Calico Rudasil is a feature columnist for Sssh.com, the web’s original erotic site for women by women. With over 16 years’ experience of writing about and for the adult entertainment industry under her belt, Calico qualifies as something of a Web Porn Dinosaur; similar to a tyrannosaurus, only with far more attractive arms and a less pronounced overbite.
Did you know the word “gullible” isn’t in the dictionary?
If you stopped reading for a second to find out for yourself whether the line above is true, then you just might be one of those people who actually believed the line about former mega-pornstar Jenna Jameson being a brilliant businesswoman.
In case you’re not familiar with that faker-than-female-orgasms-in-porn claim, here’s how Defy magazine put it, just a few years back:
Jameson is a savvy mogul, a brilliant businesswoman sitting atop a flourishing entertainment empire. While she was making a fair killing in the nineties from her own on-screen romps, Jameson really began to capitalize on her brand when she co-founded her production company, Club Jenna, in 2000. The online porn production hub was profitable in just three weeks. By 2005, it had accumulated revenues of $30 million. She’s got a loyal army of proteges, and business is constantly, rapidly expanding. She’s a devoted, doting mother of two boys, twins Jesse and Journey, who came into the world in 2009. She’s since sidled off camera, content to reign over her kingdom, tend to her sons and pursue new creative avenues—namely writing, where she’s already got experience. Her last foray into the art—her 2004 autobiography, titled How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale—earned her six weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.
The image of Jenna the Entre-porn-eur has taken something of hit in recent years, what with the recent foreclosure on her oh-so-wisely-purchased Hollywood Hills mansion, the breach of contract lawsuit that flowed from allegedly skipping out on a scheduled appearance in order to go to Perez Hilton’s birthday party, getting sued by Maserati for failing to make payments on her Quattroporte S…. and so on and so forth.
For those of you who still believe in Santa, let me explain how things work, not just in the porn industry, but in the entertainment industry, generally: actors, even if they are ‘stars’ generally don’t do their own thinking, writing, or business-decision making.
Are you impressed by something that Jenna wrote in her book? If so, guess what: Jenna didn’t write it, a fucking ghost-writer did. That’s how books by pretty much all celebrities work – not just the ones who claim to be brilliant business people, but who eventually wake up to find that their possessions are being auctioned off and that they have no choice but to return to making porn just to pay their bills.
Are you impressed by the numbers reported about Jenna’s (long-ago sold) business, and the $30 million a year it allegedly earned? Well, I have two disappointments for you on that front.
First, the business probably never really earned $30 million a year. Almost every porn company is privately-held, and lying about how well your business is doing is a time-honored tradition in the porn industry. I’ve been told way too many fiscal whoppers by way too many Lambo-driving, soon-to-be-paupers to accept any such number at face value. They’re all doing great – right up to the point where they stop paying vendors and advertisers (and writers!), that is.
Second, even when she wasn’t spun out on whatever drug it is that one has to take in order to end up thinking it’s a wonderful idea to have a guy who calls himself “The Huntington Beach Bad-Boy” father one’s children, Jenna Jameson would have struggled to organize a two-car parade, much less actually “run” a successful business.
I’ll give Jenna credit for realizing that moving over to the front office of the Fuck Flick Firm was a better means of making money than taking up a spot on a thoroughly stained mattress in the basement where the movies were made, but I sincerely doubt she made one single business decision past “capitalize on my fame while the capitalizing is good.”
It’s also important to consider context: Club Jenna was founded in 2000, when making money selling porn on the Internet was almost as challenging as getting wet in a swimming pool. Everybody in the porn industry made good money between 2000 and 2006 (2006 being when Club Jenna was sold to Playboy, officially ending Jenna’s association with the company as anything more than a logo element), and take it from someone who worked in the thick of it, Club Jenna was nowhere near the top of the pile in terms of porn company revenue-generation back then – even if the $30 million/year figure was accurate (which it wasn’t).
Look, I have nothing in particular against Jenna, it’s just that it irks me to see credit lavished where credit isn’t particularly well-deserved. Put another way, I’d like to think that most “savvy moguls” have more ideas on how to make money than “Turn on Webcam – Spread Legs – Profit!”
I suppose it’s possible that Jenna once was sharp as the proverbial tack, and really did hoist herself to success by her own G-string, and it is just the ravages of time, bad chemicals, and proximity to the toxic, steroidal ooze emanating from Tito Ortiz that gradually eroded her into the somewhat sad creature now web-camming before us. From where I sit, though, it sure looks and sounds like a case of the Liberty Valance Effect run wild: We all wanted to believe that Jenna was a clever businesswoman, one in complete control of her destiny (and finances), so that’s the line we swallowed and dutifully regurgitated.
Speaking of things getting swallowed, I figure now is as good a time as any to go check out Jenna’s new show….
Read more by Calico Rudasil at Sssh.com, the web’s original erotic site for women, by women!