It sounds like a Bizarro-world scenario from a sitcom, but former porn star Sasha Grey recently made mainstream headlines when she went to a school in Compton, California and read aloud to a class as part of the Read Across America program. She showed up looking like any ordinary young woman in casual dress and helped make some kids’ day brighter by reading to them. As far as those kids were concerned she was just a woman doing a good deed for them, but outraged parents and self-righteous onlookers turned it into a firestorm of controversy. Sasha stood her ground.
She also got some publicity out of it. On The View, Sasha handled herself with grace as she explained why there’s nothing wrong with a retired porn star reading to kids in order to promote literacy and a lifelong love of reading. Proving more open-minded than her detractors, Sasha even said she thought parents should have been informed in advance, but she defended her actions at the same time. On Twitter, Sasha posted a long message talking about the experience and pledging not to stop participating in education-focused initiatives. She managed to do all of this without denouncing the career that brought her to the public eye in the first place.
Before the photography book Neu Sex, prior to appearing in the Eminem music video, before taking on mainstream acting in I Melt With You, Entourage, and The Girlfriend Experience, Sasha Grey was an adult performer. She was one of the best, in fact. Even in the beginning, she always seemed headed for the world outside of porn.
As a teenaged film buff and budding intellectual in Sacramento, California, Sasha developed an interest in porn. Soon she had a plan. While still in school, she worked and saved enough money to move to Los Angeles after high school. Sasha found an agent when she turned 18 and made a huge splash with her first scene in September 2006, part of a 12-person orgy in John Stagliano’s now classic Fashionistas Safado: the Challenge. Even in her debut she showed a penchant for extreme sex acts including double penetration and choking.
Two months later Los Angeles magazine predicted a great future for Sasha, speculating that she could be the next Jenna Jameson. Early acclaim came with multiple awards, including XRCO Best New Starlet in 2007, AVN and XRCO Female Performer of the Year 2008 (she’s still the youngest ever to win), XRCO Mainstream Adult Favorite 2009, and AVN Jenna Jameson Crossover Star of the Year 2010.
Her affinity for the darker side of life made Sasha a natural in two Vivid Entertainment features: Throat: A Cautionary Tale (an update of Deep Throat) and the surreal Malice in Lala Land (an adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). Of course, if you just want to see Sasha stretch the limits of her own sexuality, watch as she lets her freak flag fly in the instructional film Rough Sex. She was always as much in her element with girls as she was with men, and never is that more apparent than in Triangle Films’ stunning Strap-On Lesbians. The best way to experience all the sexual aspects of this postmodern porn star, though, might be Fuck Sasha Grey, directed by Belladonna and released by Belladonna Entertainment. Who better to capture Sasha’s erotic extravagance than one of her peers, who happens to be among porn’s most beloved porn star/directors?
Once the entertainment world caught on to Sasha, she soon appeared in music videos for the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Superchrist” and the Roots’ “Birthday Girl.” Rolling Stone magazine put her in its “Hot Issue” in December 2008. A month later she was all over mainstream press as the star of Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, playing a woman paid to act out relationships. Beginning in season seven of HBO’s Entourage, Sasha’s fame doubled when she was cast as Vincent Chase’s girlfriend, a fictionalized version of herself. Currently she is appearing alongside Rob Lowe and Jeremy Piven in the mainstream drama I Melt With You, now showing on demand and to be released theatrically on December 9. Never satisfied with limiting her expression, Sasha also has an experimental band, ATelecine, and has appeared on albums by legendary Jamaican noisemaker/musician Lee “Scratch” Perry and the influential experimental band Current 93.
Sasha is one of the most successful stars to emerge from the adult industry. Even though she officially retired from porn in March of this year, we’re excited to see where her career heads next.