Sweet, bubbly, amazingly smart, Juli Ashton has been one of adult's most popular actresses throughout her six-year career. Her own production company, Ashton View Promotions, is riding the crest of the virtual wave with their latest, Being with Juli Ashton. Juli lets it all hang out below on sexuality, the making of Being with Juli Ashton and what is really means to be in charge.
Pornstarempire.com: I know you're from Colorado--are you from Boulder?
Juli: No, Colorado Springs.
Q: I heard that is beautiful.
Juli: Yes, it is very nice.
Q: How did you end up doing adult? Did you dance first?
Juli: Yeah, actually, I was teaching Junior High in Colorado. It wasn't for me. I didn't know what to do. I had waitressed in a club and I went back.... Then I moved to South Florida and that's where I started meeting feature dancers like Shayla LaVeaux--she is also from Colorado. We really hit it off, then I went from there.
Q: .I'm kind of surprised, since you studied Spanish for so long that you didn't end up enjoying that.
Juli: It was the teaching that I didn't enjoy.
Q: What was the deal?
Juli: A lot of it was circumstance. My ex-husband was in graduate school at the time, so he was still living the college life. His friends were all in a band.... It was really hard that I had to be home at 10:30 because I had to grade papers and had to get up at 6:30 to go to scrape the windows of my car so I could get to work. So that was a lot of it, our lifestyles. He was still in the party-lifestyle and it was hard for me to do both.
Q: You were still very young?
Juli: Yeah...this was the year I graduated from college, so I was 22. Also, just not having the life experience. Teaching junior high--I think a lot of junior high is the kids surviving and getting through adolescence, not really learning specific things. It's very hard to teach you when your hormones are raging.
Q: How long did you teach for?
Juli: A year, that's all.
Q: And you went from there to dancing--was that a weird jump or had you been in the clubs before?
Juli: I had waitressed in a club to put myself through college.
Q: Oh, in a titty club?
Juli: Yeah...I was never going to go topless, so I waitressed. When I quit teaching, I went back to waitressing and it was really quick before I went, "These...[dancers] are making so much more money and [doing] so much less work."
Q: So you thought at the time.
Juli: Yeah, exactly, from my perspective. So I went ahead and started dancing.
Q: So you totally quit teaching before you went back to waitressing--you were ready to get out of there.
Juli: I knew this [teaching] was not where my future lies. I didn't know what is was, but I knew it was not teaching.
Q: Well, now that you're here [in porn] what would you say is your favorite part of having sex on-screen?
Juli: ...I would say the experimentation of doing things that don't really present themselves in real life.
Q: Right, the fantasy. Can you tell me how long you have been doing it?
Juli: A little over five years--almost six years.
Q: Did you get started through Shayla LaVeaux?
Q: I spoke with her in Las Vegas this year and she said you were her best friend.
Juli: Yeah, she is awesome. She is from Colorado and then through her I met her manager who also represents me, Lucky Smith.
Q: So she gets you on the road first or what was the deal?
Juli: My experience is a lot different then the average girl getting into the business because we kind of had a plan and we kind of had goals, so I didn't dance for about three years. I wasn't on the road--it was just really slow. I...did a few things, mostly girl-girl, before we approached VCA for a contract. I really didn't do much [beforehand].
Q: So did you do girl-girl stuff before you featured as a dancer?
Juli: Yeah, actually Kylie Ireland was the first one I was with before she was "Kylie", when we were both dancing at the same club.
Q: That was in Colorado?
Q: Would you say you prefer performing with men or women?
Juli: I prefer a three-way--one of each. A lot more going on--always something easier to focus on, lots of things.
Q: I kind of like that answer because I usually get the answer, "I prefer being with a man, but women are cool." You know what I mean? Everyone seems pretty heterosexual, but they will deal with the whole lesbian thing.
Juli: I think a group is the best. Two girls and a guy is definitely the best.
Q: But on a personal level would you consider yourself straight down the middle, bisexual?
Juli: That is a tough one. I think sexuality is fluid and it's not just, "This is what I am." So I think I am more into men right now. I don't know why, I just am.
Q: Do you think you could ever settle down with a woman?
Juli: I don't think so. I don't think I could ever be just with women. Porstarempire.com: It's kind of a wild one to think about.
Juli: Yeah. I like men a lot.... I know for a fact that I am not gay.
Q: What do you think is your biggest asset on-screen as a porn actress?
Juli: I think my biggest asset is reality. I don't act that much and it's hard for me to take long, extensive roles because I don't think I am a great actress. I am very good at being the same person in front of the camera as I am sitting in my living room. So I think that comes across and so when people see that I am having a good time, they know I am having a good time and that I am not acting.
Q: Can you watch yourself have sex on-screen?
Juli: Yeah. After six years you get over it.
Q: How did it feel initially when you saw it?
Juli: It was really embarrassing. It's kind of when you hear yourself on a tape recorder like, "Is that me?" You know, it's just surreal.
Q: ...I used to be a dancer and...I did do a nude photo shoot and I remember...there was one that was in this guy's portfolio and it wasn't like it was spread-eagle or anything, but it was definitely like, "There's my crotch". ...It kind of gave me a bad feeling.... But I am obviously not a porn actress.
Juli: I mean, so much of our feelings about sex from our society and our guilt put on it: women aren't really supposed to enjoy sex in the first place, much less in front of people, so it's very difficult to get past what you've been taught from your childhood, by all of society.
Q: What do you think enabled you to get beyond that?
Juli: I don't know what it is, I really don't. ...I try to set my own belief system and my own boundaries and things like that from my insides, from my heart and not from the church or society--which is a struggle. It's not like I succeed everyday.
Q: Was your background religious?
Juli: Somewhat...my parents taught the junior high youth group and we went to church a lot, but it was much more of a way to treat people that is was, "This is right and wrong".
Q: What denomination?
Q: What do you think...forget about the whole Spanish teaching idea--what do you think you would be doing now if not porn?
Juli: I have no idea. I know that the everyday going to the same office, same job, same people, same route to work every day, doesn't really fit. I mean I can't even fathom it.
Q: Really, so you never fantasize about some normal job that you would have instead?
Juli: No, I really don't have a very strong work ethic--I really don't. I don't think for me to be a whole person I need to go out and be the best lawyer in town or something.... I could very easily be a beach bum and work in the bar and go to the beach all day.
Q: Through any point of your adult career including dancing, do you ever remember feeling exploited?
Juli: I don't know. That is a hard one to answer because I don't really know what that means.
Q: Like being taken advantage of because you are a woman.
Juli: I think that the only time I felt that is when I was with my own company and I...[was] trying to get product out to these distributors and it's very "old network" and so, to get past them....
Q: So maybe not necessarily exploitation, but just good old-fashioned sex discrimination?
Juli: Yeah. You're talent and that means that you're talent and that is all you know how to do. I remember actually a distributor telling me that his advice was not to get into production because it was too late and nobody was making money.... I was like, if nobody is making money in production then why the hell is it a billion dollar industry...? Somebody has to be doing it and I want a piece of that pie....
Q: When did you start Ashton View Promotions?
Juli: I started Ashton View about four years ago.
Q: It seems like you did that fairly shortly into it, so how did that transpire? Were you just determined from the beginning to be more in control?
Juli: Yeah absolutely. I have been on so many sets I wanted my ideas to be presented, but also to get compensated for them, so the best way to do that is to own the product. ...I got to go from the box cover to the crew...you know, every aspect was...on me.
Q: So are you the producer for those films, I mean what are you? You own the production company--what does that mean?
Juli: It's small and when you're a small company you pretty much have to do every part of it.
Q: So you wear all kinds of different hats?
Juli: Absolutely. I mean I have been the last person on set vacuuming after a shoot. You do whatever has to be done.
Q: How many movies do you shoot a year?
Juli: Only about three to four is the max. We are definitely not into the volume business.
Q: So you're not in all of your productions?
Juli: No, not necessarily.
Q: How many movies at this point are you performing in a year?
Juli: It's not set. I am to the point where if something attracts me...so many things [are] going on, that it's not that I need the money, it's not that I need the publicity. If something catches my eye, I'll do it.
Q: With VCA, do you have an open contract?
Juli: Yeah. I was their first contract girl and I have been with them from the beginning. It has been an amazing relationship and there hasn't even been a paper contract since my second year.
Q: How many years have you been with them?
Juli: About six. It's just a respect thing and we just talk and we know where each other's at--it's kind of like, what are they looking for, where am I at--and if it comes together, then we do a project.
Q: You were with them from the very beginning, so you never had to do tons and tons of movies [freelancing]?
Juli: No, the most I ever did in a year was ten.
Q: Do you feel that the function of porn is to teach couples to have better sex or more to entertain lonely jacking-off guy?
Juli: I don't think either. I just think just to entertain and so then you find which market you want to target and then...you try to entertain.
Q: Is there something sexual that you haven't done yet that you want to do on-screen?
Q: Do you still feature dance?
Juli: Occasionally, not a lot.
Q: So the price has to be right?
Q: Have you dated within the industry?
Juli: No, never.
Q: What is your take on that, I mean you must see people in the industry dating each other all the time.
Juli: Right. When it doesn't work out, it just gets ugly and I've never wanted to be in that position. I've seen it to many times and, "Oh, I can't be on the set with this person...." It's like Hollywood, everybody talks. The gossip mill is rampant, so I try to stay clear of all of that. I like the fact that my name doesn't pop up in the gossip column at AVN or wherever. I don't think any press is good press, so I try to lay low.
Q: How do you feel your dating relationships changed since you started to do porn?
Juli: It's much harder, absolutely. It's very difficult for anybody, I think. [People] not in the industry, that don't have the same mindset to be intimate with you and yet you, be intimate with the rest of the world. What is left, is the big question is a lot of people have.
Q: What do you think about that?
Juli: It's hard. I don't know if I've figured out how to do it. It's definitely somebody that has to have an open mind and I don't know if it is possible.
Q: Do you think that maybe that the 18-age requirement should be raised?
Juli: Absolutely. ...It's such a life-altering career like no other, so the things you do when you are 18 will effect you for the rest of your life, so I don't think 18 year olds know enough about themselves and know enough about the world to say, "I am going to shut this entire spectrum off," because it is. I mean, I could never go back to teaching.
Juli: I mean, who is going to let me hang out with their kids? We are all [(the adult industry)] opponents of child pornography and the fact is, that it's not like the kids would ever know. If the parents knew, it would be a huge scandal, so I have to write that off in my life. When you are 18, how do you know? And you're not experienced enough and you don't know what you want to be when you are 40....
Q: What was your favorite shoot?
Juli: A couple stand out in my mind. One of them will always be very special to me is The Devil and Miss Jones 5. I think it's some of Greg Dark's best work and really I think it was a part of my career which I was kind of new, but I had also been around for a little bit, so he really pushed me to a new level and to see how far I could go, what I was willing to do, what it meant and he's just a really brilliant man, so just having the time with him on that set much less the actual scenes were amazing, truly amazing.
Q: Who are you favorite people to perform with?
Juli: I would say Shayla, she is right there at the top and with the guys, there are so many new guys coming around, I don't get attached to the guys. It's not like have a favorite guy I have to work with.
Q: Really? Are you going to tell me anything juicy about Tony Tedeschi?
Juli: He is really good about adapting to the girls, which is a nice thing because a lot of the guys have their own style and this is it and wham bam bam, but Tony is able to adapt to the girl's style. I think he has done it long enough and for most guys it's more for the camera and Tony is past that. He knows how to do it for the camera and look good for the camera, but he also knows how to get the girl going.... [He's one of] the guys that have been around and figured it out.
Q: I don't really know too much about your TV show, would you tell me what it is?
Juli: It's called, "Night Calls". Playboy TV. We are live twice a month the first and third Wednesdays, completely live, 90 minutes and I have done 104 episodes.
Q: What happens?
Juli: We have a topic that we teach and last week's topic was "How to Love The Muff" and it was all about how to treat the pussy. We had the callers call and asked them, "What do you call yours," "How do you like it treated," "What do you do?" It's a line between education, fun, phone sex and all kinds of things. I have a co-host that is not in the business. She has more of the straight view and it's just the two of us and we kind of play off each other and then we take calls and people are either having sex while they call or else they tell us a story, something they would like to happen or something they fantasize about. So we have public sex, bondage, voyeurism, swinging, three-ways--I mean, any topic you can think about, we talk about. It's a fun show.
Q: Tell me about Being With Juli Ashton.
Juli: It was fun because it was written by a friend of mine that is not really in the industry, who is more Hollywood, so it's got a sharp script.... I don't really like to do drama with my sex ...I like to do sex, light and funny and that comes off on Night Calls--that it's supposed to be fun. So I don't do the drama well. I think we have enough drama in our lives...so I tend to do comedy and this is definitely a comedy. It's a take-off on Being John Malkovich, which I thought was a brilliant film. Somebody finds a portal into being me, so they get to be Juli Ashton. [Editor's Note: Actually, the portal lets you be the person who is with Juli!] They get to have sex on-set and get to see what it's like to be me in a porno and it's pretty funny. It was the biggest project I have done, just from the new technology with where DVD is going and virtual sex is so big right now, which is much more difficult to shoot.
Q: What was more enjoyable, being with a man or a woman?
Juli: ...There are some things you can do on DVD that don't lend themselves to video and that makes it a little bit more difficult to shoot...because you're not supposed to be seeing that person. That person's supposed to be the viewer, so it's very difficult for the guy to be arching his back...out of shot and still have it hot and like you're into him. It was much easier to be with a woman, just because of anatomy.
Q: How does it feel to be with someone as well-endowed as Lexington Steele?
Juli: You've got to pace yourself and get worked up to it--you can't just jump right in.
Q: But once you're warmed up, is it just insane?
Q: Anything more you want to say about Being with Juli Ashton?
Juli: ...This is neat because it's got a storyline and kind of takes the capability of DVD to another level [apart] from, "Oh...here is the reverse angle". It's not that simple.
Q: Is there anything you want to tell me about your future plans?
Juli: I am just going to carry on, do the best that I can and have fun with it.
Q: So you plan to spend your future producing adult?
Juli: I don't know. I mean, that's what it is right now and five years ago, who would of thought I was here, so I think that is part of the nature of this business: I don't know what next week holds for me, much less five years.
Q: So you are open to the future?