Kami Andrews is not your typical porn star. She doesn't live in LA and her biggest pet peeve is people who flake out on their responsibilities. She is an accomplished performer and an aspiring director who wants to stay in the adult industry for the long term. Her sense of humor is refreshing in an industry where girls are more focused on getting paid than enjoying their work. In this interview with XRentDVD's Big D, Kami explains what it takes to be a good porn director, establishing her limits sexually, her intense addiction to the game free cell and compares herself to Alex P. Keaton.
Big D: So it sounds like you recently bought a house in Pittsburgh. Congratulations. Why Pittsburgh? It's not really a big haven of adult film stars.
Kami Andrews: That's why. Because it's not a big haven for adult films stars. I can go out of the house and not feel like I am going to get recognized. Plus when I'm out in LA I don't have a whole lot of self control so being in Pittsburgh helps with that.
Big D: Getting recognized when you go out in public is not a problem where you live. Was that a problem when you were out in LA?
Kami Andrews: I actually never moved to LA. I will come out for a month at a time. I'll do a month on and a month off and then a month on. It helps keep me from getting oversaturated. Usually by the end of a month in LA or the end of a month in Pittsburgh I'll want to be in the other place. It works with my 'noncommitment attitude'. I do get recognized a fair amount there. The problem with LA is more me not having any sort of personal will power whatsoever or personal guidelines. I am a mess. I spend way too much time hanging out when I am in LA.
Big D: What you mean by hanging out is more partying, drinking and staying out too late?
Kami Andrews: Exactly. Then I have to go home and realize this is the real world where you actually have to get up in the morning.
Big D: When you are at home and before you get the itch to come back to LA, what do you do with yourself?
Kami Andrews: I work as a production assistant for a bondage website. I do all the rigging and lighting and stuff like that. I'm a total behind the scenes person for that. I spend a lot of time online on message boards and email. I am a total computer junkie. And I can do it in my pajamas. I don't really have any hobbies other than free cell. I have a terrible, terrible free cell addiction.
Big D: Really?
Kami Andrews: Oh yeah. I've won over 2,000 consecutive games.
Big D: No kidding?
Kami Andrews: I shit you not. That's something you can hang your hat on, huh? If that was a job skill, Oh my God! But I never thought taking it in the ass was a job skill either so you never know. This job may come up for me some day.
Big D: I think anal pays a little bit better than playing free cell.
Kami Andrews: You don't know this yet because we don't know where the market is for this. There could be somebody out there that really needs me to play free cell for them.
Big D: I'll check with the management here at XRentDVD but I am pretty sure we aren't taking applications for free cell players.
Kami Andrews: Come on! You know that at least one person in your office building is playing free cell right now. Either that or solitaire or online poker. One of them.
Big D: You might be right on that one. Since you are a self admitted computer junkie, what is it about them that you can't seem to tear yourself away from the keyboard?
Kami Andrews: It's the anonymity of being able to be a dickhead to people and not be responsible for it. That's very refreshing. The fact that I can do it when I want, whenever I want. It's because the way I've grown up in smaller towns. It's hard to find people that are on the same wave length as me. But with the internet, no matter what you are into... I mean if you like to fuck chickens sideways while they are being plucked; there is a group of people there who want to do the exact same thing. And with the internet you can find them and convince yourself that you are normal. It's the fact that there are people that you have things in common with. You don't have to take any emotional or physical risk in meeting them because you can always turn the computer off if you get uncomfortable. It's very cool.
Big D: You said you liked being a dickhead on the internet. Isn't that the beauty of working in porn is that you can tell people to piss off and not worry about the repercussions? In any other job you tell some to go fuck themselves and you find yourself on that very same internet looking for a new job.
Kami Andrews: I really actually hate that. I've pissed off people I shouldn't have and I thought people would find my honesty really refreshing. Instead they thought it was really annoying. I don't like that people don't take people's feelings into consideration in the real world. I don't like that people don't think about the repercussions of their actions. My biggest pet peeve in porn is when people have the attitude of, 'it's just porn' or 'it's just the valley' or 'it is what it is'. I don't care what you are doing. If you are digging a fucking ditch, you dig the best ditch you can dig. And if people are counting on you to dig the ditch, you fucking show up and dig it.
Big D: Why do you think that the porn industry tolerates people who flake on their job or show up late or show up hung over or whatever? Why do studios have to book eight girls for a scene that only requires two for fear that six of them will blow it off?
Kami Andrews: I have no idea why it is tolerated. I feel like if everyone at once got together and said, 'this is not acceptable and we are not going to put up with this'. They should tell the girls 'if you can't fucking show up to work, we are not going to hire you again and you are not going to get four chances'. If everyone decided to agree that they were not going to put up with it then everything would be fine. I think people in porn like the girls to be really unbalanced somewhat. If you give an 18 year-old who has never held a real job in her life a big pile of money and no accountability for her actions, more than likely she will become a mess. But, the bigger the mess she is, the more dependent she becomes on the job and the less likely she will be able to transition into something else. I think they almost encourage a certain level of irresponsibility because you are basically stuck there. Some of these girls sometimes have never held a real job and they are not going to be able to. It's going to be tough when they try to rejoin the real world. I think that keeps them very dependent on the money and dependent on the industry. I don't know if people are really that Machiavellian that they think it out like that but I really think there are a lot of enablers in the business.
Big D: You are not your typical porn star. I think you are the first girl in the biz that I have talked to that has used the term 'Machiavellian'. Obviously if you feel this way you don't fit into the mold of showing up late or not at all. Why do you still stay in the porn industry if this aspect frustrates you and you have a really good head on your shoulders?
Kami Andrews: I love it. I love what I do. I continue to do it because I'm smart enough to say, 'Holy Shit! I just got the best sex of my life and then they gave me a pile of money'. That rocks. I used to work my ass off 40 hours sometimes 70 hours a week doing store openings. I made a quarter of the money and people didn't worship me. I am very addicted to the attention. I am very addicted to trying to make people love me and adore me. I like to think that people like me. It is very much a mental stroking what I am into. There is no where else where I can make as much money as I do with as little work as I do.
Big D: You like to have the attention and people like you. Is it the fact that complete strangers come up to you and want to have a conversation because they think they know you?
Kami Andrews: Well, that is actually quite annoying when people presume they know who you are. It's cool because it makes you feel like you are a celebrity. You feel like you are something special and something important because there are hundreds of girls out there. When people are emailing you and they say 'I'm your number one fan' it makes me think that there is something about me that this total stranger in Utah thinks is special. You can say whatever you want but it is a cool feeling that someone you have never met thinks that you are pretty and that you are stroke worthy. I think that a number of the girls that are in porn come in very insecure. I think that a lot of us really need that validation. It's done wonders for my self-esteem. I've been in Vegas for three days and I haven't put on make-up once because I don't give a fuck. I used to always try to impress everybody. I don't have that drive anymore because I get enough people that are impressed by me without actually having to flirt with strangers.
Big D: I am sure you have answered this questions a million times, but how did you find yourself in this business? You seem like you can't get away from the adult industry even when you go back home to Pittsburgh.
Kami Andrews: When I am doing the stuff back in Pittsburgh, I'm behind the scenes. If you are rigging a light it doesn't matter what you are rigging a light for. Obviously you are going to make adjustments for the subject matter but when you are on the crew, you are the crew. It doesn't matter what they are shooting. I started actually as a soft-core bondage model. As soon as I did my first porn scene I was hooked. Even as a little kid I wanted to be a stripper. I always wanted to be a stripper or a drag queen. Drag queens get to wear prom gowns every fucking day and they had wigs. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Then I found out about strippers and I thought, 'wow, they get to wear really cool shoes all the time!'
Big D: Because of this did you find yourself raiding your mom's closet and playing dress up with her evening gowns and make-up and high heeled shoes?
Kami Andrews: I definitely wanted to. I have never seen my mother in make-up ever. She is very much a product of the old hippie generation. It was a little before her time but she is very all natural. I remember my dad bought her a fur and she left him over it. She yelled, 'how could you do this to me?' She is not a sequin kind of girl. I always wanted those things desperately. I used to lie in bed and wish I was a Barbie.
Big D: How does someone whose mom is of the granola and hippie generation go to wanting to be a glamorous stripper or a Barbie doll?
Kami Andrews: I think it's kind of natural. Look at Alex P. Keaton. You automatically want to be the opposite of what your parents think you should be. I am a very rebellious person. I was very arrogant as a child thinking I knew everything. So of course if my mother tells me I should be a certain way I would say, 'fuck that! I'm going to be the polar opposite.'
Big D: Were you more of a sexually charged teenager growing up because you had this rebellious nature to you?
Kami Andrews: My mother was very open with her sexuality but I was very promiscuous as a child. I was very sexually active very young. I think I was looking for some sort of approval and looking for some sort of validation that I was an attractive woman and I had something desirable about me. I was humping every damn body.
Big D: So being promiscuous earlier led to the soft-core bondage modeling and eventually to hardcore adult films?
Kami Andrews: There was a break in there. I was very promiscuous young and I got into a serious relationship very young. I was in that for a while. When I got out of it, I totally had a chip on my shoulder and had something to prove that I could push everything further than everybody else. I think my conservative relationship sent me more spiraling towards porn which has been a really great thing for me. I kind of fell ass backwards into it but it definitely has been very good for me.
Big D: Expand on that. Outside of great sex, feeding your ego and getting paid a ton of money, how has porn been a good career decision for you?
Kami Andrews: Well, those three things aren't too bad if you ask me. I've gotten to discover a whole lot more about myself. This whole thing has been a big discovery knowing where my limits are and knowing when it is okay to set them. I feel more confident making those decisions. I was always very sexually adventurous and there were so many things I wanted to try. I got to try them in a controlled environment where there is a camera guy and a director and I know that I am safe and everyone has a test. Much different than some swingers club where I would have been on my own. I got to really experience all the things I wanted to. Some of the stuff made me say, 'Hmmm, that seemed like it would be a really good idea but it really kind of sucked.' I got to do all of that in a controlled environment. I got to feel confident enough that I could move forward in my life. I bought a house. With all these closing costs and inspections and surveys, I don't know how an average American could possibly afford to buy even the smallest house with all the costs associated with it. That's something I wouldn't have had at this point in my life. I had a good job before but it was very much hand to mouth. I wasn't able to work a week straight and be able to have a down payment. Porn has given me something I would have never been able to get. I have always wanted a house. It's always been something that has been on my mind.
Big D: It's the American dream.
Kami Andrews: It really is. I would not have gotten it any other way. I am sure at the end of my porn career I will say, 'I was exploited!'. I hope I don't. I see people say that all of the time. I just think they are sad because it is over. I am just trying to take the ride as far as I can.
Big D: On XRentDVD, we carry over 50 DVDs that you appear in. You've done bondage and some of the really hardcore stuff. Is there something out there that you won't do? Is there a place where you draw the line and say it is too much even for you?
Kami Andrews: I've gotten there. When I first started I wanted to see how far I could go. I wanted to push everything as far as I physically could so that I could prove that I was tougher than everyone else and I was a better sport than everyone else. I really pushed my limits when I first started. Now I am a little bit more selective. I am not going to let some stranger beat me up for no reason. Unless I am in the mood for it and then he better fucking get me horny if he wants to pop me in the face now. My limits have changed. I don't do creampies ever since the HIV scare a while back. I quit creampies. Now I feel more comfortable with my own sexuality that I can say I like this and I don't like that. Before, when I would come on the set, they would ask me what am I into. And I would tell them whatever you like. Now I can tell them that I really like eating ass and I really don't like having my face touched. I know because I have been through it enough.
Big D: Seeing how you know what you like, do you get to know the other performers well enough to know what is okay with them and what is off limits?
Kami Andrews: Sure, you get there because there are like a thousand female performers and there are like five dudes. You end up working with the same guys over and over. And you do get comfortable with them sexually.
Big D: Since there are only a few male performers out there, which ones are the guys you enjoy working with?
Kami Andrews: My absolute favorite is that I like Mark Wood a lot. I like Steve Holmes. I really want to work with Manuel Ferrara on camera. I've always wanted to work with Mike Stefano. My overall number one would have to be Mark Wood. I really enjoy working with him. I work with Sascha quite a bit. I like Sascha. He's a good, solid performer.
Big D: I have to admit, I was blown away to be quite honest with you. I am not saying that to kiss your ass. You can read the review on the website to know I am not just saying that because you are talking to me. It was the first DVD I had reviewed that Mason directed and I was impressed. Your scene was the first one and that is a great way to start off a DVD.
Kami Andrews: I really enjoyed myself. That was really a stressful late day too. Mason is a perfectionist. It can be very difficult sometimes. Mason and I are really good friends. I really, really had a good time that day. Sascha really knows how to bring it out in me and so does Chris.
Big D: Since you are friends with Mason and you like to work with her, what other directors do you like to work for?
Kami Andrews: I always have a good time with Jim Lang. He is really, really funny. He always makes the set fun to be around. My boyfriend is a director. His name is Ivan and I have always had a good time working with him in the past. I like Mason. I like Francesca and Mark. They do the Le Wood stuff. I really like the people that book me and they like me and their checks don't bounce. Those are my favorites. Same day cash is even better!
Big D: You mentioned you like working with your boyfriend who is also a director. How is that you can maintain a relationship while still working in adult?
Kami Andrews: I think you really meet the people who you work with. I don't know where else you are going to meet someone or find someone that is going to be as understanding of your career choice as you would by dating another porn person. It's tough for me because I am a very jealous person. It's harder on me than it is on him because I don't like him working around all those floosies. (sarcastically laughs) I think both of us being in the industry gives us something in common almost like we are soldiers in the same battle.
Big D: I guess jealousy plays a role in trying to maintain a relationship while in porn. For example you see these girls that come into the business and they are doing all the hardcore gonzo films and having sex with everybody in the industry. Then you turn around and read that they are only doing girl/girl scenes or get out of the business completely. You later find out they came to this decision because they got a boyfriend that happened to be a camera man or a gaffer she met on one of her shoots and he is jealous of her doing guys.
Kami Andrews: That happens all the time. It makes me say, 'damn it girl! You're going to be gone in a year'. Your time in porn is very short. You either use it or you don't. Your career in porn starts when you are 18 whether you do it or not and ends when you are about 29. You've got to hit the window. If not, it's over. A lot of these girls' relationships don't last because they are young and naive. And when the guy is gone they make these desperate come back movies that's like watching a train wreck.
Big D: You've been performing for a while but recently your directorial debut was Who Let the Whores Out. In regards to performing or directing, which do you prefer or are they two completely different animals?
Kami Andrews: I like both and both are very, very different. Even the way I act when I am on set is different if I am directing or performing. They are two completely different entities. I like directing better just because I have something to hold in my hand that I made that has my vision. I do stuff in movies and I will later watch them and ask, 'where is that? That was the coolest thing ever and it didn't even make it into the movie'. I think I have a unique perspective for directing because I have been a performer and I understand what good chemistry is like. I've been a porn fan so I understand what people want to see. I feel like I have a lot to bring to directing and I have a long road in front of me in that direction.
Big D: Do you think that people that start off as performers and make the transition to directing are better because they have been on both sides of the camera?
Kami Andrews: I think it helps. I think you can't be a good director if you are just not a good director. If you don't have a concept of the final product and what you have to shoot for, you are not a good director. I think you have to have some sort of ability to start with but I do think having experienced all the aspects of it would make you better at it. You know what you are asking of them and you know as a performer what totally mind fucks you and makes it hard to give a good scene.
Big D: What makes a good scene? Is it a comfortable environment or is it being comfortable with the people you work with?
Kami Andrews: I like to be left alone when I am fucking. My pet peeve as a performer is when I hear 'Stop! We have to move the camera'. What? No! No, you just totally killed me. Soft-core is boring as hell and I hate doing it. I don't like when they are telling me do this, do this, and do this. When it is constant direction it is annoying. I think a good director doesn't need to direct the sex if the performers are doing what they are supposed to. I know I am a very sexual person and I know what I am giving is really real. If you stop me and make it forced you are going to get a shitty scene because now I am thinking. If you are doing a good scene you are not thinking.
Big D: During a good scene do you just tune out and the cameras and the lights and the 20 other people in room just kind of fade away once you are into a good scene?
Kami Andrews: I try to really experience what I am doing. I just try to drink it all in and let it wash over me and feel. Sometimes I get off by the sight of all the people in the room. Sometimes I like to look at someone in the room and inside I am saying, 'Yeah! You like watching me fuck?' That gives me a whole different feeling. If the guy is really lame I do that a lot. When the sex is good I just usually really focus on them.
Big D: You mentioned that you have to hit that window between the ages of 18 to 29. Do you think that after your window closes you will stay in the industry in some capacity? More than likely directing or when that time comes you will be willing to walk away and do something outside of the adult industry?
Kami Andrews: I would love to be able to stay in the industry. I would love to still be able to direct for the remainder of my life. I would love for nothing more for that to work out. There is a lot more to it than all of that. If I had my way, that would be what I would do. I have my own equipment and I have a good vision and I would very much like to stay in this life. It's one of those things. Directing is a lot more political that performing.
Big D: First job?
Kami Andrews: Cleaning airplanes at age 14.
Big D: First concert?
Kami Andrews: Alice Cooper. I think it was the Poison Tour and Front 242 opened for him.
Big D: First car?
Kami Andrews: Mazda 323
Big D: What's in your CD player right now?
Kami Andrews: Neutral Milk Hotel
Big D: Favorite food?
Kami Andrews: I love food in general. I really love eating but if I had to choose I would have to say steak.
Kami Andrews: Football in a heartbeat. I am a huge football fan. I love the Steelers.
Big D: What modern convenience can you not live without?
Kami Andrews: My microwave oven.
Big D: Favorite mainstream movie?
Kami Andrews: I really love Fight Club but then I feel like everyone will say that. There is such a backlash because it was so cool and everybody loved it and then it wasn't cool to love it anymore. 28 Days Later is a good one. I really liked that movie. Fight Club was a kick ass movie but I like zombies too, so I will take 28 Day Later.
Big D: Favorite vacation spot?
Kami Andrews: Not really because I think you kind of have to be a tourist wherever you go. My favorite fun and relaxing thing to do is football. I would like to go on a football tour and go to all of the Steelers away games.
Big D: Person you'd like to meet that you have not met?