If you had a VCR and a pulse in the 1980s or 1990s you are probably aware of Tori Welles. I’m not ashamed to say I “grew up” on her work. Tori is a legend and a hall of famer in the adult industry but an even more amazing person in REAL life, a survivor with a true story that only someone who lived her life, in her unique space could tell. These days, Tori has left the onscreen work behind but still retains her legend status behind the scenes and works in the adult novelty and social media business, including the Random Screw website. We were honored she agreed to catch us up, read on
Q: Hi Tori….Thank you for being so kind as to talk to us…How did you happen upon your stage name???
A: Thank you for your interest in me. It’s very cool to be talking to you! My name was just one of those things….we were partying, some friends and I….and I had just decided to you know….do that for a living…(laughs). I had gotten some offers. We had pages upon pages of names and were up ALL night. We liked the name Victoria but I was such a tomboy and kind of a punk rock kid so that didn’t fit…so we cut it down to Tori….because I still loved that name. The Welles part sort of played on the fact that a couple of friends said I reminded them of young Raquel Welch…so Welles, Welch….(laughs). So silly.
Q: You were inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame but then just kind of faded into the California suburban mom lifestyle….. but you were just on Sirius and were talking about some projects you’re working on.
A: Right. I’m still sort of working behind the scenes for one of the major adult film companies. The biz is not at all what it used to be though like it as far as what it could be or should be so I don’t work there all the time. I’m looking to get more into the novelties and toys thing and am starting a company and website with my friend that combines novelty toy stuff with an online personals type of thing. It’s called Random Screw and is sort of an adult meeting place for consenting adults . This will include everyone but also not exclude a little more adventurous crowd that maybe is into more of the fetish or sexy kink type thing. I also have a Tori Welles facebook page. There are a couple fakes but I have just started a real one…… (link at bottom)
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Right here in Porn Valley (laughs). I’ve always been in L.A…..born and raised. Believe me John, I’ve tried to get outta here a million times and I just keep ending up back here, my family is here….I finally just decided to give up and buy a house here and accept that I’m gonna be here forever or at least until my kids are older. It’s actually pretty nice though, I’m happy.
Q: What is your earliest memory growing up?
A: (laughs). Shit, you’re talking to someone who HAS no memory….my earliest memory I can recall was standing in my crib in the living room. My mom had figured out that putting me in the living room seemed to work. I remember that.
Q: Wow…that’s pretty far back don’t you think?
A: Yeah, but honestly I really have some memory problems (laughs). I was just telling Christy Canyon that on the Sirius show, like people will be telling a story and I will be like “What….who was that, who did that?” and they will be like “You….we’re talking about you….” (laughs). They will keep talking and I’ll start to remember things more and more but it always feels like its a third party they’re talking about (laughs).
Q: So many rock stars, film stars, porn stars have stories of fucked up childhoods. It’s almost expected. Do you think your upbringing was typical??
A: Hmmmmm….I don’t think I’d say typical…well, then again maybe it WAS pretty typical of lots of people that grew up in my time and place. I grew up in the early seventies, born in 1967. I think I grew up with something bugging me, a hair up my ass and I could never figure out what it was. My mom was single when she was pregnant with me at 17 and my dad was a bit of a player. They got married but he ended up leaving when she was pregnant with my little sister. My mom then married her boss who I thought was my real father until I was like 11 or 12 and saw the birth certificate. That’s kind of when all hell broke loose. I went to Christian School, private school. Very religious and churchgoing family. My family gatherings weren’t the typical deal where everyone’s sitting around drinking and swearing and having a good time it was really super sheltered. I knew there was so much other shit out there in the world, I just knew…..and I wanted to figure it out. Like, “What’s out there???” No one, I mean no one, would give me any answers. I would ask questions of them about things and they would be like “Well, you shouldn’t be asking those questions”. But that didn’t provide any answers….(laughs). Talking about things wasn’t available. I started running away not so much out of revolt but out of curiosity. I used to run off to San Fernando to this Punk rock club called Godzillas. All the cool bands would play there and like hang out and kids would hang out there too. I think I lived in the attic there for a while. I was your little punk rock girl runaway with the shaved head and all that. Angry little punk rocker teen.
Q: When did you start getting approval or attention for your looks and how did it make you feel?
A: My looks??? (laughs). I had no concept of that. I was a tomboy and at that age….growing up, everything on TV was like, pretty blond girls like Suzanne Somers, Christie Brinkley and Farrah Fawcett. Even Brooke Shields had really fair skin and light blue eyes… the whole brown hair, brown eyes, curvy sort of ethnic looking girl that I WAS really was not at all popular or considered sexy by any stretch. I would turn on “Three’s Company” and there it was….Janet wasn’t the desirable, sexy one at all (laughs). Everyone wanted the super skinny blond chick. Everyone wanted Barbie.
Q: Teachers didn’t hit on you?
A: No. I was never in school first of all….but even when I was I was never that girl that went out of her way to look hot or do her makeup sexy or hair sexy. Total tomboy. Even when I got into the movies I was still always the jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. I was always amazed by the hair and makeup people on set, it was cool and pretty but nothing I would ever do growing up. When guys did start paying attention to me it was just something that you don’t necessarily expect but on the other hand….it wasn’t embarrassing …you just start to try and use it to your advantage somehow. That’s the truth. Especially on the streets as a runaway, I got involved in prostitution and and as a teen that’s not the best way to learn about guys or a great way to REALIZE that they want you but it became a tool that I used. It was something I realized and a means of survival back then.
Q: I’m not sure why I’m shocked but ….
A: Well….it happens. You just go into survival mode and you do bad things and bad things happen to you and it’s not pretty but you survive. It’s part of the territory unfortunately for runaways. It’s not all just fun and partying, it’s survival. Clubs and fake id’s and more partying and all that…a lot of that came into play later when I was almost eighteen and started dancing.
Q: Was your poor mother just living a life of pins and needles?
A: Oh yeahhhhhh. I was terrible. She likes to say that I kept the weight off of her all those years. There were times she had to go to the morgue to identify bodies and make sure it wasn’t her daughter. That’s the shit that happens to parents of runaways. I was in and out of juvenile hall and jail and all that when I was a kid. I was kicked out of the private school before I was even into high school. Your dress couldn’t be more than an inch above your knee and I’d show up all angry punk girl with the ripped skirt and nylons and shaved head and eventually they just kicked me out. I started public school and never finished high school until recently. I got my diploma for my mother a few years ago. I really did it more for her than for me to be honest.
Q: You’re really well spoken and intelligent in conversation….that seems surprising. You must have absorbed something during that time….I’m guessing you weren’t in any particular cliques or anything while you were attending classes?
A: I never had that. I never was a part of anything with kids at school. I was always off doing something else other than school. Later in my teen years after the punk rock thing turned to more of the rock/metal band thing I was down on the strip I was dancing and hanging out in those circles. I worked at a gay club for a while called “Peanuts” which was a big part of my life for a while. I was doing whatever fed my appetite at that time, whatever was available, whatever was fun to get into. I still have a few friends from those days that I still talk to but….not very many. After that of course I traveled all the time and met all kinds of people but never had anything stable or solid. I’ve been my most stable and most happy actually these last eight or nine years. And I’m 44 (laughs).
Q: What was the first legit job you held aside from dancing or any of that??
A: I worked at Carl’s Jr. (laughs). I met my birth father there. I worked there for a summer when I was 16. It was only for that one summer and I remember because I was living with my grandma in San Fernando and my mom had just gotten separated from my stepdad. I had just found out a little before that that my stepdad wasn’t my real dad which was kinda the beginning of all of the trouble I started getting into. I would have the occasional job, so here I was working the cash register at Carl’s Jr. (laughs) and trying to do the right thing there for a little while. This guy walks in and I just thought it was some guy, coming to order a cheeseburger or whatever. He walks up to me, grabs my hand….I about punched him and looks into my eyes and calls me by name, and I just knew. I lost it, started crying and everything cause I just knew it was him. I had spoken to him on the phone a couple times in the few years before I actually met him. It was really, really weird. He came over to my grandmas and we hung out for a few hours later and then my sister and I went over to his new family’s house a couple times, which was really weird. We hung out with his kids, who were younger than us. I probably only saw him a few times while he was alive. I also worked selling Kona cartridges for a while, I mean I TRIED doing a few things it just never really worked out. I never had a passion for doing anything besides partying and hanging out.
Q: How did you wind up dancing?
A: I only dated women for a period of time there when I was like 17 or so and I had a girlfriend who was a stripper. She convinced me that I should go to this little club out in the valley that was having like an amateur strip contest thing. I did and I ended up winning it and went around and entered a few more contests at different clubs. I wound up dancing for a long time at this club out on the strip….I can never think of the name of it….it’s in the Motley Crue song
Q: Seventh Veil?
A: (laughs) Yeahhhhh!!! I was there forever. It was one of those places where I worked off and on forever. They would fire you and then hire you the next day.
Q: Were those rock and roll scenes and stripper scenes just basically the SAME scene in those days?
A: Yeah, but back then you couldn’t even really tell (laughs). The rockers, the porn girls, the dancers, they all looked the SAME. They all had the same hair and spandex and makeup, even the guys so you didn’t really even have a clue half the time. Again, everyone was blond and anorexic so I stood out a bit. I’ll found out all the time from friends, people that we hung out with got really famous. We’ll be watching MTV and someone will go “Oh man do you remember hanging out with so and so, they were at that house party and spilled a drink on so and so and blah blah” and I’m like “No really, THAT guy ended up famous?? I just thought he was a douche”. The one band that I did get actually involved with was that band XYZ who got signed to a major and had an album out and all this stuff. I remember hanging out at the pool at Club California and there would always be all these really pretty girls and rock guys and Guns and Roses would be there and all this stuff. There was always some drama going on between this guy and that girl and this other girl and it always seemed totally important at the time but now looking back it was probably just really stupid (laughs). Too much everything, too much drugs, too much alcohol, too much hairspray…..
Q: You think about that era and hear about it and you always hear that the girls supported the musicians, not just sexually but feeding and sheltering them and everything. Is that pretty accurate?
A: Oh yes. We always had a pet. We always had a pet. I guess I did too. It just kind of came with the territory of whoever you were hanging out with. If they could keep up with you and party with you and deal with your shit then you’d be down for taking care of them I guess. They’d be off rehearsing or recording or whatever and you’d be off getting cigarettes or groceries. It’s just how it was, it was cool. Those are the people you were hanging out with. I can’t remember 98 percent of the people I hung out with then, it all kind of blurs together. It was crazy. You just kind of get in where you fit in. I was never into like any one particular band or kind of music, I’m still not today. Like I can’t tell you all the names of the people in a particular band, I just either like a song or don’t like it. I really like music and was in that scene but I was never a groupie. I was more about who was buying the next round.
Q: Did the girls that rose through the ranks of dancing or XXX eventually get their own groupies or “pets”?
A: I don’t know. I was signed to contracts with companies like Vivid or whatever and people would go, make appearances, sign stuff and then like hang out afterward or hang out after a photo shoot or something. I never really did. I would just work and then go off with whomever had whatever I was currently using. I mean I had fans. I just was such a drudge to be around in those days that I was sort of unsociable. I had my fun but I was selfish. I was SUCH a drug addict and SUCH an alcoholic that I was miserable to be around to be honest. I never really had a posse of people I had or people I hung around for long periods of time. I really didn’t care if people liked me either, I was kind of on my own little trip most of the time in those days. I wasn’t that girl who name dropped to hang out with people, like “Don’t you know who I am, let me to the front of the line or I wanna go party with Motley Crue, let me in”. I was so selfish and self absorbed that I didn’t give a fuck who you were or what show you were on, band you were in. I couldn’t be bothered. I hung around whoever had what I was using.
Q: You spoke of the fans, a lot has changed in the porn business. Were the fans mostly guys then?
A: Yeah, it has changed. It’s SOOOO dirty now, I would have never survived (laughs). I think there are more female fans now then there were in those days. The fans in general are very kind, nice people. I am still amazed at how I am recognized. It was amazing back when I did movies and was always strange to me that they cared then and it’s equally surprising to me now. I do these conventions for my job now and I’m there, not as a star or made up or anything but I’m there because I have a regular 9 to 5 desk job in the industry and I’m amazed that they still recognize me. They’ll be like “Oh…I know who YOU are” and everything and it trips me out. It was always amazing and surreal to me when I was active and would show up for an appearance in the middle of nowhere during a snowstorm and there would be a hundred people lined up outside a place to meet me. I always thought that was the weirdest thing. I would be scheduled to sign autographs for two hours and end up staying for five hours, just signing things and meeting people. The whole experience of people recognizing the name “Tori Welles” and everything is just so surreal.
Q: Was it just a natural progression to go from dancing to porn?
A: Yeah. It was never weird for me. I think that the whole earlier experience with prostitution already established a precedent of selling my body, making myself a commodity. You also had to factor in that I didn’t care about anybody, I was so selfish and self absorbed, no one could tell me what to do. That whole concept of what will happen in ten or twenty years did not occur to me at all. I think I sometimes felt like I was dead or had died earlier. It sounds weird.
Q: You came up in that era when there were still big studios, plots, posters,production etc. There also weren’t a TON of adult stars. You were my favorite star back in those days but you were kind of tame even compared to some of the other girls in your era like Debi Diamond or others. Is that fair to say?
A: Yes. I was very missionary. I had a pretty tame contract. I still get shit sometimes, Ron Jeremy was really pissed when he found out recently my contract said “NO Ron Jeremy”. It also said, no anal, no midgets, no circus act stuff you know. I did girl/girl, boy girl and it was doggie, missionary and reverse cowgirl. It was a pretty tame deal for it’s day and especially now, girls are like 18 and shoving two dicks up there ass and smiling and asking for more. I can’t imagine. I can’t fathom it (laughs).
Q: The average person looks at that stuff and assumes the girls have to be drunk or fucked up on something to do half the stuff in porn, you know?
A: A lot of them ARE! I’m sorry but I will say it. And I will be the first one to admit, the business is what it is, I did what I did and I don’t regret it, sure there’s some things I could have gone without doing but for the most part I don’t really have any regrets. But….a lot of girls are fucked up and most of the people that get out of hand on drugs or alcohol already had a problem before they got INTO porn. They were already around substances. The ones who develop a problem after they got into it probably would have eventually developed a problem at some point. It’s a personality issue. It’s something that would have become an issue for them at some point in their lives regardless. I don’t think it’s fair to say they became addicts or alcoholics solely BECAUSE of porn. The thing that I think a lot of girls don’t think about is the same thing I didn’t think about and that’s life ten or twenty years down the road after you’re out of the business. Things like your kids finding out or someone you’re dating finding out and then years after you break up finding out that they might have stopped seeing you because they were embarrassed or didn’t wanna tell their families. Noone thinks about those actual realities when they are getting into the porn biz or maybe some of them start using to kill some of that real thinking that comes into play.
Q: It becomes a vicious cycle?
A: For some people yeah….and then it’s like, well how do you stop? You’ve become addicted and not just to the numbing and the substances but to that lifestyle.
Q: It’s been said that there aren’t any more rock stars. Everyone is nameless and faceless. It also seems that the age of bonafide XXX stars has passed, there used to be a handful of male and female stars that everyone really knew and recognized. Are there just too many faces in the crowd now, making it harder and harder to stand out?
A: .I think what happened besides it getting so saturated is that the generations of girls are getting so beautiful and they’re so varied as far as mixes of ethnicity. They are definitely getting more and more beautiful, the girls now are just so gorgeous. That all started with Janine and Jenna. They also made themselves even bigger in their day by doing other things outside of porn, which was really smart.. I mean, Jenna really created an empire with the web and books and everything. The girls now are a product of that era, they’re all incredibly good looking and young. They’re getting into at eighteen and they all have to find individual ways to market themselves. It is a MUCH different business now than it was in the 80s or 90s. If I went into a restaurant or club and saw one of them I wouldn’t recognize them, I would just see a really pretty girl.
Q: It’s been said that Rock and Roll had to change in the nineties because things had gotten too slick and pretty. Warrant and Poison had to give way to Soundgarden and Nirvana. Do you think the same thing happened in porn? Too many gorgeous, unattainable girls getting too big too soon. Girls starting out big and only doing girl/girl scenes. The late nineties scene got predictable and the nasty, hard gonzo reality type stuff took over?
A: I think people just kept pushing and pushing and pushing. They kept going for more and more, trying to take that next step. Let’s see what we can do to this girl and get away with it kind of thing. Look at this pretty girl, let’s see what the next fucked up shit we can do to her is. I don’t know if everyone consciously set out to do it but that’s what happened. I think that industry, ANY industry in general is greedy, they thrive on extremes and people love to watch a train wreck.
Q: Look at the pretty girl…..put her up on the mountain and then knock her down kind of thing?
A: Yeah…look at Savannah. There’s a dark side to all of that kind of thing. They get these girls and they’re all wide-eyed, fresh off the truck, beautiful, many of them naive and willing to do anything. So they do and they get a taste of how good the money and the life can be. Then once they’ve been used up they’re thrown away if they aren’t careful and business minded. I have seen far too many examples. I liked the money but I never cared for the business side of it or playing the game. People always get mad at me in the industry because I am too honest. I could never do a show like Christy’s radio show because she talks about stuff and is honest but she always brings it back to everything’s fun and let’s be sexy and dirty and all that…..that’s just what she does. I’m too honest and I would just sit there all day and tell it like it is and tell you the truth. People don’t wanna hear the truth. I think it’s a sick business (long, uncomfortable pause) and people don’t care about anything but money. They make their money and could care less about those girls. I’m sorry but it’s true and I refuse to say otherwise. It’s the nature of the beast, let’s chew them up and spit them out, you know?
Q: I do….and I agree with you that the negative side of things is real but at the same time…..I can’t sit here and say that we don’t watch porn and our hands are clean and all that. As long as we keep watching it will continue to exist. And human nature dictates that we WILL keep watching (laughs)
A: Oh, I know. Believe me, my hands aren’t clean either. I’m involved STILL working in the industry off screen but it’s not a totally roses business and you’d be crazy to think it is. I think that society as a whole is sick and doesn’t give a shit about being kind. I think you need to have your circle of people you love and trust and create your own world within it. You radiate and give out the energy that you are fed. Some people CAN be in this business, be healthy, have their head on straight, keep their morals and integrity intact and more power to them. That is wonderful. However, history has shown though that not a lot of people can do that, a very small percentage of people can operate on that level.
Q: You got into the business very young and attained hall of fame status despite having a relatively short window of activity. That speaks not only of how much impact you made but also again of that era you came from. Does it surprise you that this is STILL a part of your life despite only being two years OF your life?
A: Yes. Totally. Like I said before John, it’s surreal. I was in for just a little over two years and I’m 44. So that’s a pretty small slice of my life. It’s really interesting when you think about the fact that I didn’t do anything outrageous or a ton of stuff. I was in a few magazines and did the covers for my boxes of course but I didn’t really do that many movies. Definitely not by today’s standards. I’m always amazed to go to an adult store and see that they have a Tori Welles section. It’s like “Really?” I only did like like 15 or 20 films. I know now that on Wikipedia or IMDB they count compilations and there a ton of those and they still put them out, but I am talking about actual individual movies that I was in and shot covers for. There weren’t very many. I think I went into this thinking, “Oh, nobody’s gonna see this, this will all go away after I go away”. So it is pretty amazing that people recognize me and that I’m an AVN Hall of Famer. I feature danced after I quit the business and had my first kid and I did really well with that for a few years and then drugs and alcohol got hold of me and ruined that too.
Q: The industry paid well but it also had a price in several ways. On the positive side you still have some name value in the industry Is that level of fame that you achieved sort of a mixed bag?
A: Yeah. I wish I had a buck for every load lost in my honor. I wouldn’t have to work, I’d be a millionaire (laughs).
Q: Did you have to pay for your breast implants or did the studio pay and did it have a big impact on your career?
A: Vivid paid for them because I stopped shooting on one of my earlier “little tit” films when I refused to take my bra off (laughs). So they paid for them….I don’t know how much it really changed things though….I might have gotten more magazine pictorials and stuff but at that point all the girls had started to get them. It was becoming the norm, especially in L.A.
Q: What made you get out of the business?
A: A lot of things. I was just tired. I wanted my mom to be okay, I wanted to BE a mom and a normal housewife and all those things even though I had no idea what that meant (laughs). I was just tired of the business, you know, I get bored easily. I thought “Ok, I did it, I’m done, I wanna do something else.” It wasn’t like any specific incident or person or anything. Also, you become aware of your contracts and when they’re coming up for renewal or ending and I was usually very responsible but I was becoming sick of it and irresponsible. I would usually show up for stuff that I had scheduled and I started to miss a couple appearances. Stuff like that. When you do that in the business it is the kiss of death because people start looking at booking you and go “You know what? Maybe we should book someone else because if we book her she may not show up for appearances”. You don’t want to get that reputation. Even doing the fan club stuff had started to be a pain in the ass for me. Christy Canyon did my fan club, she ran it along with hers, did it, all that. It started to be a pain to come over and shoot the Polaroids and sign stuff and if you think about it, that’s really not that much work. That was a sign that I was getting tired. Christy always had that business drive, she was Miss Businesswoman, the one person I could count on in this business for that and silly me, I just wanted to party. I liked the money and I made plenty of it don’t get me wrong, I was paid VERY well for my day but I also liked partying (laughs).
Q: Christy also self-published her book….you need to get on that, don’t you think?
A: Yeah, (laughs). I’m gonna need some help with that John, you’re gonna have to go and interview a lot of people who know me and remember a lot more than I do. Christy remembers everything so that was probably easy for her (laughs).
Q: You did some interviews at the time that your ex-husband, ex-producer released your private sex tapes, “The Private Diaries of Tori Welles”. The impression I got was that you wanted to clarify your anger at them being released to the public. Did that whole experience sour you on dealing with men and make it hard for you raising your sons?
A: I think I had been soured on men forever and not really men in general but just the men that I had personally been around and dealt with. You attract certain people into your life based on things that you’re into and things you’re doing and the facts are that I’ve attracted some not so great people into my personal life sometimes. Have I learned to forgive and forget? Of course. If you can’t move on and forgive that anger and resentment will just eat at you and slowly kill you. When that video was made I was probably near my bottom.
Q: The fact that the video captured you so clearly fucked up and out of it had to make it feel exploitative and then for it to come from your husband who clearly had plenty of professional grade footage of you was just even more exploitative I would imagine….
A: Exactly. That’s what hurt about it. If I wasn’t at my bottom I was circling my personal all time low at that point and to have that footage actually come out was just painful. It is what it is and I did do it but that is a good indicator of what drugs and alcohol can do and how they can really cloud your judgment. I was there, was right along with him and I signed things but I didn’t really realize what I was signing and the fact remains that it captured me a terrible time in my life. It wasn’t a career highlight.
Q: Not to push to much but are you still attracted to men?
A: Oh yes. I mean, these last 9 or ten years have been really good years for me. I am really fulfilled with my little house and my boys and surrounded by great people. I hadn’t become a good person, or what I would consider a “good person” or my true self until about 9 years ago. I am happier than I have ever been and more satisfied than I have ever been. My circle of support is everything to that though and if something or someone threatens that I get rid of it.
Q: Cut it out like a cancer? I call that “life-editing”. (laughs)
A: Exactly. That’s what it is to you when people are like that, it’s a cancer and it has to be removed. I can no longer afford to be unhappy at this stage.
Q: You’re becoming more comfortable…..
A: Finally. And more willing to own my past and talk about it…..other than this interview and the one I just did with Christy on Sirius recently I just haven’t done very many interviews. Now, I’m at a time where I am able to think about things and I need to deal with it and tell the truth…. if people like it great….if they don’t then that’s fine too. But this is my truth, this is what I’ve learned and this is how I feel about it today. I’ll probably use my image in my new ventures in some way but it won’t be with my tits hanging out and my legs spread and thankfully with this Naughty Mommies business that won’t be necessary (laughs). I can just be me. Do I wish I was twenty years younger? Of course!! I wish I was twenty years younger and knew everything I know today because I would ROCK the world but that’s not reality. I wouldn’t be the me I am now if I hadn’t waded through all the shit I did to get here and I am so much better as a person and so much happier that I did go through all those things and learned some lessons and had plenty of experience. You can’t imagine how much I could bottle that wisdom from those experiences and give it to all these girls coming into the business now.
Q: The question of your family and your kids finding out and dealing with it…..was that something you dealt with ages ago?
A: Pretty much. My older boys know and they know that I’m still mom. I’ve got a younger son that’s not at that age yet, but we’ll deal with that. I’ve been very fortunate in that I have a great family that has always been great with my kids and close with them. I’ve always of course been close with my boys, I’m their best friend, I’ve always been their best friend. I fix dinner every night and work in the yard, I’m a typical mom now…..well, not typical but….
Q: Pretty much….you’d be surprised at how atypical a lot of regular people really are actually….
A: Exactly. That’s what I’ve found out too and most people have been very supportive, understanding and open minded towards me and those that aren’t…..well, like you said, EDIT, refocus, move on. I also don’t hold ill will or bad feelings towards people that think bad of me or what I do or have done because everybody’s different and everybody has a right to their individual opinion. If dealing with me doesn’t fit your agenda than that’s fine, move on and more power to you.
Q: I really liked your comeback movie in 1998 but you’ve said you HATE it. To a fan it’s sort of interesting though and maybe you could understand why, first of all the movie had an interesting plot in that it was about a husband and wife who’d gotten bored with each other. That’s pretty believable to a lot of people. Second of all it was sort of a class reunion to all the people that watched you a decade earlier in the big hair era. You were all grown up, modern looking with the short hair and tats and you looked current and everyone got to see that you still looked hot. What was it about the experience that made you so down on it and why was that the final moment you knew you were done for good?
A: First of all I don’t remember it too much because I was really fucked up by then and really addicted . I actually looked at it again the other day to remind myself because I had forgotten about it, thank god. I did it for all the wrong reasons, I wasn’t treated great and I didn’t wanna be that girl who stayed around too long at the party. I never wanted to come back into the industry and instantly be a “B” girl. I should have stayed out and stayed on top which is where I was when I left the business the first time.
Q: I mean no disrespect because I have a shitload of tattoos but some people have hinted that girls who get tattooed and pierced do it as a subconscious way to keep people away from them or to stay out of the industry. Do you think either of those things applied to you?
A: No, I think I’ve just always done whatever I’ve wanted and liked and not cared and that was something I wanted to do. I do think it’s funny that I had my stud in my nose, which I had forever, dating back to my punk rock days, and they used to airbrush that out of my box covers for the videos that were made.
Q: Is it true that you were a hairdresser there for a while when you left the business? I’m trying to picture sitting down in the chair and having Tori Welles cut your hair, did anyone recognize you?….
A: Yes, it is true (laughs). I tried that but I didn’t like it. No, no guys recognized me as customers (laughs), I went back to school and tried to do the salon thing. At that point I had gotten sober and was really clean and truly clean for about six years. I did the 12 step program, which was great for me and I made a lot of great friends. I did not smoke, drink or do anything for about six years. I had my six year “Sober” birthday in July last year and celebrated August by having a drink. I don’t overdo it because my life is so changed now. I did need that six year break to like reevaluate and get back to who I actually was as a person and learn myself all over again. For all those years prior I had lived such a crazy lifestyle and was so out of it that I really had to clean up and get to know myself all over again. The funny thing about me though is that I don’t do ANYTHING half-ass. Whatever I get into I really immerse myself in it and I really got into the 12 step. Like everyone in my life was from the program and every day I was at meetings and it had taken over my entire existence.
Q: The classic “addicted to A.A” thing?
A: Yeah. I give total props and kudos to the program because it’s their and it works and it worked for me. After six years though you have to take a look at it and go okay….it worked for me, now what? I had gotten everything and there wasn’t anything else for me. I had to learn to live and I didn’t want to live only within that little circle, the world and people who cared about me was much bigger than that little exclusive circle.
Q: When you get out of the industry is it like the Mafia where it’s always there lingering in the background waiting to pull you back in?
A: No, not for me. People who know me know my stance on that now. Do I use my connections and people that I know in the industry to get work? Absolutely. Do I use my name to get work? Absolutely. You have to remember that this has been more than just me being on screen in some movies, I’ve also been involved in directing and sales and production and my family, my ex husband and my life has been in this business. In this era, in these days when jobs are hard to find, I would be stupid to not use at least some of that to my advantage. I have kids to raise and a house to run and I would be a fool to think I am somehow above taking work based on my experiences and my acquaintances.
Q: Is there any one area of hope or resurgence in the business that makes you think adult movies will make a big money comeback?
A: Not really. I think everyone is just kind of grasping at straws and people trying desperately to make a living at this point. I think the industry is on a downward spiral, the movies aren’t making what they used to, no matter how hard or soft they are. The established people are still struggling to make their payments and all that and unless you are a major, major player you are not immune. Even those people are really doing the majority of their business in the novelties area more than the movies area. I think everyone is struggling, everyone from VIVID to Joe Schmoe and his home video. The parodies are doing okay I guess and some things are doing okay but it will never be like it was, the business will never rebound to where it was. EVER. Plus society is so immune to it all at this point and so jaded. To have that kind of “porn renaissance” you’d have to reset the collective mindset of society to where it was 30 years ago. Everyone is “been there, done that”.
Q: Your fans from back in the day probably have two more questions that they want answered and would hate me for not asking….You were always known as one of the most believable characters in porn, your scenes always looked like you were a sex fiend and you were totally hot in the ass. After all these years and all this life you’ve lived do you still get hot and still feel passionate?
A: I am a hot mess. That’s what I am (laughs). I am the girl you can hang out with all day and come back and have a beer with and shoot the shit with. I wear t-shirts and jeans and I fill it up with hotness, I rock it. Even without makeup, I rock it, I am sexy. (laughs). I think people are more attracted to my realness and the sexiness in how I carry myself and the truth that I speak than anything else at this point. I look like “Tori Welles” but twenty years older (laughs) and I still look pretty good for 44.
Q: You still bust out the vibrator now and then?
A: Every fucking time I can (laughs)….Even if it’s just over the jeans before you go to work. You gotta do it to relieve some of the stress (laughs).
Q: You’re not homeless and you’re not dead but you’re not at all super active in the business at all. To me that’s what makes you super interesting in terms of your story and your life. You could make a great book because you represent the people that got in the porn business, became huge and then just vanished. We never hear about those people. We hear about the ones who died, we hear about the ones who are still stars but for some reason we never hear about the ones who ride off into the valley….
A: People always wanna know how did you get to where you are, how did you arrive at where you’re at right now and the answer is one day at a time. You just never know. Eight years ago if you would have called me you’d be talking to a contract painter…..I made ten bucks an hour, painting houses, laying tiles, cleaning up messes. I hadn’t come to terms with any of this and noone knew who I was none of that mattered. Noone there cared and I just had to suck it up and be humble, I had to pay the rent and I was determined to find out who I was, I wasn’t willing to work within the industry or use any of my contacts at that point. I was truly starting over. There were times were I really, really felt embarrassed, like someone would recognize me in my paint gear and I’d be at frickin Albertson’s buying paint or something, covered in crap. I learned a lot though and was working with the people I had met in the 12 step program and I learned how to be humble, how to be a hard worker and a good employee. That was important, especially for me. You learn to change and be what you need to be when you’re so beat up that you can’t fight anymore. It’s a day to day process.
Q: Thanks for talking to us and I have one last question…..again for the hardcore Tori Welles fans….Vivid, Metro, Evil Angel, or another studio dangles a big fat payday in front of you for your 45th birthday…..You get all the production credit, get to pick who you work with, all the money but it has to be modern and it has to be hard as nails. Do you do it?
A; NEVER. Not even for a million dollars honey. I’d rather work every day and sweat and earn every penny than ever do something like that again. That ship has sailed.
Tori’s Facebook www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100002728527142
Tori’s Random Screw adult personals site www.randomscrew.com