take up that torch more power to her, I don’t know if she has that agenda, but certainly the porn industry could only benefit with more women of color. Hands down.

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