Hall Of Fame performer Julia Ann has accomplished a lot in her career. From receiving the acclaimed AVN Award for Best Actress in 2004 to multiple nominations and awards throughout the adult industry, Julia Ann sees success after success every year.
Now, Julia Ann is using her iconic status to raise awareness of the grassroots fight against Prop 60. On November 8th, Prop 60 will be on the California voting ballot and if passed, it can prove to have devastating ramifications to the adult entertainment industry.
We sat down with Julia Ann to discuss Prop 60 in more detail and talk about several key elements that are most important. We also know she’s a rocker so we had to ask about some of her favorite bands and reminisce about wild nights on the Sunset Strip.
It’s great to catch up with you Julia Ann! How are things going?
Things are wonderful. I’m excited about a new website that I recently launched WomenByJuliaAnn.com. As you might be able to tell by the title it’s geared towards women. Having a large amount of female followers I realized through contact with them that many of them had desires and needs that typical sex-based sites don’t address or fulfill. My goal with WomenByJuliaAnn.com is to bridge the gap between everyday life and sex. I’ve tried to incorporate sexuality, health, cooking and a community support system for those that need it. It’s ever-evolving and I’m hoping it will grow beyond my imagination.
You have stepped up as a major opponent to Prop 60. Please tell me about your decision to make that a priority.
The industry has changed rapidly over the past couple decades. The internet changed the entire structure of the adult industry, much in the same ways as the music industry. Instead of having a few major companies and performers, we now have the majority of performers owning smaller companies or at the very least having a financial stake in the content produced. When Prop 60 came along it frightened me because so many of the performers are just going about their daily lives and weren’t aware of the severe repercussions that Prop 60 would cause them. Because I’ve been in the business since 1992 and seen the evolution I felt that I could bring an awareness that not everyone had the ability to do.
On the surface, Prop 60 appears to be about protecting California adult film workers from disease and is promoted as being fair and responsible. To the everyday voter, restrictions that result in more health protection sounds like a fine idea. Would you say that misconception is the biggest hurdle in growing opposition to Prop 60?
The biggest issue is the idea that the 1970’s & 1980’s model of the industry still exists today. The internet has almost completely dissolved the line between performer and company, thus making the vast majority of performers the company, producer or at the very least giving them a finial stake in the product. So now you can see where the performers will not be exempt from Prop 60 like the proponent wants you to believe. Under the current structure of the industry it absolutely applies to performers. Now apply this notice and disclosure to the performers that own their own content and the married couple that webcam with each other from their bedroom to make a living. This is not only an unnecessary burden to the individuals involved, but it is also a huge breach of personal privacy and a chilling example of Orwellian government overreach. Once the public understands how the industry model is today, suddenly Prop 60 becomes very invasive, litigious and unsafe in many ways including the likelihood of making it less safe health wise.
There are several shocking elements of Prop 60, the most egregious is incentivizing any resident of California to sue adult performers for not using condoms. Not only does this sound expensive for taxpayers, but I would guarantee opponents to adult entertainment are already lining up to take advantage if it passes. Can you please explain how this would work and how the financial burden could impact performers?
If Prop 60 passed, California would be the first state in the nation to offer financial incentive (25% of the fees in this case) to sue workers based on not like the way they do their job. Stressing out the already overwhelmed court system and making a lawyers get rich quick dream. In Prop 60 the suit filled with go straight to discovery which will release all personal information, real names, addresses and more straight to the public. As with any entertainment field the Actors in the adult industry have a very passionate fan base as well as other people and groups that wish to harm them. Prop 60 would give anyone access to the performers, and that could prove very dangerous and at the least bring about some level of harassment. Let’s not forget that the workers are human and have friends, family, children and neighbors that could be put directly in harm’s way.
An important concern also has to be the privacy and safety of performers. How does Prop 60 put that at risk?
My own experience with stalkers leave me feeling every uncomfortable with what Prop 60 can do. One stalker in particular flew from North Carolina to Los Angeles and proceeded to take selfies of herself in the LAX airport and put them on social media saying that I was suppose to pick her up from the airport. She accused me of leaving her abandoned without her medication. She wrote that we were engaged, she won the lottery, bought us a house and was very angry at me for dating my boyfriend behind her back. She is most definitely someone that I don’t want to have easy access to my personal information.
Then there’s the different divisions of the Adult Industry, such as the Lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer/questioning (LBGTQ) community that have many hate groups gunning for them. Recently the Orlando nightclub shooting is a perfect example of what hate can bring to a community. In the current cycle of racial violence, the black community in the Industry is also at risk. They are often faced problems with people who don’t believe people of different ethnicities should be working with each other. I myself have received hateful and threatening backlash for working outside “My Race” as they refer to it. So does California really want to bring groups (like the Westboro Church) or even individuals (like Omar Matten, Shawn Allen Berry, Lawrence Russell Brewer and John William King) free reign to harass, terrorize or harm these workers? This fear is very real for us.
You’ve been able to capitalize on adult entertainment’s social media presence by creating “No On 60” avatars for hundreds of performers. Please tell me more about this and how many “No On 60” images you’ve helped create.
I was frustrated. I had been to more than one Cal/Osha meeting to discuss health and safety measures having to do with our industry. Each time the performers spoke on their feeling and beliefs a representative from Aids Healthcare Foundation would stand and say “Someone needs to speak for these poor people that are being used by greedy producers and companies for profit.” I would feel so defeated. The voices of 50, 100, 150 or 200 adult workers speaking for their health to the very government board designed to listen to them, were being silenced, dismissed and erased by a representative from a third party organization that shouldn’t have any say in the safety of the actual stakeholders. It was like one of those bad dreams where you’ve been kidnapped and you find yourself behind a one way mirror that’s soundproof. Your screaming and banging on the mirror for help but no one hears you and you feel hopeless.
I was tired of being railroaded so I thought, if they don’t hear us maybe they can see us. So I made myself a #NoProp60 avatar and posted it. I asked if anyone wanted me to make them one and now I estimate I’ve made close to 1000 myself. That’s not including the people who made their own avatars and other adult industry people that started helping me. Kiss Sins has made around 500 and Connie was around 100 last I check over a month ago. So as you can see the overwhelming majority are showing visual opposition to Prop 60.
As of September 16, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation – the only donor to Prop. 60 – has contributed $2,247,809.19. That’s a lot of money. Do you have any insight into their support of Prop 60?
Prop 60 was written by an individual, not a government agency. That individual being Michael Weinstein of the Aids Healthcare foundation who is (by the words of his own people) “Controversial”. I explain that he has currently bled over $4,000,000.00 from the non-profit organization to further his personal agenda. A man who has made a comfortable living off being the CEO of a large organization that is suppose to be helping the HIV community and looking for a cure. Instead, he has systematically tried to block PrEP, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. This medication is called Truvada and is proven to prevent the spread of HIV with results of prevention greater than 92% according to the CDC and other studies showing 99% and greater. He has called it a party drug, saying that adults aren’t trustworthy to take the medication reliably and instead he pushes condom use which is not near as effective. Not only is it insulting or Orwellian to say that adults can’t act like responsible adults but where’s the logic in thinking that, if they aren’t responsible enough to take a preventative medication why would they be responsible enough to use condoms or even use condoms correctly? So what could be the underlying motive. Well, if you read prop 60 you will see where Michael Weinstein has written himself into the legislature for a taxpayer funded job.
“In the event the Attorney General fails to defend this Act, or the Attorney General fails to appeal an adverse judgment against the constitutionality or statutory permissibly of this Act, in whole or in part, in any court, the Act’s proponent (again, Weinstein, himself) shall be entitled to assert his direct and personal stake by defending the Act’s validity in any court.” Which means Michael Weinstein would be able to exert power above the Attorney General, he could hold this position for life. It would take a majority vote of each house of the Legislature to remove him. Even our governor doesn’t have that provision.
As far as Michael Weinstein is concerned, the actual workers (Performers) voices and health in the Industry don’t matter. We have asked multiple times for him to meet with us, even though we still don’t understand why he should have any say in our industry or in our health. Ever request has been completely ignored. He has shown a flagrant disinterest in us as a group of workers or in our feelings as human beings. He has shunned us as a group and individually. It has been hurtful, upsetting, and disrespectful. Michael Weinstein has been misleading the public by saying that performers want this but are too afraid to say anything. Well that really can’t hold water when the majority of performers are now producing and he has refused to meet with us and hear what we do or don’t want. The Industry estimates there’s around 1800 active performers today and an estimated 1500 of them have changed their Social Media Profile Accounts to represent their strong opposition to Prop 60 with a #NoProp60 hashtag. So once again his words don’t add up.
What do you feel is the strongest argument against Prop 60?
Prop 60 will not keep performers safe, as it claims. In fact, it will put our workers like myself at immense risk by enabling ANY resident of California to sue us, and gain access to our legal names and home addresses. It’s a waste of California tax dollars, and will cost the state millions each year. It will even give the head of the special interest group who drafted it a state subsidized job to enforce Prop 60. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think taxpayer dollars should be spent on paying someone to watch porn and file lawsuits, especially when our state is in such dire economic straights.
It speaks volumes when all the political parties, major editorials, other major AIDS organizations and over 20 human rights organizations all Oppose Prop 60.
Let’s jump back in time a little. Do you remember the first time you saw porn or any adult material? How old were you and what was your initial reaction?
I guess the answer depends on what you consider porn. My dad had the latest edition of Playboy in the bathroom drawer. I remember thinking that those women were beautiful. I think I might have been around 12 years old when I accidentally put in a movie (I think it was called Butterfly) that turned out to be porn. It wasn’t what I expected to come on the television! (laughs) I was shocked but not scarred. I was afraid that someone was going to walk in so I turned it off. I don’t remember thinking anything other than “What the heck? Holy what? Oh my God, turn this thing off!”
Did you have any misconceptions about the porn industry before you started? How do you remember your very first year in adult?
The first time I went to a porn set I was so nervous but Janine and I were going into it together so I think it made it much easier to have my best friend with me. There was so much going on and it was nothing like I thought it would be. There were makeup artists, wardrobe designers, catering, lighting crews, production assistants, paperwork to fill out and so much more. I guess my idea of a porn shoot was a man with a camera and maybe a light. I was so wrong. It was a full on production with all the bells and whistles. Janine Lindemulder (we did our first movie together) and I spent hours being styled. Big hair – it was the 90’s after all – and lots of makeup. We were covered in baby powder in order to be stuffed into latex dresses and then wiped down with a silicone gel to remove the powder. I could have never imagined it would be so much work to put on a dress, nor did I know that wearing latex would result in so much heat and sweat.
What about your career is most appealing?
There are so many things that I find appealing about the industry. I work with some of the most fun people I know. I work in a world of affection and open sexuality. I make my own rules in scenes, pick to work with people I like to be around, create beautiful and sometimes edgy content. I’ve been able to try out my fantasies, push my limits when I want to and show strength for women that stand for owning their bodies.
Despite what the mainstream media reports, I’ve always seen most porn as being empowering for women. Especially the ambitious ones. What are your thoughts?
I think porn is very empowering for women. I realize that that way of thinking flips some people on their ear, but owning the right to what you do with your body it the ultimate power. Whether is be birth control, Roe V Wade, tattoos/piercings, work or sex, no one should be dictating to people how to use their bodies.
Do you think the adult industry needs and could benefit from more mentors for new talent?
All industries could benefit from having mentors. A group of us were just discussing that very thing. I would really like to see something implemented before someone decides to work in the adult industry. It’s a wonderful industry if it’s right for you but of course there are cons, especially when you factor in how the mainstream public can react to it. Even one movie is for life and you have to be ready to accept that.
The adult industry – just like the music industry – has been severely damaged by torrents, free streaming content and file sharing. What is the most effective way for performers to make a living?
This is the very reason the industry model changed so much. Performers can’t easily make a living from only performing and that’s where we’ve had to get creative. The performers today had to incorporate other ways of bringing in revenue from their content. There are affiliate programs, live website appearances, individual websites, selling your DVDs at appearances. It is for this very reason that, bringing back Prop 60, Prop 60 affects everyone.
Let’s talk a little music. What was your first concert? Who have you seen most recently?
My first concert was Duran Duran. Although today I’m more of a rocker with my Dio, Judas Priest, and Kix. Most recently I went to a Hair Nation concert in Irvine Meadows, California. I was most excited to see Kix play.
What was the first album you bought with your own money when you were younger?
I believe it was Linda Ronstadt.
Who do you listen to if you just want to rock out? Any guilty pleasures you love to listen to but never talk about?
I listen to a little of everything but when I really want to jump around I play the Dead Season cover of Garth Brooks’ “Thunder Rolls.”
In one of my interviews with Janine, she mentioned that you’ve been friends since 1988 and you both loved 80s hair bands. She said you’d watch music videos together and take turns pointing out which guys you’ve shared a “special moment” with. For rock fans, the 1980s Sunset Strip is a place of legendary characters and debauchery. How do you remember those days?
Those were amazing carefree days. We were so young and spent our evenings at the Rainbow Bar and Grill dancing and just being rocker girls. On Sunday nights we go-go danced at a club in Redondo Beach called Fashion’s Nightclub. Sundays were KNAC nights with Dangerous Darren and Crazy Craig. We spent what money they paid us to buy matching outfits and that’s how we started touring as a dance duo called “Blondage.” The best part of the Sunset Strip was just hanging out outside the clubs. Hundreds of people and bands would walk up and down Sunset Boulevard passing out flyers to their upcoming shows. We all socialized with each other every weekend. It was a non-stop party with plenty of drinking, dancing, and one night stands.
What are some things in your life you are most proud of?
Over the years I’ve done so many things that it’s difficult to pinpoint all the things I’ve been proud to be a part of, so I will just say that everything I’ve done have made me the person I am today. I’m a survivor, an activist, a feminist and relentless in my pursuit of truth and fairness. I hope that I’ve been able to instill a sense of pride in my fellow peers and fans. My journey is not over and I hope in the future to be able to help others in the way they view themselves and what they feel about their sexuality, that is one of the goals I have for WomenByJuliaAnn.com. As a dog rescuer and a sex worker activist, I want to leave the world a better place than when I came.
Thank you Julia Ann! What would you like to say to your fans to wrap things up?
I want to thank all my fans for being on this journey with me and for involving me in their journey. Please check out my newest website WomenByJuliaAnn.com and as always JuliaAnnLive.com as well. Please help us maintain our rights as American Workers and as Human Beings. Vote No on Prop 60. If you want to learn more about why we are so against Prop 60 visit StopProp60.com.