HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – “We need more of — what did you call your tits again?” Holly Randall aimed her camera at Stormy Daniels lying nearly naked in a cloud of white blankets.
“‘Thunder and Lightning.’”
Daniels adjusted the satin sheets to unleash these forces of nature; Randall blasted her subject with a lightning storm of strobes. Randall had painstakingly arranged an outdoor photo shoot with a trained white horse to capture promotional images of Daniels for her gig hosting the 2019 XBIZ Awards. Unfortunately, rain clouds had rolled in and forced us into a studio in Downtown Los Angeles.
“They don’t quite stay where I want them to anymore,” Daniels said, as she shifted her breasts. “They’re getting old. They’re about to turn 20.”
To keep from staring, I jotted notes about her defiant tits. I wondered whether her conjoined twins shared birthday parties, if they resented being dressed the same, or if they got jealous when one was shown more affection?
“You aren’t going to write anything bad about me, are you?”
Daniels asked me this question the previous two times I was on set with her. It might have been her standard line for disarming reporters, or maybe it just made her uneasy seeing me grinning while taking notes about the various personality traits of her tits.
“I always do. In my last story I think I called you a, uh, ‘cunt.’” I avoided Daniels’ gaze and looked at my notepad as if to read the exact quote. “But a loyal cunt. It made sense in the context of the piece, but my editor cut it.”
Daniels narrowed her eyes. Would she smite me with thunder and lightning? Would she unleash her dragons — her pet name for her bodyguards?
“That sounds about right,” she said. “Just as long as it was ‘Cunt’ with a capital ‘C.’”
Daniels’ ability to make fun of herself is part of her charm. Porn had given her practice exposing, embracing and accepting the most intimate sides of herself. She referred to herself as a “Cunt-with-a-capital-C” and wore the label of “sex worker” as a badge of honor. By calling herself out, she dictated the narrative that was told about it. This, I suspected, was partially why she had recently released the memoir, “Full Disclosure.” Daniels’ humility — her ability to embrace her flaws — ultimately made her more human. It also positioned her in stark contrast to her rival, President Trump, whose critics believe he dismisses anything written against him as fake news.
"That’s perfect. Beautiful!” Randall’s excitement grew with each shot she snapped. “Yes. Amazing!”
This encouraged Daniels. She posed with so much gusto she nearly rolled off the bed. She told Randall to keep shooting if she fell. Such a fuckup would make for internet gold.
While Randall set up to film a video segment, Daniels entertained the crew with her description of the Commander-in-Chief’s apparently mushroom-shaped penis. She told us stories about male fans who showed up to her feature dancing gigs in “Stormy Daniels” drag, complete with blonde wigs and balloon tits. She told us about the humbling experience of performing at a few clubs that were so dead other dancers tipped her out of pity.
Daniels noticed me jotting this all down while she relaxed in the bed and waited for the crew to finish setting up. “I just want to lie here while someone feeds me pizza and whispers in my ear about what a genius I am,” she said.
“You’re a genius?” I asked, feigning confusion.
Daniels rolled her eyes. “Or I need someone to feed me chocolate cake and tell me what a cunt I am. Maybe they can alternate days.”
Randall gave me the slate to mark the scene for the video editors. Just before I clapped the sticks, Daniels kicked her foot and lightly dinged my, uh, “lightning rod.” I fumbled the slate as she chuckled at how easily I was rattled.
For the final shot, Randall draped Daniels in an American flag.
“Holly, did I tell you the story of how I dropped my phone in the airplane toilet?”
“Did it break?” I asked. Daniels held up her phone in victory. “Nope,” she said.
Her assistant begged her not to tell the revolting story again. Grinning, Daniels described the sinking sensation she felt when her phone got sucked down the hatch of an airplane commode and was chased by a burst of blue sanitary fluid. She didn’t hesitate. She crammed her arm down the drain. The vacuum sucked at her forearm as she sifted through awfulness she could never unfeel. In the end she emerged from the bathroom clutching her phone with a stained blue fist.
Stormy is just as much of a screw-up as the rest of us. But it is how she handles her fuck-ups that set her apart. She didn’t hesitate to get her hands dirty and fight for what was hers, even if that meant jamming her arm elbow-deep in a public toilet. Perhaps porn had armored her with the thick skin needed to fist an airplane toilet. Maybe a career that regularly required her to deal with powerful men who just wanted to fuck her, and fuck her over, had equipped her to stand up to the most powerful man in the world.
I knew some would see the image of Stormy’s naked body, shielded and censored by the flag, as un-American. To me, the image is patriotic. To me, Daniels is a patron saint of sex workers and the First Amendment. She is a role model for women who dared to defy politicians, no matter their party. I imagine semi-pornographic statues of her being erected on state buildings as a reminder of what happens when bureaucrats of every stripe underestimate sex workers and women. I envisioned a huge bronze bust with her revolutionary curves cloaked in the flag. I imagine her effigy holding up a fist of defiance stained with the blue toilet water of truth.
Stormy Daniels is set to host the 2019 XBIZ Awards on Jan. 17.
Images: Shawn Alff