From winning awards for her work in front of the camera to supporting adult film performers as president of APAC, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, Chanel Preston is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful forces in the adult entertainment industry today. I recently had the chance to speak with Chanel about her history in the industry, from her early career as a dancer, which led her into adult film, to her current projects.
C.J. Asher – It’s great to meet you, Chanel, and thanks for taking the time for this interview. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Chanel Preston – Hello, I’m thirty years old and I am originally from Alaska. I spent a good amount of time living in Hawaii, so many people think I’m from there. I’m currently finishing up my degree in psychology which should be completed by fall.
C.J. Asher – How long have you been an adult film actress?
Chanel Preston – I’ve been an adult film actress for just over six years.
C.J. Asher – What other adult entertainment work have you done besides adult film?
Chanel Preston – I began as a stripper in Hawaii and eventually began dancing around the United States, where I got introduced into the adult film industry. I still dance as a feature dancer occasionally but not very often.
C.J. Asher – How did you first get into the adult film industry?
Chanel Preston – While I was traveling and dancing, I met a lady who had been in the industry many years prior and she recommended I try it. It seemed like a good opportunity for me, so I took it.
C.J. Asher – How did you choose your stage name?
Chanel Preston – I always had danced to the name Chanel. I liked that it was a real name but not very common. Once I got into porn, the lady who introduced me into it thought of the last name Preston. Unfortunately, it’s not a terribly exciting story.
C.J. Asher – What television shows are you into right now?
Chanel Preston – I love The Good Wife but I don’t have cable so I have to wait until this most recent season is on Hulu. In the meantime, I’m watching House. I know it’s older, but I never saw any of the episodes before and I find it interesting.
C.J. Asher – Who are your idols within the adult entertainment industry?
Chanel Preston – I never had any idols in the industry. I didn’t know much about porn before I got in so I didn’t know who very many of the stars were. Also, I think I came it at a time in the industry when career paths were changing for the girls and business models were also changing, so everyone seemed on their own in finding new ways to be successful in this changing industry.
C.J. Asher – What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter the adult film industry?
Chanel Preston – I would advise them not to do this kind of work if they only want to do it because they think they’ll be famous. Many people use the fame card to justify doing porn but there are so few performers who are very well known that it is very difficult to make it big. If you genuinely enjoy doing porn and want to make some money and you’re fine possibly not becoming famous then I’d say go for it.
C.J. Asher – What’s your favorite part about being an adult film actress?
Chanel Preston – I love the flexibility. I work when I want. My days are always different, and I really have a lot of fun doing what I do.
C.J. Asher – What nominations and awards have you received?
Chanel Preston – I couldn’t list them all. I won quite a few best new starlet awards in my first year in the industry and I’ve won random others throughout the years.
C.J. Asher – Currently, you’re serving as president of APAC, the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. Tell me a bit about the organization and what your goals and objectives are.
Chanel Preston – APAC is an organization that aims to help protect performers’ rights and also provide education and resources for adult film performers. We want APAC to be a platform for performers to find support, guidance, and a sense of community.
C.J. Asher – What are the most important issues facing adult film performers today, both in front of the camera and outside of the industry?
Chanel Preston – Definitely lack of education. A lot of performers who get in to the industry don’t know anything about their bodies or sexual health in general. Some of them have only had sex a couple times before getting into porn. Education is really important because it helps performers make better informed decisions for themselves.
C.J. Asher – How do you feel about various attempts at passing measures to regulate the adult film industry, such as mandatory condom usage?
Chanel Preston – Although I don’t agree with how people have attempted to regulate the adult film industry, a part of me thinks this has been good in some ways for our industry because it has brought a lot of us together and performers have found that they can be proud of what they do and stand up for their rights. It’s important that performers feel confident in the choices they make and also proud of their community.
C.J. Asher – In March 2014 you launched the sex education web series Naked With Chanel. Tell me about the series, such as the IndieGogo campaign created to fund it and the episodes produced, and where fans can go to check it out.
Chanel Preston – My series is on hold right now because I’m changing it a bit but the episodes are still on my site. I wanted to created short clips for people to quickly and easily learn about sexual attitudes in America. I wanted a place where people could explore that and where I could help spark a dialogue and sex. I did launch an Indiegogo campaign to fund it a couple years ago and it really helped me a lot in getting it off the ground.
C.J. Asher – Do you feel that, as a woman, working in adult film is empowering or exploiting to performers?
Chanel Preston – I think it can be both. Some women feel empowered by it and others feel exploited. Everyone has a different experience. It’s possible to have a really amazing experience in this industry and, as president of APAC, I try to give performers the tools they need to have positive experiences throughout their adult film career.
C.J. Asher – What’s the nicest compliment or rudest comment you’ve ever received from a fan?
Chanel Preston – Hmmmm, I couldn’t really say. I get nice compliments all the time which are always sweet. I get rude ones all the time as well but I don’t consider those people fans.
C.J. Asher – Can you tell me one or two crazy stories or experiences you’ve had while working as an adult film actress?
Chanel Preston – It’s really hard for me to tell stories because I think get so used to craziness that it doesn’t feel so crazy to me anymore. I did have to have sex with a guy dressed as the Incredible Hulk once. He was completely painted green and, of course, during the scene the green got all over me so I can’t imagine it was that sexy. Plus, they even dipped his penis in green food coloring so when I gave him a blowjob my entire mouth was green. I was not too happy about any of that but now that it is over I can laugh about it.