Adult en­ter­tainer, in­ter­na­tional DJ, de­signer, fash­ion muse and all-round LA cool kid. We hang with the girl shak­ing things up and prov­ing porn’s no longer a dirty word.


On a sparkling sum­mer’s day, over an op­u­lent bot­tle of still wa­ter, talk turns to dou­ble pen­e­tra­tion.

The con­ver­sa­tion cocks the ears of nearby din­ers – those who, when not gaz­ing north across Bondi’s fa­mil­iar mix of wa­ter, sand and con­crete, ogle the nat­u­rally at­trac­tive Amer­i­can sport­ing grey marl shorts and a striped hal­ter-top along­side an easy smile and ob­vi­ously-erect nip­ples.

Jessie An­drews, the porn star, is openly dis­cussing the lit­eral ins and outs of the in­dus­try she’s used to pen­e­trate the main­stream as a glob­ally recog­nised DJ, de­signer, model and pop cul­tural poster girl for the new mil­len­ni­als.

Specif­cally, the 23-year-old’s de­tail­ing a re­cent flm. Her last. It’s not some­thing she’s much time for th­ese days – her sched­ule clogged by straight busi­ness de­mands and global mu­sic stages. Still, she was in­trigued by the script, an in­au­gu­ral anal scene and the di­rec­tor’s want for, in­dus­try par­lance, ‘DP’.

“I played this kid­napped girl kept in a tent in the back­yard by a guy and his brother for years…” Think Room, mi­nus the awards. “I was de­voted to them and it was just in­tense and in­trigu­ing and not some­thing I’d seen done in porn be­fore.”

An­drews takes in the shim­mer­ing view and a sip of wa­ter. She likes Aus­tralia, and Bondi, where she hangs with a close cir­cle of friends who also tend to strad­dle recog­ni­tion via art – through mu­sic, pho­tog­ra­phy and fash­ion.

In Syd­ney to DJ as part of the Stere­osonic mu­sic fes­ti­val, An­drews will also fnd time to shoot edi­to­rial for a cou­ple of di­rec­tional fash­ion mag­a­zines and well-known blogs, hers in­cluded. She’ll also use the time to gather in­spi­ra­tion for her rapidly ex­pand­ing line of fne jew­ellery, Ba­gat­iba. It trans­lates as ‘opu­lence’ in Lat­vian – a tip to her mixed-race her­itage that also takes in Chi­nese and Amer­i­can.

The Asian genes are why we’re sip­ping over­priced aqua: “I can’t drink, I’m al­ler­gic to al­co­hol – be­ing part Asian I go bright red.”

Pushed on her clean liv­ing, she ad­mits to the oc­ca­sional sip.

“But I’m never out, you know, drink­ing. And I’ve never done drugs – I don’t see what it could pos­si­bly do for me. You may be in a dif­fer­ent state and it’s all dreamy and you lose your­self, but I’m happy with who I am, I’m happy with where I’m at.”

Where she’s at, right now, is a cu­ri­ous cul­tural cross­road – one where adult en­ter­tain­ment and cer­tain ac­cep­tance col­lide. While a porn star ‘cross­ing over’ to touch main­stream re­gard, suc­cess even, is noth­ing new – think Sasha Grey, Jenna Jame­son and Shu Qui – An­drews presents as a pro­gres­sive rar­ity: a woman re­spected for her mes­sages of em­pow­er­ment, ap­plauded for her achieve­ments, idolised for her life­style and a cen­tral com­po­nent of the so­ci­etal march to­wards greater ap­proval of this once sor­did busi­ness.

An­drews was born and bred in Florida – her up­bring­ing split be­tween a ma­ter­nal town­house in sub­ur­ban Ken­dall, south of Mi­ami, and her father’s place in Tampa. School meant middle ground try­ing to make it through as a green-eyed Cau­casian kid among a sea of His­panic faces. Nei­ther cool nor nerdish, book­ish or brain dead, she did as she pleased, “got good grades” and played soc­cer and vol­ley­ball. Mostly vol­ley­ball. Head­strong, she moved out at 17, bal­anc­ing school books with night-time ex­cur­sions into Mi­ami’s club scene and work, as part of her diploma, on the retail foor of an Amer­i­can Ap­parel store.

A year later and an older col­lege girl­friend told An­drews about the US$500 she’d made for ‘back­ground’ work (ex­pos­ing her breasts) in an am­a­teur, on­line porn video. The equiv­a­lent of two weeks wages, An­drews’ in­ter­est was im­me­di­ately piqued.

“I guess I also saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to get out of Mi­ami and travel some­where else. In my mind, I was go­ing to end up in com­mu­nity col­lege and work­ing as a wait­ress – I wasn’t about to go to Cal­i­for­nia, and that was al­ways a dream.”

She de­cided to get in­volved and was soon on set shoot­ing her adult flm de­but.

“There were like 90 girls in this club with five or so male strip­pers. The girls were giv­ing blowjobs and show­ing their boobs, with only one girl get­ting fucked – me [laughs]. Yeah, that was my first scene.”

While An­drews can’t re­call the film’s ti­tle – “I don’t re­mem­ber a lot of the early stuff be­cause I shot so much that first year” – she re­mem­bers the pay cheque: US$1200. “I got in­ter­ested in shoot­ing more and mak­ing more money – be­ing able to buy things and do things. And I re­mem­ber al­ways think­ing,

‘What’s the next thing, now that I’m shoot­ing, what’s next?’” What ac­tu­ally ar­rived was her oust­ing from high school af­ter of­fi­cials were in­formed of her more ex­treme ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. Still, be­yond some awk­ward parental con­ver­sa­tions – “Dad said he loved me no mat­ter what; Mum said she didn’t think it was the right thing but that she sup­ported me” – An­drews con­tin­ued to pur­sue porn and was soon flm­ing be­tween Los An­ge­les and Mi­ami.

“When you’re cute, new and easy to be around, ev­ery­one wants to shoot with you… So that frst year I was eas­ily shoot­ing two scenes a day, al­most ev­ery day.”

She com­muted back and forth for 12 months be­fore mak­ing a full-time move to LA’S ‘Porn Val­ley’. She was 19.

It was there An­drews soon booked a wor­thy stu­dio piece, Por­trait of a Call Girl. The flm went on to col­lect sev­eral cre­ative and tech­ni­cal in­dus­try awards – in­clud­ing best film, di­rec­tor and ac­tress at the 2012 Adult Video News (AVN) Awards, the Os­cars of the adult in­dus­try. Jessie An­drews ‘The Star’ was born.

“Win­ning that award for best ac­tress at 19 is just about un­heard of,” Dan Miller, man­ag­ing editor of AVN’S me­dia net­work, tells GQ. “It was a high-profle role in what was ar­guably the most am­bi­tious adult flm pro­duced that year. And Jessie demon­strated re­mark­able range with both her sex­ual prow­ess and abil­ity to emote – and it be­came all the more im­pres­sive con­sid­er­ing how in­ex­pe­ri­enced she was at the time.”

The award, adds Miller, pro­pelled the young ac­tress into an elite cat­e­gory.

Watch An­drews’ adult work and she stands out for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. Nat­u­rally at­trac­tive, with small breasts and sport­ing hair where very few of her con­tem­po­raries dare, she’s dif­fer­ent to what one im­me­di­ately con­jures in re­gards to a porn ac­tress. As Miller says, her work on cam­era is in­deed “emo­tive” – loud, if seem­ingly hon­est in its per­for­mance. Lit­tle won­der her fan base quickly grew. So too the list of peo­ple want­ing to work with her.

It was around this time that An­drews signed with one of porn’s most prom­i­nent agents, Mark Spiegler.

A for­mer day trader who tran­si­tioned into porn as a pro­ducer in the ’90s be­fore be­com­ing a tal­ent agent about 10 years ago, Spiegler’s renowned for be­ing tough, highly selec­tive and pro­tec­tive of “his girls”.

In An­drews, he says down the phone from Los An­ge­les, he saw not only a star but some­one with ob­vi­ous smarts.

“By then Jessie was on the cusp of be­ing fa­mous and so we had din­ner one night,”

re­calls Spiegler, a walk­ing cliché of a porn man­ager: a granny glasses-wear­ing 50 yearold who could be mis­taken for a griz­zled, portly ver­sion of Bob­cat Goldth­wait. “I knew she had po­ten­tial, she was good look­ing and can re­ally act. And she’s re­spon­si­ble. For me, a girl has to be good look­ing, though the most im­por­tant is that they’re re­spon­si­ble.” On sign­ing An­drews, Spiegler im­parted some per­sonal porny wis­dom. “When I get a girl her age, I tell her to have a life out­side of porn; I tell her not to get caught hang­ing out with a bunch of porn peo­ple. And you know what, Jessie’s got two friends in this in­dus­try – me and [fel­low Spiegler ac­tress] Asa Akira. Ev­ery­one else she hangs out with are in mu­sic or the arts, you know, real peo­ple.” Spiegler goes on to dis­cuss Sasha Grey – an ac­tress he says had a plan and who “came into the busi­ness and used it to get this and to get that”. Grey ended up shoot­ing the well-re­ceived 2009 Steven Soder­bergh fea­ture The Girl­friend Ex­pe­ri­ence and a sea­son of En­tourage as Vin­nie Chase’s (Adrian Gre­nier) girl­friend. “Sasha’s some­one who was self-aware and had a plan, and that’s just like Jessie. She’s never been this su­per filthy porn chick, she’s kind of more vanilla and wasn’t into do­ing crazy cir­cus shit – she’s the girl next door, the all-amer­i­can girl and she knows her brand. And that’s re­ally im­por­tant for a long-last­ing ca­reer and for a ca­reer af­ter porn. So, Jessie used porn to be­come a DJ and then [used] be­ing a DJ to start her jew­ellery busi­ness.” Steven Hirsch has been in the porn in­dus­try for 30 years. As the founder and CEO of well-known pro­duc­tion outft Vivid En­ter­tain­ment, he was re­spon­si­ble for a cer­tain Kar­dashian tape, among many oth­ers. Hirsch agrees that An­drews is rare in her abil­ity to fnd fame in porn – and to suc­cess­fully move be­yond its confnes. “For some­one to break through into the in­dus­try is now more dif­fcult than ever, be­cause it’s spread out over such a huge area, and she’s done that,” says Hirsch. “Jessie has the abil­ity to fnd an au­di­ence be­cause she’s very real in what she does… I don’t think there’s any ques­tion that she comes over as the girl next door and she’s very nat­u­ral look­ing; her per­for­mances are nat­u­ral and that helps sep­a­rate her and makes her unique. Peo­ple be­lieve that she en­joys what she’s do­ing.” Does she? “It’s defnitely work,” chimes An­drews. “At the end of the day I’m an ac­tress, a per­former. When I’m do­ing a scene ev­ery­thing is like, ‘What po­si­tion is this per­son in, do I look good, do they look good, is there any­thing I need to cover, do I need to make sure that I’m kiss­ing’… There’s a hun­dred dif­fer­ent things go­ing on in your head at the same time, but that’s what a good per­former does.” Chem­istry is also key, though An­drews re­jects that this di­rectly trans­lates to sex­ual in­ti­macy. “It’s about hav­ing the right peo­ple and good chem­istry and know­ing that some­one’s clean and easy – the worst is get­ting to set and some­one’s al­ready touch­ing you when you’re just chill­ing, you’re like, ‘Dude we’re go­ing to have sex in an hour, just chill.’ Or when some­one smells or has bad breath – that’s not cool. “Do I get aroused? In a sense, though I’m never at­tracted to any­body on a men­tal level. That would take a lot for me be­cause I don’t re­ally like to date or go around and hook up with a lot of peo­ple – when I do, I need to be re­ally into them and peo­ple in porn aren’t for me.”

An­drews hasn’t shot a flm since early last year – the afore­men­tioned tent/anal epic. That she shot with men was an even more un­com­mon oc­curence. “I stopped shoot­ing with guys about three years ago – I just got re­ally busy and that takes more time... So I was shoot­ing with girls for a long time, but hey, if they come along with a good scene and some good guys, I’ll do it.” Her abil­ity to strad­dle porn while achiev­ing ex­ter­nal suc­cess is why An­drews can at­tract cer­tain scorn from those who re­main locked in the in­dus­try.

“There were like 90 girls in this club with five or so male strip­pers and only one girl get­ting fucked – me.”

“There was never a ‘fuck you’ mo­ment, there was never this, ‘fuck you, peace out’ thing like with Sasha or Jemma. I was never like, ‘I’m never shoot­ing again.’ I’ll shoot again. And a lot of peo­ple in porn hate me – they’re bit­ter that I’ve got one foot in and one foot out. Be­cause I feel that’s what they’d all like to do, to make a liv­ing out­side of porn the same way you do in porn.”

Such sen­ti­ment is backed by Miller.

“I think it’s fair to say that many girls in porn would like to cross over to main­stream en­ter­tain­ment, but few can and ac­tu­ally do. And Jessie has shown her cross­over ap­peal isn’t a fuke – she’s sus­tained it.”

Still, there’s surely a sub­stan­tial slice of luck in­volved. It’s an in­ter­est­ing propo­si­tion when put to An­drews, who me­an­ders into ob­tuse cor­ners of con­ver­sa­tion about “not be­ing born with­out an arm”. True. But is she not lucky to have made it be­yond porn, given the in­dus­try’s ten­dency to trap cer­tain types – peo­ple who, in some cases, per­haps shouldn’t be there to be­gin with?

“Yeah, OK, it’s a hard in­dus­try to get into sober, or un­af­fected by up­bring­ing – a lot of peo­ple do go in be­cause they don’t have, well, there’s a lot of peo­ple there be­cause they don’t have money and feel that’s the only way out or they were abused or they’re on drugs…”

So there’s a lot of drugs in porn?

“There’s tons of drugs in the in­dus­try… Get­ting in and mak­ing all that money, some peo­ple be­come ac­cus­tomed to that way of life – they drive a nice car or have a nice house and fancy things. Then, if they stop shoot­ing, they can’t have those things work­ing a nor­mal job, so that’s why peo­ple keep shoot­ing and don’t know how to get out. And that’s when they’re do­ing some­thing they per­haps don’t want to do and are tak­ing drugs to deal with it.”

Again, cu­ri­ously, she goes on to rail against such words with what she la­bels mis­con­cep­tions about porn.

“I’m al­ways try­ing to tell peo­ple it’s not a bad in­dus­try – ev­ery­one thinks it’s dirty and de­grad­ing. But they don’t know, we get tested ev­ery 14-21 days de­pend­ing on reg­u­la­tions and how of­ten you’re shoot­ing. And I’ve prob­a­bly only slept with 100 peo­ple be­cause you end up work­ing with the same peo­ple over and over again. It’s ac­tu­ally much cleaner than go­ing to a bar and hook­ing up with some guy.”

Brand Jessie An­drews is ar­guably best rep­re­sented via her web­site – jessie­an­drew­sof­fi­ – and as­so­ci­ated In­sta­gram ac­count, the bio of which de­scribes her, sim­ply, as a “mod­ern woman”.

Her In­sta­gram fol­low­ers – 255,850 of them at the time of writ­ing, a fur­ther 224,000 fol­low­ing her on Twit­ter – are given in­sight into what presents as an at­trac­tive and healthy life: im­ages of a girl, some­times scant­ily clad, trav­el­ling the world Djing, de­sign­ing, shoot­ing and hang­ing with the cool kids. She’s seen as an oc­ca­sional muse for du­bi­ous pho­tog Terry Richard­son and as friend of renowned in­ter­na­tional DJ Skrillex. So too (one-time) West Coast hip­ster Mark Hunter, aka, The Co­bras­nake – the pair of­ten snapped jog­ging LA’S Run­yon Canyon.

“I knew I wanted to be a brand from the start,” says An­drews, bluntly. “In­sta­gram wasn’t around when I started shoot­ing porn, it came two years later and I didn’t get into it un­til a year af­ter that. And I looked at what other peo­ple were do­ing and how they moulded things to­gether, things about their life­style.”

Ul­ti­mately, she wants to show di­ver­sity in what she does while en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers.

“It’s fair to say that many girls in porn would like to cross over to main­stream en­ter­tain­ment, but few can and ac­tu­ally do.”

“I post pho­tos of me at the beach, of me Djing and then pho­tos of jew­ellery and things for friends’ ‘grams – there’s no real porn stuff there as I’d get blocked.”

She has been in the past. Though for now her ac­count lures many young fe­male fans who speak of the em­pow­er­ment An­drews presents as a women seem­ingly in charge of all she does.

“I guess the young girls know me as an ‘In­sta girl’. At least un­til they Google me and dig a lit­tle deeper, as there’s a shit-ton of pho­tos of me out there.

“And I want to be a good role model, but I can’t be what ev­ery­one wants me to be… At the end of the day, I want to pro­ject to women, es­pe­cially, to be them­selves and to do what they want and not just fol­low what peo­ple or so­ci­ety say.”

Just as she’s done from a young age? “Ex­actly. I got into porn my­self, I didn’t want to go to col­lege or have a nor­mal 9-5 job. So what I want is for peo­ple to be free and do what­ever it is they want to do in life – and I like to be an in­spi­ra­tion for this.”

An­drews’ abil­ity to pave her own path pays gen­er­ous div­i­dends. While con­tin­ual porn of­fers come in at a “high five fig­ures” for a four-scene out­ing, she ad­mits Ba­gat­iba is al­ready mak­ing her more than enough to live off. Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret are ap­par­ently in­ter­ested in work­ing with her, and she’s pre­vi­ously col­lab­o­rated with luxe global lin­gerie la­bel, For Love and Lemons.

“Once jew­ellery is the big­gest thing, I’ll think about what’s next af­ter that.”

For now, though, plans don’t ex­tend far be­yond a de­sire to live, whole­heart­edly, in the now, and to con­tinue to travel and en­ter­tain with her mu­sic.

Ad­mit­ting she’s had to fight off a few mu­si­cal de­trac­tors wav­ing plac­ards about be­ing a ‘Celebrity DJ’, An­drews is, in fact, the real deal – in de­mand across Amer­ica, Canada, Europe and Asia, signed to club nights and fes­ti­vals for her abil­ity to mix, not sim­ply stand, press play and wave.

“It’s easy to be cat­e­gorised if you have a profle out­side of mu­sic, and it’s also hard to be a fe­male in this in­dus­try – so there’s al­ways been a cou­ple of fac­tors work­ing against me. But it helps that I’m mix­ing live, I don’t use a com­puter and I care about the mu­sic I’m play­ing.”

Parental mu­si­cal in­flu­ences meant house­hold sounds that went from Nora Jones to Bob Mar­ley to Queen, while her own early tastes cen­tred on the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic At the Disco.

It was as a teen that she dis­cov­ered de­cent house mu­sic – as a Mi­ami club kid – and it’s what she still bangs out to­day.

“I love to have peo­ple dance be­cause that’s what I used to love to do – I re­mem­ber go­ing out and want­ing to dance for­ever, want­ing a song to go on for­ever so when I play now, that’s what I’m think­ing of.”

An­drews this year started a res­i­dency at well-known San Fran­cisco club Har­lot – a club that’s pre­vi­ously hosted leg­ends such as Derrick Carter, Stacey Pullen and Carl Craig. Ac­cord­ing to Har­lot’s mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Nick San­toro, An­drews de­serves her place in the booth along­side such lu­mi­nar­ies.

“Jessie’s le­git,” he tells GQ. “She’s a dis­tinc­tive style and stays true to her­self. Vet­eran DJS and techs have been in the house when she’s been play­ing and they’ve all been very im­pressed. But the feed­back that counts the most are the smiles on the dance­floor – and there’s al­ways a lot of those when she’s here.”

San­toro frst came across An­drews a cou­ple of years ago – obliv­i­ous to her work in flm.

“A good friend of mine was dig­ging a remix by Jessie. He told me to check her out, so I did. I had no idea who she was prior to this. She had this disco mix on her Sound­cloud that she’d recorded live for WVUM, a cool col­lege ra­dio sta­tion at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami. The frst track on the mix was ‘Joy & Pain’ by Maze fea­tur­ing Frankie Bev­erly, and I was sold. And from there I did my home­work – she had a strong fol­low­ing, she was tour­ing, she was pro­duc­ing, her mu­sic and vibe were tight, she was the per­fect ft for Har­lot. I made her an of­fer and the rest is his­tory.”

Syd­ney’s hu­mid­ity is an un­wel­come hug to the var­ied rev­ellers who’ve turned out for Stere­osonic. An­drews, wear­ing a lenghty, orig­i­nal LA Lak­ers T-shirt (an­nounc­ing the bas­ket­ballers as ‘1987 World Cham­pi­ons’) atop denim shorts and leop­ard print an­kle boots, stands at the side of the Beat­port stage, pre­par­ing to take to the decks.

She’s to fol­low DJ Snails – a chunky Mon­treal-based pro­ducer and DJ renowned for his per­sonal ‘Vomit­step’ genre, a kind of thick-edged dub-step hy­brid. If that’s even a thing. The gath­ered crowd of a thou­sand-strong bounces to the scat­tered beats be­ing thrown out.

While An­drews said she doesn’t suc­cumb to nerves ahead of a set, she ap­pears a lit­tle un­easy – cer­tainly her club-friendly deep house is at odds with the bass-heavy mu­sic of her pre­de­ces­sor.

She says she’ll go in a bit harder than she was ex­pect­ing, be­fore mov­ing things over from there.

“Peo­ple, give it up for Jessie An­drews!” comes the cry, to which more than one man can be seen mouthing a ver­sion of, “Oh, I’d give it up for her al­right.”

Mov­ing through her set, shuf­fling side to side, tweak­ing the tunes, An­drews loses a fair swathe of Snails’ devo­tees. She plugs on as green vi­su­als pro­jected on to the screen be­hind spruik her ini­tials – twist­ing and con­tort­ing in a way that would surely please peo­ple on a par­tic­u­lar high.

A remix of ‘Sweet Dreams’ then buoys the crowd – ah for The Eury­th­mics.

Af­ter nearly an hour, lo­cal duo Yolanda Be Cool ar­rive with a tub of iced booze as they pre­pare to take over. An­drews knows them, so too the surfy Cut Snake kids who’ve also taken up a spot side of stage.

“I love Jessie – she’s a cool chick,” says Cut Snake’s Leigh, with­out prompt­ing.

With that, she’s done: sweaty, rosy cheeked, but done.

“You know what, I’m happy with that,” she con­fides a few min­utes later, sit­ting back­stage in a makeshift dress­ing room de­void of any per­son­al­ity.

“I haven’t Djed in a while so I was happy with how clean that was.” Would she have liked to have kept a few more of Snails’ au­di­ence?

“Even if there’s only one per­son in the crowd, that’s who I’m play­ing for. I guess I play to my own beat in that way. ” Yes, she does.

On stage at Stere­osonic.

From top: An­drews in an ad­ver­tise­ment for Amer­i­can Ap­parel; on stage to col­lect her AVN award; with agent Mark Spiegler and his ‘girls’.

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