The Accidental Voyeur: The Girl Next Door Forever

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It was February 28, 2000 inside yet another amazingly large and architecturally fabulous mansion in Malibu, California and I was meeting Stacy Valentine for the first time, on the set of Red Vibe Diaries 3 (or rather what James Avalon, who was directing, told me he was calling Red Vibe Diaries 3: The Garden of Transgression). Stacy was impeccably coiffed, all dolled up like a princess on parade, and you could easily see why she got into porn – to play a fantasy figure, one as far away as possible from her previous humdrum life in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Her backstory, for sure, was certainly fascinating – horny housewife wins Gallery’s amateur pictorial competition, poses for Hustler, dumps the husband and plunges into porn. What part of that scenario doesn’t fit into any adult film marketer’s wet dream? Truth be told, I have a personal preference for brunettes over blondes so Stacy wasn’t really my ultimate fantasy but, looking at her, I knew she certainly was someone’s fantasy — she so perfectly personified the flaxen-haired, big-boobed sex doll that some guys drool over.

Stacy told me, however, that she had decided to quit. She was finished with having sex in front of the camera. “Yes, I’m retiring and this is my last movie,” she said. “I’ve been in the business four years and I wanted to be a contract girl and I’ve achieved that goal and there’s nowhere else for me to go. I’ve enjoyed it and I think it’s time to step aside and let someone else have what I’ve had, because it’s an amazing feeling and I would like someone else to feel that way, too.”

At that time, neither of us knew we would later reconnect a whole decade later, on May 24, 2011 to be precise, when she was working as the Director of Model Recruitment at Penthouse. What a brilliant way of passing the torch, I thought – she was now in the business of finding new girls to groom as on-camera talent, to impart her experience and expertise. What retired porn star wouldn’t want that kind of career transition? That conversion was actually our third interview and we reminisced about how we had been introduced by our mutual friend Christine Fugate, who had directed the 1999 documentary film about her, The Girl Next Door.

Two sections of that film resonated for me — one in which we get to see Stacy undergoing breast implant surgery (not for the squeamish or those who dislike the sight of blood) and another where she accepts an offer from a fan to have sex with him (for what, presumably, was a preposterous amount of money). On that James Avalon set during our first interview, she told me she regretted doing it – she had misgivings about having so voluntarily, and very publicly, outed herself as a whore.

I told her there was no need to feel ashamed. Most girls in the business would not have had her courage, to actually put that out there for the record, even when they’re doing “private work” off-camera, anyway. Stacy thanked me for the empathy but didn’t look very convinced of her own courage. It struck me much later, however, that that was my very first porn star interview situation where I had to confront that gray area where porn and prostitution meet, which eventually became my special field of professional inquiry (so I owe eternal gratitude, seriously, to Stacy Valentine).

To set up that last interview, I’d used my connections as a Penthouse alumnus to make contact with Stacy, just to ask her some burning questions. I had been re-watching four films, all made during her contract-girl tenure at VCA: New Wave Hookers 5 (1997), Forever Night (1997), Café Flesh 2 (1998) and The Devil in Miss Jones 6 (1999). Michael Ninn’s Forever Night included an all-girl, three-way scene in which Stacy went clit to clit with Ashley Renee and Raylene, and it was my first time seeing a DP done with toys. And in the DVD’s bonus section, Stacy said in an interview that she loved being on set because she got to hang out with her friends and also have them watch her have sex.

Did it matter, I asked her, who did the watching? “It doesn’t matter,” she replied. “I just like knowing I’m being watched. However, my favorite type of watcher is the shy guy on set, usually a friend of a crew member who has never been on an adult set before. He pretends like he’s not watching but, no matter what direction he turns his head, his eyes remain focused on watching me!” I also asked her about doing blowjobs — I’d always loved her sizzling manner of maintaining eye contact, so how did she know when to shift her look from the camera to the cock, did that take practice or was it pure instinct? The former, she disclosed, because she’d actually learned before getting into the business from watching Amber Lynn’s movies.

Mention of Amber’s name prompted me to ask about working on Forever Night with the legendary duo of Jeanna Fine and (the late) Jamie Gillis, who spent most of the film watching her do her thing. Was that an unnerving experience for her? “Yes! It was VERY unnerving! Jeanna Fine is such a legend and I was even nervous being in a dialogue scene with her, let alone a pro like her watching, perhaps critiquing me.” Then there was the final scene, so beautifully shot, where she had sex outside by a swimming pool with John Decker. “My biggest problem with the pool scene was it was shot in the middle of the night in winter. The outside temperature was in the low-40’s and the pool was not heated. I was so cold! I couldn’t control my shaking and Jeanna was getting irritated because I kept breaking to drop in the water and attempt to warm up, and she had a long day and just wanted to go home!”

Of course, in the film, everyone looked cool and composed, Stacy and John comported themselves like consummate professionals and things went, so to speak, swimmingly well. It was as perfect a scene as one might’ve hoped, and her learning curve as a performer had obviously peaked many times over — which might well explain why, on that set of Red Vibe Diaries 3, she decided to tell me she was done. There was indeed such a thing as too much sex and the fun was gone. Curiosity had killed the cat.

So did she have any unfulfilled hopes or dreams, now that she’d done the porn thing and checked that box? “On a personal level,” she concluded, firing off a total zinger I wouldn’t have expected from a porn star (but surely the best and most honest answer ever), “I would really love to someday find someone that genuinely cares about me, and that wants to be with me, instead of Stacy Valentine.”