IN DEEP with Bobbi Starr
With all the chaos, content, and crazy grrls in her life, I was honored when the lovely Bobbi Starr was able to sit down and answer some of my more hard-hitting questions. While she’s participated in many past interviews during her adult career, you have yet to see Bobbi this IN DEEP, personal, and candidly open.
What do you think it takes to be a porn star?
The most important thing anyone needs to bring to the table if they’re going to be an adult performer is to love sex. I know it seems pretty basic and obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t really enjoy sex in this business. Or they start out liking sex, but it just becomes another job.
It really doesn’t matter what kind of sex you like, but it’s important that you bring genuine enthusiasm and passion to your scenes. This can be the best job in the world, but if you’re doing something you don’t want to do, it’s the worst.
What’s the biggest misconception about porn stars, but more specifically, Bobbi Starr?
There’s people who think porn stars are one dimensional creatures — that our lives begin, end and revolve around sex. Granted, porn stars are more sexual than most people. It’s part of the job description. But it’s not the only thing we are.
I could tell you that I trained as a concert oboist and that some people don’t know about that, but I think that there’s some people who only want to think of myself — and other performers in this business — as X-rated automatons. The ones who want to find out more about me will and the ones who don’t, won’t.
You’ve arguably been considered one of the smartest and most business-savvy women in the adult industry. What do you think has contributed to this?
I got into the industry a little later than a lot of women in this business. I’ve held down other jobs, went to school and got my music degree before getting into porn. There’s a lot of girls, and there seems to be more every year, that get into this business when they’re 18 or 19.
Legally, sure they’re old enough to come into this business but there’s not much life experience there. Young girls tend to make the stupid mistakes, but the difference here is that they have a lot more money to make those mistakes. Usually the end results are pretty ugly.
I think entering the business in my mid-20s grounded me. I can’t say this is what other people should have done, but I know that I would have been a lot more rowdy and immature for this business if I came in when I was younger.
If you weren’t a porn star, what could you see yourself doing professionally?
I went to music school to be a professional concert oboist and received my degree in music from San Jose State. I was fairly sure this was what I was going to do with my life, but I had a boyfriend who introduced me to porn. It broadened my horizons sexually and it was something I decided to explore.
If I wasn’t doing porn, I’d probably still be playing the oboe.
What are your favorite things about the adult industry, and if you had the opportunity, what would you like to change?
The porn industry is one of the last bastions of professional libertarianism. Everyone thinks they have the right idea when it comes to sex and this isn’t something you can legislate or regulate, despite what some outside forces are trying to do. In most other jobs, individuality is quashed and you’re forced to become a drone for eight hours a day. I can choose who I work with and what I want to do. That’s what I appreciate in this business.
Is it ever strange to watch yourself having sex?
At first, yes. I’d like to think I got over it quickly but that’s not the case. I attribute this to my background in musical performance and constant critiquing I’d get and that I’d have to listen to performances over and over again.
That being said, it’s just not the easiest thing to look at yourself naked, let alone having sex. There’s some people I know who’ve never watched their scenes.
You’ve made such a presence for yourself in the business. Could you see yourself being a Nina Hartley and continuing your adult career for many years to come?
I originally planned on being in this business for a few years. But I found there were so many other levels to this business. Now I’m directing and producing in addition to performing — keep in mind that if I’d followed my original plan, I’d be out of the industry right now.
I don’t know if my career will have the longevity of Nina’s. If I’ve learned anything from my experience in this industry it’s that sometimes you can’t count on keeping to a plan. But I hope it’ll have the impact that Nina’s career has on this business.
You started out as a submissive and now you’re known for being an extremely talented dominatrix. How was that transition from a sub to a domme and which role do you prefer?
There’s a school of thought that to be a good Dom, you have to be a good sub. Kink was the first producers I shot for and my adult career’s grown and flourished to a large part because of my involvement with Kink and because they keep on asking me to shoot for them.
A lot of inexperienced people think that Domming means a lot of slapping and a lot of yelling. What I learned as a sub was that the best Doms rarely yell. They rarely slap people around to get their point across. They get into your heads and play little mind games with the carrot of an orgasm and with the stick of masochism.
I can’t tell you which I prefer. The Dom does a lot more work than the sub, but the sub does have to endure a lot of pain to receive any kind of pleasure.
How has your experience been working at Kink.com? Have you had any remarkably memorable moments since you started?
Kink’s a great producer to work for, and I speak as a performer and as a director. They’re all very passionate about quality fetish content. Behind the scenes they’re very careful with the talent, and make sure they don’t go in over their heads.
How would you describe the type of movies you personally create and direct? What do you think sets them a part from all other adult content?
The biggest problem I had was that so much of what was being made was cookie-cutter content. There’s a few companies like Evil Angel that encourages their directors to take chances and lets their creativity flourish — but there are many more companies that would rather you stick to a formula as to what works.
I’m lucky in that Evil Angel picked me up as a director and supported me. I wanted to shoot scenes from a woman’s point of view and the owner of the company, John Stagliano, encouraged me while pretty much everyone else in the industry told me it was something no one would buy.
I wanted to shoot porn that I wanted to see. I’m not saying it’s porn for women, but it’s the sort of stuff, with attention to sets, hot sex and female-friendly scenes, that I wasn’t seeing.
There’s clearly an ongoing debate around the way women are depicted in porn and many say that the medium itself degrades women. As a female, a feminist, and an adult star (triple threat!), what are your thoughts on this issue?
Feminism is about women taking control of their own destinies. Your body, your sexuality and your orgasm are the fundamental elements of that control. I don’t see how anyone can deny sex. Making people feel ashamed of their bodies and intercourse have been elements of institutional sexism that’s been in place by men who want to keep women insecure. By taking back our bodies, showing them on our own terms and enjoying porn, we make our physical needs and desires as important as the physical needs and desires of men.
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