As the ingenious creator of iheartgirls.com, Cherie Roberts is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. Amongst her busy schedule, I was lucky enough to sit down with Miss. Roberts and ask her some questions that I was dying to know the answers to. I was happily surprised when I found out Cherie was a woman after my own heart – a pro-sex female in the business who both acknowledges and understands the complex politics that surround the adult industry. Care to read her feisty responses and personal opinions? Well, here’s your chance…
Tell us how you started your porn career. What sparked your interest in wanting to be an adult star?
Well, I wouldn’t exactly refer to myself as an adult star, and I guess I worked in porn (depending on who you ask). I usually just say that I was a “nude model”. Anyway, I started dancing (aka stripping) in San Francisco when I was 18, and was offered some nude modeling jobs. From there, I started doing promo gigs for Déjà vu (the club chain I worked for), modeling in their magazine, doing tradeshows, events, etc. The majority of the work was in LA, so I spent a lot of time going back and forth, and other jobs sort of opened up to me as a result. One of the girls I was working with introduced me to an agent in LA named Cam Smith. He started sending me out on jobs regularly, so I quit dancing and started modeling exclusively.
What’s the biggest misconception about porn stars?
The biggest misconception I come across is that all porn stars are dumb. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a fair share of dumb ones. But you’d be surprised at how many of the girls I meet are actually well-read, educated, street-smart, or are just all-around brainiacs. I’d even go so far as to call them nerdy. Bobbi Starr is a great example… she’s hot, talented, and smart as a whip. She should be a role model for all would-be porn stars, if she’s not already.
Your experience in front of the camera has undoubtedly assisted you in your efforts to photograph women yourself. What have you taken with you in your transition from subject to photographer? Do you have any secret tips that you carry with you to each shoot?
I think the one thing that I have that most other photographers don’t is true empathy for the models. Modeling is not easy, contrary to what most might think. It’s not just standing in front of a camera, and looking hot. A talented model can express emotions through her expressions, her movements, and through her eyes. Most people cannot do this. It makes me feel really bad when I see another photographer shooting a model, and getting frustrated and mad when a model just isn’t “getting it”. I think if you took that same photographer and put him or her in front of the camera and started yelling the same orders at him, that person wouldn’t get it either.
I think of models as artists, and like artists of any craft, there are a handful of true talents, and a whole lot of mediocre ones. I think photographers should keep that in mind and try to exert some patience when trying to get a shot. If you’re not shooting a supermodel, then you probably should cut the girl some slack. Unless you’re paying supermodel rates, then by all means, whatever it takes.
Iheartgirls.com has really taken off ever since its launch this past year. Congrats! What do you see for its future and yours as well?
iheartgirls is something I’ve been wanting to do for such a long time now. I bought the domain back in 2005 so that should give you an idea of how long I’ve had it on my mind. I would like to see it grow into a community site, eventually. I’d love to see it evolve into something like SuicideGirls, except with IHG, there are no rules. You don’t have to be tattooed, you don’t have to be un-tattooed. You don’t have to be a certain style. Really, the only requirements for the models are that they are girls, they are cute, and they are fun.
As for me, I’d love to work on iheartgirls full-time. Right now, it’s more of a pet project that I am hoping will be able to support me in time.
Within the realms of pornography and fashion, there is a definite standard of beauty. Your work on iheartgirls.com even seems to play into this one-note idea of what is “beautiful.” Do you think this standard will ever change?
I definitely think beauty is determined in the eye of the beholder. I think standards for beauty are always changing, evolving, and as always, history repeats itself so certain looks will come in and out of style. If you’re referring to body image, and if I think “fat” will ever be truly considered beautiful, maybe. I think for the times and society we currently live in, thin means healthy.
I personally prefer curvy figures like Marilyn Monroe’s or Sophia Loren’s. Most models willing to pose in lingerie nowadays are thin, so I wouldn’t say I am playing into this standard. It’s what’s available to me. I would love to shoot girls like Kate Upton, or Christina Hendricks for IHG. There are not a whole lot of women who aren’t thin who necessarily want to bare it all for the world.
As for look, I definitely have a taste for what I think is attractive in a face. Not to sound totally conceited, but I probably seek out girls with facial features similar to my own. I think a lot of women see other women with similar features to their own as pretty. I have a question I ask all of my models which is, “Who is your girl crush?” Almost all girls will choose someone really obvious like Angelina Jolie, and then someone they look a lot like.
Looking back on your career in full, what were some of the best and worst moments?
That’s a tough question to answer. I don’t really think of any part of my career, or life, for that matter, as negative, whether it was a bad shoot, or a bad time in my life. I look at all of my experiences as a collective experience that lead me to where I am today. I am really happy with all of my decisions, whether they were positive or negative at the time.
If you had to choose one motto to live by, what would it be?
Hmmm… another tough one. I have no mottos, no creeds. Maybe it could be, “Fuck what everyone else thinks”, unless it affects you financially. Then it’s, “Do what makes everyone else happy.” Hah.
If you had the chance to say something to all the men out there, what would it be? On that same accord, what would you say to all women?
Men don’t listen so I have nothing to say there. Kidding. I’m not one to give advice, but if I do, it’d certainly be more on a case-by-case basis. And even then, I know advice is taken with a grain of salt. I generally don’t waste my time giving advice to most people because they never listen anyway. Usually, they just want you to justify their poor decisions by agreeing with what they already know they are going to do. Bitter much?
There’s clearly an ongoing debate around the way women are depicted in porn and many say that the medium itself degrades women. What are your thoughts on this issue?
I have serious anger issues concerning this topic. If you believe that sex degrades women, then yes, I guess so does porn. I think the problem people have with porn is that they find sex in porn repulsive. Society dictates that sex should only happen under covers, with the lights off, and only for the purpose of procreating. God forbid if someone were to enjoy it.
With or without porn, sex will always exist. These puritanical beliefs that if you abolish porn, women will be more respected, is bullshit. Men will always see women as sex objects, whether you put them in burqas or not. (Do you think it’s a coincidence that the societies in which women are the most covered up are the societies where women get the least respect and rights?)
Although I may not particularly enjoy or participate in a lot of the activities found regularly in modern porn (bukkake, gagging, gang-banging, choking, and face-slapping just aren’t for me), I am not offended by them. As a matter of fact, we should thank the porn stars. Otherwise, there might be a lot of unhappy wives taking loads to the face. Haha.
Anyway… my point is this: There will always be promiscuous women, whether you film them fucking or not. You can try to get rid of porn, but where would it end? Are you going to march all of the “sluts” around in the town square with a red letter A on their dresses, all in the name of feminism?
Ugh. BTW, nothing is more infuriating than hearing someone refer to him/herself as a “feminist”, and then proceed to tell women how they need to behave. I would call that the exact opposite of feminism.
As a woman, it should be my decision to do what I want with my body. Whether my choice is to be a slut, or to be a prude, it is my prerogative, and my God-given right. Women should be able to exist in a world where female porn stars and female politicians coexist. I actually feel like a woman who can truly “own” her sexuality is far more powerful than a woman who is afraid of it. But until we can stop putting women in categories, I think it’s going to be a struggle. The way things are, society degrades women… not porn.
What do you think your younger self would say to the woman you are today?
“You are really old… and boring.” Except I wouldn’t say it out loud… I’d say it with my eyes.
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