Feature: Conversation with Joanna Angel

In the years since Joanna Angel and her partner launched Burning Angel (BurningAngel.net back then) she has become one of the most recognized porn stars in the industry. As a producer, she has put out an impressive array of hot tattooed Emo punk porn DVDs, showcasing a collection of really hot alternative talent. More than anyone else, she’s really taken an AltPorn aesthetic to the heart of the porn industry, all the while maintaining her own quirky style. Burning Angel has been doing a lot of work lately, redesigning and adding new sites to their network, so we are happy Joanna Angel took some time out from her busy schedule attending tattoo conventions, filming dirty hot sex scenes, hosting DVD launch parties, etc. to talked to AltPorn.net about what they have going on. She also shared some of her personal perspectives on running her own site and what AltPorn means to her.

With the most recent BurningAngel.com redesign, we noticed that the Burning Angel updates are now listed as being from PunkPorn.com. Can you tell us what that change means for the site and the brand direction?

Joanna Angel: Well, we started as one site. Then we were two sites (burningangel.com and JoannaAngel.com) – then we launched a few more. We used to think of the extra sites as “bonus sites” but then I decided that whole method was becoming counter productive . I essentially want “BurningAngel.com” to be known as a hub that leads you to all sorts of awesome places… punkporn.com being one of them. So instead of being marked as a website, with additional content you get access to with a membership- we’re marketing our self as just one big happy porno empire that is all centralized on BurningAngel.com.

You have a sexy looking new site on the way called PunkSchoolGirls.com, with accompanying video release. What inspired you to do a Burning Angel Schoolgirl site?

Joanna Angel: You know, I most often pick out the wardrobe for the scenes on our productions… and I came to a very important conclusion that all alt girls look incredibly awesome in short plaid skirts. I felt like, no matter what I would have the girl wear… I would default back to just wanting her to throw on a short plaid skirt. I have always thought the whole “school girl” fetish was really fun and sexy, but everywhere it is represented it is always centered around innocent girls in school gone wrong. I wanted to make a site where the girls who have already gone wrong… go even more wrong if that makes any sense! This is a website about the “bad” school girls. Not the innocent ones!

I thought it would be a nice addition to the network, because our other sites are centered around a sex act, and this one is more centered around a scenario and a fantasy. Like POVPunx.com is all about POV’s. Heavy Metal Pussy Party is a showcase of lesbian scenes… and punk school girls will be more based on fantasy style scenarios.

What is hottest to you about the schoolgirl fetish?

Joanna Angel: Short plaid skirts and knee highs!!

Having personally been doing hot scenes for so long, both behind and in front of the camera, what still really gets you off the best sexually? Has it changed since you started?

Joanna Angel: Hmm…. well I do love anal sex (I don’t just do it on camera!) and I love having group sex. The first time I ever did a DP was on camera… I never knew how much I would love it! I still get excited every time I get to do one. It’s such a great feeling!

But to be honest, having been spoiled by so much amazing sex since I have been in the industry… I will say, that nothing gets me off more than someone who can make me laugh. I swear… I am not lying!

We remember Burning Angel when it first broke onto the alternative porn scene. What key advice would you go back to the start and tell yourself now that you have the experience?

Joanna Angel: I think part of being a successful business person is making mistakes and learning from then. Unfortunately mistakes in business could be costly, but I honestly have no regrets with this company. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and even though I have made some poor decisions along the way I needed to make those to make a better one later in my career.

Is there anybody whose creative work in adult or otherwise inspires you to do an even better job?

Joanna Angel: I am impressed by a lot of people! I am actually impressed with my close friend in the industry- Jenna Haze. She started directing about a year ago and while her product is incredibly different than mine, I greatly respect the stuff she puts out. I will admit to sometimes being impressed with Robby D’s work Digital Playground, and John Stagliano’s work. No one would ever assume that my silly movies have any kind of inspiration from the movies these companies produce but… it’s in there… somewhere.

How has running the BurningAngel.com website changed over the years?

Joanna Angel: Well we started with one website… and now we’re a whole network of sites and that has drastically changed things. We’ve added a lot more social networking features to the site, and more editorial content, and all this stuff has drastically changed the day to day operations of the company. We also do DVD”s in addition to doing all the stuff on the web, so that’s a whole other element to the company. As the company has grown, the company has changed… but we haven’t changed THAT much. Basically from the time we have started till now, we have grown from a 2 person crew to a 6 person crew …. so we are still a small company with a few people doing a whole bunch of different things. My employees work their asses off, I don’t know what I would do without them!

How is working on your solo JoannaAngel.com site different from the others?

Joanna Angel: Well JoannaAngel.com has a different style than all the other sites on the network. There’s a lot of amateur clips on the site, and there’s a lot of clips on the website that don’t even have sex in it at all. Having a whole website with the same girl in every single update would get really boring if every week you just watched me have sex- so I try to show everyone many different sides of my personality. I’ve updated that website twice a week and have never skipped a week for about 3 years now so there is a whole bunch of content on there. It’s a good website for anyone who is a die hard fan of mine, because going through the site feels like you are my close friend or boyfriend/girlfriend. So if you don’t want to be in a serious internet porn relationship with me- it’s probably not the right site for you! This past year at AVN my website won the award for best pornstar website… and I was incredibly thrilled. It was an amazing award to win!

Given the technological advances since you first started Burning Angel, what percentage of your videos are bought and viewed via digital download, versus traditional DVD packaging?

Joanna Angel: We have never really cashed in on the DVD market. Our DVD’s are fun collectible and tangible additions to your website membership. We don’t personally have entire DVD’s available for download on BurningAngel, the individual scenes from movies are available to watch though. Basically, everything we shoot goes to both the internet and DVD… however DVD’s have some extra stuff you can’t get on the internet, like behind the scenes stuff, and some extended plot that happens in between sex scenes. I do know several places our distributor distributes to (like adult DVD empire, etc) has our DVD’s available for download.

If I had to get a percentage I would say 80% of our revenue is made from web subscriptions and about 20% is made from our DVD’s. I’m not sure why? I love our DVD’s! The dvd market is just generally targeted to a different demographic than us.

What are your favorite new Burning Angel novelty products?

Joanna Angel: Hmm. We just came out with black and pink pubic hair dye and I am extremely proud of that one. I can’t wait to try it out and do a photo shoot in it!! Also, last summer I came out with my very own blow up doll. I won’t lie, it’s a little scary looking but I think it’s awesome. I made a whole movie about it coming to life and trying to kill me, it was called “Doppleganger”.

Acknowledging that probably nobody successful in the genre really set out to do “AltPorn” exactly, but that it is still a term used to describe what you and others in the genre do. What do you think AltPorn is?

Joanna Angel: Hmm. I hate defining the term but I will give it a try! Alt porn is a showcase of “alternative” girls , which basically a loose term for all tattooed, emo, goth, and punk girls. However, in addition to the aesthetic, community is essential to alt porn. People go on burningangel and the other popular alt sites and make new friends with one another, and come to events, and hang out in the chat room and blog about their experiences. Its a place to hang out and not just a place to jerk off! I think the overall look of the girls, and the community associated with it is what makes us “alt porn”. So essentially, alt porn is an alternative look and a community and culture combined.

What should it really be?

Joanna Angel: The genre is still really new, so I think that as it grows it will be more developed and more defined. The retail world of porn has a very hard time understanding it, because it’s not really a fetish, and it’s not based around a sex act. People who work in porn stores have to put everything in a category- and those categories are “bdsm” “lesbian” “amateur” ” interracial” “big boob” etc. Altporn doesn’t really fall into any of the known categories so most people just don’t know what to do with it. I’m still not really sure what it should be. I’m just going to keep doing what I do and see what happens.

What would you change about AltPorn, or the perception of it if you could?

Joanna Angel: A lot of people associate “alt porn” with “artsy” porn, and when people think of “artsy” porn, they think of porn that is really dark looking, pretentious, and most importantly impossible to masturbate to. I’m not quite sure how or why that happened. I spend a lot of time and energy on my content, and I think there is something artistic about what I do, but I would never go ahead and call it “artsy”.

However, I am a firm believer that everyone should do what they want to do, and if someone wants to make a film where two people are having sex in a dark room, with a sepia filter on their camera… then that’s fine. But the minute your work is more about your own self expression, and less about getting anyone aroused…. then you aren’t making porn. So in a nutshell, I am totally fine with people expanding the boundaries of “altporn” to where ever they want to go – not everyone has the same creative vision that I do, and I enjoy all the different styles that are present in the genre at the moment. But it is after all called “altPORN” so it should be pornographic. We’re not making movies with some sex in it… we’re filming sex with some stuff around it.

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