LOS ANGELES — Jonni Darkko says that once in a while a new performer comes along that makes an instant impression on him.
But not many have grabbed his attention quite like Kalina Ryu.
In the rarest of occurrences for the veteran director, Darkko told XBIZ that after first shooting Ryu that he was compelled to alter his entire production schedule in order to create an entire movie around the Korean newcomer.
What resulted was “Kalina Ryu: Asian Fuck Doll,” a showcase title that is set to be released through Darkko Productions’ exclusive distributor Evil Angel on Aug. 6.
“I found this new Asian girl and I just flipped on her — went bananas,” Darkko said. “I lost my marbles on her. Instantly, I was like, ‘Whoa, what the fuck. Where did you come from and what are you doing?’”
Darkko said that he had booked Ryu for a content shoot for another site for which he shoots on occasion, and after that day he was hooked.
“I stopped what I was doing, stopped in my tracks and said I have to do something with this girl,” he said. “So I did a two-disc set with her — 4 hours and 38 minutes — and it’s going to be fucking nuts. We did her first blowbang and her first three-way. She’s beautiful and she’s just a freak.”
Ryu at post time had performed in less than 20 scenes, including work for Bang Bros and Reality Kings. She said she actually shot for Bang Bros about a year and a half ago but at the time was not pursuing a career in porn. Now that she has moved to LA, she is ready to dive in full force.
“I’m super excited,” Ryu told XBIZ. “[Jonni’s] been the best thing to happen to me. He’s given me so much guidance and direction. I feel really lucky to have a movie like this come out so quickly. I’m schoolgirl giddy about it.”
A native of North Carolina whose mother is Korean and father is of Welsh descent, Ryu moved around a lot while growing up but she considers herself from Miami.
“This is like a dream opportunity. It’s not like work. I’m single, young and I enjoy sex,” Ryu said. “I just wanted to be local so that I could work more rather than fly back and forth, so I’m starting fresh. Go big or go home.”
The 29-year-old performer, who is represented by L.A. Direct Models, said that it was a chance meeting with Rachel Starr in Florida that led to her giving porn a try.
“She’s my mentor. If it wasn’t for her being so charming I never even would have thought about it,” Ryu said. “I didn’t know what Bang Bros was. I didn’t watch porn. But once I did it, I didn’t have to tell a single person about it and all my friends, colleagues and ex-bosses saw me on the Internet.”
In “Kalina Ryu: Asian Fuck Doll,” Ryu does boy/girl scenes with Clover and Darkko, a three-way with Jessy Jones and Gavin, and a blowbang with eight guys.
“I recently started exploring how I’m dirty, so I do really feel lucky,” Ryu said. “My blowbang with eight cocks, I had never had that in my life. I was laughing hysterically. It was pure joy.”
“She was dick drunk instantly having eight cocks swinging in her face. She killed it. She did it like a champ,” he said.
Ryu admitted that she still gets nervous when she steps in front of the camera, “but once you put the dick in my face, it’s all real — all the sweat and all the love.”
The former cocktail waitress also has a degree in advertising and a passion for art.
“I like to paint,” Ryu said. “My goal right now is to be able to paint my porn star girlfriends.”
Ryu likes to mix realism with abstract in her paintings, which are often portraits of naked girls. She said her stage name has meaning — Kalina is a tribute to her childhood best friend, who has the same name spelled with a “C,” and the Korean surname Ryu contains the same first letter of her actual last name.
“I really want to do well and be bigger and stronger and better,” Ryu said. “I don’t have any modeling experience. Each time you do a scene you learn a few more things.”
And Ryu said she realizes her showcase is a special occasion.
“Most girls don’t have this opportunity for a while,” she said. “Not until they amass a fan base and following. I had never seen Jonni’s work before. I didn’t know his reputation or that he wins awards. And for him to stop everything and clear out the calendar for me I’m completely thankful.”
LOS ANGELES — Derek Hay told XBIZ that he opened a Las Vegas office for L.A. Direct Models because Sin City is “more active than ever” with shoots.
“I can only see that increasing I think over the course of the remainder of 2014,” Hay said, noting his Vegas office has been operational since September. “I suppose the passage of AB 1576, which now one imagines to be near certain, will only stimulate even more studios to decide to come to Vegas.”
AB 1576, a bill that would mandate condom use on all adult productions shot statewide,passed the full California Assembly on May 27 and next will move to the State Senate for further action.
Hay said during the past one to two years there has been a noticeable increase in porn studios booking shoots in Vegas. Still though, the Vegas market only accounts for about 10 percent of L.A. Direct’s bookings, Hay noted, adding that he now works out of both locations.
“We have staff that remains in L.A. and staff in Vegas, and yes I go back and forth. I’ve become with very familiar with highway 15,” he said.
Hay said the advantages of establishing a second office in Vegas include “having local knowledge of where people are shooting, knowledge of distances involved from the airport to the locations and the recruitment of local talent.”
“And also to be able to on occasion meet in person with the producers, directors and studios that hire our actors,” he added.
L.A. Direct, which celebrated its 14-year anniversary in April, currently represents about 90 female models and about a dozen guys.
“The guys are a challenge,” Hay said. “It hasn’t gotten any easier to keep a guy busy. The market for guys is as competitive as it ever was.”
And while the current climate offers many more opportunities for girls, it’s certainly no easy task building a bona fide female star in today’s porn industry either.
“In recent years it’s become more difficult to bring a girl through and create a bigger name. To create a true star is more difficult these days,” Hay said. “It’s more difficult because there are so many less of what you might call banner-type feature films for them to appear in.”
The proliferation of Internet only scenes is a significant factor. Prominent roles in buzzworthy parodies or high-profile features give fans something with which to associate their favorite performer, Hay said.
“It can elevate their status,” he added. “It’s more difficult now to get a girl to the top of the ladder.”
But two L.A. Direct girls in particular are continuing to create a buzz in Porn Valley and beyond, according to Hay.
He said one prominent producer has referred to Adriana Chechik as “the No. 1 girl in porn right now” on more than one occasion.
“She’s an absolutely outstanding performer,” Hay said. “Mason recently shot her in a scene, and suffice it to say she was absolutely thrilled with the scene that I think will be much-talked about in January. She has extraordinary ability sexually speaking and an appetite that matches. She’s very much on the road to becoming a big star.”
Then there is Miami-based Veronica Rodriguez “who arguably is already a star and her career trajectory continues upwards very nicely,” Hay said.
“She continues to do everything right,” he said, adding that he was “blown away” by some of the footage he’s seen from her burgeoning studio, Veronica Rodriguez Productions.
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