An article from Premiere.com attempts to tackle the issue of actresses going from porn to mainstream projects. The story is tied to the fact that Jenna Jameson is starring in Zombie Strippers, which, while it may be kitschy, is not porn. Writes Glenn Kenny: "While recent advances in sexual frankness onscreen seem to be constantly bringing porn and mainstream entertainment closer and closer together, crossing over remains an elusive dream for performers who come up through the world of adult. Is there a double standard? Given that the likes of Kerry Fox, Mark Rylance, and Chloë Sevigny, to name just a few well-regarded actors, have appeared in explicit unsimulated sex scenes and not been tagged with some sort of career stigma suggests there is. But it's a little more complicated than that."
Kenny goes on to document the post-porn careers of women such as Linda Lovelace, Marilyn Chambers, and maybe most well-known, Traci Lords. It's interesting that she found success by bad-mouthing the porn industry (which she got into when she was underaged) and by appearing in "mainstream" flicks — helmed by decidedly left-of-center director John Waters. (Lords also appeared in workout videos that were highly sexualized.)
But why is it so hard for porn stars to become "mainstream" movie stars? It's not like a singer trying to be an actor or a actor attempting to have a music career. Is it because we assume the acting is bad? So are the performances on tons of soap operas. Yet soap stars break out into flicks all the time. Is it the (shh!) ess-ee-ex? Do we lose respect for a woman who's been paid to fake (or have!) an orgasm on film? Why her and not Meg Ryan? We don't expect our actresses to be virginal Doris Day clones. Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren and Judi Dench have been topless on film. But do we have some sort of ingrained puritanical values in our collective psyche that prevents us from respecting porn stars? That keeps us from accepting them as hard-working actors?
From Porn To Mainstream: Can Jenna Pull It Off? [Premiere]
Related: YOUTUBULAR: Traci Lords' Shameful Post-Porn Career [Best Week Ever]