411 Movies Interview: Vivid's Monique Alexander
Posted by Tony Farinella on 01.21.2008
411's Tony Farinella sits down with Vivid's Monique Alexander for an exclusive interview!
Vivid's Monique Alexander knows how to do things the right way. You see, this was my second interview with someone from the adult entertainment industry, and they continue to blow me away with their professionalism. Monique called me two minutes ahead of time for our interview, and she couldn't have been nicer. She answered all of my questions, and she displayed a tremendous amount of passion, class, and honesty. In my interview with Monique, we talked about her rise from shy girl to stripper to adult entertainment superstar. I hope you enjoy my interview with Monique, and I hope you look out for her in the future.
TONY: Before you got involved in the adult entertainment industry, you were a stripper. How did you end up becoming a stripper in the first place?
Monique Alexander: Well, I was a receptionist by day, making 8 dollars an hour and working 8 to 5, and I moved out on my own and wasn't able to support myself, so I started dancing at night so that I could live on my own and not live at home anymore.
TONY: How did you handle all of that at such a young age?
Monique Alexander: At first, it was a little difficult. I originally went into the strip club to try to be a waitress, but they were like, "No, no, no. You need to be a stripper." So, I wasn't really anticipating that. It was hard at first, and the girls can be really catty at a strip club, but luckily one of the main girls kind of took me under her wing and told me to point my toes and didn't really let any of the other girls pick on me. So, it became easy after a while.
TONY: How much did that experience help you? Did it allow you to build up your self esteem and not let anything stop you?
Monique Alexander: Yeah. I was a really shy girl growing up, so to be thrown into something like that was really out of my character. But I really was just able to pave my way for life to just not let anyone take advantage of you, and you gotta have a thick skin to get by in this world.
TONY: I read an interview with you where you mentioned that you had a really shady agent when you first started in the industry. Did that experience really open up your eyes to the industry?
Monique Alexander: I've always had trust issues, and I've always depended on myself. Growing up, I was always extremely independent. Even though my first agent was a slime ball, I could see right through him, so he tried to pull his tricks on me, but they didn't work. It just keeps my eyes open to just watch people, because people will say anything and do anything to get you to do what they want.
TONY: Now that you've had so much success, how do you know who to trust? Do you have a radar? Can you sense it right away?
Monique Alexander: I think I have a pretty good sense of judgment when it comes to people and a pretty good radar. I try to keep people at arm's distance. I don't like to judge a book by its cover, so I give everybody their chance, but I think I'm pretty aware of people who aren't good to be around.
TONY: What was your first photo shoot like? How nervous were you?
Monique Alexander: Well, my first shoot was with Earl Miller, and he's not the easiest photographer to shoot with. He gave me quite a complex when I came down to Los Angeles, because I had braces on the bottom of my teeth, and he didn't know that in the pictures prior, so he was really angry. He gave me a complex when it came to posing with my mouth, and that took me probably a couple of years to get over, because I was so insecure about it. And I had never seen a dildo or anything of that sort, so when he handed me one on set, I'm like, "What is this?" And they tell me, "You put that in you." I was like, "Umm, I think it's a little big for me." (laughs) So, it was hard, and I was really nervous. I didn't think I was sexy, and I didn't know how to be sexy. I was just this tiny little girl from Northern California, and I was like, "I don't know what to do." So, it was a little difficult, but within time, just like anything else, it became much easier.
TONY: When did you start to become comfortable on the set of a photo shoot?
Monique Alexander: I think after a year or two, I became more comfortable at doing the photo shoots and more confident with myself.
TONY: Early on in your career, who were some directors and photographers who really helped you out?
Monique Alexander: I would say the best photographer for me was Suze Randall. She's an amazing lady, and she's a woman, and she understands. The difference between her and Earl is ... he can be just a grumpy old man, and he'd put us in these difficult poses, and we'd be starving, and he'd sit there in front of us and eat, and we would be dying. Unlike Suze, who would look at you and be like, "You're hungry. You look hungry. OK. Cut!" And we'd stop in the middle of the shoot. We'd be halfway through the layout, and if we were hungry, she would stop, and she really helped me a lot with that. And she also helped me a lot with the whole mouth thing, because she knew I had shot with Earl and that he had given me a little complex, and she really helped me develop myself into a sexier woman.
TONY: I think you bring up a great point. Do you think that sometimes people don't realize the impact of their comments? I mean, you're naked and vulnerable, and when they take a shot at you, it stings.
Monique Alexander: Oh, yeah. I don't think they realize it. Some of them I don't think they realize it, but with some people, I think they almost do it on purpose, just to intimidate you, because they don't want you to shoot with anybody else, or they want you to be a little tarnished so that no one else will shoot you.
TONY: How did you go from shooting pictures to shooting videos? What was that transition like?
Monique Alexander: Well, I originally just started doing single girl photo shoots, and then I went into girl-girl photo shoots, and I'm like, "Okay. I like girls. I think they're hot and sexy, and they smell good." So, I started doing girl-girl photo shoots, and then I went to Mexico to shoot for Hustler with the late Clive McLean, and he had just started his series, Hot Showers, and I did Hot Showers Number 2. I was just there to do a girl-girl photo shoot and to do my layout for Hustler, and he was such an amazing man and him and his wife are so great, and they said to me, "One of the other girls, she had to go back home. Could you please fill in and do this girl-girl?" And I was deathly terrified, but he was so amazing, so I did it. I was really nervous, but he made it extremely easy on me.
TONY: After participating in your first video, were you hooked?
Monique Alexander: Well, I mean, I really enjoyed it. Like I said, I love girls, and I appreciate them, so it was fun. I knew that when I started doing girl-girl that I wasn't quite ready to do boy-girl yet, and I wasn't going to let any amount of money pressure me into doing boy-girl, because I knew that it was something that I mentally wasn't ready for at all.
TONY: I'm so glad that you said that. I think it's so important to stand up for yourself and do things on your own terms. How important was that to you?
Monique Alexander: That was 100 percent important to me. A lot of girls get in this industry, and they don't realize that they can say no, and you have a choice to say no. Yeah, your agent might be mad and might not get you work for a while, but you have to stand up for yourself, because if you don't, nobody ever will. And that's the one thing I did in this industry from the beginning, and I had an extremely high girl-girl rate, and I stuck with girl-girl for three and a half years until I was ready enough to take the leap to do boy-girl.
TONY: How would you describe the set of an adult entertainment shoot?
Monique Alexander: Well, I've been in a bubble for the last three years. I mean, being with Vivid, I'm really lucky, and our crew is always the same people, and I think it's like that with other sets. I don't really know what it's like to be on a set other than Vivid, because I've been with them for so long. But when you come to our set, it's always the same lighting people, it's usually the same make-up, and it's always the same couple of directors and girls. And, for me, it's very comfortable. Everybody has a good time. I mean, Paul Thomas sets can be a little stressful at times, because he's very creative, and it can be a little much at times, but, other than that, sets are a lot of fun, and I enjoy going to sets.
TONY: When you're dealing with that kind of professionalism on set, does it make going to work a lot easier?
Monique Alexander: Oh, 100 percent makes it easier. I've done some mainstream things, like Entourage and some really cool things like that, and obviously their professionalism is a little bit higher than ours. They have call sheets and all this kind of stuff, and we don't go that far, but to have that sense of professionalism makes everything much better and makes everything go much smoother.
TONY: You mentioned earlier how you did a lot of girl-girl early in your career. Why do you think you felt more comfortable doing girl-girl?
Monique Alexander: I think the reason why I was more comfortable with girl-girl is because it's not, I don't believe, as hardcore as boy-girl. There's penetration with toys, but it's not a guy's raging boner going into you and the whole cumming in the face or cumming in the mouth. (laughs) You don't have to worry about anything like that, so, at that time, it was just something I was comfortable with.
TONY: When did you start to become comfortable doing girl-boy?
Monique Alexander: I've been in the industry for about three and a half years, and I got to know the industry, which was really important to me. I got to know the industry, and I got to know the people, the guys, the talent, and I got to know what I can and can't do and how I can say yes and no. And I basically think that's the best thing for any girl to do, because by doing that, I got an amazing contract, and I have the options of people I get to work with.
TONY: Out of all the girls that you've worked with, who has been your favorite, and who did you learn the most from?
Monique Alexander: Oh, wow. That's a great question. As of right now, my favorite to work with is Sunny Leone, because I think she's smoking hot and fun to do scenes with. When I first got in the industry, I was really close with Jessica Drake, and she did teach me a lot. She's not the same person she was those years ago, which is sad, but she did teach me a lot and did teach me not to let anybody boss me around, which was very nice of her.
TONY: As you look back on your career in the industry, has your perspective changed at all?
Monique Alexander: No, I don't think my perspective has changed at all. I mean, everybody that I work with is extremely kind and not disrespectful by any means, and most of the guys that I had seen before working with other girls were the same way. I'm really fortunate. I surround myself around a good group of people.
TONY: How did you end up at Vivid?
Monique Alexander: I told my agent that I was ready to do boy-girl, and once he picked his mouth up off the floor, because he thought I was never gonna do it ... he had just taken a girl into see Vivid, so he basically shopped me around to the highest bidder. Vivid caught wind that I was looking to do boy-girl, and Steve Hirsch had me come into the office on a Friday, and we had an interview and that Sunday I shot with Vivid's photographer, and by Monday they liked my pictures and wanted to sign me.
TONY: You've also had a chance to work with the legendary Jenna Jameson. What was that experience like?
Monique Alexander: Jenna's actually a really great friend of mine. I actually live with her. And it was fantastic. She's a legend, and I'm just fortunate that I got the opportunity to work with her when she was still doing movies, let alone be such great friends as we are now.
TONY: Do you remember the video that you shot with her? I remember reading an interview with you, and you mentioned how she was so kind and so supportive.
Monique Alexander: It was wonderful. I remember the movie ... it was for Chi Chi LaRue, and I remember being extremely nervous, and both of them were like, "It's OK. It's not a big deal." I mean, she's Jenna Jameson, and back then I really didn't know her, so for her to take the time to do that was extremely nice of her, because there is a lot of people in this world who are just up on this high horse, and they don't care. They're like, "Yeah, that's right. You should beg at my feet." But she was extremely nice, and it made a world of difference.
TONY: Now that's she retiring from the adult entertainment industry, how do you think people will remember her?
Monique Alexander: I think her legacy will be really opening the eyes of the mainstream world, because she's done so much for our industry. Even though she's retiring and people might be a little bitter about that, but everybody has to move on in their life, and she has to do what's best for her. And right now, this is what's best for her, and she's done a lot. I mean, she's walked in New York Fashion Week, she's wrote a book, and she's really opened the doors and really showed people that just because we're porn stars ... we're not stupid, we're not idiots, and we're not all whores. We actually have minds, and we actually can transform into something magnificent.
TONY: What it's like dealing with that stigma? As you just mentioned, Jenna Jameson has really changed the way that we look at porn stars. The same applies to Tera Patrick.
Monique Alexander: It gets frustrating, but for the most part, I'm really lucky. I don't think being a porn star is such a bad image anymore like it was when Jenna started and Tera. Like I said, Jenna's really opened the doors for all of us, to make it more accessible. Porn's kind of like the new "it" thing to do. Kids are like, "Ooh, I wanna be a porn star when I grow up." So, I don't think it's as bad as it used to be. It does suck when you get that image, but I love to prove them wrong. I love a challenge, so I love it when people put that stigma attached to me, and then I totally blow them out of the water.
TONY: I wanna go back to something that we talked about earlier in this interview. We talked about your previous agent and how he was a slime ball. What it's like dealing with that? I mean, it seems like people are always hitting on porn stars and trying to get with them. It's gotta be annoying to deal with that.
Monique Alexander: That does get irritating, but I've actually been really fortunate. I've only had maybe five guys ever be that big of a douche bag, where they find out that I'm a porn star, and they're like, "Oh, so, you wanna go home with me?" I'm really good at blowing it off, I guess, or kind of handling it, but it comes with the territory. It's something that you have to think about before you choose to do this profession.
TONY: Have you ever dealt with anything like that at a strip club?
Monique Alexander: At the strip clubs, I've been really lucky, and I haven't had any experiences like that. I mean, you get the gross guys that wear the really thin pants, and they want you to grind on them. There's that, but as far as being really disrespectful, I've been really, really lucky.
TONY: I've also read that you're a big sports fan. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Do you have a favorite team?
Monique Alexander: Well, I love football. For football, well, the one football team I do like is the 49ers, but obviously they suck. (laughs) But I am from Northern California, and I came out of the womb supposed to be a 49ers fan. But I like a lot of teams with heart. I think what Tom Brady has done with the Patriots is amazing. I know a lot of people just wanna break his legs, but to go as far as they have, that's absolutely phenomenal. I think the Colts are a great team. It's pretty amazing how the Chargers came back and how they were doing so awful, and then they came back to win against the Colts, and now they're going further in the playoffs. I really like the Steelers, and I really liked their old coach. I thought he had a lot of heart, so when they won The Super Bowl, I thought it was pretty exciting.
TONY: Don't forget about the Packers ....
Monique Alexander: I like the Packers. I think Brett Favre is amazing, and he's probably one of the oldest quarterbacks out there, and his arm just doesn't stop. And I think that's phenomenal. I can't believe he's still around.
TONY: What else do you want to pursue in your career?
Monique Alexander: Right now, I think I just want to get my website the way it should be, so I can interact with my fans more. I want to start feature dancing a lot more. I've only feature danced a couple of times, so my goal this year is to start feature dancing, and eventually I want to have my own website and have other model websites and do a lot of stuff on the Internet.
TONY: Outside of Jenna Jameson, who else are you friends with in the industry?
Monique Alexander: Some of my friends are Brooke Banner ...she's my best friend, and she's one of the first people I met when I moved to Los Angeles. She's an amazing woman. And Sunny Leone is a very close friend of mine as well. Those are people that I talk to quite frequently. I like Tera as well. There's Charmaine Star and Kirsten Price. Those are all wonderful people that I speak to on a frequent basis.
TONY: If someone is reading our interview and wants to break into the industry, what's your advice?
Monique Alexander: The best advice is to find an agent. My agent, LA Direct Models, is the best in the industry. He'll lead you in the right direction, and he's not going to try to do dirty things, but that's the best thing you can do: find a good agent and have them represent you.
TONY: As you look back on your career, has it been what you expected?
Monique Alexander: I don't know what I really expected in the beginning, and I think that I am completely floored by my success and everything that I have done. I think it's gone above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and I'm just so excited to see what the future holds.
TONY: When you were first starting out in the industry, what's the best piece of advice you received?
Monique Alexander: The best piece of advice I received would have to be, "Don't do anything you don't wanna do. Don't do anything for money." And that's one thing I've stuck by throughout my whole career. I've never done anything because of money, and I've never done anything that I would live to regret later in my life.
TONY: If someone is just discovering you from reading our interview, tell them three films of yours to check out.
Monique Alexander: I would have to say Call Girl Confidential, Pop Star, which is a comedy where I sing really awful and make fun of myself, so it's kind of endearing, and Debbie Does Dallas ... Again. I think that was a great movie that we all did.
TONY: Finally, what are your plans for the future?
Monique Alexander: My plans for the future, as of right now, is to do the best that I possibly can for myself and for Vivid and work on my website.