Joanna Angel, the badass chick behind BurningAngel.com, gave us a little time the other day. We chatted about the biz, punk rock and New Jersey…she is a superstar in this industry and I am an even bigger fan now after talking with her…
Joanna Angel: Oh hey, how’re you doing?
NR: What’s going on?
Joanna Angel: Uh, nothing. [laughs] Interview with you.
NR: I know, I appreciate it. What’ve you been up to, you really busy lately or what?
Joanna Angel: Yeah, I’m always pretty busy.
NR: You’re out in California right now?
Joanna Angel: Yeah.
NR: What’s going on out there? Burning Angel stuff or are you out there for fun?
Joanna Angel: No, we have an office in LA and New York, so when I’m out here I’m in my office in LA and when I’m there I’m in my office in New York.
NR: So, I’m a huge fan of the website, I love it. It’s got a super hip look, it’s one of my go-to websites every morning when I get to the office. Is that just years of trying different things or are you always looking to change the site based on the fans’ feedback, etc?
Joanna Angel: Well, I feel like the site’s changed a little bit over the years, but it’s kept its – I feel like it’s just become a bigger and better version of what it was before. It’s always been like, a punk rock porn site. In the very beginning we didn’t have a lot of money so we really couldn’t afford a big community with all these features and we didn’t really have that much content. When you don’t have that much content, you don’t really need a complicated way to organize it, so it was pretty straightforward. But as we’ve grown up, and I’ve learned more about the industry and internet communities, the website’s kind of grown with me. And as we’ve made more money throughout the years, obviously we put the money back into the company to try and make the website better. We’re in the process of redoing things and relaunching things. I was just on the phone and we’re completely relaunching our site again in the next couple months.
NR: It’s always something new, huh?
Joanna Angel: Yeah, I guess so. It’s like that on the internet.
NR: Exactly. You guys were one of the first on the scene with an iPhone app specifically for the adult market, right?
Joanna Angel: I don’t like to say I’m the first, I don’t think we were the very first. But you know, people like it. With the economy these days, you can’t really just do one thing, you’ve got to do everything. You can’t just say oh, you’re going to make all your money off this one thing. You need to put a little bit of your money everywhere. But people really like it, it’s something good for our fans. I know we’ve gotten some new fans out of it, so I think it works out.
NR: Yeah, it works on both ends. So let me ask you, what was your last job before you got into adult entertainment?
Joanna Angel: Um… [laughs] it’s a while now. I was a waitress before I did porn and I used to also work as a receptionist at a piercing place. But me and my roommates kind of, decided it would be fun to start a porn site and it sort of…
NR: And just like that?
Joanna Angel: Yeah, it was very Zack and Miri Make A Porno.
NR: Just a couple of girls at Rutgers making a porn site.
Joanna Angel: Yeah, that’s pretty much what happened. I didn’t really feel like I was getting into the industry. We kind of just had this idea and went with it. A lot of girls talk about getting into the industry and they’re from small towns and they go to LA and it’s crazy and they’re around other people who have been in porn so long and it’s all scary. That wasn’t like us. I started out with my own company. It was just me and my friends and this experiment and the experiment worked and people liked it. Later I was going out to LA and meeting with people and…I don’t know, then I was part of the industry. [laughs]
NR: You had a little bit more control over what you were doing, which a lot of girls don’t when they first get into it.
Joanna Angel: Yeah…you know. [laughs] A little too much control. I didn’t really have anybody who knew what they were doing to show me the way. It had its advantages and its disadvantages.
NR: Just kind of winging it?
Joanna Angel: I don’t really think any girl in porn gets forced into doing what they don’t want to do. They just don’t how to…you gotta say what’s on your mind. If you just say what’s on your mind you know, you’re a chick. People will listen to you. You just gotta say it.
NR: Yeah, a lot of people think that girls are just forced into doing something.
Joanna Angel: No, especially now. It doesn’t make any sense. There’s so many girls who want to do this now, so many girls who are just begging for work, so many girls who are in the industry and don’t do scenes as often as they’d like to. If somebody doesn’t want to do something, they’re just going to find someone who does.
NR: Do you have a favorite scene that you were in or you directed?
Joanna Angel: One of my recent projects that was really big called “LA Pink,” a parody of “LA Ink,” I think that’s my favorite so far. It’s the first full-length feature that I directed and starred in all on my own, I didn’t get any financial help from any other company so it was kind of a big deal for me.
NR: And do you like directing more than performing or is it a toss-up?
Joanna Angel: They’re really different. I think performing is more fun. I mean, you’re having sex. It’s more fun than working, even though it is work.
NR: It’s a different species of work.
Joanna Angel: Yeah, it doesn’t really feel like work. I have a lot of fun while I’m doing it.
NR: Yeah, I hear that a lot. So, I have to ask. What’s up with your wide taste in music? Rancid, Johnny Cash…those are kind of opposite ends of the spectrum. You just like a little bit of everything, or what?
Joanna Angel: Yeah, I really love music. I’m really into music. I think when I was younger I was very like, “I only love punk! Anything that’s not punk I don’t like!” Now I’ve just grown up. I like punk, I like some grunge stuff, some electronic stuff, I like some classic rock. So I like a lot of stuff, but I like stuff that’s good. I don’t like the stuff that sucks and there’s a lot of stuff that sucks, so you gotta like different kinds of music. I like punk, but not all punk. There’s a lot of punk that’s terrible, but I like the good punk. [laugh] And there’s a lot of really bad metal bands. But there’s a lot of good metal bands, too.
NR: It’s good to be selective. But it’s safe to say you’re not going to be following Phish around on tour anytime soon, right?
Joanna Angel: Are they still a band?
NR: No, I think they got back together and are doing a tour. Maybe they went broke, I’m not sure.
Joanna Angel: I hate them and I hate the culture that surrounds them.
NR: It’s definitely dirty. So you were born in Boston, right ? But you were raised in [New] Jersey? Is that true?
Joanna Angel: Yeah.
NR: I’m a Jersey boy.
Joanna Angel: Oh yeah?
NR: Yeah, I’m from Princeton. Do you think growing up Jersey right outside of New York gave you kind of, that do it on your own attitude, I don’t need a lot of help and it’s gotten you where you are today?
Joanna Angel: Yeah, definitely. Especially, the New Jersey punk scene was really about doing things for yourself. I was kind of around before everybody was on huge record labels and me and my friends, we used to…most of the places I hung out in college and even in high school were shows that were in houses or people’s basements or really small venues. And they were put on by people that I knew, it wasn’t like huge bigtime club promoters or anything. My boyfriend in college, me and him together put out my friend’s record. We saved up the money and taped the recording, made a bunch of copies and tried to get stores to sell copies. I definitely came from a school of doing everything yourself and I still use those ethics today. It always seems that anytime I ask someone to do something, they do it in a way that I hate so, yeah. I try and do everything myself.
NR: Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. I think that has a lot to do with all the success you’ve had, there’s no doubt about it. In your opinion, is New York the best city in the world?
Joanna Angel: I think so.
NR: Yeah, I agree with you. You just can’t beat the city, I love it.
Joanna Angel: Yeah, I love it.
NR: I dig your whole northeast swagger. Like I said, I’m a Jersey boy, I can appreciate the attitude.
Joanna Angel: [laughs] Thank you. I mean, I am in LA a lot of the time and people say, are you from LA? I really don’t like saying yes. [laughs] I’m like, I’m from New York and I’m not even from New York, but I’m more from New York than I am from LA.
NR: I think if you grew up like 100 miles from Manhattan, you can say oh, I’m from New York City. I’ve come across so many people, I mean – I’ve said it. Even though it was an hour away.
Joanna Angel: Yeah, I know.
NR: So, what can we expect from Burning Angel? What’s on the horizon? I know you’re in the process of changing things, still trying to remain true to the site but keep it fresh.
Joanna Angel: We’re relaunching the site again in February and that’s the main focus right now. We’re adding more community features, a webcam site so that people can interact with each other live. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing and try and make it better.
NR: That’s awesome. Is it the fans that keep you going? You’ve got a lot of loyal supporters.
Joanna Angel: Definitely. I mean, if it wasn’t for my fans I don’t know where I would be today. We’re an internet company, we’re selling to people. We don’t have any ‘big deals’ or big distribution companies or buyers or anything like that. The reason we are who we are is because people sign up for the site and they like it and they tell their friends about it, not because we struck some big deal with some company and they got us a bunch of stuff. It’s really because of our individual fans and they really matter. I really try and give them as much attention as I can when I do a signing or on Twitter because I’m so appreciative. Especially now with the market so saturated, I’m flattered that people choose to sign up for my website and not every other website or sign up for my website instead of trying to download things for free. I wish I could send them all thank you cards every year. [laughs]
NR: Absolutely. You stay true to your fans and you stay true to yourself. And so what do you see for yourself in five years? I don’t want to put you on the spot, I know that’s far away…
Joanna Angel: It is far away. I don’t know. I hope the company will be a lot bigger in the next five years. I’d like to be – I mean, I’ve gone from nothing into something and I’d like to take that something and become an even bigger something. I’m definitely not done. I’m still climbing my way up. I hope I can get to the level of some of the other girls who I really admire in the industry.
NR: I don’t think you’ll have any problem. I know you don’t want to brag, but I’m a huge fan of the website. Everyone at NudeReviews.com loves it. We really appreciate you taking the time out. I’m going to let you get going, you sound like you’re pretty busy out there.
Joanna Angel: Well, thank you!
NR: Take care, Joanna. Have a good night.
*Joanna, We Love Ya…Keep Rockin’…