We recently had the privilege & pleasure of interviewing Jacquie Ray where she speaks about her journey and process into artful adult films.
Make sure to check out her upcoming show:
“Are You Uncomfortable”
Saturday, August 18th | 6pm-12am | 8600 International Blvd. Oakland, CA
So what got you started in the adult industry?
It was definitely like a self love journey. I started High Creatives about 3 and a half years ago and it just started as me taking photos. And I started taking photos of bands, and just going to venues, photographing them, and through that, I go through these shedding processes. Once I feel like I’ve accomplished something in like ONE THING, then I wanna move on. So then I went from bands, and got a couple of album covers, then I was like okay and went onto my next thing portraits. So the band thing was me getting out of my shell completely, like I was super shy, and I didn’t have many friends, and I didn’t really like going out, so that was me stepping out of my comfort zone, and going to events, and meeting people, and having like a purpose there, too.
And then when I started the portraits, it was more of like getting to know and accepting myself and my own beauty and coming to this point where I didn’t feel like this ugly person that I thought I was like my whole entire life. And then it went into nude photography, and I was doing these beautiful nude photos, and that was a part of me letting go of my insecurities of my own body, and then I was like well I need to go further into my self-hate (laughter) and then it went to sex.
I’ve always been more of a giver, I wasn’t too into receiving because I didn’t really like myself, you know, so I was just like, “This is cool, sex is cool” but I don’t really get pleasure out of it. Like I’m just doing this for them basically. Exactly. And that was like cool, but then it got to a point where I was like, wait a second, there’s some acceptance that needs to happen. Exactly! So then I started shooting these short videos of people doing sexual activities and it just kinda started from there. And production started getting bigger, the stories started getting more personal, and the sets were super fantasies of mine. Things I’ve done since, and things I want to do.
I like that because each one of those is a version of intimacy. Like even going to a concert. Yeah! You know that intimate experience of being a human, like taking portraits but essentially doing a one on one thing, and you’re just getting deeper and deeper into that, that’s really awesome. Exactly.
Where do you find inspiration, like watching general porn it’s not like a very artistic endeavor, but with yours they’re very beautiful, do you pull from film or art in general?
Yes, I think it’s art, film, and I went to art school and I’ve always been surrounded by art. But I think it really just comes from how I’m feeling at the moment, what I want to see. A lot of it comes from my dreams. I think so much about what I want to do that when I go to sleep, I’m still thinking about it, so then when I wake up, it gives me an idea of what I want to do, but yeah I think it just comes from like old fears of mine. Old traumas that I’m trying to let go of and work through. So i think that like for sure I’m just inspired by my own journey and my own life. I like bringing in things from my childhood. It was tough being a brown girl, and you were like fat, and your family was like you’re never gonna have sex if you don’t lose weight, and all these things. And when it comes to sex symbolism, that’s not what you’re saying ever. Exactly, so it became that, me trying to conquer these old traumas, and me flipping them into something that I find beautiful. And changing the truths for something you accepted for so long, that’s awesome.
What do you consider your gaze to be when you’re making films?
I think it’s just coming from me, I don’t know, I identify as a queer woman, so it’s just coming from that. What turns me on, what I like. It’s definitely more personal than a male or female gaze. Yeah, it’s more personal because I like it all, I like all different types of people having sex, so I like bringing that into my films.
Can you tell me about your last films right now?
Yeah, it’s called “Los Sueños” and it’s a film about two femmes, and I wanted to bring it in. When I was young, I think I was like 12, I had this dream where I was having sex with a woman, and at that age it was a very taboo kind of thing, so I kind of wanted to bring that in. Bring in my experience of the first moment that I realized that I would full on enjoy having sex with a woman. Oh yeah, like how you said you bring inspirations from your dreams. It’s definitely like sueño means dream, so it’s like a big pull. YES! Exactly. It’s basically about that.
And then you have a show coming up in August right?
YES! I have a show in Oakland, at the BabeLab Gallery. And I’m gonna have a room installation. So I’m gonna have a room you can come into and you get to experience the room and there will be a film also playing in the center of the room. That’s very cool. Is there like a central theme that kinda goes through the art show? The name of the show is “Are You Comfortable?” and going back to myself, I wanted to really bring in my body, and when I was growing up, I had a really hard time with my body. Being a woman, being curvy, having breasts and all these things really affected me throughout my whole entire life until these 3 years ago that I started really to not hate myself. But my tits were always something I wanted to cover, and I didn’t accept them, and I hated them, and up until maybe a year and a half ago, I realized that I love them. (Laughs) Yeah, as you should.And so my room is going to be about my comfort with my body. But it’s still gonna be super sexual. Of course.
What does sex mean to you?
I guess it means a lot of things. I know, it’s an odd question. I think sex used to mean just like having intercourse with someone, and I feel like sex now means a lot more. And it could mean a lot less, too. I feel like I’m super open, sexually. Like it can be everything, but it can be absolutely nothing.Exactly. I’ve been in both situations. And also it’s having pleasure, it’s accepting that pleasure. And exchanging pleasure, too. You know, you have sex with yourself, it’s the process of enjoyment.
What’s your directing style?
I like it to be very natural. I put a lot of thought into the sets, and the story I’m going to play into that film. And everything else, like when I bring in the people who are involved in the film, I kinda tell them, make it as natural as possible, and when I want to see something, I’ll let you know, like can you do this, through the moment. It’s been really awesome because all the people that I’ve worked with have been very open to one another, and they’re just meeting like that day.
Do you work with a lot of professional porn actors? Not at all, no. I actually like not working with (them) Because it’s more REAL, it’s not theatrical. It’s more real, exactly, that’s why I call it art, because it’s not what the industry is used to seeing. Exactly. I’m hiring people who are like real life people who are just on instagram who want to explore their sexuality and want to do things that they’ve wanted to try, and they’re just super normal people.
Is that how you met them, through instagram? All of them are through instagram. That’s amazing. Do you just put up a casting call? I put out a casting call, I send out a form, and they fill out the things they’re open to doing on film, and then I partner people up depending on the story I want to tell or what I want to shoot for that next film. Then we’d talk about the idea, and then we’d come up with a date, and then meet up here and they’re meeting for the first time.
That’s so interesting, and you get to be there and see the magic that’s happening. Yeah, that’s cool to see because I’ve also been in a real porn industry setting, and it’s much different. In what way? In like the sense that everything is super detached. You know? Like It’s Cold. It’s cold, exactly. Like they’re going in there and they know what they’re going in there for, and that’s just it. And most of these actors have been doing it for so long, and they do it constantly. Like this is just my job, let’s just get it over with versus this where they’re having this initial experience, that’s very beautiful. Exactly, so I feel as much as the people I hire are helping me out with my vision, helping my own self love. But a part of the whole situation is also like helping them out in whatever way that they choose. Especially because they’re like finding the story that you’re wanting to tell, like I connect with this, and i want to do this.
What’s your process with your sets and your stories?
Well, I come up with an initial idea, like for this last one it was like that point, that dream that I had that kinda changed everything, and my acceptance of being like “fuck yeah, I love women and I want to have sex with them” and yeah. So everything comes from that and what I’m feeling at that moment. Something like an initial spark of an idea and everything just builds itself out. Everything builds up, yeah, so then I think what background do i want for that. And what props do i want to build from that, and then I go from there. So do you build your own sets? I build them all. That’s amazing. Yeah, I mean I feel like I like that it’s only me. Most production companies have a team, I like being involved in everything. And maybe it’s also because I’m super like anal about stuff. Yeah, like a control aspect. Yeah, and it’s not like I can’t collab but at the same time, I never want to overstep anyone’s vision. But like, you have a vision, and you want to bring that life.
You don’t want someone else to come in and make it something different. Yeah, I love it and it’s great but it’s not what I’m seeing, you know? So I’d rather just take care of it. But I feel like it’ll get to a point maybe when my budget increases, obviously I want to start a team. There’s people that I’ve had some films where I’ve just been fucking busy and I can’t do it all that I’ve had to bring in friends that I hired to come help me. The process is nice. It’s a different vibe. It’s totally different and that’s like something when you’re scaling up, you have that benefit of being able to build a team you want and people share your vision. And through making films, I’m meeting more people, more open, and who also like want to bring ideas who know and are starting to see how my brain thinks. I think that’s what’s always been the hardest, because it’s really hard for me to make friends and open up to people, but I feel like maybe they will never understand me.
But I feel like when I let people in and I feel like they start getting me, then it’s a nice feeling. That’s why it’s hard, you’re like, “No one gets me” but then you’re like “I’m also not like anyone here,” and I’m not even giving anyone the chance to get to know me.Exactly, I feel like I’m always like that. And I do similar stuff and when you finally do get to know them, you’re like this is amazing, I should’ve done this years ago. And then you shut off again. It’s a cycle.
When you shot your first film, what were your big overarching feelings?
The first one that I shot was specifically for a film festival that I was asked to be a part of and before then, I was making smaller, shorter, video clips, but they never stepped into the actual sets. It was always teasing. So when I was asked to be part of this film festival, and they wanted something to be shot brand new, I had to build it and like think about the whole thing, and to be honest I was scared.
I went to school for photography and I had never really played with video or like filming. It’s so intimidating. And I was intimidated for years. I had my camera that was able to do filming, and it was just sitting there. And I was like “I don’t wanna use you.” So then picking it up, and being like, Okay I’m gonna figure you out and we’re gonna do this film together. It was exciting, and it was a little scary, just because legality-wise, like dealing with sex, and all these things, again goes back to me being super anal. And my previous job was like super following laws, and all this stuff. And I was like, Fuck I don’t want to get in trouble for filming sex, what are the legalities on that, EVERYTHING. Andd then i figured it out. And i had to make my business legal, I went through the whole thing, you know?
So I figured it out, and everything was good, and once that was done, I was like, okay, the people come to the set, they’re meeting for the first time that day. And it was overwhelming. And i shot this at home before I had my studio space. My neighbor is super weird about having people over, so it was a bunch of stuff like “ahhh” panicky, but, it turned out great and it was really good. And after that film, I was like, I definitely want to do this. Like when you saw the footage? Yeah, I was like, I want to do this from now on. This is what I want to do.Changed everything. Exactly.
What’s your fanbase and how do people usually react to your stuff? Was it surprising at all?
Yes and no, my instagram has been deleted like 4 times and I went from like having like 15k when I was using beautiful portraits and stuff, and I was like, YAY, my fanbase was great I was super into it. And then I got my instagram deleted and had to start from scratch. And it was a pain in the ass. Then when i got it back, I was like, well I’m not going to show any of my old work. I just want to show my art porn stuff that I’m making. And the reaction was a little weird. A lot of the people who followed me previously came over, but then a lot of people just didn’t. And I had to accept that.
When I quit my job and then I started doing that whole instagram thing, I was like yeah, this is about the followers, this is how it’s gonna be and I need to get to a certain number til i made it as my business. It was this whole fucking thing. So when my instagram kept getting deleted, I had to just let go of that. Let go of the idea that instagram was everything because it’s really not. When it got to the point of having my website, I didn’t know what I was gonna get. Because in order to see my films, you have to have a membership, and it was scary to ask people to invest, to buy in to me, but the reaction’s amazing. Like i have tons of members, it grows everyday, and it’s cool to see that happen.
Have you gotten message from people like that have changed things for them to see people like themselves? Oh yeah! I get tons of those messages, like chubbier people who are like, oh i never saw myself or can see myself in a sexual way. Outside of a fetish. Outside of a fetish so I get tons of that. I get a lot of couples who thank me for allowing them to be more open with each other and it’s changed their own relationship. So that’s cool. I can imagine it’s very rewarding. Ahaha yeah! I like to use different types of people so when I worked with the trans community. I get a lot of messages like saying the porn industry doesn’t necessarily open themselves up to trans people so it’s nice to see someone bringing them in. and to me, I’m not even seeing it like I’m bringing in these people specifically, Not trying to meet a quota or anything. This is a human I’m interested in.Exactly!! And it fits my story because just like my old personal stuff. Personal growth and change and it fits right in. Fits right in.
So I know you said you kept the business name from when you were doing band stuff to this, has it changed for you, like the meaning of it?
Yeah? When I first started A High Creatives, it was always like, I do everything high, like I smoke soo much, and I feel like that’s how I’m able to be myself Like it opens everything up. Like some people need their medications and I need my weed. Like that helps me be me, you know? Otherwise, I’m in my body, and I can’t think, and my anxiety is off the roof. So it was always this thing of what I can accomplish and getting high and gets me grounded. So it’s always just been me. So I feel like it has always stayed the same.
It kinda morphs with me. It’s more about yourself vs what you’re making. But I feel like that’s changed what my band what photo I took of them on their records and stuff and they’re like “Do you feel like it’s gonna make them feel weird now that the person who shot their album cover is making porn?” And they’re like “What? Don’t really care” That’s so funny, I never would even think that, like people make different art. So I feel like it’s been a year, 3 years and like every year I change into something new. So you’ve been doing porn for about a year. A year, exactly. That’s amazing, congratulations on your anniversary! It actually was my anniversary. The film festival that was initially like “hey can you make this film for us?” They asked me to be part of it again this year. That was last weekend. So officially a year. What’s the film festival? Outfest. That’s very cool. So that was fun.
So do you have any for people trying to break into this industry, advice for your past self?
Don’t be afraid to do what you want to do. Fear ruins everything, and also it’s all yourself. I feel like what kept me from being me was always me. You’re always standing in your own way. So I feel like just going for it. People ask me that question too, and I’m like just fucking go for it. Like I just did it, I know that sounds easy but… No i just did because I quit my job it was just one day I was like, I can’t fucking do this anymore. I don’t want to go back into work.
Where did you work? I was an assistant principal. Oh my god, that is a WILD change.Yeah I was giving assembly’s taking care of children and doing the whole shebang. Assistant principal too, that’s so much paperwork. That’s not even the rewarding parts of education. It’s the bureaucracy so i get that. and so i was like I have to quit. And that was my biggest fear. It’s always been my own self. Just letting go of things i’m so comfortable with. Once I get comfortable i’m like “yeah i can live my life like this forever. And it like makes sense. And now look at you. That’s why it’s crazy to me! I never thought I would like accomplish the things that I have accomplished because I always thought so low of myself. And 3 years is such a short time to have done all the stuff that you’ve done. It’s amazing. So I’ll see what I do next year.