How Jacky St. James became the most important name in porn

Jan 5, 2015
Adult Business News
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jacky st. james

Four years ago, Jacky St. James had never written or directed an adult film. Now she’s the toast of the industry

Jacky St. James had good reason to believe she’d never work in porn. For a significant portion of her adult life, St. James worked in the entertainment industry, and for the rest she did what her conservative family hoped she would do: worked a corporate job and tried to be “normal.” But St. James found herself drawn in a different direction. She had what she describes as “deviant” sexual fantasies; she didn’t, and couldn’t, fit into a tiny box of other people’s suburban expectations.

So, in 2011, after a friend sent her a clip from a film produced by New Sensations studio, St. James decided to enter the New Sensations Romance Series writing contest. Her screenplay, “Dear Abby,” won the contest, as well as an Adult Video News award for best screenplay. But that was just the beginning of her experience as a writer-director in the industry, and the first of many awards. In the nearly five years she’s spent working in porn, St. James has been nominated for 22 prizes and won 7.
jacky st. james

St. James is also known for being an outspoken feminist, and for creating strong female roles that celebrate women’s complexity and independence. In one of her most recent films, The Submission of Emma Marx, St. James does this in a particularly pronounced way — unlike “50 Shades of Grey,” the film’s inspiration. While Emma Marx contains similar plot points to “50 Shades,” it has a whole different message and a cast of characters that stands in sharp contrast to that of its inspiration. This is especially true of the protagonist, Emma, who embarks on a BDSM relationship and ends up finding herself.

St. James is bringing the character back in a sequel, The Submission of Emma Marx II: Boundaries, which follows Emma as she attempts to navigate the borders of her BDSM lifestyle and her relationship. The film comes out in February — just in time for the release of the “50 Shades” movie adaptation — and maintains the director’s distinctive feminist message. Salon spoke with St. James about the sequel, about what she’s learned directing adult films, and about her next project on “hot-wifing.”

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