Some people think that breaking into the adult entertainment industry is as easy as spreading your legs and collecting a paycheck. Nothing could be further from the truth. As anyone who knows anything about overnight success in this business will tell you, accomplishment is only achieved through perseverance, focus, and a whole lot of moxie. Some girls get all the breaks and others take the road less traveled. Come with us as we meet a North Carolina beauty who fought her way to success with nothing but a pretty face and a heart full of ambition.
Alexis: You were born and bred in Jamestown, North Carolina – far flung from the sunshine and palm trees of your current residence in Southern California. Can you tell us a little bit about what your early life was like?
Rayveness: I was very sheltered growing up. My parents were extremely religious and we didn’t have a lot of money. I guess you could say we were dirt poor. The South is full of cliques, like everywhere else, and I really didn’t fit in to any of them. I always felt like an outcast and was constantly searching for someone to relate to. The only person I could really look up to was my great grandmother, who I lived with until I was sixteen..
Alexis: You were raised as a Quaker, a somewhat out-of-the-mainstream religious sect. How did this experience shape your upbringing?
Rayveness: You know it’s a Quaker church when it says ‘Friends Meeting’. We don’t believe in war or having guns in the house. It is a religion of silent prayer. We believe that everything we do is between God and us and what goes on in our hearts shouldn’t concern everybody else. One thing I didn’t like about it was you were supposed to be quiet all the time. I used to get in trouble with my parents when we were riding in the car because I loved to sing and could never sit still. Although I no longer go to church, I still consider myself a Christian – but let’s not go any deeper than that.
Alexis: You got married a month before graduating high school to a man you describe as a “total loser who made me feel safe.” The two of you moved to Orlando, Florida and worked menial jobs until he talked you into submitting a “homegrown” porn video to the Sally-Jesse Raphael Show. How did this come about?
Rayveness: My husband was always looking for new ways to hustle up some money. He was constantly flipping through the paper to find something for me to do on the side. He had me doing stuff like selling flowers in nightclubs and on the side of the road – anything he could get me to do for a little extra income. Anyway, he was watching Sally Jesse one afternoon and they were asking for homegrown submissions. He sent them a letter and asked them for more information. They sent it and we went through the paperwork. We shot the video and nothing ever really became of it because the government stepped in, but that gave him the idea to get us into porn. So he ran across this adult ad in a local magazine that he thought was for phone sex and took me in for an interview. We come to find out it that they were looking to make adult movies as well.
Alexis: What was the experience like?
Rayveness: For a couple of kids who were used to making minimum wage it was great money. We were getting paid $700 a day to make love to each other – which was a lot of money back in 1990. It didn’t seem like a career choice. We were just trying to pay the bills. We were in a studio – cameras, lights, make-up artists – and after you leave, they give you a check. You don’t think about the consequences. Everybody in the world is going to be able to see this. It never crosses your mind. All you can think about is how you just got your rent payment for one day’s worth of work.
Alexis: In 1992, you and your then-husband moved back to North Carolina, where you began dancing in strip clubs. Shortly thereafter, you were offered the chance to work the feature dance circuit in Canada, but hated the experience. Could you tell us a little about your trials and tribulations during that time?
Rayveness: The whole reason I went up to Canada was because I was supposed to get $10000 for five weeks of work – $2000 a week at five different clubs throughout Ontario. Although I had been working in strip clubs, this was the first time I had ever danced nude before. Normally, when you work the feature circuit, you are supposed to be the only girl featured at a club on any particular night. Well, these guys had booked multiple feature performers, so I had to find some way to distinguish myself and was very nervous. I had only been there a few nights when a drunk in the back of the room stood up and chucked a glass ashtray, hitting me in the back of the head while I was onstage. No one knows exactly why he did it – other than the fact that he was three sheets in the wind at four o’clock in the afternoon. I ended up going to the emergency room and the club owners docked me for the time I spent in the hospital. They didn’t even offer to help pay for my medical bills and only gave me half the amount we had agreed upon. It was an expensive learning experience, but it taught me to never go out of the country to work again.
Alexis: A few years later, you and your husband jumped in your car and moved out to Southern California. What made you decide to actively pursue the adult movie business?
Rayveness: In order to regularly feature on the dancing circuit, you have to keep doing more adult movies. So my husband and I decided to drive out to Southern California and give it a try. We worked together in all my movies and he never left my side. I knew that his constant presence was damaging my career but I was still pretty young and having him there with me made me feel safe. We would do movies and magazines for eight weeks and then do the dancing circuit for the next several months as they were coming out. Then, when things slowed down, we would go back out to California and do it all over again. It was a constant cycle.
Alexis: On your site, you wrote that dancing will always be your “first love.” What is it about dancing that you like better than working on film projects?
Rayveness: I’m an entertainer. I like to interact with people. That’s why it took me so long to attach myself to the internet. You don’t see a face; all you see is a keyboard.
Alexis: So you like being the center of attention?
Rayveness: Oh, I love it. I’m a Gemini, so there are two of me that have to be satisfied at any given time. It completely fills your ego and makes you feel wonderful about yourself. You think: All of these people came to see me. All of these people want my attention. My whole life, I have always wanted to be needed and loved. I wasn’t getting it from my parents, so I guess I went to look for it in other places.
Alexis: Many stars working in adult entertainment feel that marriage and the business don’t mix – you, yourself, have been divorced twice. Do you think it’s possible to have a long-term successful relationship in this crazy business or is love simply another casualty of the lifestyle?
Rayveness: The bottom line is: If you are trying to make adult movies your career, don’t get into it with a husband or a boyfriend. There are just too many issues on the horizon. If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to work with other guys. The audience wants to see you with a variety of people.
Alexis: So your relationship with your husband got in the way of your career?
Rayveness: Very much so. When I got in, he only wanted me to work with him or other girls. I could have gotten a Vivid or a Wicked contract, but no one in the business liked him because he was so controlling. He dominated every aspect of our relationship – business and personal.
Alexis: You have described working in the adult entertainment business as a lifestyle, not a career. What do you mean by that?
Rayveness: Most jobs you leave after you go home at night, but, when you work in the adult industry, every part of your day revolves around it. You’re constantly making contacts and looking for your next paycheck, so everything you do branches back to the business. People in the industry understand what you’re going through and aren’t there to judge you; everyone is there to support and reinforce each other. The industry is your life: the work, the money, the schmoozing, the swinging…It’s all part of the same mindset.
Alexis: Speaking of swinging, do you currently have a boyfriend and is that something that you guys are into?
Rayveness: Yes, I am current seeing someone and, yes, we are into swinging. Believe it not, I was the one that got him into it. I think that everyone in the business eventually gets into it because, as a whole, we are very comfortable with our sexuality. We understand the difference between sex and love and are able to share one without necessarily sharing the other. The important thing to remember is to keep the lines of communication open and always use protection.
Alexis: Last April, you publicly spoke with Congressman Brad Sherman about regulating the industry by raising the age of consent among adult performers from 18 to 21. You began working in the business at 18 and have spoken many times of having no regrets. What moved you to become the voice of this proposed legislation?
Rayveness: When you are eighteen-years-old, you don’t know the consequences of your actions. Most of the girls working today aren’t old enough to buy alcohol, but we let them sell their bodies for money. I understand why they get into it. I did it myself. All you can think about when you’re doing it is paying your bills. Then six months later, the movies come out and everybody starts to see them. Someone you know confronts you and starts giving you a hard time. Then you try to go get a regular job and you realize you’re addicted to the money. You say to yourself, I was making a thousand dollars in one day, how can I go back to flipping burgers for two hundred dollars a week? It’s difficult to function in mainstream life once you’ve made that kind of money. I think the age needs to be raised so people understand the impact of their decisions.
Alexis: After over a decade in the business, you finally decided to launch a website. What made you decide this was the right time?
Rayveness: Well, I took a break from the business in 1999. I had been going full-tilt for so many years that I was starting to feel burnt out. I decided to go back to school during that period and had a good time finding myself. When I finally got back into it, I thought that the time was right. My site really is in the development stage – many parts of it are still under construction. I could have just done the cookie-cutter thing, but I wanted to be directly involved in the entire process. I wanted to make all of the creative decisions myself. My fans work hard for their money and I want to do whatever I can to give them the best possible product.
Alexis: This is where we end the interview with a sexual parody of James Lipton’s famous questionnaire. Rayveness, what is your favorite sexual act?
Rayveness: That’s easy: blowjobs. I love giving a man head. Like it says on my site, I am a total control freak and giving a blowjob is a totally controlling experience. And, in case you’re wondering, I love to swallow – but only when I want to. It has to be my decision, so you better be good.
Alexis: What is your least favorite sexual act?
Rayveness: You know, that’s hard, because I’ve always enjoyed everything I’ve ever done so far. I guess I would have to say, as long as there is mutual respect involved, I’m up for just about anything.
Alexis: What turns you on, sexually?
Rayveness: I love to be touched, I like it when a man rubs my breasts hard. I like to be caressed all over and love massages – especially on my feet. When I get relaxed, it makes it much easier for me to have an orgasm.
Alexis: What turns you off, sexually?
Rayveness: There’s only one place that’s off limits and that’s my belly button. It’s very sensitive. Everywhere else is fair game.
Alexis: What is your wildest sexual fantasy?
Rayveness: I would like to take my lover to a bar and make him pick up the hottest girl in the place. Then I would follow them home and hide in the closet while he made love to her. There would be no direct sexual involvement on my part. It would be a complete voyueristic act.
Alexis: Is there any sexual act that you would not like to participate in?
Rayveness: I’ll try anything once and sometimes twice, if you get me hot enough. Like I said before, the main thing is respect. As long as that’s there, the sky’s the limit.
Alexis: Finally, if a true heavenly orgasm exists, what do you say when you to arrive at the Perfect State?
Rayveness: Oh yeah!!!! Oh yeah!!!! Oh yeah!!!!
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