jessica drake (she prefers her name in lowercase) is comfortable. Very comfortable!
The popular Wicked contract star is barefoot, wearing a thick, white cotton bathrobe—nothing underneath—while lounging on a big, fat, plush sofa in her private home.
My mini recorder sits upon her robe-cloaked belly (a strategic position in which she herself placed the hardware) purring like a cat (my recorder, not her belly); the machine’s hidden microphone points upward toward jessica’s naturally photogenic, all-around lovely face to accurately catch her every word during the course of our conversation.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, drake) leisurely answers my questions, her calm, soothing voice devoid of a Texan twang (which, in itself, can be quite charming). If anything, the petite blonde beauty sounds more like your typical Californian, i.e., with no discernable accent whatsoever.Yet unlike your typical Californian—don’t believe all the negative hype, ladies and gents—drake is shooting a full-blown porn movie, large crew et al., in her Golden State home.
The crew, led by director Francois Clousot, is currently setting up a scene in another part of the house, thus allowing jessica and me to speak freely in one of the larger (and, for the moment, crew-free) rooms on the opposite side of her digs. It is, in fact, a lavish two-story residence, located somewhere in the hills of the San Fernando Valley, where she lives with Wicked Pictures director/performer Brad Armstrong, her partner for the past six years. A special relationship indeed, with both stars regularly doing scenes with other adult performers, yet still remaining very close to one another. The secret of this couple’s success in such a crazy business? A big part of it is what jessica talks about—or rather, what she doesn’t talk about. Namely, that Armstrong and she don’t discuss their relationship in interviews. A good call, indeed.
So we’ll leave it at that.
And get back to drake …
Actually, one of the first things you notice about the 30-something drake (on the lighter side of 30, we should state) is that she hasn’t aged at all after 10 years of being a bona fide porn star. And a highly prolific one at that. Consistently making superb features, both comedic and dramatic, since 2003, when she became an exclusive contract girl with the much-coveted production house of Wicked, drake has made some of her very best films relatively recently, including highly memorable performances—both sexually and dramatically speaking—in Manhunters, Always and Forever and (one of her all-time faves … and ours) the highly ambitious Fallen, in which she plays a guardian angel clipped of her wings and now trapped in a odd kind of limbo among us sinful mortals (hint: lots of good sex inevitably ensues), while she seeks to regain her heavenly position. She also has a major role in Wicked’s next big picture of year, a sci-fi drama (directed by Armstrong) titled 2040, in which she plays a scientist in a post-apocalyptic future wherein disease is so rampant that androids are introduced to the porn industry as performers. Sounds like a XXX version of Blade Runner, eh? Can’t wait!
Yet today’s movie—being shot in her home—is definitely more upbeat, although the title is somewhat serious-sounding: Revenge, Inc.
As drake explains, snuggling up in that comfy bathrobe of hers: “It’s a really cute, story-driven movie about a girl—played by yours truly—who gets wronged by her boyfriend. Very cliché,” she adds with typically engaging smile, “but still a lot of fun. Anyhow, my character decides not only to seek out revenge against her boyfriend, but to help others seek out revenge. So I start a little office called Revenge, Inc. It’s a comedy … actually the first comedy I’ve done in a long time.”
And, yes, on this particular day of shooting Revenge, Inc., drake has indeed been shooting material in the raw.
But no sex scenes. At least, not today.
“I have two sex scenes in this one: I did one last night with Kirsten Price, and the other scene I did with …” She pauses, trying to fish out an image, a name from her memory. Nothing. “Wow, that’s really bad … I just worked with them, too … We’ll come back to that.” Suddenly she lets out a slight yet hilarious shriek as the name and face abruptly registers in her mind. “Oh no! He’s going to kill me: I did it with Brad Armstrong!” Drake cracks up uncontrollably. “See, what happened was, I just did two movies back-to-back, and the movie that I just finished is called Wicked Games, and I had five scenes in that one. That was directed by Brad, who also stars in it, and in that movie I also worked with Rocco Reed, Courtney Cummz, Eric Masterson, Mr. Pete, Allan Stafford, Barrett Blade. I just did a lot of work in the past two weeks, almost shooting every single day.”
Yet even though drake is one busy, busy girl, one of her main priorities has been her fans—as corny as that may sound—and making herself more accessible to them. In other words, drake is on a highly laudable mission to show her public that, yes, there’s a human being behind the persona of this big-time Wicked porn star.
She’s come to fully realize, too, that the fans adore seeing her real side and not just the bikini ’n’ butt shots. Consequently, drake is accomplishing this “let’s-get-more-personable” goal through her website, jessicadrake.com. She has, in fact, wanted to give her website more of a personal touch for a few years now, which is why, relatively recently, she took complete control over it and gave the site what she thinks of as a much-needed facelift.
“Some fans may go online and download grainy clips of me for free all day,” she explains, “but what they can’t do is download the personal attention that I offer. I mean, it’s rare if it takes me more than 48 hours to give a direct response to an email. Normally it’s 24 hours. I’m very immediate—probably because the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is read and answer emails; and it’s the last thing that I do before I go to bed at night.
“I also blog almost every day on the site. And if it’s not a text blog, it’s an audio blog where I can call from my cell phone and leave fans messages and tell them what’s going in my life at that moment.”
As expected, drake’s site offers a plethora of picture galleries and clips from the sex scenes done for Wicked over the years, as well as glamorous photo shoots from box covers and magazines and the now much-in-demand candid video pics ’n’ clips.
“Many of the members want to see, for example, what I had for dinner last night. And I do the majority of the candid photography and video clips myself. I’m a big fan of the self-timer. I’m also a big fan of the mini guerrilla tripod; the tiny little tripod that you can wrap around stuff, put anywhere and shoot. Naturally I take requests all the time. Fans can see what I do, where I go, the people I come in contact with.
“Sometimes, in my opinion, it’s incredibly boring,” she adds with sincere laughter, “for what they might expect that I do. But other times, they might see me on the set of 2040 where I’m next to a helicopter as it lands on a helipad on top of a high-rise building in downtown L.A., or they might see me climbing into an elevator shaft and traveling, literally, on the top of an elevator, as I did in Fallen.”
In terms of that same always-appreciated human touch, drake has also reached out to the mainstream media to shatter myths and stereotypes about porn stars via her stable, easygoing and accessible self. She’s gone on talk shows and clearly, patiently explained that, no, she wasn’t abused as a child. No, she doesn’t have a drinking problem. No, she doesn’t have a drug problem. And, yes, she’s absolutely doing porn of her own volition.
In turn, drake has more or less become an unofficial spokesperson for the industry, shedding some light on what many civilians see as a dark and ominous nether zone.
“I think the stereotype can perpetuate itself,” drake says, “because the more people expect it, the more they seek out that proverbial bad apple in the bunch, and make an example out of them. I remember I did “A Day in the Life of a Porn Star” on The Tyra Banks Show and let Tyra follow me around while I was working. Afterward I appeared in the studio and talked to her, and during commercial breaks, all she could say was, ‘You’re such a regular girl. You’re so smart and so together that, if I didn’t know you, I’d just think you’re the sweetest.’ And I told her, ‘But I am—I’m all of what you already thought I was. I just happen to star in seven adult movies a year.’ ”
Seven, indeed. For on top of that lucky number of movies, drake is now gearing up to direct two big Wicked projects: Three Days in June and Burnout, the latter in which she hopes to also play the female lead.
So, hey, with all of this moviemaking and emailin g and interviewing, does drake ever just kick back and RELAX? You know, take it easy. Wind down. Put the work away and reserve some time for something other than, well, porn.
“When I’m not working,” she proudly states with the same pure smile, “I love to cook—gourmet style. I can cook pretty much anything because I taught myself so many different recipes over the years. For instance, one of my breakfast specialties is steak-and-eggs benedict. For lunch, I do these fantastic mixed salads loaded with all kinds of surprises. And for dinner I make great Italian food, although I’m really into lamb right now. I mean, I’ll do a roasted rack of lamb that’s amazing.
“I also like to go on long drives, which seem to clear my head so well. I’ll just get into my car—and drive! I don’t even know where I’m going. But it works for me.” Work itself also seems to, well, work for her. That is, she loves the fact that Wicked Pictures doesn’t treat her like just another pretty porn face.
“They actually listen to me,” she says, delicately adjusting the tape recorder on her midsection, so that she’s heard loud and clear. “If I’ve ever gone to them and said, ‘You know, I had this idea, and I’d really like to do this project,’ they listen to what I have to say. And I think that—in terms of simply having any kind of artistic input as a girl in this business who’s more of a performer than director—Wicked is the very best company to work for. They’ve also followed through on everything that they’ve ever said that they were going to do for me.
“And I have to say that right now our lineup of girls is the absolute best Wicked has ever had. We have me, Stormy, Kaylani Lei, Kirsten Price, Alektra Blue, Mikayla Mendez … I mean, we pretty much have one of everything that someone could want.”
Putting her money where her mouth is, drake is not one to turn down autographs, even when requested at the spur of the moment—despite the fact that she tries her best to dress down when she’s out and about in L.A. buying food, shopping for clothes or grabbing a quick cup o’ java from Starbucks. One time drake even signed a grocery bag for a bag boy who recognized her in a supermarket and, discreetly, followed her outside into the store’s parking lot.
Fans on the whole, however, are most likely to have contact with drake at an adult convention. Or at one of her feature-dancing gigs around the country.
Or, yes, through her upgraded website.
“I think the reason why all of these social networking sites are so successful is because you have so many people, men and women alike, sitting at home, isolating themselves behind a keyboard. Yes, the internet gives them a lot of room for exploration. But it doesn’t give them any personal contact. So, with an increase in all of the social networking out there, people don’t just want the newest, easiest download, or to read an article, or to gather information, or to do research—now they’re looking for other people to connect with.
“And I think that if I can shift things around by setting this example, just a little bit, and put a more personal face on the adult industry, then that’s all that I can ask for during my career.”
This article first appeared in the Sept. 2009 issue of AVN magazine.