Seven Questions: Tera Patrick
Tera Patrick will be signing copies of her book Sinner Takes All tonight at Book Soup
In her new book, Sinner Takes All: A Memoir of Love and Porn, Tera Patrick holds nothing back as she takes you on the wild ride that has been her life. This 33 year ride that saw her go from Linda Hopkins, the unpopular girl who liked to read about serial killers to Tera Patrick (previous LAist interview), one of the most famous porn stars in the world, is heavy, humorous and hard to put down. The book's second chapter could have been a book all on it's own, as the AVN Hall of Famer recounts her time in Tokyo working as a model and enjoying all of the partying, pills, and sex that came along with it. She was 14 years-old.
Along with the jaw dropping stories of her childhood and the revealing look inside the adult industry Sinner Takes All also includes an afterword where Tera opens up about her recent divorce. In September, Tera and her husband of five years Evan Seinfeld split. This news came after the book, which is described by Amazon reviewer Geoffrey Kleinmann as an "epic love story about the woman who met the man of her dreams and carved out a happy and romantic life with him" was already finished. Rather than rewrite the book, which Tera says was an option, she decided to address the divorce with these final pages full of pain.
Tera, who will be at at Book Soup in West Hollywood signing copies of her new book starting at 7 p.m, took some time to speak with LAist about writing, the future of the adult industry, her love of Los Angeles and much more.
1) What was the most rewarding aspect of writing this book? What was the most difficult?
The most rewarding was getting it done. (Laughs) No. It was cathartic to write the book. It was something that I've been wanting to do for a long time. I was able to reach deep inside myself and not just share my story with my fans and new people alike, but I also hope that people will take away some positive things from it. It's a good story, I think.
Tera Patrick with then husband Evan Seinfeld at 2009 AVN Awards | Photo by Koga for LAist
The most difficult was having to hash out and speak about the abuse with my mother and some of the things I endured in the industry like signing the bad contract. Then of course, writing the painful afterword about my divorce. 2) While the book has some very intense moments that you share with the reader, you've also found a way to throw in some great lines that made me laugh out loud. For example: “The kind of drunk where statutory rape happens” or “It was in Oregon that I learned how to fuck” or “New cock. New life.” How important was it for you to show off your sense of humor in this book especially during some of the more troubling moments?
Well that's just how my thoughts work. That's just my thought process.
When I meet people I always get the 'Oh wow! You're not a bitch' or 'Oh wow! You're really witty.' And I'm thinking 'Why is that a surprise? Why wouldn't I be funny or nice or witty?'
People tell me all the time that they are impressed with how I came out of all that I've been through. A lot of people tell me I'm very sweet or that I'm very personable. I've kept that with me because that's who I am. I'm not a bitch. The industry didn't harden me. My life didn't harden me. Even after going through everything I've been through, I'm still that little girl named Linda. That sweet little girl whose just looking for approval and looking for love.
3) There's a page in the book that breaks down the right and wrong reasons for a girl to get into porn. Are you hoping this book can give some guidance to a young girl who might be interested in getting involved with the adult industry?
I wish that when I first got into the industry there would have been a girl or someone who could have told me 'Don't work with this guy, work with this guy' or 'Work for this company not this company.' I wish there would have been a manual. It's not that I have regrets about some of the things that I have done in the industry. It's just that I wish I could have been more informed or educated about it.
Girls ask me all the time, 'What's your advice for getting in the industry?' I usually tell them: 'Don't sign anything without a lawyer. Stay away from drugs. Keep your wits about you. Don't do anything you don't want to do.'
That's pretty much in a nutshell what I talk about in the book. Although a lot of the things were my choice, I did make some mistakes. One of those mistakes cost me sanity, which is why I ended up in a mental institution. One of those mistakes cost me my marriage, which is why I'm divorced. And one of them cost me my feelings, I was so hurt some days leaving the set.
I feel like if a girl reads the book she can see the mistakes I made and avoid them. She can read this and think 'That happened to Tera, I'll make sure that doesn't happen to me.'
4) There are a thousands of girls working in the industry but only a handful have been able to crossover into the mainstream as you have. What do you think separates you from the rest of the girls?
I think a lot of it could be attributed to being in the right place at the right time. It's your skill set. It's what you can contribute to the industry. Whether you have the look or whether you have the attitude or whether you have the right agent --That all plays a big part.
5) Speaking of timing, would you say the last decade was the best time to be a porn star?
I wouldn't even say the last decade. I'd say from '99 to 2003. I think right now is a very difficult time to be in the industry because of all the free downloading that's cannibalizing the industry and there are no stars right now because of that. Why would someone follow one particular girl when they have a thousand girls to chose from on a free website?
What do you think the industry needs to do to get back to the success it was enjoying during that time period?
Quit giving it away for free.
6) What's the best part about being Tera Patrick?
Just waking up everyday and having the gift of life. As cheesy as it sounds, I have such a wonderful life. I wake up every morning in a beautiful home and I have a beautiful car. I know that's all materialistic and who gives a shit. But I'm wealthy in the fact that I have a fabulous family; my sister, my mom, my dogs. Everyday is a beautiful day. I'm alive. I'm healthy. I have a great career. I'm able to take care of myself. We're in a recession right now where people are losing their homes and can't feed their family and I don't have to worry about that.
7) You are living in Las Vegas now but when you did live here in Los Angeles and spend a lot of time here. What are some of your favorite places to go and things to do when you are here?
I'm vegan so I go to Real Food Daily. I love Real Food Daily, it is probably my favorite restaurant. When I'm back in LA, I stay at the Sofitel. Ooh! I just told everyone where I stay. Oh no!
I love LA. I love shopping in the Beverly Center. I love the Simon Restaurant inside the Sofitel. I get their mac and cheese. I know mac and cheese isn't vegan but, you know.
Tera's new book Sinner Takes All: A Memoir of Love and Porn is available now. She'll be signing copies of the book at Book Soup tonight at 7pm.
Photo by Michael Vincent