LOS ANGELES—Kenna James told AVN she is still savoring the moment that many thought would never come.
“Yesterday I did my first boy/girl with James Deen and it was phenomenal, better than I ever dreamed it could be,” the 22-year-old star said Tuesday. “I’m sitting on cloud nine.”
James not only did her first boy/girl sex scene Monday for , she also performed in her first boy/girl/girl—with Deen and Natalia Starr—later that day.
“I have had a crush on James since I was 14,” Kenna confessed. “I kind of grew up watching him.”
When she started her porn career in 2014 she had no intentions of working with men on camera, racking up more than 100 credits en route to becoming one of the top girl/girl performers in the industry as well as the 2016 Penthouse Pet of the Year.
“When I first got in I had said I would never do boy/girl and I was going to stay girl/girl,” James recalled. “But as the past few years have gone by I think in my mind I can really separate love and sex with guys for a little bit—with girls it’s always been easy. Even though I enjoy my scenes, it’s still…it’s sex. I think what made it a little bit easier was coming in as a girl/girl performer and then transitioning over. Never say never.”
While she didn’t know if she would ever make that leap, one thing was certain: “If I ever did I knew I would want it to be him,” James continued. “He’s so cute and adorable and a wonderful partner in a scene. It was exactly what I wanted—sweet and romantic, a very lovey dovey type of scene.”
Even though the 5-foot-8 stunner had never worked with the two-time AVN Male Performer of the Year Deen, they did have a rapport. They texted and talked on the phone a few times to schedule the scene in addition to having conversations early in James' career.
“So we kind of knew what to expect with each other and it turned out better than I even dreamed,” James said.
“I met him a few times. He mentored me in the beginning of my career. He helped me get going and understand the business side of it. When I first met him at AVN in 2015 I fan-girled so hard. He was right across the booth from me and I was just in awe. I remember I took a picture with him and thought I was going to burst.”
Deen, who has performed in more than 2400 movies since his debut in 2004, couldn’t help but feel flattered to be The Chosen One Monday.
“Being picked to be in Kenna's first boy/girl scene was an extreme honor,” Deen told AVN. “Especially for someone like Kenna who has already made a great career strictly from girl/girl performing.
“I think she made a great choice to do her scene with X-Art and I hope they will all be as happy with the scene as I am. I was very impressed with both scenes. She showed a wide range in performance styles between the more classic, super high-quality romance style of and the more super fancy, porno style of . She is a terrific performer and an equally terrific person.”
James after careful consideration made the decision to do a boy/girl sex scene about six months ago and since then has been “figuring it all out.”
“I noticed things were starting to slow down a little for me in the girl/girl world,” explained James, who was a 2017 nominee for AVN All-Girl Performer of the Year. “There are only so many companies you can shoot for and I want to build myself bigger. I’ve always liked guys and girls so it wasn’t too hard of a decision to make.”
Like any headliner on the girl/girl circuit, James fielded numerous inquiries about boy/girl scenes prior to making up her mind that she wanted to do it for X-Art.
“Absolutely,” she said. “I had several companies ask me at the time I didn’t feel I was quite ready. Then when I was ready I weighed my options and my best option, the one I really wanted was X-Art.”
Her credits include Pussy Party, Naughty Teen Slumber Party and First Lesbian Summer for X-Art in 2016; More Than Girlfriends for Colette; and Dangerous When Wet in 2015 for X-Art.
“I love the way their stuff is shot,” James added. “It’s so beautiful and sensual and exactly what I was looking for. They make you feel comfortable on set. It’s like a big family. It’s very relaxing and then you get the content you want.”
James called her three-way with Natalia Starr and Deen “amazing.”
“James by himself is amazing. Add in another girl, especially another one as beautiful and into her work as Natalia Starr and it just becomes an indescribable feeling. It was one of the best scenes I’ve ever done,” she said, noting she had also never worked with the Polish beauty Starr before Monday. “So it was a day of firsts. They put her together with me and it was perfect.”
There is no release date set for James' first boy/girl scenes and for now she prefers to wait before booking more work with guys.
“I think I’m going to wait and see how I feel and see how it goes,” James said. “It very well could start a new chapter in my career.”
The personable performer said specializing in girl/girl scenes is “challenging.”
“I don’t want to say it’s a struggle but it takes a lot of hard work, especially since you’ve got about six or seven companies that book you somewhat regularly,” she continued. “It hasn’t been easy but I have enjoyed every step. Every movie has just been a blast. It does take a very special person to just stay girl/girl. You have to have the right attitude about it. It’s always been kind of easy for me. I’ve always loved what I do. I’ve always loved women and love having sex with them and making them happy.”
For many of her loyal fans the boy/girl news won’t be a surprise because “the cat got let out of the bag a little early unfortunately,” James joked.
“I have certain fans that are really happy to see me transitioning and some that are not so happy,” she said. “I hope I don’t lose those fans. I will still do girl/girl, I will never give it up. I have some other fans who tell me, ‘Do whatever you want to do, whatever you want that makes you happy.’ Most of my fans have been supportive of me and I can’t thank them enough for being so great.”
Meanwhile, she said her title of 2016 Penthouse Pet of the Year—she was named Pet of the Month in February 2015—was “one of the highest honors of my career thus far.”
“It has just been a blast. I’ve gotten to travel and see the world, something I always wanted to do. I’ve gotten to represent one of the biggest brands in the history of porn. And I never saw it coming,” James said.
“I never expected to actually win. I wanted to of course, but so did 11 other girls, and I honestly never dreamed I would win and it was amazing. Honestly, I cannot thank Penthouse enough for the honor of representing their brand.”
A self-professed “very small-town girl” who now lives in L.A., James said she’s soon preparing to move to Las Vegas and plans to shoot more girl/girl scenes, but “no more boy/girl plans at the moment.”
“I’m booked up for the next week-and-a-half and then I go back to Indiana to relax and enjoy myself and kind of take a break.”
Photo by Jeff Koga from the 2017 AVN Awards