[#RowGirl Interview] Joanna Angel: A Burning Angel of Art and Rebellion
A Burning Angel of Art and Rebellion
By Christian Cipollini
She took a burgeoning cultural development and turned it into visual gold. Joanna Angel’s vision of beauty, sex, and body art became known as Burning Angel – her company, her brand. A native New Yorker, Angel was not a wild one growing up. She considered herself more of a nerd, a bit shy even, but her dedication to college work and earning a degree in English, well, that ended up paving the way to penning her own films for her own production company. And yes… those films are something else! Humorous, irreverent, and filled with a cast of tattooed and unapologetically rebellious women from the Burning Angel roster. She’s the boss and will tell you – very DIY and doesn’t get many breaks. However, she did take a quick breather to share her thoughts with Rebel Row!
Rebel Row: Looking back, did you envision or imagine one day you and Burning Angel would have so much success, leave such a mark in pop culture?
Joanna Angel: Well thank you- I appreciate the compliment! I appreciate the success that we have but I still think we have a long way to go. I’m a perfectionist and a bit of an over achiever, and I am never content with just standing still. I always want to move forward!
RR: What truly makes someone/something a rebel? And, is rebellious synonymous with controversial when it comes to art, entertainment, pop culture, etc.?
JA: I think a true rebel is someone who finds a successful path in life – with non traditional methods. Someone who makes it to the finish line by building their own back roads. A rebel is a leader, and not a follower. Someone who everyone doubts and mocks, but then copies years later. That’s my definition! I think most great artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs are rebels.
RR: What’s something the general public or media gets totally right about you or your image?
JA: I see a whole lot of press about me being noted as one of the smarter people in the industry- and I appreciate that! I think the media does understand that I am not the stereotype of what most people think porn stars are.
RR: Something they get totally wrong!?
JA: Some people seem to think that I am incredibly rich. Which is kind of cool! I don’t mind that image. But it’s not true. People would be surprised to see what a modest life I lead.
RR: Parodies… Burning Angel is very clever with these. Yet, there’s sometimes fallout. Does the
controversy fuel your fire or make you shake your head in complete frustration?
JA: What controversy? I don’t think there is any controversy… is there? I actually hate controversy. It doesn’t fuel me at all. I try to just stay focused and work on my product and keep my company as strong as can be- instead of spending my time airing my dirty laundry out on the internet- or reading about others for that matter.
RR: With regard to films such as the latest -Vampire Cheerleaders- what inspires you to say, “Oh yeah… we need to do a movie like this?”
JA: I will be completely honest , I was driving around and running errands one day and I saw a billboard for a TV show called “Vampire Academy”- and it was a billboard of two really hot girls in school girl outfits and vampire fangs. I never actually watched the show (is it even still a show? I have no clue) but it got my brain rolling. When you have to produce 20 movies a year, everything you see turns into an inspiration!
RR: What is on your future agenda, adult, mainstream or other?
JA: We just wrapped shooting a very fun parody of “BBQ Pitt Masters” appropriately called “BBQ Tit Masters” . I am not sure what we’ll be doing next! But I will think of something! hahah
RR: Any project you’ve not done yet, but have always wanted to?
JA: Not really. If I want to do something, I just do it. It’s the perk of being the boss! I mean… there are certain things I would love to do and I just can’t afford it … but sometimes the fun part of my job is figuring out how to squeeze all my big ideas into a small budget. I enjoy the challenge! If I could just snap my fingers and have any sort of special effect or location I wanted, then my job would just be too easy. I feel so accomplished at the end of a shoot when I manage to get a good product just working with what I have available.
RR: Worst on-set experience?
JA: Oh. Lord. When we were shooting the movie “Sharkbait” I had rented a guys house for a location, and he didn’t tell his roommate he had rented his house out for the day (he also did not tell me he had a roommate). To make a long story short, while we were shooting a sex scene this roommate came down in his underwear told us we had to leave or he was going to call the cops. We ignored him, and then he proceeded to tell us that he was going to call his biker crew and they were going to beat us all up… or something along those lines. While this dude was out front and corralling his band of thugs , we managed to finish shooting the sex scene and then me, a makeup artist, a camera guy, a PA, a lighting guy, a photographer, and about 10 other pornstars who were there that day snuck out of a back door and ran down the street and escaped- with all our equipment. I found a different location by frantically calling people while me and my crew were all hiding behind a bunch of bushes. That was a real nightmare! And then the nightmare was revisited when the editor had to piece this movie together. Ha!
RR: Best on-set experience?
JA: Hmm. I would have to say it was the time where we shot a movie where Tommy Pistol play a stripper-clown. Like, he was a male stripper, working at a Chippendale type club, and had a whole act that involved him being a clown who stripped naked and sat in pies. I literally laughed so hard while we were shooting that I peed my pants. Fortunately being on a porn set- directing for the rest of the day without pants on was completely appropriate !
RR: Favorite musical artist? Book? Film?
JA: It’s hard to narrow down my favorite music artist to just one band! Ah! Um… Pantera, Refused, The Bouncing Souls, Rancid, The Misfits- those are some of my all time favorites but that just scratches the surface!
Book: “My less than Secret Life” by Jonathan Ames, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein , “A Girl Walks Into a Bar” by Rachel Dratch, and “The Dirt” the Motley Crue biography by Neil Strauss
You can follow Joanna’s very hot NSFW twitter Joanna Angel (@JoannaAngel)
Or visit her killer NSFW website at BurningAngel.com