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May 05, 2016

Voices of Experience: Jodi West

The May issue of AVN magazine turns the spotlight on 10 bold, confident and assertive female performers who talk about why life gets better after 35. Interviewed here is Jodi West, co-founder of Forbidden Fruits Films. Click here to see a copy of the digital edition. Photo of Jodi West courtesy of Forbidden Fruits Films. AVN: How do you think your career differed because you started later in life rather than right out of high school or in college? Jodi West: Because I started working in the adult industry later in my life rather than in my teens I was able to do what I wanted to do in this industry rather than what people told me I should do. MILFs typically set the terms for what happens during sex. They know what they want and whom they want it with. Because it was very organic and real, I think it resonated with fans and it worked! What’s the best way to break in as an older performer? I would suggest finding out which studios you like and would like to work for and then contacting them. As a mature woman who is willing to have sex on camera you are in about a 1:100 ratio compared to the younger girls getting in. Then I would get some great photos done, contact a reputable agent and let them take it from there. Is it easier to be more professional about the job now that you are older and have more experience? What skills are most important to turning work as an adult performer into a profitable business? I think that if you are older and have had some business experience you are naturally more business savvy than someone who hasn't had the experience. Also, some people don't realize that raising a family in many ways is like running a small company, so many women who haven't worked outside their home are great business people. But then again, I have met young girls in their early twenties that have more business acumen than women who are mid-forties. So I guess it all depends on the person, not the age. I would say that if you treat the adult business like any other business and apply common business practices to managing performers and projects then you stand a much better of doing well! Women are very good at this in the adult industry because they typically aren't thinking from the "so when am I getting laid" angle. How did you decide to go into porn? My husband, Jay, and I were webcamming for fun (yes free) on a swinger website when we were told that we were actually really great to watch and that there were sites out there that people would pay to watch us on. We webcammed for a couple of years before we started doing little clips. We had no idea what we were doing so we called Vivid (our favorite studio at the time) and asked them what we should do. They suggested getting an agent and filming for a few companies. So that's what we did. After we filmed about 200 scenes we started putting them together on various VOD carriers and then we went in search of the holy grail: distribution. Although we did very well on all the VOD sites, no one wanted to take a chance on our little no-name company. Then we ran across an article in AVN that said Howard Levine had started Exile Distribution and we gave him a call. He remembered meeting us a few years earlier and said (insert Howard voice here), "Sure, send me what you've got. I'll send it out and see what happens." Well we did, and it sold.  It sold very, very well. How long do you want to stay in the business? I will always have a hand in the adult business; it just might not always be in front of the camera. I will know when it's time to stop, but it’s not time yet! I'm still having too much fun and the fans seem to still like what I'm doing. What are your favorite types of movies? Least favorite? (e.g., traditional MILF/cougar scenarios (boss, landlady, etc.), fauxcest fantasies, older woman/younger girl, BDSM, features ....) I don't like anything that exploits or victimizes women in any way. If it's obvious that the performer enjoys what she's doing, then I'm all for that. But if she is obviously doing the scene for a paycheck, then it’s a no for me. As far as what I like goes, I really enjoy the subtle domination of MILF movies. The younger person (male or female) who is guided by the more experienced older woman—I just love that. Whether it's the stepmother, the boss or the neighbor, it's all the same subtle domination that only an older woman can provide. Are there directors who are particularly skilled in bringing out the sensuality of older women? Me! Just kidding. But seriously, me! All kidding aside, I couldn't tell you because I haven't worked with enough directors. And since we started producing for Forbidden Fruits Films I haven't watched any other companies’ product for fear it would change or influence our product.

 
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