jessie andrews talks body ownership and objectification
She’s the all-American, blonde bombshell whose choice to work as an adult actress has led to a career as a DJ, jewellery designer and social media star.
You might recognise Jessie Andrews from those American Apparel ads after she was recruited from the shop floor aged 17, or from behind the decks at a Miami Beach music gig, or as the founder of jewellery line Bagatiba, or maybe as the girl from the bondage orgy in Portrait of a Call Girl.
Jessie is the award-winning 23-year-old adult actress who is setting many misconceptions about the industry straight and using her fame within it to turn her name (it's an alias made up of her mum's dog's name, Jessie, and the street she was driving down when she had to come up with a surname, Andrews) into a fully fledged brand.
It's been an ongoing debate as to whether the benefits of porn for women - reclaiming her rights over her own body, feeling empowered and being able to explore her sexuality without shame - are worth what is mostly conceived as the overriding negative aspects of the industry. But in a time when revenge porn is rife enough to have had a law passed against it, the nipple is still behind bars, and a period is censored from social media, perhaps a platform where a woman can feel entirely in control of her own body; uncensored and only objectified when she has consented to it, makes for a completely different discussion.
Jessie seems to be the epitome of this. A stunning mix of Chinese, Latvian and Irish, she got her foot in the door at age 18 after a friend told her how much she made as an extra just showing off her areolas, and she doesn't conform to the stereotypical porn star. Jessie doesn't take drugs, is allergic to alcohol (hello Asian flush), is a model, DJ, jewellery designer, feminist, entrepreneur, and has a sex advice column on galoremag.com. We chat to Jessie about objectification, female empowerment, and how the porn industry has had a positive effect on her life.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up…
I just got my wisdom teeth pulled and I'm drooling blood on the L train to Williamsburg in New York. I'm 23. I'm from Miami, Florida. Like the Will Smith song.
Where are you based now?
Why did you start doing porn, and why do you continue to do it?
I was money motivated in the beginning, I wanted to do something new and different and travel. Now I just appreciate it, and the knowledge I've gained from shooting for so many years. I've learned things about sex/intimacy/my body/partners/tendencies/STDs/human anatomy that would have taken me a lifetime to figure out. And you never stop learning. Everyone's bodies are different. It's like a book that never ends.
Do you feel empowered by it?
Do you ever feel objectified by it?
What would you say to those who argue that it only objectifies women and nothing good can come of it?
I think it all comes down to what kind of person you are and how you view things. That can make you feel objectified or view it as objectifying.
You seem incredibly confident, have you ever or do you ever get self-conscious about your body?
I'm confident because I'm thankful I have a healthy body to live in! If you have a steady clean diet; no processed foods, sugars, stay active, no foreign chemicals in your body, there's no reason anyone should feel self-conscious. When I travel a tonne and don't eat well, I do feel guilty.
Has being known as an adult actress ever affected your other work as a DJ and a jewellery designer?
It affects it daily. I would never be where I am without porn.
Do you think feminism and porn can go hand in hand?
Yes. You can't have one without the other. And I believe that we were created to work that way.
Are you a feminist?
I want to say every woman is, in some way. Whether they like it or not.
What does feminism mean to you?
It means we don't need gender to decide what's fair.
What misconceptions about porn stars would you like to set straight?
We sleep with the same people over and over. I've slept with the same 30-40 men and women for the past 5 years. Isn't that weird? And we get tested every 2 weeks.
Do you think we should all be more open about sex and sexuality?
Yes. Everyone does it but we don't talk about it. Everyone gossips, we talk about that all the time.
What do you want to concentrate on in the future - adult films, music or jewellery?
Whatever fascinates me and makes me happy.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Hopefully not dead.
Text Felicity Kinsella
Photography Francesca Jane Allen