BY ANDREW VONTZ
First appeared in FHM magazine, 2005
Standing in her kitchen carefully arranging dollops of chocolate-chip cookie dough on a baking sheet, Tera Patrick could be any housewife in America. Cute vintage Hershey's chocolate syrup posters hang on the walls and a wooden dragon rests on the counter near the tidily arranged baking materials. "I'm going to bake some cookies! I'm going to bake some cookies!" she sings cheerfully. "I'm going to bake some cookies and take them into Vivid tomorrow!"
And that's where normality bends. Tera Patrick may be a housewife, but she also happens to be the world's second most popular porn star right behind the ubiquitous Jenna Jameson. She splits her time between homes on both the East and West Coasts. Since she's currently in her Redondo Beach, CA, townhouse, she's made the cookies for the nearby employees of Vivid Video, America's largest adult film company.
Tera's husband, Evan Seinfeld, wanders into the kitchen and gives his wife a kiss on the cheek. Covered in tattoos from neck to ankle, Evan is known to many as the former lead singer of the metal band Biohazard. Others recognize him as Spyder Jones, the only man Tera has sex with both on and off camera. He has just spent the morning logging porn footage for their Web site. He leans down and scratches the head of Chopper, the couple's obscenely beloved toy fox terrier.
"Most people think we have a wild lifestyle and that we have sex all the time," Tera says. "I wouldn't say my life is normal, but I do a lot of normal things. I go to the grocery store just like everyone else. I like to get massages. On my days off, you'll find me at the mall. I mean, besides living like a bicoastal porn star, my life is pretty normal."
Like most well-established adult film actresses, Tera spends fairly few days actually shooting porn. She stars in about one film every four months. An additional six to eight times a month, Evan will videotape her masturbating or getting it on with another woman. The shoots will eventually hit her Web site. "I'm trying to stockpile content," Tera explains. "I'm 28. That's about the average age for a girl to retire, and I want to move behind the camera."
To that end, she and Evan have begun building the Tera Patrick empire-the Web site ClubTera.com, a production company called Teravision, and the fledgling Tera Patrick Agency, which manages the careers of new girls entering the skin biz. "I produce films now, which means I pay for them," Tera says. "I hire girls through the Tera Patrick Agency and then I release the film under Teravision, which Vivid distributes for me in America."
In the adult film world, appearing on screen isn't nearly as valuable
as owning the raw rumpty footage, which is frequently re-edited and inserted into scores of different releases. And now Tera owns that footage. "Paid talent gets a one-time fee between $1,000 and $1,200," Tera explains. "When I came into the business five years ago, I had a new look, so people jumped on me and were like, 'Oh my God, we have to shoot you for Up and Cummers 53!' And I was like, 'OK.' I was really naive about how the business works, so I was taken advantage of. I didn't know that once you made a movie, you only got paid for the scene and they could put it into 300 other movies and you'd never get paid again."
That doesn't happen to Tera anymore. "I made my first million last year," she says. "Now I can easily make $500,000 from one movie."
Porn also has a hidden money shot: personal appearances. Tera spends about 14 days each month dancing at strip clubs across the country. "I can make anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 from one dance gig," she says. "That includes my regular rate plus merchandise sales."
At the appearances, fans can not only load up on Tera's movies but also shell out for a far more personal memento: a Polaroid of themselves with the disrobed starlet. Topless shots cost $40. Nudes are a steal at only $60. "You can make up to $1 million dancing per year," she says. "That's one reason why I try to draw traffic to my Web site. The more fans I have, the more people who will come see my dance gigs."
Tera slinks into the spare bedroom and opens a closet's mirrored sliding doors-inside sits a stockpile of her soiled G-strings and lingerie, as well as toys from dancing and filming. All of the used panties and bras get sealed in Ziploc bags and marked with their date and time of use. They'll be auctioned off online for as much as $600 a pop.
"For my girls at the Tera Patrick Agency, I really emphasize how important it is to treat this like a business," Tera says.
"To fuck on film and to be a porn star are two different things," Evan explains. "There's a lot of marketing that goes into being a porn star. If a girl comes to us and wants to get into the business, we sit her down and say, 'What are your goals? Are you just mad at Dad or do you want to be famous?' It's a one in a billion thing."
Taking a break from managing her empire, Tera leashes Chopper and takes a leisurely stroll to a nearby coffeehouse. She introduces Chopper to the other dogs on the outdoor patio before settling in to sip an ice-blended green tea and reflect. "When I was 13, I went to Barbizon modeling school and it worked out," she says. Tera ended up traveling the world as a fashion model, doing runway shows and print campaigns. But even in her early teens, she was lugging around 36-D breasts. "All through my career they had to tape me down," Tera says. "Boobs weren't allowed in fashion."
By the age of 18, she'd had a nervous breakdown. "I was traveling and exhausted," she says. "I pulled a Mariah Carey." So Tera left the modeling life for a nobler profession-medicine. She became a registered nurse and went back to school as premed. But it wasn't meant to be.
"My heart wasn't in it," Tera says. "I was working as a nurse in an old-folks' home, and one day, this patient got angry and flung her bedpan, which was full of pee and crap, at me. I was like, 'There has got to be something better out there.'"
Then she saw an ad for "figure models" in the back of an L.A. paper, and, at the age of 23, ended up in the office of a porn agent. "For my first shoot, I had green eyeshadow, pink lipstick and big teased hair-I looked like Barbarella," Tera recalls. "I zipped down the dress, and I felt like I'd stepped out of a shell of who I was and become a new person. With fashion modeling I didn't get to wear a lot of makeup, and everyone told me what to do. Now all of a sudden these magazines wanted this beautiful, busty naked girl. I wasn't kissing their ass, they were kissing mine. I was in charge."
She soon made the jump to film. "It was kind of a fantasy, and I was offered a lot of money," she says. "I was going to chalk it up as experience. I didn't know it would become my career."
But as Tera penetrated deeper into the porn world, she also took up booze and pot. "I would drink a fifth of Jack Daniels a day, pass out and throw up all over myself," she says while lifting Chopper gently into her lap for a muzzle rub. "Then I'd take my comforter to the Chinese dry cleaner down the street. I had about three comforters at the time because I'd throw up on them a lot." The pattern continued for four unhappy years.
"I was going through this phase of 'Who's gonna love me?'" Tera says. "What guy is going to take me home to his mother and say, 'Hey, Mom, this is Tera. I really love her. Isn't she amazing and isn't she beautiful and, by the way, she was filthy whore No. 52 in Asian Street Hookers 12'?"
While crying in bed, one night, Tera turned on HBO and saw Evan in an episode of OZ, where he'd landed an acting gig. In this particular scene, he happened to be naked. "I saw his penis," Tera recalls, "and I was like, 'Wow, who's that?'"
Porn star tracked down rock star and the two met up. "I got into the car and he instantly grabbed my tits," she says. "I pretended to be scared. Then we went home and didn't get out of bed for four days." And so began a fairy tale relationship that would blossom into marriage.
Evan knew a little something about alcohol abuse, but he'd been sober since 1988. With his help, Tera kicked her habit. Now the most powerful drug she downs is caffeine. "Green tea is so good for you," she says. "It's loaded with antioxidants!"
As if on cue, Evan rolls up in his pimped-out Escalade, and the two head to the grocery store. "Evan and I are monogamous," Tera says from the front seat. According to the rules of their relationship, Tera can have sex on film with other girls, but not other guys. Evan can get oral sex from other girls, but can't have sex with them. "I draw the line at a blowjob because that's where my comfort level is," Tera explains. "I don't try to rationalize it. Who knows, maybe 20 years from now he could be full-on fucking girls on camera if our comfort levels change."
But for now, Evan's well aware of the boundaries. "If I asked her to have sex with another man because I thought it would be good for business, she'd probably divorce me," he says. "She once said, 'I'm glad you want to only be with me, because if you wanted to pimp me out, I would think that you didn't respect me.'"
When the camera's off, the two lovebirds are an active couple. "We do it about four times a week," Tera says. "We like to watch porn together, but we only watch European porno. We can't watch American porno because they're all our friends."
As Tera saunters into the grocery store, the bag boy's jaw drops to
the floor. Groceries pile up on the counter in front of him. Evan's phone rings. He takes the call, but by the time he finishes, his wife has wandered away. So he whistles loudly. "I can't yell, 'Tera!' because half the people in the store would mob her," Evan explains.
He finds his onscreen partner in a back aisle, where she has yet to draw any attention from produce-shopping porn fans. "I don't know who the fans are," Tera says. "I look around and I'm like, 'I don't know if anybody knows.' I'm so naive. I sometimes think people are talking to me because I'm nice, and it's like, no, they know who I am."
Evan's presence is usually enough to intimidate the creepier fans, but when he's not around, it's a different story. "She's become so famous that she can't be alone," Evan says. "I'll drop her off at the mall and it's never more than 10 minutes before it's a catastrophe. She'll call and say, 'I'm being followed by some guy. I'm in Bloomingdale's hiding in a dressing room. Can you come get me?'"
The two cruise back home, unload the groceries and crash on the bed. Even though it's supposed to be a day off, they each grab their respective laptops. Evan works on a promo Web site for a Teravision film featuring a Robert De Niro lookalike, while Tera writes up her daily diary entry at ClubTera.com. "Evan runs the Web site and answers all of the e-mails," Tera says. "For my diary, I'll talk about my day. Fans like to know you're normal and that you do normal things. It's a turn-on for them."
She types a few lines about the events of the afternoon, then pauses. "Evan's the one who convinced me that I'll forever be known as 'Tera Patrick,'" she says. "I used to think I would eventually just go off and open a little dog store somewhere-sell little dog sweaters. But I'm not going to be anybody but Tera Patrick for the rest of my life, so I should exploit myself. I can't run; I can't hide. I'm a porn star."
THE DIRT ON THE DIRTY WORK: BEHIND THE SCENES OF PORN LIFE AS TOLD BY TERA PATRICK
It’s graphic. Porno is very graphic. You have a camera literally beneath you inches from your vagina or cock and there’s someone standing underneath that person shining a light at your genitals to get a closeup and then there’s someone standing above him with a boom to catch all of your sounds. You have to be louder and you have to contort yourself so the cameraman can see the penetration. For me, when I’m watching porn I don’t like to see the graphic shots. I prefer the kissing and the stroking because up close shots look like you’re going to a gynecologist.
HARDCORE AND SOFTCORE
If you’re shooting both at once you’ve got one cameraman up underneath you shooting the penetration and the other one is getting the bodies. If there’s one cameraman they’ll shoot three minutes of hardcore and then three minutes of soft. It’s really a pain for a lot of guys who wear condoms because they can’t last as long or get desensitized.
THE ART OF MAGIC WOOD: VIAGRA
Every performer uses viagra. You have to take something. A lot of guys complain about it because it gives them really bd headaches so now all of the guys are using cyallis because it doesn’t seem to have the nasty headache from viagra and levitra. I heard levitra doesn’t work as well. All of the directors carry around some sort of thing because you can’t play with a rubber cock. The minute a guy goes limp the director steps in. for some guys it works instantly and for some guys nothing works. I’ve never had a problem with a guy. I’ve known girls who have waited 3 or 4 hours for a guy to get hard. They just have to call it a day. The thing is that every single porn star from Randy Spears to Eric Everhard to TT Boy has been limp one day. You can’t have 100% performance 100% of the time.
Gonzo movies are very simple. You have the director and he’s usually also the cameraman and the guy and the girl get there and they know what the movie is, if it’s asian street hookers 10 the guy is pretending to pick you up and then you start to give him a blowjob. In feature movies they run like a typical movie set. You talk with the director and tell him what you’re comfortable with and not comfortable with. Gonzo sets expect you to just do anything.
There are some directors like Paul Thomas who’s very famous for winning awards for his Vivid films, he puts a lot of work into his films. He likes to make the girls very comfortable. Chi Chi Larue who directed my first movie wants girls to feel beautiful and wants you to take a lot of time in hair and makeup.
You just get used to it. The first couple of times that I did a movie I was like whoa! But now it’s second nature. You don’t even see them. You just know they’re there. Cameramen will tell you their job is hazardous. I’m sure they’ve had cum flung on them and had people fall.
When we did Tera Tera Tera Evan did the moneyshot and hit the camera and the camera girl was like, wow! I should’ve worn a poncho.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS ON A SHOOT: A DAY ON THE SET
It really goes by gonzo and features. If you’re going to do a gonzo movie and the guy says to show up at 2 o'clock you can show up between 2 and 3 and you shoot your scene in 25 minutes and get your paycheck and you’re out of there. it’s so easy to do. You’re taking maybe two or three hours out of your day and that’s from leaving your doorstep to having the guy finish his cumshot. If you’re doing a feature your call time is what it is and you can assume that you’re going to sit around in hair and makeup for an hour to six hours or maybe a whole night. There are movie companies that try to cram six scenes in one day. You’ll get there at 5 in the morning and be there until 6 a.m. the next day. There’s no union for porn. Everyone works really long hours. Budgets are small so they’re trying to cram as much as they can into a 24 hour period. They don’t care if someone is dying of exhaustion.
I did a scene with a guy once who showed up on the set stoned out of his mind and i didn’t know this but he was notorious for taking ghb. His eyes were bloodshot red and it was a gonzo movie and the director also smoked pot. To keep me calm the story was that the guy had been out surfing all morning and his eyes were red from saltwater. After the third time of him passing out on my lap i was like, he must’ve been surfing really hard because he’s really tired then i found out a few days later that he was always stoned and always on ghb. The tera patrick agency i’ve considered drug testing the girls because i want the girls to be 100%. There are many times that a girl was sent out partying all night and she was. There are times when girls will do days back to back to back.
THE PORN WORK DAY
I work every day. As far as movies, I’ve been averaging a movie every four months. I shoot web content 8 to 9 days a month for my own website and I do live web chats once every two to three months. I’m in the office every day. Today i did three interviews on the radio and had a meeting with HBO and my book agent and tomorrow i have to get up and do an interview with Fox radio. I have Sundays and Saturdays off. Sunday I really try to not work at all.
My goal is to film another 7 or 8 movies and if i’m doing 3 scenes in those movies that’s 21 or 24. You could pull off 30 scenes in a year. Believe it or not there are girls pulling off 600 movies a year. I’ve fulfilled my contract with Vivid and did six movies. Now that I have my own production company I can do whatever I want. I try to have a game plan. I don’t know what the future will hold in the next coming month. The agency will determine a lot.
THE REAL MONEY SHOT: THE AGENT’S CUT
Between 10 and 20% and that varies on how much the girl can do herself. If it’s a new girl the guys take 20% and if they work for a while they take it down to 10%. The casting couch used to exist in porn. I got in the business by walking into Jim South’s office four or five years ago and it was crazy to see the amount of producers and quote unquote directors waiting for girls to hop off the bus and asking girls to go in the back and practice. I think it still does a little bit. It doesn’t help to do that.
BABY WIPES ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND
Every girl and guy knows that baby wipes are a godsend. Douche is an absolute must for girls before a girl girl. Antibacterial handwipes very good for the hands. A lot of people don’t know you have to keep your hands clean. You must have lube. Girls write all of this stuff down. Lube is a very important must. You’re going to get swollen if you don’t. Breath mints or mouthwash—never brush your teeth before you do a scene because you can cut your gums and get an infection. I prefer Icebreakers mint rush.
THE SECRET WEAPON BEHIND THE BACK DOOR: ENEMAS
If you’re doing anal you must enema. All girls know this. They’re either told by the director or by other talent. Yes, there are accidents. I actually heard from a director one time that he hired a new girl and she used an enima but didn’t let it out and when they went to do the scene it just went everywhere. An enima’s a must have. IF you’re doing a DP you would need an enema and a douche. You get rips and tears. I’ve done regular vaginal scenes with guys where I’ve had vaginal tears and I’ve seen some of the gang bang scenes and I think how could you not get a tear? I’ve gotten in certain positions where my legs have gone numb or my hands have gone numb. You get your hair pulled too hard and your weave comes out. You’ve gotta tell a guy beforehand.
My longest scene has been three hours. Some other girls may beg to differ. That’s stopping and going and stopping and going. The cameraman runs out of tape or the light needs to be adjusted or you need to switch position. Before you switch position the director says cut and the director tells you the new position and they restart tape and you go back to the old position and transition into the new position. That’s why gonzo is so real and appeals to so many men. You go from position to position to position and there’s no cutting.
SEX OUTSIDE OF WORK
It’s really funny. We do it about four times a week. We’re very healthy and active. We like to watch porn together. We do not have sex the night before we’re going to do a scene and he cannot cum at all and he hates it but it’s just to enhance his performance. We only watch European porno because we can’t watch American porno because they’re all our friends. I can’t get off to Brianna Banks and Tawny Roberts. It’s funny because I talk to a lot of other porn stars and we watch each others movies.