With nearly twelve years in the adult industry, Jelena Jensen has become something of a porn juggernaut. Sure she’s a hottie, tall, brunette and all natural but Jelena is one hell of a business woman. For well over a decade, she’s bobbed and weaved through the intricacies of the adult industry, usually coming way out on top. From posing for Playboy and Penthouse, to running her AVN award winning website, to hosting her own show on www.VividRadio.com,
Mens Mag Daily: Okay Jelena, I’m just curious. You’re 5’10, beautiful, and graduated from college with honors which means you could have done anything. What drew you to the adult industry?
Jelena Jensen: It actually just fell into my lap. While in film school at Chapman University, I worked for a company that sold adult DVDs online. I didn’t know that’s what they did when I applied for the job because the listing was for an “internet fulfillment” company. When I started working there, I had actually never really seen porn, a glimpse here or there but never a full scene. I started out as their product manager and eventually became their marketing manager as well. As their marketing manager, I was in charge of our booth at various adult industry shows such as AEE and Erotica LA and I would also attend these shows to man the booth. I had numerous directors and companies wanting to shoot me but they were all asking me to do hardcore, which I wasn’t interested in. It wasn’t until AEE in January 2003 that Vince Voyeur, who I knew well at the time, asked me why I didn’t just do softcore, that I wouldn’t have to have sex with anyone, just pose nude. Softcore had never occurred to me because I was around hardcore all the time. When I returned to LA, I met with some directors and photographers with the intention of only shooting for a year or two to help pay off my student debt. I put myself through private school, which wasn’t cheap. My first shoot was early February 2003 for Club Magazine and about 6 months later when layouts were finally being released, my career took off. And here I am 11 and a half years later.
Mens Mag Daily: When you were first getting into the business, was there any trepidation about the exposure and stuff?
Jelena Jensen: No not at all. Since I had actually been in the adult business for a year and a half before stepping in front of the camera, I knew what I was getting myself into. Back when I started it wasn’t as widely accepted as it is now so that’s why I only stuck to softcore. I figured just doing softcore wouldn’t affect opportunities down the road that hardcore would possibly stand in the way of. I wasn’t sure what the future would hold so I was a little cautious.
Mens Mag Daily: You’ve been in Penthouse, Playboy, and hosted a show on Playboy TV. What is it like being involved in projects with such iconic brands like those?
Jelena Jensen: In regards to my career and my fan base, I really do have to give a lot of credit to Playboy and Playboy TV. I mean Playboy is an American icon and a household name. I have so many fans that first saw me in Playboy Special Editions or on “Totally Busted” on Playboy TV. They actually still rerun episodes so I’m still getting exposure from them. Playboy is a great door that opens a lot of opportunities and I’m very thankful for having been a part of the Playboy family. And Penthouse has also given me exposure and opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t a Penthouse Pet. I currently do weekly music history videos for CraveOnline.com, a large mainstream site, all because of Penthouse.
Mens Mag Daily: You started your first website in 2004 which means you were way ahead of the curve. Did you know the internet was going to be a huge part of the industry or did you just figure you’d give it a shot?
Jelena Jensen: Actually I wasn’t ahead of the curve; I caught the tail end of it, as adult sites did better in the 90’s. Since I didn’t think I was going to be in in front of the camera for very long, I didn’t start my site right away. I was shooting for a little over a year when I finally started working on it and then I launched it at the end of August in 2004. In hindsight, knowing what I know now and knowing that I would end up with a long-term career in the adult industry, I would have started a site right when I turned 18.
Mens Mag Daily: You run your own website which is a tough thing to do and you do an awesome job at it. How did you get so good? Was it just a practice makes perfect situation?
Jelena Jensen: When I first launched my site, I actually had a webmaster but we ended up splitting ways after 6 months. At that point I didn’t know anything about running a website. My good friend Aimee Sweet and her husband set me up with CMS (Content Management Software) and gave me a quick crash course. Everything else I’ve had to teach myself along the way. Thankfully between Lynda.com and tutorials on the web, you can pretty much teach yourself anything these days. Even today, if I can’t figure something out I just google it and I can usually figure it out on my own. If you would have told me then that I was going to win the 2013 AVN Award for Best Solo Girl Website, I probably would have laughed at you but I did and it was really one of my most proud moments in the industry. It’s nice to be recognized for hard work.
Mens Mag Daily: You went to film school. Would you say that the knowledge you gained there has helped you in the adult industry?
Jelena Jensen: Yes it definitely has. I would have to say that it’s helped most with running my website and managing production days. My emphasis was producing when I was in film school so I’m very good at running a shoot, budgeting time for it, etc. And I think I’m an easy model/actress to deal with on set because I know everything that goes on behind the camera. Sometimes I even help out by offering my opinion with lighting or other things on set, though sometimes I keep my mouth shut because there was a time I got in trouble for telling people how they should be doing their jobs. Other times there may be a delay and other models/actresses start complaining but I understand the process so I’m pretty patient.
Mens Mag Daily: You only shoot boy/girl scenes for your website. Why did you make that decision?
Jelena Jensen: The industry had already gone through a lot of changes and there just wasn’t much work left for a softcore model. And the numbers for my site had dropped. On top of that, I had been with my boyfriend for a while and knew we were in it for the long haul so I was fine with there being videos of us having sex out there on the web. And yes, we’re still together. It’s just something I was ready for and didn’t have reservations about anymore. When I made the decision to shoot boy/girl, I chose to not only do it strictly with my boyfriend, but to also keep it exclusive to my site. I run my site myself and work very hard on it. The advantage to it being 100% me is I’ve always been in control of the content and I make 100% of the profit. With something as big as a popular softcore model doing boy/girl for the first time, who also hasn’t even done hardcore girl/girl before, it’s going to be a big deal. Why would I put myself out there like that, only to be paid a flat one-time fee and then let some big company take all the profit? I haven’t built a brand for nothing. Being the businesswoman that I am, I took it a step further. Yeah I could have put a scene up on my site but then chances are it would have been stolen by someone and put up all over the internet the same day and I wouldn’t have made that much on it so I figured I would do a live show where only members of my site could see that very first time. I relaunched my site a couple weeks before the show and started promoting it everywhere. Between the day before the show and the day of the show, I had over 750 new people join my site at $29.95 a person and that was only for two days, this was not including the weeks before or the months after the live show. You do the math, there’s no way anyone would have paid me that much to do my first scene with them. I continue to only shoot it for my site to keep that exclusivity for my members. It keeps people coming to my website.
Mens Mag Daily: To run a website like yours you need to have a seriously loyal fan base. I’ve looked around on the internet and it seems that your fans really do love you. How have you been able to make such a connection with them and keep them wanting that new content all the time?
Jelena Jensen: I have large natural boobs. That’s mostly what keeps me popular. It’s very rare nowadays to have a girl come into the business with large natural boobs. And most fans seem to prefer natural so those few of us have the advantage. I just got lucky with my genetics and I still look the same as I did 10 years ago without having any plastic surgery. People don’t believe I’m almost 33. I’ve also spread my career out and evolved over time. I was softcore for six and a half years before I finally did hardcore. Not doing everything right off the bat keeps people interested and wanting more.
Mens Mag Daily: You’ve been in the business for 12 years which is a tremendously long time in the adult industry. Have you seen a lot of changes from when you first started?
Jelena Jensen: Definitely, everything has changed. The list is too long to mention it all. Content is now all digital and in HD. When I started they were still shooting film and all video was in SD. Magazines are barely surviving with a lot of them already out of business. I did mostly magazine work in the very beginning and it paid well. Webcamming is an entirely different animal. 10 years ago cams weren’t in HD and there was no audio. We didn’t have a million social media accounts to manage on a daily basis. I actually think this has hurt solo model websites because back in the day the only way to get access to a model was to join her site. We didn’t have tube sites. The list goes on.
Mens Mag Daily: You’ve done scenes with a lot of girls. What attracts you to a woman? Do you have a type?
Jelena Jensen: No I don’t really have a type per se. I find different things in different women attractive or sexy. I do love small natural boobs through. And I’m a sucker for kissing so sometimes I may not really be into her look but if she turns out to be a great kisser then I get reeled in.
Mens Mag Daily: Being that you shoot for your site a lot, would you say your scenes are more personal? Is the finished product better than it would have been had you shot with a company?
Jelena Jensen: It’s about half and half. I’m able to bring a more personal aspect to some of my website content because I call the shots and shoot what I want. So I shoot amateur content, I upload candid photos and videos from my personal life or behind the scenes on set and my members also get a live show every week. These are some ways that I’m able to show another side of myself, as opposed to the glamorous Jelena Jensen, and get more personal with them. At the same time, I do shoot with a lot of top photographers in the business and also put a lot of production value into my shoots. I spend a lot of money on my location shoots. I pay for a nice location, hire a makeup artist for the day, hire a photographer/videographer for the day and I’ve paid other girls to shoot exclusively for my site. I’d have to say that a lot of my content is of the same quality, or sometimes higher, as if it had been shot with a big company. I just like to give my members a mix of content because everyone is into different types of content.
Mens Mag Daily: I’ve heard your show and I really like it. What is it like hosting your own show on Vivid Radio? How do you approach the show as far as what topic you’ll discuss?
Jelena Jensen: Thank you! I never would have guessed that I’d have my own weekly radio show on www.vividradio.com . It took a little getting used to because I had never hosted a show before; I had always been the guest, not the host. But Vivid had me guest host 4 weeks in a row to feel it out and people seemed to like me so they offered me my own show. It’s a lot of fun and I like that it’s something new and different than from what I’m used to. My favorite is when I have guests on the show because I get to spend the hour pretty much interviewing them and I love to interview people. I was a bit intimidated at first because you have to be prepared to speak for the entire hour, just in case you either don’t get callers or the phone lines go down. Thankfully neither has happened to me yet. But the hour really does fly by and I enjoy it. Regarding the topics that I discuss, it really just depends on what I feel like talking about. When I have a guest on the show, I usually pick a topic that has something to do with the guest. For example, when I had fetish model Emily Marilyn on, we spoke about fetishes. When I had well known MILF star Ava Addams on, we spoke about MILFs and sex with an older or younger partner. You want to have a topic that your guest can relate to because you want to engage them in the conversation. Then other times I’ll see something in the news that’ll pique my interest or I’ll have a good story to tell so I make whatever it has to do with the topic of the day.
Mens Mag Daily: You’re a good businesswoman and you’ve been able to survive through very rough times in the industry. Where do you think your business sense comes from?
Jelena Jensen: I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a big chunk of it comes from my significant other. I do run my business entirely on my own and I still have my own ideas, like doing my first boy/girl scene as a live show was entirely my idea, but he does give me advice when I need it. I did well on my own before we were together but he’s been a great advisor and I’ve done better since we’ve been together. I also think that my education in film production has aided me because producing a movie is like running a little company for the time that you’re working on it.
Mens Mag Daily: In your opinion, is it possible that tube sites and the like will ever put the adult industry as we know it out of business?
Jelena Jensen: Tube sites, torrents, and piracy have already put a lot of the adult industry as we knew it out of business so who knows what they’ll do to what’s left of the adult industry as we know it today? It has actually hit us really hard and it’s a touchy subject with me. I’m part of a movement called #PayForYourPorn. We’re trying to bring awareness to our fans that they should be paying for their porn if they want us to be able to continue shooting new content. I feel that there’s a major entitlement complex problem going on in the world today. Everyone expects everything right now and for free, especially if it’s a digital product. I try to make my fans aware of the fact that digital goods are still items that someone had to pay for. They didn’t just appear out of nowhere. I spend a lot of money and time on my content. A location production costs me a minimum of $2000 a day. So not only do I pay for it all, but I spend my own time that day being in front of the camera and performing. Then I have to manage all the content afterwards, edit it, encode the videos, put everything up on the site, etc. It’s not like I went to shoot for a company that day, got paid and that’s it. Piracy is such a big issue that it’s shut down a lot of small companies and I’m a small company because I’m a one-woman show. If my fans want new content from me then they have to join my site in order for me to afford to keep shooting new content. Just because it’s out there doesn’t mean you have the right to take it. And if you can’t afford it, then you’ll just have to wait until you can afford it. I want a Bentley but I can’t afford it. Does that mean I’m entitled to walk up to one on the street and just take it? No I’m not. The same should go for our content but most people have skewed vision. Like I said, it’s a very touchy subject for me because I actually have to pay a lot of money a month for a company to send out legal notices to take my pirated content down. Why should I have to do that?
Mens Mag Daily: Okay Jelena, do you have anything coming up that we can look out for? This is your time to plug away, anything you want.
Jelena Jensen: Be sure to tune into my radio show “The J-Spot” on www.VividRadio.com every Thursday at 5 pm PST/8 pm EST. Also be sure to check out my website jelenajensen.com, which not only has a new photo set and video released every week, but also just celebrated its 10 year anniversary! Lastly you can follow me on Twitter @jelenajensen as well as on Instagram @jelenajensen.
Article By: Jon DaBove