Jenna Jameson, CEO: 1
So what's a girl to do in a business where the odds are stacked against her?
If you're Jenna Jameson, you grab the business by the balls and make it beg for more.
As she wrote in her New York Times best-selling book, "If women wanted any respect — especially in an industry built on their objectification — they needed to be more than just a pretty face on a box cover. I could blaze a path I had not seen other women take and start a successful company of my own. I could run my own website, produce my own content, call my own shots. I could be not just a porn star but a porn CEO."
The signs that Jameson was going to have a special career were there from the beginning. In 1996, just three years after breaking into the industry, she scored the Triple Crown of porn as she was named Best New Starlet by both XRCO and AVN and also took home F.O.X.E.'s Video Vixen award. But her biggest break came a year later, when Howard Stern cast her in his bio-pic "Private Parts."
Stern may have been the first to recognize Jameson's star quality, but it didn't take the rest of the world long to catch on. Ask almost any college-aged male who Jenna Jameson is, and he probably won't even have to think before answering. And there's a pretty good chance his father and girlfriend wouldn't have to think long, either. That's because Jameson has mastered the art of the crossover in a way no adult star before her has. At last count, a Google of "Jenna Jameson" returned no fewer than 1,980,000 responses.
"When I first got into the industry, I wanted to make it more acceptable to people," she said. "Because back when I first got in, it was perceived as very seedy, very dirty and bad. That was what I wanted to do, take it more mainstream and tell people out there [who] thought it was bad that it was a good thing."
In her quest to take porn mainstream, Jameson has hosted shows for the E! Channel, been a guest on CNN and Fox News, and is the interviewee of choice for just about every mainstream publication writing on the adult industry, including Newsweek and Forbes.
The twist, though, is that the mainstream media is less interested these days in talking about Jameson's exploits on film and far more interested in her achievements in the business world. In 2004, Jameson launched her own company. Since its inception, Club-Jenna has been one of the most successful producers and distributors of adult films, and Jameson is now an industry unto herself — a living, breathing, walking, talking, one-woman brand selling everything from sex toys and T-shirts to action figures and personal groomers. Soon, you'll even be able to hear Jenna sigh sexily every time your phone rings, thanks to "moantones."
Despite her crossover success, Jameson has no plans to turn her back on the industry that made her famous. "I always said that my first love was the adult industry, and that is where my loyalty lies," she said. "All I know is that when I lay my head down at night, I feel comfortable and I'm happy. And I guess that's all that really matters."
Stay tuned for Part 2 and XBiz' exclusive interview with Jenna Jameson...