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XXX Wasteland Exclusive Interview: Lydia Lee (a.k.a. Julie Meadows)

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Lydia Lee knows her way around adult entertainment. Under the stage name “Julie Meadows”, the former XXX starlet enjoyed a successful six-year run in front of the camera beginning in the late-90s, even landing an exclusive contract with then-prominent film studio VCA in 2002. Along the way, Lydia shared a set with many of the industry’s top names, including Randy Spears, Tera Patrick, and countless others.

Lydia continues to have strong feelings about the adult business and the people who comprise it, as well as the issues currently shrouding the industry. Many of her thoughts are recorded on her official blog (www.JulieMeadows.com), and Lydia also shoots interviews with adult film performers for her YouTube page (www.YouTube.com/JulieMeadowsEnt). An exclusive documentary profiling sex industry workers is also in production.

Lydia maintains a non-adult industry personal blog at LydiaAnnLee.com.  You can follow Lydia on Twitter here and check out her FreeOnes page at this link.

Lydia kindly granted XXX Wasteland an interview to discuss her time as an adult industry actress, the upcoming documentary, her views on the business today, and more.

Let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell us how you initially became interested – and later involved – in the adult industry?

Sure. I met a director in Dallas, Texas who sat with me and my then-husband and talked to us about what being in the adult industry would entail. I was the breadwinner of the family and had been a dancer for five years while also taking acting classes. I was not a great actress, though I did star in an accident/injury commercial and got a few small gigs, but mainly I wanted to stop dancing and I was attracted to the acting side of the work. Living in L.A. seemed nicer climate-wise and adult work also paid very well. I added several factors together before choosing to get into the business. I didn’t know much about sex, really, so I was lucky to have survived as long as I did.

What are some of your most memorable experiences in the business?

Getting to know and become good friends with Chloe was a great experience. We were inseparable throughout my last few years in the industry – being fellow contract stars at VCA. Actually, getting to know everyone at VCA was a wonderful experience. A lot of women worked there, including Jane Hamilton, one of their prominent directors, so it was a very female-friendly environment. Meeting Ron Jeremy was pretty cool, too.

Why did you decide to retire from adult entertainment in 2004?

I was not interested in making movies anymore. I just wasn’t motivated. I got divorced in 2003, VCA sold to Hustler that same year … It felt like the right time to close that chapter on my life before someone told me I was too old to be performing. This was before the MILF era, obviously. I found that some of my older scenes have been repackaged into MILF titles. So funny! Honestly, I only did a few scenes in 2003, and only one movie in 2004. I didn’t work much at all. I feature danced, mainly. The January expo in Vegas in 2004 was probably the last thing I ever did in the adult industry and it felt different by then. The industry was changing and it was time for me to move on.

Do you consider your time as an industry performer a positive or negative experience overall?

Positive. I always did my best to represent the industry in the best possible light by being mature, intelligent and thoughtful in my interviews and conversations with people in and out of the industry. I used the business and did not let it use me. It’s the best a person can do in any job; always have control of your mind, always be present, always steer your future. I’m proud of the fact that I never had to use mind-altering drugs to perform, and I always made an effort to connect with my scene partner beyond just the flesh. Life doesn’t stop just because a camera is rolling. I never wanted the camera to record me doing anything I wasn’t happy with, and if I ever did do something that didn’t please me, I just never did it again. I used common sense to navigate the people and companies. In the end, I only worked for the kindest and most professional people.

What projects have you been involved in since leaving porn?

Mainly my blog. www.JulieMeadows.com/blog is my baby. I upload videos to my YouTube page (www.YouTube.com/JulieMeadowsEnt), but everything that I shoot and everything that means something to me to talk about ends up on my blog. It’s improved my writing tenfold just in the last year. I like the mental process of working through issues to find a balanced mental and emotional medium. I write about adult-related things, but I also post my art and interesting things I pick up through public radio; I like to feature funny comedians and comediennes, and I really just have fun with it. It’s a wonderful way to communicate and meet like-minded people, like yourself.

You mentioned your website, JulieMeadows.com, which is often used to express your viewpoints and opinions on the happenings within adult entertainment. I personally consider your blog one of the best reads in the industry and you obviously still care a great deal about the business and its performers. What were the factors behind your decision to create JulieMeadows.com?

Thank you for the compliment. I’m glad that you enjoy reading it.

My website had been pirated from me by 2004. I didn’t know much about computer and web things because my focus had always been on working and paying bills, so I had to let that go until I could figure out what to do. I met my current husband in 2005 and after we got really serious, he made an effort to get my site back for me. In fact, he retrieved several domains attached to my name. He knew enough about copyright infringement and trademark law to have cease and desist letters sent to the people who had registered these sites. After that, I wanted my own site, for the first time, to really represent me. No sex, no nudity – I have nothing against it, of course – I just wanted something cerebral and really reflective of my personality to enjoy for a change. I wasn’t performing anymore, so I wanted to reach out with my thoughts about the business and my personal experiences. I was, and still am, asserting myself as an ex-sex worker, and I find that there isn’t enough of a dialogue between fans, and even just the curious, and the women of the industry. These women are not predominantly stupid or mentally ill, as some would have everyone believe. The women I know are very intelligent about the things they are aware of and they have a lot to offer education-wise. They just need to be heard in a world that would impose their rules on them rather than asking them what they think. I’m hoping a day will come when more women just speak their mind without waiting to be asked. I was always very bold in interviews in the past, anyway. I never lied and said I liked something when I didn’t. Speaking my mind comes naturally. My website is just an extension of that.

Those who visit your blog will find many entries discussing anti-porn activist Shelley Lubben and her Pink Cross Foundation. Can you provide some background on your opinion of Ms. Lubben and why you are opposed to her organization?

Well, it started when I asked for an interview. I had just started interviewing models and came across something she’d written, I think. Maybe it was a video. Anyway, I sent an email and got no response, but I was also writing for Mike South’s site, at the time, so I posted a list of questions. I was intrigued by the God aspect of her campaign. I didn’t know much about her at all. I got a lot of responses from her followers, and then finally a response from her, and it didn’t clear anything up. I let it go until she made pointed remarks toward my friend, Monica Foster, and then I dedicated a good stretch of time to digging and coming up with very strange things about her.

I can’t stress enough that I am not opposed to the idea of helping people in need, but based on the organization’s tax returns, the models who’ve said that she hands over clothing and inconsequential things and doesn’t help with big things like rent and electricity, the words she speaks straight from her own mouth that contradict other things she has said: She was cured of non-curable herpes, she caught herpes on one of twelve movies and couldn’t have possibly caught it as a prostitute even though clients purposely broke condoms, she was impregnated three times before starring in her first movie and that one client even bled on her mouth.

It appears to me that she doesn’t help people as much as she would lead everyone to believe. She claims constantly that porn stars are “mentally ill”, but she’s not qualified with the education or credentials to diagnose anyone’s medical condition. In fact, her degree doesn’t transfer to an accredited college and is even listed on the Consumer Fraud Reporting site as not only an unaccredited college, but also as a possible scam school. If her degree is even real, it doesn’t qualify her to do anything beyond Christian-related studies and counseling. And yet, just today she was on a panel at UCLA along with members of Cal/OSHA and AHF talking about ways to regulate the adult industry. The fact that these people would saddle themselves next to someone with such lack of credibility makes me wary of their intentions, as well. I don’t think any professional doctor would agree with taking people you believe to be “mentally ill” and parading them around in front of a camera, filming them crying and divulging the traumatic tales of their past without undergoing real counseling and rehabilitation FIRST. She grabs them fresh from whatever final experience made them turn to someone for help and gouges them publicly for her audience to see. Where are the long term success stories from her camp? Where are the people more than two sad posts away from endorsing her to testify that she’s the benevolent saint she paints herself to be? I can’t find anything that points to her being anything other than a user and a con artist; an overemotional, illogical and fear-driven performer who collects people, both living and dead. I think her six figure income helps her buy sequined blouses and more makeup and trips around the country to lobby and buy booths so she can continue to talk about herself and look like a porn star.

You are currently producing a documentary profiling sex industry workers. Can you tell us about the film and what motivated you to begin the project?

I don’t see sad, traumatized people when I look at sex workers. I see women who, like me, were tomboys growing up, who are geeky and outgoing and also attractive. My documentary is about highlighting the innocent things we all have in common, because I don’t believe that gouging a person’s sensitivities leads them to a healthy picture of themselves. I don’t agree with viewing legal, working pornographers as pedophiles, and legal, working performers as children, because they’re not children, they are grown people. These are just beautiful wild women. There’s no crime in being beautiful and wild. Men love it! They always will and it will always drive certain people crazy because they think every human being should be contained in a set of rules and restrictions, but it’s just not possible. My documentary highlights this and celebrates it without nudity and sex. We talk about the things that interest these women. It’s me talking to them asking them what they think and what they like because they matter to me and their thoughts matter to me. That’s how you start looking at things from a practical and healthy perspective. You don’t go in already knowing everything and imposing your personal beliefs on people just because that is your personal experience. You go in openly and ask questions. It still needs some pick-up shots, but it’s coming together nicely.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in adult entertainment as an on-camera performer?

Own everything you do. Come up with a name and buy the domain, trademark your name, own your image, own your product. Take ownership immediately, before you even perform in one scene, do your research. Buy a book on STD’s and HIV and learn as much as you can because you can’t sustain an income if your opportunities of working cease. Research agencies, but get to a place where you can work for yourself as quickly as possible. Webcam, website… corner the market on your image and you will not only enjoy a career with much more self-esteem than women whose entire careers are run by someone else, you’ll also enjoy it a lot longer. Ownership is key. Read up on 2257 laws so you meet compliance on your site and learn about copyright and trademark law, as well. The more educated you are about what you do, the better prepared you are to protect your product and defend yourself from outside sources.

Where do you see the adult business in ten years?

More female-driven, female-friendly, with product owned by more females and catering to the female consumer. I see the old school companies falling off and regulations being implemented that suit the needs of the industry and the consumers. Hopefully, prostitution will be legal because those people – clients and sex workers – exist in an unsafe environment, and that business will never go away, either.

What are your plans and goals for the future?

Continue writing, become fluent in French and eventually travel more. I want to see the world and spend most of the rest of my life in France, if possible.

In closing, are there any upcoming Lydia Lee-related projects that you would like to make known?

Other than the documentary and more writing … watercolor art. I will be creating more watercolors and short films. I plan on producing art for the rest of my life. Hopefully my friends and fans will enjoy that with me indefinitely.

Thank you very much, Lydia. I appreciate your time.

Thank you, Adam! It’s easy to answer good questions.

Written by Adam Wilcox

November 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Interviews

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