Hey there lesbian erotica fans! This is Robert (Robertttt on the forums) coming to you with a special treat. Today I have the honor & privilege of interviewing Nica Noelle, the creative force behind Sweetheart Video and Sweet Sinner, and an accomplished g/g erotic performer in her own right.
I’ve made no secret of my admiration and adoration of this woman. Not only is she strikingly beautiful and sexy, she’s very appealing as a person and an adult celebrity! I’m not a professional interviewer or insider; I’m just a fan who appreciates good lesbian erotica. How often does a regular fan get the oppurtunity to interview their favorite adult celebrity?
Anyway, we’ll be talking about a variety of things, like how she got started, the adult industry, forums and fans, performers and who knows what else. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
R: Okay, Nica, I guess we should start at the beginning, like where you grew up?
NN: I grew up in Westchester County, NY, Manhattan, and then Palos Verdes and other parts of Los Angeles County. I think at heart I’ll always consider myself an east coast girl, though, and I tend to relate best to people from the east coast. Maybe it’s because they know how it feels to have “snow days.”
R: What your family was like?
NN: My mother was raised in an orphanage in Tipperary, Ireland and came to the US when she was 18 years old. My father was a first generation American whose parents were from Denmark and Italy. The early years of my life were spent on the east coast.
My parents did not have a happy marriage, in fact it was what might politely be termed, “tumultuous.” I had an older brother who wasn’t that crazy about me because I was a little goody-two-shoes while he was constantly getting in trouble. My parents divorced when I was 10, and my mother remarried a man who lived in California. I’ve been relatively bicoastal ever since, but I settled in CA for the most part when I was in my mid-20s.
R: When did you start noticing girls &/or boys?
NN: I can’t remember a time I wasn’t noticing both of them. I had my first significant crush on a girl when I was 6 – her name was Mara. We had sleepovers where we’d play all kinds of games. I loved that girl, I still remember her. She had long dark brown hair and to this day I love brunettes. I used to steal my mother’s costume jewelry and give it to her on the school bus on our way to kindergarten.
Another thing I used to steal was my brother’s friends. I’d get a crush on one of them (two names, Scotty and Howie come to mind) and decide they should be not my brothers friends but mine, and I would do a fair amount of plotting to make this a reality. I did manage to do it a few times, so that these boys were coming to the door to see if I could play rather than to see my brother (which gave him another reason to hate me.) If memory serves I accomplished this feat by simply tickling the boys. For whatever reason they seemed to like that.
R: I know you mentioned you were a paralegal, & I think you said you were a stripper too. At what point did you decide to be an adult performer?
NN: I decided to become an adult performer when I was 11 or 12. I lived in NYC and I would often go to Times Square and try to catch glimpses of the showgirls behind the big iron doors of the countless strip clubs that decorated a 7 or 8 block stretch of Broadway. I wanted to be a stripper or a porn star, and I wanted breast implants. I was a big fan of the Penthouse, Hustler and Playboy magazines that my father hid in the bathroom cabinet under the sink. I got my first job in the adult industry when I was 18, and I’ve been here on and off ever since. I think it was destiny, really.
R: Fascinating stuff, Nica! Does your family & relatives approve of your career choice? Do they know?
NN: The people who raised me are very supportive and in fact are proud of me for finding a way to achieve success doing what I used to do when I was a kid. From the time I was about 10 years old, I was always writing scripts. I would make my little girlfriends memorize their parts and then we’d have a “performance” in the living room. The plays had names like “Hookers – A Musical.”
My biological parents have gone back and forth with it. But then they go back and forth with most things in life, as both are prone to sudden shifts in perspective and mood. My father appears to be totally fine with it now, though, and he sometimes asks if I ever see this girl or that one, or do I know so-and-so; performers he remembers from the 70s and 80s.
RR: When did you start performing in lesbian scenes?
NN: I started performing lesbian scenes in 2006, but I’ve been a bisexual woman all of my life. My first scene on film was by no means my first time with a woman.
RR: I believe you did some stuff for an outfit called Channel 69. Did you enjoy that time?
NN: I did two scenes for Urbanno at Channel 69 – the second one was with Elexis Monroe. The first one was fun because I worked with Stacy Cash, who was a beautiful girl and a great person. We had to play with toys, which frankly I had never done before! (I’ve never owned dildos or vibrators). She helped me by taking the lead. But that was a different kind of shoot – it wasn’t really about intimacy, it was more “do this position,” “now do that position.”
RR: Are there any other companies you performed for before joining Girlfriends Films in 2006?
NN: Yes, I did two hardcore spanking videos for Kelly Payne’s “Tantrum Trainers” line, and that was an amazing experience. I wrote an article about it for Spread Magazine and then I was invited to read it in front of an audience at an event in New York City. Working with Kelly is one of my fondest memories, even though I couldn’t sit down for a week! In the article I likened the colors of my beaten ass to a Van Gogh painting, and I think that was an apt description.
RR: After your earlier scenes, you then joined Girlfriends Films. In my opinion, you did some of your best work there with Lesbian Psychotherapists, Girls in White, Women Seeking Women and other series. You seemed to really blossom both as a performer and writer/director. I think you said you were a relative unknown before that. While much banter has been made about your departure from GFF, I’m more interested in the positive lessons and ideas you were able to accumulate during your time there. How did your experience there help you form your own label, Sweetheart Video, with Jon B?
NN: That’s a great question, and I think it is important to pay some attention to the positives that came out of my experience at GFF; there were many. First of all, it was the very first time I was given the opportunity – and the budget – to bring my fantasies to life. Lesbian Psychotherapist was my first movie, and it came straight from my personal fantasies. I had no idea if it would sell and neither did the owner of GFF; it was more like an experiment, really. (I had so little faith in myself that I made sure to put in one “porno” style threesome scene at the end of the movie, just to “cover my ass.”)
But Lesbian Psychotherapist really put me on the map in terms of being taken seriously, and being looked at as an exciting new writer/director. I was shocked by the amazing reviews it got and how it changed people’s perception of me overnight. I mean, it was SUCH an amateur offering! But it was different than anything GFF had done up until then, and the fans definitely encouraged me to continue along those lines. They let me know they loved where I was taking the studio.
I am grateful to GFF for teaching me the basics I needed to get started on my career as an adult director. The owner and I were operating out of his house and mailing videos from his bedroom closet when I first started, so I was involved in all aspects of the company, from sales to boxing up videos to corresponding with fans, to writing and directing the movies. It was a crash course in running an adult film company. I’m sure nobody coming in now would have that experience, because now GFF is huge, but at the time I started there, it was just me and the owner and one editor. So I have a much better understanding of the “business” side than if I had just been doing creative stuff.
However, I was not actually allowed to blossom at GFF, because once I started getting well known the reigns were kind of pulled in, and he decided he wanted to step up to the forefront himself. He wanted to be the face of his own company. And why shouldn’t he? So we parted ways and he came out as the true owner of GFF, and he divulged his real name and started talking to fans and all of that. I think his experience with me showed him he really didn’t want to be “in the background” after all. And he shouldn’t be – that’s his company and he should be right out in front.
But I’m proud of the direction in which I took GFF while I was there, because I worked really hard at putting that studio in the spotlight – I was a woman obsessed. Maybe most notably, I got a lot of big name stars involved in our movies: Kylie Ireland, Nina Hartley, Stephanie Swift — so suddenly GFF was getting mainstream press like it never had before. All these big stars were blogging and raving about the experience of working with us, and doing these movies that they all said were so unlike anything they had ever been a part of. Those ladies gave us the best PR in the world.
So GFF was great in many ways, but Jon Blitt of Mile High Media is the person who really allowed me to blossom. I call him my “professional soul mate” because from day one we were on the same page. Nobody in my life has ever treated me with such loyalty, respect, kindness nor given me such freedom to follow my muse. I would without a doubt say my best work has been at Sweetheart and Sweet Sinner. The movies are all me, and there’s no battle of egos or weird politics or anything like that holding me back.
RR: You were finally able to spread your wings with SHV and produce quality lesbian erotica on your own terms. You went from obscurity to prominence in less than 5 years, quite an amazing accomplishment! Sweetheart Video is considered one of the top three lesbian studios and it continues to improve. You also have a vast array of beautiful and talented performers to choose from. Could you give a quick (maybe 5 ?) list of your favorite performers to work with?
NN: Sure! But there’s no way to list only 5. I would have to say Michelle Lay is number one, because she’s probably my closest female friend in the adult industry, and she’s also just an incredible performer on every level. I love her so much. Stephanie Swift, who retired last year due to breast cancer, is someone I was and am devoted to and I cherished the times we worked together – she was, as we all know, one of the truly great adult performers of our time. Sinn Sage, who I’ve watched grow and evolve in so many ways and become really one of the best g/g performers working today. Nina Hartley, my mentor and close friend who is just the epitome of professionalism and warmth and talent. And then, gosh, there’s no way I can pick just one more! Magdalene St. Michaels, Darla Crane, Allie Haze, Zoe Voss, Dana Deamond, Alia Starr, most recently Julia Ann who I’m working with on multiple features. You should have given me a top 50 people I most like to work with, because I know I’m leaving lots of important names out!
R: You’re also branching out into boy/girl porn with Sweet Sinner. The main reason I’ve never been into hetero porn is the men come across as emotionless, mechanical beings, void of any passion, in my opinion. I must confess I’ve never seen any SSV discs, but I think you said you were trying to add feeling and depth in b/g porn, a tall order indeed! Another problem I have is with the cum-shots, which make any scene look staged & predictable. It’s as if someone is saying “In case you’ve forgotten, this is a porn movie and here’s the evidence”. Do you think you’ve made any strides to reverse this stereotype?
NN: Oh, I hope so. That’s my goal. I don’t know if I’ll really be able to make a difference, but I’m making movies specifically for people like you, Robert. And I want to go even further in that direction. Passion is extremely important in all Sweet Sinner films: passion, seduction and real sex. And right now I’m going more in the “cream pie” and “swallowing” direction to get away from the “porno” pop shot. I will still feature a certain number of external pop shots for the guys who really like to see them, but I personally wish every single scene could be a cream pie. (I don’t like the word “cream pie” though, I prefer “Internal pop.”) So I’m definitely taking the studio in that direction – maintaining that intimacy all the way to the end of the scene.
I was very much like you in that I didn’t watch b/g porn because of the way the men were portrayed. It was a turn off. I preferred reading b/g erotica rather than watching b/g videos, but I was always a HUGE g/g video fan. So when we started Sweet Sinner, Jon knew how I wanted to shoot the sex and he also knew that I knew nothing about what makes b/g porn “sell.” Basically our plan was that I’d shoot what I wanted to see but had never been able to find. He showed that faith in me once again, which was astounding.
I don’t think we’ve really hit our stride yet with Sweet Sinner, and I think that’s for a few reasons. We’re innovating like crazy, but we’re very undercover, despite the awards we’ve won. We’re something of a secret — we’ve done no PR whatsoever, but we’re now finally putting a PR team together. Also, I’ve only recently truly claimed my identity as a b/g shooter. I’m now at the point where I feel confident going in the cream pie/swallowing direction, and where I feel confident about keeping the intimacy intact until that last frame of film (or last seconds of video, rather.) I don’t want to see a disconnect where the guy suddenly pulls away and cums all over the girls leg or something. I mean, what a buzzkill! It ruins all the intimacy we tried to establish throughout the scene.
RR: Since you became prominent in the lesbian erotica world, you’ve always been available to discuss and debate on the forums. I think you said you helped create both the GFF and SHV forums, and you’re quite prominent on the Lezlove forum as well. I’ve always enjoyed your wit and candor, but obviously not everyone does. That’s what makes a healthy debate. However, you have made it known you’ve been harassed and cyber-stalked by certain people. I resisted contacting you privately for months until you asked, for fear of being perceived in that regard. At what point does it become stalking and what can be done to stop it?
NN: This is an interesting question, and one I’ve grappled with. First of all Robert, you are a complete darling, really sweet and respectful, and I’ve never known you to be anything but. I’m looking forward to meeting you one day soon and it better happen! But fairly recently there was a problem person who got angry when I banned him from the forum for being inappropriate, and he did begin “cyber-stalking” me. He still does what he can to be a nuisance. There’s really not a lot I can do but report him to cyber-watch groups (I have) and alert my friends with Facebook and Twitter accounts not to let him follow them (he has contacted friends of mine outside of the Industry.) Someone like that is a very unusual case, though, as most people are not that disrespectful – nor do most people have that much time on their hands.
It’s hard because you want to connect with fans and communicate, but sometimes you set a precedent by answering that first email. Suddenly your inbox is flooded with four or five per day from that person, too much to even hope to respond to, so you put it on the back burner. But then that person feels neglected, and then, sometimes, angry. I see that happen with female fans quite a bit; where my writing that first e mail response is almost viewed as a promise of intense, daily communication from that day forward.
I’ve had times where I’ve been angry and resentful and freaked out and all those things, because it’s a new experience for me — I’ve spent most of my life being anonymous. So it’s a skill I’ve had to learn, and am still learning: How to say “I’m sorry, I would love to talk to you but I just don’t have the time to email/talk every day.” Be polite, be respectful, and let them know you’re not deserting them. But if they keep writing and demanding responses on a daily basis, or start acting out when they don’t get your attention, that’s a clue, like “Okay, maybe there’s something wrong here.”
Some people do view you, I guess, as “dream friend” or even a romantic fantasy of some kind — someone that will love and understand all the parts of them they have to keep hidden from the rest of the world; sometimes even hidden from their spouse. Because I’m so prolific with my movies and on the forums and my other writing, people tend to feel they know me more than they do other directors. I share more, so there is resentment when I decide I want to “turn it off” and go on “private.” It’s like “You let us in when you wanted attention, you can’t just shut us out when you want to be alone.” I can see where that resentment comes from, but yet, how am I supposed to have intense, intimate relationships and friendships with that many people, on a daily basis? It’s mathematically impossible, even if I somehow found the emotional resources to do it.
R: Well Nica, the sky’s the limit! What do you see in the future for lesbian erotica? Do you plan on crossing over into mainstream cable? Or perhaps feature lesbian erotica movies? You’re also an accomplished writer and novelist. Any literature coming out? I think you can make anything successful if you put your mind to it….
Thank you so much Robert, you’re always so encouraging! I think lesbian erotica still has a ways to go. The quality of the seductions are still not what I would like them to be — in SV movies or ANY movies. There’s a lot of focus now on production values and using the new-fangled cameras that make everything look cinematic, but I’m less concerned with fancy camerawork, I guess, than I am with hitting the right psychological and emotional notes. Good erotic films should get you so turned on that by the time the sex starts you’re already dripping wet (or hard, as the case may be) and you’re near orgasm yourself when you get to that point of the movie. The seduction should be THAT potent. And I still haven’t achieved that yet. My goals are mainly focused on improving the psychological, emotional-erotic experience. The viewer’s private, internal response to the movie. Of course I want to improve production values too, and I work on that pretty diligently, but that’s not what keeps me up at night.
Other than that, it has to do with staying in touch with the fans. Fantasies evolve, and sexuality is somewhat fluid. My own fantasies change from time to time, or vacillate between a few different things. One thing I’ve noticed about g/g fans is that we all tend to be somewhat on the same page. We may have slightly different tastes when it comes to certain girls or positions, but in general it’s a bit of a ‘group mentality’. So it’s vital to me to connect with all of you on the forums and through email to stay on top of what you want to see; what’s working for you and what isn’t. And it’s also a way for me to share my fantasies and ask “does this turn you guys on, or is it just me?”
The fans really made my career, and I’m proud of the fact that now it’s par for the course for g/g models and directors to spend a great deal of time on the forums. Back in 2007 I was the only one on there, and frankly it was nice – for a while you guys were all mine! But now I have to share. Doggone it.
As for writing, I am working on two different book proposals at the moment – one is a nature book about backyard animals, and the other is a memoir of sorts (not a typical memoir format, but the content is fairly autobiographical). I also write regularly for Hustler Magazine, and occasionally for Xbiz. I also write for mainstream publications, under a different name. Hopefully the day will come when it will be acceptable for me to do everything under the same name, though – maybe even in my lifetime! Aim high, right?