The Sweetest Revenge
Shauna O'Brien: B-movie temptress with attitude
by Chris Parcellin
You've seen her. Maybe it was on Showtime or Cinemax. It was late at night and you happened upon a low budget softcore flick like "Black Widow Escort," or "The Seductress." Or you may have seen her on the recent edition of PBS's "Frontline" where she appeared talking about her work posing nude on online pay sites. Either way, Shauna O'Brien has been a ubiquitous presence on the B-movie scene for the last ten years, with no signs of slowing down.
O'Brien's first big break was scoring the highly-coveted gig of Penthouse Pet (under the name "Stevie Jean") back in January, 1992. The tall, striking brunette has since parlayed that exposure into a lengthy career as a sex object in B-movies and swinging cable television offerings like "Kama Sutra" and the wonderfully named "Beverly Hills Bordello."
Early in her career she had roles in such fare as "Seduce Me: Pamela Principle 2" and "Wild Malibu Weekend." But it was "Friend of the Family" (1995) that was her breakout role. In the film she plays Elke Taylor, a leggy friend of the "Stillman Family" who moves in with them and solves all their problems by seducing them one by one. Now that's what I call a friend!
"Friend of the Family" lead to more starring roles in flicks like "Fugitive Rage," "Striking Resemblance," "Desirable Liaisons," "Summer Temptations 2," and--you guessed it: "Friend of the Family II." For her part, O'Brien seems realistic about her place in the B-movie food chain, and doesn't expect to be a huge star anytime soon.
However, she has branched out by co-producing a video and by starting her own production company. "We are planning numerous projects right now," she says. "It's just a matter of what we want to do first. I will be producing, directing and starring in most of these ventures in the beginning."
What were you like growing up?
I'm sure I started out like any other bundle of joy, but I seem to recall my grandma calling me "a little brat" a lot--which was probably during the normal little brat stage that most little kids go through. I grew up on a farm in Washington with seven brothers: half, step and blood. I was quite the little tomboy. I was in 4-H where I showed my horses and competed at all the rodeo's and play days. I grew up on dirtbikes and four wheelers. If mom needed milk from the store she sent me on my dirtbike to get it. We could ride anywhere we wanted because everywhere you looked there were either dunes, mountains, the river or thousands of acres of farmland.
I was in the standard sports, volleyball, basketball, cheerleading (which was not for me). What I really excelled in as a teenager was snowmobile racing. I have a room full of trophies and I had a set of balls big enough to scare off the male racers, which, when put in their race class, more times than not, ended up smokin' them. I also competed in Bodybuilding as a teenager. I feel the discipline of all that training helped to mold me into the person that I am today. By the way, I can't answer this question in full because I'm still growing up as we speak and will be until I'm 101. I truly believe in the phrase "you learn something new everyday."
How did you get involved in B-movies?
When I left Washington state--headed for California--I didn't have a clue what I was going to do when I got here. I just knew I was going to be a part of it in some way, shape or form. So, I started doing extra work for Blockbuster films. Well, that was all fine and dandy for a couple of years. I paid my bills and got my SAG card when I got to say "HI" to Tom Selleck in " Three Men and a Baby." (Which I believe got cut from the film). But I got something out of it, and to be honest I was kinda lazin' around for the first two years I was here, anyways. At least I got to tip my toe in the water. Well then I became a Penthouse Centerfold (January, '92) and did a whole bunch of modeling in the years that followed.
Then someone I had done a video for asked me if I would come in and read for a small part in a movie he was doing. I got the role, not thinking much of it. Well it turns out the girl who had the lead ended up flaking out at the last minute and they ended up putting me in the lead. That movie was "FRIEND OF THE FAMILY," in which I played "Elke." So that is how I got involved in the B-Movie industry. As I'm giving this interview I'm thinking about how most of the stuff I've done to date in this business really wasn't planned, it just sort of fell into place naturally--job by job. Like modeling. I never really intended on being a centerfold. I just did a test shoot because someone asked me to and I was then chosen. With movies, someone I knew from modeling asked me if I wanted a part in his movie. I took it. Then someone else asked me to be in their movie so I was like , "Okay, cool." And on and on.
Did you study acting?
This is a great question, because I have a couple of different opinions about that. First to answer the question. Yes, I took acting classes, but I was never serious about them. I tried out an acting class once where the instructor had a big fat chip on his shoulder, and I found I really couldn't concentrate on what I was supposed to be there for because I was too busy the whole time trying to figure out why this old, overweight, self indulgent (about all the roles he starred in, in his life) man was so bitter about. He spent most of his time yelling at and putting his students down instead of encouraging them. He had that "Everybody wants to be an actor" attitude. I just couldn't take him seriously. So was the case with the next two classes I checked out. So, I decided to take the bull by the horns and go get some on the job experience. I needed to make a living, not pay someone--that I couldn't even look up to--my rent money.
What are the biggest misconceptions about you?
That I'm rich, that I don't have any problems, that I'm high maintenance, and that I got a boob job because I wanted big boobs. Well let me tell you, although my family and I live comfortably and are able to give our child all the things that she needs, I am not rich. I don't think that anyone in the B-industry is a millionaire. I have the same problems as every other human being and I have just as many ups and downs. I'm not a perfect person and I don't live in a perfect world. Also, from time to time I will deal with clients who will try to label me as "High Maintenance". What they would really say if they were being honest with themselves is that I stand my ground and don't let them walk on me. It's as simple as that. This label usually comes about when I am forced to do business on the day of the job instead of previous to the job . Meaning that often times clients don't always bother to be honest with us about what our day is going to entail and I end up having to straighten things out, which pisses them off when they don't get away with what they are trying to do.
And the big misconception is the boob job topic. Oh boy!! Here's the scoop...I had perfectly perky little breasts until three and-a-half years ago, when I gave birth to my beautiful little girl. I took a break from the business and then decided to come back. Only one problem: When you have a child it can wreak havoc on your body. I do a lot of nudity and was not comfortable with my boobs hanging to my knees, so I had them fixed. I liked the way they looked before much better, but I did what I had to do for my own comfort,..not anyone else's.
How long does it take to crank out one of those B flicks?
They are really being shot quick now. I've worked on films that took as little as four days to finish and I've worked on some that took three weeks. But all were pretty quick.
How do you feel about the softcore sex scenes you've shot?
I really don't think much about them. They are what they are and if I shoot a love scene and someone thinks it's really sexy then I feel I have done my job correctly.
What's the best part of making these movies?
Well, what a great job to have where you go to work and there's always a different location, you never know if you'll be done in 2 hours or 16 hours, you get to work with different people all the time, and I don't have to work everyday. I still have time for my family and I always have holidays off. It definitely doesn't leave room for dullness.
What's the downside?
That you only stay young and beautiful for so long. Eventually it fades away. It's important to not build your life around your career, so that when you do start aging it's not the end of the world.
Have you ever auditioned for someone and they pulled out the casting couch?
Believe it or not ...NO!!! I think I've always just used wise enough judgement to not put myself in that sort of predicament. It's a good thing because I probably would have kicked the crap out of whoever was trying to roll out the casting couch.
Any good stories about someone being jerky to you on the set?
Yes. One time I was working on a Click production, and I was getting ready to do a love scene . I looked up and noticed that one of the crew members who had been acting weird had placed himself front row center, with a chair and all, to watch the scene shoot. Well you can always tell the ones who find it a little too enjoyable to be on the set, so I called a closed set and he was told to leave.
What have you learned from being in the entertainment industry?
I've learned that it can happen rather quickly. There are times that work will just be pouring in and you are as busy as can be. Then just when you think you are going to drop, work slows down to nothing and you think you'll never work again. Then it picks up again. Unfortunately, I've also learned that you really have to look out for yourself because the business isn't going to take care of you. You have to be really strong or you might take too much to heart. It's important not to do that.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Well, some people already know this , but I am married and have a beautiful three and-a-half year old daughter. I most enjoy being at home with my family, cooking, cleaning, reading romance novels and watching movies. I am a serious homebody. They would also be surprised to learn I'm not pursuing big stardom. I'm not sitting here waiting for my big break. I concluded a long time ago that if that was going to happen, it would already have happened. I'm happy where I'm at. If something great happens along the way, I will accept that gracefully. I've done such a large body of work in the twelve years I've been in the business , I can't help but feel good.
What's your ultimate goal in show business?
To leave the business with a smile on my face. I don't plan on doing this forever, but I would like to remain happy while I am doing it. When I'm ready to step down I want to leave fulfilled and with no regrets. To this day I have no regrets. I've chosen a very entertaining path and it's kept my career from getting boring.
Any advice for aspiring actresses?
Don't put so much of yourself into the business that you lose yourself. Be careful who you surround yourself with while in the industry, because when you have your lows you'll need to surround yourself with people who care about you. Be wary of the so called friends in the industry. Only make choices that you know you can live with , if not you'll eventually be facing a downfall. And mostly, don't ever let managers or agents tell you that there's only one recipe for succeeding in the business. Your idea for success might be completely different than someone who is just interested in making the quick buck off of you. Use your gut instinct along with what you've learned along the way. Common sense is usually the best protector.
You've got a very cool website. What can you tell us about it?
I have owned my own site since 1996. It is located at Womenoftheweb.com. My website offers users thousands upon thousands of still photographs of everything from beautiful bikini shots to artistic nudes to racy( more adult style) pics. I have close to 100 women on my site, adding more and more everyday. I have everyone from amateurs to allstars on the site. There are video games, video clips, mass updates daily, free non member web cam shows, and multiple live streaming video shows weekly. I have also added my very own joke cartoon strip. When users are ready to order personalized items they can just shoot over to my catalog section to where they can find everything from pictures to trading cards to video's personally signed by me. I have put alot of really hard work into my site to make it a very enjoyable place for all.
What's your message for America's youth?
Be smart. If you have good parents don't take that for granted. If you aren't able to turn to your parents for what you need growing up, then turn to someone that you can look up to for guidance. You'd be surprised how a positive role model can change the course of your life. It makes me so sad to hear stories on the news where kids had so many things missing from their lives that they took drastic measures to be heard. It shouldn't be that way. It's a parent's job to step up to the plate and find out what's going on in their kids head. Always talk to your parents if you've got something to sort out. It could simplify things for you during a time that can be pretty challenging.
I hope you have learned a little bit about me, and I hope that whoever reads this can appreciate and respect my honesty!!
� 2002 Chris Parcellin & D-Filed, All rights reserved.
Photographs � 2002 Shauna O'Brien & Womenoftheweb.com, All rights reserved.