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IESB’s Interview With Belladonna

from – Currently one of the most famous women in the adult industry, Belladonna is a performer, director and producer with a company (Belladonna Entertainment) that is among the top of the most popular and best-selling adult production companies in the world.

Since starting out as a stripper at 18, Belladonna has gone on to create one of the most successful female performer websites to date and has appeared at numerous adult shops, strip clubs and adult conventions around the world. While using the Internet to connect on an intimate level with her fans through her website, online forum, radio show and community sites like Twitter, she has gotten much more confident in directing, shooting camera, editing and just being a business owner and operator, and has even started crossing over into mainstream projects, such as James Gunn’s PG Porn.

In this exclusive interview, Belladonna talked to IESB about transitioning from porn star to adult film mogul, and where she sees her career going, in the future.

IESB: How did you get into the adult industry? Were you a fan of porn, or were you just intrigued with the idea of being on camera?

Belladonna: When I was 18 years old, I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I had started doing bachelor parties and a little bit of nude dancing at a club. The girl who introduced me to those things, I had been friends with for awhile, and then she left town. I had lost touch with her, but out of the blue, one day, she called me and said, “I’m in Los Angeles and I’m with an adult agent, and I’m going to start doing some adult work. If you’re interested, let me know because he wants me to refer some girls.”

What I really liked about nude dancing and doing bachelor parties was that it was this new-found sexual attention that I had never seen before, and it felt really nice and I really liked it. So, when she had mentioned that, all these ideas of being a star one day and just feeling special made me think, “I wanna try and see if I can do this.” So, I talked to the agent and flew out the next day.

I had no idea what porn was. I knew porn existed, but I had never really watched movies. I was always raised to believe that it was a bad thing and you don’t do that. I have a lot of tattoos. Back then, I had less, but they were still very prominent, and people were afraid of that. They didn’t know what to do. They were like, “Okay, let’s make her hold this shirt over her tattoo, the whole time.” They’d have me wear certain things or be in certain positions to hide it all, which blew my mind. It sucked, but it definitely isn’t that way today. Now, people always want a picture with me showing my tattoo. When I was 18, I was like, “If people are having sex with me off camera, and I have all these tattoos, then obviously I’m attractive to somebody.”

IESB: When did you realize that this was something you could actually make a career out of?

Belladonna: I started back in 1999, when I was very shy. I wasn’t comfortable in front of the camera and I didn’t really think I was sexy, so all these things were a learning process. And then, when I finally got comfortable on camera, a year and a half later, that’s when it shifted in my mind to, “I’m into this. This is my thing.” Whereas before it was like, “Oh, my God! I don’t know what to do. I’m so nervous.” When it really became an actual career, where I was like, “I’m gonna go somewhere with this,” it was back in 2004.

IESB: Do you ever go back and watch any of your performances?

Belladonna: I actually It’s funny because I watch myself and thing, “Wow, that’s so neat that I can look back and see who I was then.” I was such a different person, just seeing how the things that I did sexually are different than the things I do now, today. It’s fascinating. And now, I edit all my own scenes, so I see myself constantly. Having to always see yourself on camera can be really good and really bad, at times, because you tend to criticize yourself way more than you need to. But, if you look at it in a positive way, you’re only trying to be better.

IESB: How much are you like your on-camera porn star persona in your personal life, and how much of who you are on film is just a persona that you leave on set?

Belladonna: I don’t really feel like there’s a difference. I am the same, all the time. I’m moody. Sometimes I’m a super-horny, perverted person, and sometimes I’m completely monogamous, shy and domestic. That’s naturally who I am. I’m always changing. And so, when I’m on camera, nothing changes. It’s whatever I am, in that moment. I don’t think of Belladonna as a different person. It’s just me and my nickname, on camera.

IESB: Even though you work in an industry where you have sex with different people for a living, you manage to maintain a successful marriage. Why do you think you’re able to do that? Do you just see it as work and keep it totally separate from your personal life, or do you deal with moments of jealousy?

Belladonna: My current relationship is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in, and that’s because my husband is a really great guy. He loves what I do and he is my business partner. We do everything together, and we have a very honest, communicative relationship. We talk about everything, and we know what our boundaries are and what’s okay.

Although, I have to say, there was a moment where I ended up having feelings, not of love because I didn’t know the guy very well, but a very strong attachment with lust. That was hard because it actually made me want to not be married. It made me want to go out and just have amazing, insane sex with this guy. It was such a dangerous thing. My husband was messed up for awhile after that. But, it also just turned him on, and I think we got stronger because of that experience. He’s just a really great, honest guy, and that’s why I think we’ve lasted.

IESB: Why do you think you’ve managed to stay successful for so long, in this industry, when so many other girls seem to come and go?

Belladonna: I don’t know. People tell me that it’s because I’m always changing, I have a good personality and I’m personable. Personally, I’m really motivated in my career. This past year, I’ve just been learning more and becoming more of a part of the system that gets my movies out. I’m always at events where I can meet more people and make new fans, and I keep in touch with my fans through the Internet. I talk to them, every day. Those are my friends. I get to know them. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with my husband being a great business partner with amazing ideas. He’s the webmaster of my website, and he does pretty much everything.

IESB: Why is it important to you, to interact so personally with your fans?

Belladonna: I feel lucky. Every time I see people in line, this feeling just takes over my body. It’s such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I never believed that I would have that many people wanting to stand in line, just to get a picture with or autograph from me, and it feels very, very good.

IESB: Having been in the adult industry for a number of years now, what have you learned about yourself from being in the business?

Belladonna: God, I’ve learned so much, in the almost 10 years I’ve been in the business. Obviously, I’ve learned a lot of what I do and do not like, sexually. For 10 years, I’ve been exploring my sexuality, and that’s interesting. Also, as I’ve aged, there’s things that I’ve either stopped liking or love more, or there are weird new fetishes that I get into. I’ve learned how to be motivated and businesslike, and envision things and make them happen. I’m comfortable as a director. Ten years is such a large part of my life. I really became a woman, in the industry.

IESB: The adult industry seems like an industry where you have to really develop a sense of yourself very quickly, so that people don’t take advantage of you. Would you say that’s the case?

Belladonna: Yeah. The reality is that they do take advantage of you, and the people who are strong and smart don’t let it happen to them. I went through a large part of my career being very naive and gullible, and really just giving myself away to people. And, it felt so good to be able to learn that strength, and become more confident with myself and love myself more, and be able to say, “This is what I’m allowing. This is what I like, and it’s okay to feel that way.”

IESB: Did you have someone talk to you and educate you about sex, when you were growing up, or was that something you had to learn about on your own?

Belladonna: I don’t remember if my mom actually sat us down and had a talk. I think she might have said something like, “Sex is with someone you love, after you get married.” I think she said the basic things of what a Mormon woman would say to her children. But, I just started exploring on my own. I know she didn’t want me to be doing it, but it was something that I wanted to do.

IESB: What’s it like to work on big-budget adult features, like Pirates 2?

Belladonna: Pirates 2 was really neat because it felt like a real movie. It didn’t feel like I was going to do a porn film because I was also given three or four days of sword-fighting training, which was really cool. I got to learn a new skill, like the real movie stars do. It was so much fun! And, it was a big set with this ship that they built. It was incredible. So, for me, it’s nice to be able to get to do things like that and get out of my own element. I shoot from my house. I’ve had the same house for 2 ½ years and it sometimes becomes comfortable, so I like to get out there and do things that are challenging, like acting. I haven’t done much of that, and it’s so much fun.

IESB: Was that what made you want to cross over into the mainstream?

Belladonna: That was one of the movies, along with the Vivid movie that I did that was Part 2 of The Devil in Miss Jones. Those two had a lot of acting involved, and I had such an amazing time on them. I was like, “I really love acting. I wanna do more of this.” But, I want to do things that are interesting. I don’t want to just be an extra in some mediocre movie. I have a big picture in my head, and it doesn’t have anything to do with those movies. I think that’s why I’m not out there just trying to get any gig.

IESB: Have you started actively pursuing mainstream work, or are you just waiting to see what comes your way?

Belladonna: I’ve had a couple opportunities, like with James Gunn’s PG Porn. That’s not a movie, but it’s something with a mainstream crew. It was for the Internet, and it was fun. And then, there is this movie that I’m supposed to be doing this year, and we’ll see if that ever happens. It’s an independent horror film, where I’m the lead. It’s a very interesting, suspenseful script, and I thought, “Wow, this is going to be fun.” It was based off of two actual murderers, one of whom is dead now and one of whom is on death row. It was just really fascinating, so I hope that will happen this year. But, yeah, I’m just waiting for the right thing. If someone said there was a casting call, I’d go do it, just for the experience.

IESB: Are you looking for the type of work where you’d be playing more of a character, instead of yourself?

Belladonna: Yeah. I can do a porno, sexual thing, any day. I wish more people would give girls that they believe in a chance to have a serious role, even if it is just a B-movie, or whatever. I watch a lot of B-movies. My husband loves them. And, if I can’t believe this person is who they’re saying they are, then it just doesn’t do it for me.

IESB: Is horror a genre that you’re a fan of, or was it just that script you mentioned, in particular, that appealed to you? Are you open to working in any genre?

Belladonna: I guess I’m more intrigued by very realistic, dramatic, suspenseful, crazy roles because they’re so extreme and challenging. But, I definitely would be up for just about anything. It’s all a learning experience. No matter what you do, you’re learning something.

IESB: How did you get involved with PG Porn?

Belladonna: Those were so much fun. James Gunn actually messaged me on MySpace and my husband talked to him through that, just to see if he was real and if he was serious, and it ended up being totally legit. I did one of the very first ones and now it’s just this huge thing, where people are doing contests to be the next girl in PG Porn. It’s really neat. But, James and his crew were so professional and things ran so smoothly and it was so much fun that I didn’t want it to stop. It was too fast.

IESB: What did you envision for your company, when you started it, and how much more difficult has it been to achieve those goals than you expected it to be?

Belladonna: I never really had a vision, when I started my company. I was literally just floating, day-by-day. I was like, “Okay, I’m just lucky that I got this gig.” I didn’t even realize how important and special it was, until years later when people were like, “It’s really hard to get a directing deal at Evil Angel,” and I was like, “Oh, I didn’t even really want it. My boyfriend got me the job.” It’s really amazing to look back at. I had no idea. And, in 2004, when my husband joined me, from that moment on, I just realized the potential of what I had and it just got better, every year. Now, it’s some serious shit. I am my own marketing team. I run all my web pages, and I have all these amazing ideas. It’s so awesome.

IESB: Was it a personal preference to decide to only use girls without implants in your films?

Belladonna: I just never really have been that attracted to them. I like the look of it being real and natural, so that is the main reason. Back in the day, before I made it a no-no, I shot a couple girls that were just really amazing performances and I was like, “Well, they’re great, so I’ll look past it.” Now, I don’t do that at all.

I have a no implants policy. I want girls out there, who are watching these movies, to feel like they can relate somewhat. There are a lot of girls who watch porn, who want to see girls with natural breasts. There’s a market for girls with fake tits and I understand it, but it’s not my thing. I have a lot of female fans out there and they always bring that up, and they love that. A lot of girls feel intimidated about watching porn because these girls don’t look like normal girls. So, when you do see girls of all different shapes and sizes, and they’re all natural, normal looking girls, that you can vamp up or tone down, people love that.

IESB: How has being a performer helped you as a director?

Belladonna: Being a performer has really helped me as a director because I am able to put myself in the position of the performer and understand where they’re coming from. A big thing with how I direct is that I really talk to the people about what they like. don’t care what it is. As long as you’re into it, I want to see that. I think that makes people feel comfortable and makes them want to have a good time on your set. I like to make things run smoothly and have my performers feel like they’re not wasting their time on set, waiting around to do stuff. It’s a very easy, light day. I also listen to their ideas. If they want to say, “Oh, I think this will be great,” I wanna hear it, and sometimes I’ll agree to it and sometimes I won’t. I personally think it makes you a better director, when you have been a performer.

IESB: What do you get out of directing that you don’t get from performing?

Belladonna: It’s really neat, interesting and amazing to envision something in your head and then make it come to life, and then take a step back, look at it and be like, “That is art. I made that, with the help of all these different people.” That is amazing. People don’t necessarily always think of this as art, but it really is, with some companies. I love being able to feel like each project is my baby. It’s a whole new project, every time, with new ideas and new people, and that is rewarding.

IESB: Has the experience that you’ve had now, as a director, given you any interest in branching out to direct something mainstream?

Belladonna: I have never really even thought about directing outside of porn. I guess it’s not that big of an interest to me. What I’ve been thinking more of is doing clothing and fashion. I really love fashion, and I want to have a high-end boutique, one day, where I can sell all of my designs. I’d love to do a couple art books, where there’s photography from a lot of our stuff, or just sets of really amazing, bizarre images. I’d like to maybe have some kind of magazine. I don’t know if magazines are going to be around for much longer. Porn magazines are becoming less and less popular because there’s so much on the Internet. Everyone is so Internet-based now, which is awesome. I love it. But, it’s an epic change. I guess I could have a really cool, artsy, fashion, modern magazine. That would be bad-ass. I’d love that. I don’t know. I have so many things I want to do.

IESB: Now that you have a daughter, have you given any thought about how long you want to stay in the business and how you want your career to progress next?

Belladonna: It’s hard to say how long I want to be in the business because I have had instances where I thought I was done, and there are times where I’m like, “Oh, I’ll be doing this forever.” Obviously, I know there’s going to be a time where I don’t want to perform anymore. It’s a hard decision to make, though, because it’s such a big part of my life, being in front of the camera and performing. It’s hard to say. I don’t want to say a number. When I was 18, I said I’d stop when I was 26.

But, I have to say, I think I’ll always be somewhat a part of this industry, in some aspect, because I love it so much. To say exactly what I’ll be doing is hard. My dad was just saying me, “Your daughter is growing up. What are you thinking? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” And, I believe that I did this before her, I did this during her, and I will be a sex-positive mother, for the rest of my life. How she perceives that or handles it will be a mystery until it happens, but I plan on being very open and honest. I know my limits, when it comes to details, but I’ll teach her that sex is a healthy thing that has consequences and benefits. I’ll make sure she knows everything before she goes out there. There’s probably a big chance that she’ll be very pissed off, embarrassed and hurt because she doesn’t understand it, but maybe that’s where my motherly duties come in, so that I can install that openness, and let her see that I have such a beautiful life because of what I’ve done.

IESB: What would you say to other young women who might be considering a career in the adult industry? Is it something that you would encourage, or would you warn them away from it?

Belladonna: I always ask people, “Are you a sexual person? Are you interested in exploring your sexuality and trying new things? Do you love sex? Are you an exhibitionist? Do you like to perform?” Those types of people make great porn stars. And then, I tell them to do research and find out information about STDs because, more than likely, that’s going to happen. Just do as much learning as you can, before you get into the industry, so that when you come in, you already have the knowledge you need to not let people take advantage of you, and to know what you are okay with. Those are all the things that I didn’t do.

You need to have a business plan and save your money, and you have to have fun. Girls get into the business and think, “Oh, this is good money. This is fun. I can party and do all this stuff.” But, they hate sex, or at least they hate sex on camera. When I first got into the business, it was really tough for me to enjoy each scene. You don’t get the opportunity to really feel a strong attraction to someone, and have that lust that draws you into a person and makes you want to have sex with them, in the first place. So, you have to really think, “How can I enjoy this? How can I make every scene a great scene?” I think you do that by falling in love with each person that you work with, or getting pleasure from giving them pleasure. If you have that attitude, then you will always have a good day at work. When I started thinking like that, it was so clear. I was like, “Wow, I can enjoy every person. I just need to find what I enjoy about each person.”

IESB: Have you ever had instances of people recognizing you that really surprised you?

Belladonna: Yes. I was at Legoland with my daughter and my husband, about a year ago. I was walking around in a hoodie with sunglasses on, and I had a shaved head, at the time. It wasn’t because I didn’t want people to know who I am. I was just having one of those bum days where I didn’t want to get all cute. And, I looked up and there was Phil LaMarr, from MADtv and Family Guy. He looked at me and said, “I know who you are,” and I was like, “I know who you are,” and that was it.

Later on in the day, we were in a different area of the park and he was there with his kids, just chatting it up with me. It was so crazy. I was watching MADtv when I was 13 or 14 years old. I never would have guessed that Phil LaMarr was going to be a fan of mine, one day. That was a very surprising incident. It would be really awesome if there was a celebrity out there that was able to be like, “Yeah, my favorite porn star is . . .” I think that would have a chain effect.

IESB: Are you still looking to write your autobiography? Is that something that you want to do?

Belladonna: Yes, I do. I’ve written some of it. I’ve written from birth to age 8, but I haven’t been making the time to write it. It’s a lot of writing, and it’s tough sometimes to talk about things that might be painful, or that you’re like, “Oh, I remember that.” But, I definitely am going to write it. I don’t know when it will be ready, but I hope soon.

IESB: What accomplishment are you most proud of, both personally and professionally?

Belladonna: Personally, I’m the most proud of my relationship with my immediate family — my husband and my daughter — and just being a mother in general. That’s one of my biggest priorities in life, and I feel like I’m doing a really damn good job at it.

And, when it comes to my business, I’d have to say I’m most proud of my company because it’s really come so far and has been very successful, and is still a very strong company in the industry. It feels good to know that you’re doing good.

You can see more of Belladonna at and follow her on Twitter at


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