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A lot of times, the best things happen on a fluke. My opportunity to interview Seka came when the iconic porn goddess needed a ride to a photo shoot with renowned photographer Justice Howard.
I picked up Seka from her digs at the Roosevelt Hotel, in Hollywood, along with her stylist -- a super hip British fellow named Colin -- and a couple cases of make-up and wardrobe.
It was one of those hot Southern California days when even the breeze can't stop you from working up a thin skin of sweat. In Howard's home studio, I watched Seka and the shooter sorting through a trunk of corsets, deciding on what they would use for the pictures.
Howard wanted a fetishy look. Seka apologized for not having a black bra in her ensemble, and Howard said she thought she had a couple that would fit. Between the both of them, there was about 30 pounds of bosom in the room; looking at my own natural flat-chestedness, I figured that if destiny had doled out my boobage to women such as these, then it was for the greater good of men everywhere who worshipped Seka with lusty reverence.
She was stretched out like a lioness, regal and languid, aware of her strength and poise.
Explaining that one reason she got into adult films was because she got tired of watching women perform with dirty feet and no class; she wanted to change all that.
And men would pay a quarter for a minute or two, to watch the flickering image of the Platinum Princess in 8mm, and when film transitioned to video, Seka became the prototype for every blonde glamour girl to follow in her high-heeled footsteps.
That was a different era but Seka still endures, as hypnotic and alluring as ever -- so much so, that I had to finish up this interview on the phone -- and felt privileged to shoot the breeze with her, about housecleaning, and talking girl talk on what it was like to do it with John Holmes and Jamie Gillis.
I couldn't stay for the photo shoot that summer day, but look at the pictures; hot as the weather, cool as ice, and sexy in a thousand ways that only a woman of experience could inspire.
Eros Zine: You're doing dishes, right?
Seka: I am. That's why the speakerphone is on.
Eros Zine: What else did you do today?
Seka: I mowed my lawn, I did some errands. I bought some clothes. I packed two bags. I cleaned the bathroom with my little hand steamer to get out all the grunge in the toilets -- so I guess that's enough.
Eros Zine: So, you like to keep busy around the house then?
Seka: No, it's just that I haven't been home in awhile and I have to leave in the morning, and my husband travels all the time. So, he hasn't been here and it was beginning to look like squatters had moved in and decided not to take care of anything.
Eros Zine: Do you live in the country somewhere? Do you own a farm?
Seka: Kansas City. I just have a nice piece of property and I have to use a riding lawnmower to do the lawn. But it's in the suburbs.
Eros Zine: Yeah, a big property is always a lot of work…
Seka: Yeah, well, I lived for 25 years on the 19th floor in Chicago. I like to dig in the dirt. It's nice to see things grow. I like [city living] but I like to plant things and grow things. It doesn't seem to matter where I put things, the just grow. It must be my forte, making things pop.
Eros Zine: So, you're like a gardener…
Seka: I just love it…
Eros Zine: What's all this traveling you're doing?
Seka: I just got back from Toronto, where I did the Everything to do With Sex Show. And I'm going to Tacoma, Wash. They're doing a kind of classics reunion at the Castle Megastore. It's me, Veronica Hart, Nina Hartley, Ginger Lynn, and Amber Lynn -- Randy West, Herschel Savage, T.T. Boy.
Eros Zine: Do you stay in touch with a lot of people from back in the day?
Seka: The ones of us that are still alive. It's true.
Eros Zine: It's a very exclusive club, the people you're talking about…
Seka: Yeah -- we're a handful of people that are still alive and kicking.
Eros Zine: But it was an exclusive club even back then because there weren't that many people doing adult work at that time.
Seka: No, even Ginger and Amber were really after me. They're juniorettes.
Eros Zine: Do you find that a lot of your fans feel like they grew up with you?
Seka: It's funny, sweetheart. I'll tell you the story -- guys from 25 to 80 years old were coming up to my booth. They would get down on their knees and start bowing, like 'We are not worthy.' And I get embarrassed. It's not that I'm embarrassed because of what's happening. I just don't know how to react to that because I don't look at myself that way. I don't have a diva attitude. I put my pants on one leg at a time like everybody else.
Eros Zine: What do the older fans, the ones that truly did grow up with you; what kind of response to you get from them?
Seka: They'll look at the pictures or the DVDs that I have and they'll say like, 'Oh, does this bring back memories…' and I'm like, 'Yes, I'm so glad I could be there to help you…'
Eros Zine: What do the younger ones tell you?
Seka: They like the classic movies. They like what we used to do, and they'll say, 'I don't know how anybody can stand this new porn. It's so horrible.' And some have said, 'If it weren't for you, we wouldn't watch porn.'
Eros Zine: That's a very nice compliment, actually…
Seka: It really is. I get to the point sometimes, where I get like, that's enough. I'm getting embarrassed here. Because you're lost for words. I mean, what do you say?
Seka: Yeah, but it's different now than it was then.
Eros Zine: How is it different?
Seka: Back then, I was growing up with them. Now, they range from 18 to 80, and I've got the grandfathers, fathers and the sons.
And I've seen them come, three generations at a time -- not literally -- but I see that at shows. The grandfather will basically say, 'I had a porn collection until he got a hold of it.' And then the son will say, 'And I had it, 'til he got a hold of it…'
Eros Zine: You realize that you've achieved an iconic status, right?
Seka: I guess. I don't know -- if you would call it 'out of touch' and not to sound pretentious, but that's just how I am. You know?
Eros Zine: When did you stop making films?
Seka: In 1992. I stopped because the AIDS thing was getting so bad and nobody did any testing, and nobody wanted to wear condoms. You know? I was like, 'I like living a little bit better than that…' Nobody wanted to pay what I was worth.
Eros Zine: Were you making really great money?
Seka: Oh, yeah. I registered the name Seka with a trademark, which I've had for about 25 years. I was the transition chick. I was the one that went from 8 mm and 16 mm, basically from film to video. I hit that wonderful, wonderful opportunity that brought me into everyone's home. Women no longer had to go into an adult store and feel embarrassed.
Eros Zine: Do you have a lot of women fans? What do they say to you?
Seka: I've had them come up and start shaking and crying. Or they come up with their husbands or boyfriends and say, 'If he wants his picture taken with you, he can do it on his own,' or if he wants a picture from the table, I've heard, 'He can buy it himself.'
I mean, I have a lot of women fans and I've got a lot of gay fans. I would venture to say that a third of my membership on Seka.com is gay men.
If you think about it, when the adult bookstores were really popular, people would go in and drop a quarter in the back and it's a hot cruising spot. In the late '70s and early '80s, there weren't a lot of gay movies out there, so a tremendous amount of gay men saw me with John Holmes or Jamie Gillis. I have gay men come to me, wherever I am, in Jersey or Toronto -- no matter where I go, I get a tremendous amount of gay men that come to see me. It's because of the quarter booths.
Eros Zine: You've told me before that you got into the business because you were tired of seeing really crappy movies…
Seka: Not only crappy movies, but I was tired of seeing women that didn't look so good.
Eros Zine: You were one of the first that was glamorous. Marilyn Chambers was more of the girl-next-door thing, but you were really glamorous.
Seka: I've been called the Marilyn Monroe of Porn, the Platinum Princess, you know, and all of those things coincided and went into spontaneous combustion to create this iconic state, I suppose.
Eros Zine: What happened when you stopped doing movies then?
Seka: I worked the dance circuit quite a bit, which is equivalent to what a website is now. I worked for Club Magazine for ten years, but I did work the dance circuit because I got to meet a lot of people and travel a lot of really cool places. I loved it.
Eros Zine: Some people might have thought you just disappeared, when they didn't see you in the films…
Seka: Oh, I've been dead a couple of times. It's hysterical. One guy thought I was dead because I got blown up in 'Prisoner of Paradise.'
Another guy walked up and kept poking me in the arm with his finger. He said, 'You're not Seka. You're not her. She's dead. I know because I read her obituary.'
And I just looked at him and said, 'Damn, I'm doing pretty good for a dead broad.'
He kept poking me, and I said, 'Poke me one more time and I'm gonna break your finger.' Finally, I looked at him and said, 'You're right. I'm a liar. I'm dead and I'm not me. Go away.'
Eros Zine: How did you come up with the name 'Seka?'
Seka: I knew a girl in Vegas; she was a blackjack dealer and that was her name. And the first movie that I did, they asked what name I wanted to use, and I said, 'Well, I'll use Seka.' I really didn't have any thought. You've very rarely seen anyone in the business with just one name.
Eros Zine: Do you like the porn they come out with these days?
Seka: It's so violent. To me, it's violent. There's nothing sexy about it. The girls don't look like they're enjoying what they're doing. And the guys don't look like they're enjoying it either; it's mechanical. And with Viagra, there aren't any true woodsmen left.
Eros Zine: What was John Holmes like?
Seka: John was always very nice to me. We had a mutual respect for one another and he was just always good to me.
Eros Zine: He was a troubled guy…
Seka: He may have been but he never showed that to me. He was always very much a gentleman, very polite. I never had any problems with John and he never had a problem getting it up when we worked together, which I've heard horror stories about how bad it was to work with him, but he was never like that for me.
Seka: Well, he was a trip. He was fun. You could just see the wheels turning and the smoke coming out of his ears, because he had that mystery to him, that mystique…
Eros Zine: These were very sex guys…
Seka: Jamie is still sexy. He's still a good-looking guy. Paul Thomas, Randy West and Herschel… the older they get, the better-looking they get. Those bastards. Randy is better-looking now than he was when he was young.
Eros Zine: Was everyone really having a good time back then?
Seka: We were having a ball. We all knew each other. You know, it's not like we all hung out together, but we all knew each other and it was like a club. There were maybe 15 or 20 of us, and we all worked with one another, and so we all knew each other very well. We wouldn't do three scenes, two for a movie and one for another one, and then in the afternoon, be doing four more scenes for three other movies -- we just didn't work that way.
Eros Zine: Because you were shooting big-time production films?
Seka: For the most part we were, but even when we were shooting the Swedish Erotica stuff, we worked for a day and shot a movie, and there might be three or four of us at the most in the entire thing. It was short.
And if you were doing something longer, there might be four guys and five or six girls. Then you had your surrounding cast of people, which might work with dozens of people -- but the main cast always worked together.
Like me and Jamie worked together, and then Serena and Jamie would work together, then me and Paul Thomas would work together in one movie. So it wasn't like you would make one movie in the morning and then one in the afternoon and one in the evening. We'd be on the same movie a couple of weeks at a time. We had a story -- there was a beginning, middle and end.
The movie didn't open and everybody was just naked and screwing. You know? At least we were dressed, opened the door, and said 'Hi, how are you? Want a cup of coffee? Wanna fuck now?'
Eros Zine: But when you first starting, shooting loops in Baltimore, was that a different experience?
Seka: Yeah, but still -- at least there was a little bit of foreplay. You'd start out dressed and then do a little strip or the guy would seductively undress you, or you'd undress them. There was like a little striptease to get you going. Like I said, there was foreplay.
Eros Zine: That's sadly lacking these days…
Seka: Yeah, it is.
Eros Zine: A lot of girls won't even kiss, which is really crazy if you think about it.
Seka: Oh, I know. 'I won't kiss you, but you can stick your dick in my mouth…' Oh please. You can come in my face, but you can't kiss me. My philosophy is kiss me first, fuck me second. Because if you don't kiss me, how will I know if I like you enough to let you fuck me?
Eros Zine: Is that how it works?
Seka: That's how I felt about it. It was like a little test, because if you can't kiss, you can't fuck -- I'm sorry!
Eros Zine: With such a small talent pool back then, and a limited number of partners, did it seem like a party to you?
Seka: It wasn't like a party, but we were comfortable because we knew each other. We knew what the other person liked. It was like having a partner, a life partner in a way, in that you knew the person's likes and dislikes, so you could play with them a little bit or talk to them in a certain way that would really turn them on, and you could get into it and have a good time at work.
Eros Zine: There used to be, and still is, a perception that women who get involved in porn were pressured into it and really don't like it. In the '70s, did you see that?
Seka: Oh, puh-leez! Not really; you didn't see that. Performers liked who they were working with. It wasn't that they were desperate. I mean, let's face it -- you had me, Annette Haven, Marilyn Chambers, Kay Parker, Veronica Hart, Serena, Desiree Cousteau -- all drop-dead gorgeous women.
Eros Zine: And all women that wanted to be there for their own reasons…
Seka: Exactly. I don't know of anybody that didn't want to be there.
Eros Zine: It's maybe worse now because a lot more girls come into the business for the wrong reasons.
Seka: They do, that they do. I have girls come up to me that are like 19, 20 years old, and they say, 'I want to be like you when I grow up…' And I say, 'Do you have a college education? Do you have a savings account? Do you have a plan?'
Then I'm like, 'Go back to school.'
They think I'm out of my mind. But I was like 25, 26 years old before I started. I didn't just step off the bus. I owned seven adult bookstores before I even got into the performing side of the business.
Eros Zine: I know you have the website, but would you ever consider coming back to perform in a movie?
Seka: No. I might do a non-sex role, but a sexual role? No.
Eros Zine: Even if they brought in Jamie?
Seka: Uh, no. That would be a nice fantasy… It better happen soon, or they'll have to lift us up with those Laz-Y-Boy chairs that have the automatic lift. Jamie is spectacular, though.
He did everything that I told him to do -- and he liked it.
Now, the actors don't talk to each other. They go through the motions, and then when they yell, 'Cut!' they go to their separate corners. It's almost like a boxing match.
Back then, when they yelled, 'Cut!' -- I was doing a scene with Mike Ranger, and we were getting ready to do the money shot, and so we gave them the shot, and the director said, 'Cut!'
And I said, 'Cut, my ass! I'm not finished yet.'
I looked up at Mike, and said, 'Keep going!' We made the director and crew leave the room and we stayed in there for maybe three hours. We weren't screwing the whole time, but we were enjoying and we had a couple of cigarettes and we talked, and Mike said, 'Well, do you think we should let them know that we finished?'
And, I said, 'No, that's cool. Let's take a break.' We locked the doors and wouldn't let them in. It was hot.
We enjoyed being around each other and talking, and the crew was knocking on the door, but we just told them we be with them when we finished. Neither of us were acting like big stars or anything.
And after the money shot, they didn't care if the girl was finished, but I was just wasn't done that day. I was not done.
Eros Zine: There's a lot to be said for chemistry…
Seka: When I was really active in this business, and with the small circle of people that it was, you were able to have chemistry with someone because you worked with them more than one time. There is something to be for 'instant' chemistry, which is basically lust -- but after working with someone many, many times, you do develop chemistry.
Eros Zine: Back then, not too many women could be that sexually liberated; to basically have a pool of guys to choose from…
Seka: We had the pick of the litter.
Eros Zine: Did you love that? I mean, these guys were the top studs on the planet…
Seka: It was like, 'Do I really want to work with this person? Or would I be more turned on if I worked with that person?' You could choose whoever you wanted -- okay, who am I doing today? It was like a booty call without ever having to make the call. And they were all good-looking. They weren't all pumped up on steroids. They weren't on Viagra and they all had a personality.
Eros Zine: Did you find there was a stigma attached to be a pornstar?
Seka: There was, but it was different in the '70s, and then different in the '80s and '90s. The more public pornography became, the more the stigma changed. In the '70s there was a mystique to being a pornographic actor or actress. In the '80s and early '90s, it was chic. It was the 'in' thing.
And after that, it was like, 'Oh, it's another pornstar.'
Eros Zine: Did you ever feel like people were judgmental?
Seka: Oh, people are judgmental no matter what you do. But the one thing that people should remember that are wanting to get into it [the industry], is that the first time you get naked and screw in front of the camera, it will always be a part of your life. It never goes away. So, if you think you can do it, and do it for one time, you can't. It will always be a part of your life and someone will find out about it, so it's not something you can try to hide.
I used to bartend off and on when I was not really active in the business, and you know I had hard time sometimes, finding a gig. It was fine until they would find out that my name was Seka, and they'd say it was kind of cool because we get a lot more customers, but we don't want that kind of thing associated with our business.
Eros Zine: I think it's easier for people these days to move around and talk about what they do if they're performers.
Seka: Very few of these people are known today. The last pornstar I think you're going to see in this business is Jenna.
Eros Zine: You don't think another one will come along?
Seka: For one thing, you have 18, 19 year old broads getting into this and they don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. They blow them out for two or three years. They do 200 or 300 movies a year. I mean, after three years, their twats are so big they have to put a 2-by-4 up their ass to keep the thing from falling in. They don't have a chance to have any kind of career.
Eros Zine: Did you plan out having a career?
Seka: I didn't plan it, but what happened that made me realize what was going on was I had done a lot of Swedish Erotica stuff, and the guy at Swedish Erotica at the time, which was Noel Bloom -- that's when they had the Consumer Electronics Show. They took me to the show and they printed up 500 pictures for four days.
And I said, 'Damn, 500 pictures? That's a lot of pictures. What are we going to do with that many pictures?'
I ran out of pictures in the first hour and a half, and they had to order more. And I went, 'Hmmm.' The light came on and I thought, 'I'm not getting paid enough money.'
I was overwhelmed at the fact that they had ordered 500 pictures for me to sign -- to me that was a lot. And in an hour and a half, they were gone. I'm thinking that I didn't know how popular I was and that I'm not getting paid enough money.
[The owners of Swedish Erotica] were kind of keeping it a secret from me, because they didn't want me to get too big for my britches.
Eros Zine: Do you feel like that's part of being a true star; to have class?
When you walk in the room and demand attention, it's not because you demand it. It's the way you carry yourself. When I was younger, I would walk in a room and people would look, so I knew there was something, but I didn't know what it was.
Either you have it or you don't and I don't think that most people that do have it, don't know that they do. When Marilyn Chambers walks in a room, you know she's there. She doesn't have to open her mouth; she carries herself in a very dignified and statuesque way. So does Veronica or Gloria Leonard.
Eros Zine: So, when you go to the grocery store in Kansas City, do people recognize you?
Seka: They do, but they don't say anything. It's the Bible Belt. I don't go to the grocery store all glammed up either. I'm in a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt right now, and I mowed the yard, so I have grass on my legs and if I need a gallon of milk, I'm running down to the store. I do go get an ice cream cone in the drive-through with my pajamas on.
Eros Zine: So, are you at a point where you're just enjoying life and doing stuff for the website?
Seka: Well, that and I'm traveling more than I ever have. I just did the [L.A. Erotica] Film Fest in L.A. and the photo shoot with Justice Howard. I did Chiller Theatre in New Jersey, which is all horror and science fiction. From there, I went to Toronto, and I leave tomorrow for Tacoma, Wash. Then, when I get back on Sunday, I'll go to Flynt, Mich., for another sci-fi, horror movie show. Then I come back for a few days and then leave for Florida where I'm going to do some filming for a few days; it's not X-rated filming. When I come back from there, I go to Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Super Show.
Eros Zine: What's with the sci-fi thing?
Seka: You got me. They have all sci-fi, horror stuff -- but they like me. It's like being a super hero. Athletes and sexy women have always gone together. Super heroes and sexy women have always gone together. And horror movies and sexy women always go together.
Eros Zine: Sexy women just rule!
Seka: Yeah, they do.
Readers can find out more about Seka at Seka.com.
All photos by Justice Howard. Used with permission.