In November of this last year, out of all the chaos and heartache that made 2020 a train wreck, a bright spot appeared. I looked down at my Twitter feed one day and noticed an old familiar name… Jewel De'Nyle! Could it be? I hadn’t noticed her lately. After a quick check of who was following who… to see if she was legit? Yep, no fake account here. It was her.
In no time flat, we were both following each other. Then, I gave it a day or two, to see what she was up to. I saw her OnlyFans, which is what she was promoting. That, along with retweets of those beautiful box covers that used to line the shelves of the Video Store. Wow. She was back! For the first time in a long time, I nearly reverted to “Super-Fan” mode. I kept myself in check though, and within a week or so, had set up an interview with her. So much to talk about… Could I possibly cover everything? No, probably not. Still, I was gonna try to capture the spirit, the essence if you will, of one of the top Starlets who burst on the scene twenty years ago. I’m not gonna say I was starstruck, but … maybe a little bit.
The name says it all… Jewel De'Nyle.
I couldn't wait to get this down for our XCritic Readers. When the day for our interview arrived, I sat down, questions in hand, and started talking with a living legend.
Jim Steele– Jewel, you started in film in 1998 at age 22. Before we get into all of that, what were you doing at age 18, 19… 20? This is the mid-1990s. Where did Jewel De'Nyle appear from and what were you like before you blew up everyone’s DVD players?
Jewel De'Nyle– Well Jim, I was married to my first husband at 19...my high school sweetheart. It didn't last, as those things hardly ever do when you get married at such a young age. So, after a year and a half… almost two years married, we were divorced. I started stripping at Tropical Lei in Upland California, and that's where I met Selena Steele, she introduced me to the business. I was always a natural performer because when I used to dance, I put on a hell of a show even if there was barely anyone in the audience. I just liked being a performer. I was always a showgirl at heart.
Jim– Aright, so you started off dancing, that’s a good place to know if you’ve got the performance and people skills, which you’ve obviously got. But then, at what point did you focus on a fulltime career in the Adult Industry, and when did that start to head towards XXX film? So, you’d met Selena. Was she your “in” to the Biz?
Jewel– The strip club where I used to work had an adult novelty store connected to it, and I'd seen Selena Steele on a few box covers. When I met her, I knew that was something I was definitely interested in doing. She gave me the contacts that I needed, and the inspiration, and the rest is history.
Jim– It’s a cool story how Selena got you involved. Still, no matter who the invite is from, you’re the one who’s got to go out and make it happen. How’d the first bit go? Then, maybe, more importantly, was the Valley everything you expected it to be?
Jewel– My first go-round in the business didn't go so well. I went to Vivid Pictures and Wicked Pictures because I wanted to be a contract star. I admired all their beautiful box covers and the glamor of it all, and I was turned down by both companies sadly. My ego was a little bruised, so I decided to shoot independent, and my first movie was with Peter North and Ed Powers. I shot both those movies in the same day, and Peter North took a liking to me. He saw something in me that no one else did, he took me under his wing per se, and we started dating. It was very unlike him, since he never dated anybody in the Industry. So, when everybody found out I was Peter North's girlfriend, I became an instant star. The entire Industry was curious to know how I was able to swoon the great Peter North. Then, after I performed in a few scenes, I had the "it" factor, and everybody realized what Peter North was smitten about.
Peter then decided he was going to introduce me to Suze Randall, and Suze made me an instant cover girl, a centerfold sensation. I shot many layouts with her over the years of my career with every magazine you can possibly think of. After shooting for a few months in the business mostly with Peter North, New Sensations decided they were going to have their first contract star, and they signed me. I was with them for a couple years. My relationship with Peter North began to decline, because I was focused on my career, my fame, and I was really young and ambitious. I didn't put our relationship first. I put myself first, and it put a big strain on our two-year dating spree, which finally ended. After Peter and I broke up, I left Upland California, and moved to the Valley to be closer to the Industry, and to start shooting full time. It became my passion, and I was striving to be the best there was.
Jim– So, you were good at it, and it was being good to you– Check! But, I’m always curious as to the “why”, as in why porn? A lot of performers come into film because it’s a natural flow for them, while others are screaming out in rebellion to their upbringing. Especially when it comes to women, those who are kicking back against someone or something, being in XXX is the ultimate “Fuck You” to just about anybody that might have cared. Was there any of that going on, or was it just all cool with you, something you felt driven towards?
Jewel– I never did porn as a fuck you factor by any means. I was just naturally very sexual and putting on a sexual performance for me was something I genuinely enjoyed doing. I still enjoy it to this day. I love being dirty in front of the camera, it's just something that drives me. I feel like it's my kink. I feel sorry for the girls that do it for all the wrong reasons because they end up with a lot of regrets. Plus, they have a lot of mental discord, and they're never really settled in their life. I can't imagine living my life like that. So, if anybody is out there doing porn for all the wrong reasons, they probably are in the wrong business.
Jim– How did your parents, friends, and family react to you being in the Industry?
Jewel– Well, my mom did porn so there's that. Otherwise, my family never gave a shit that I did porn or was in magazines. I never came from a religious background, and I never came from a background where you were made to be ashamed of how you made a living. I was always brought up to live life to the fullest and do what makes you happy. So, I did… I guess I can say I'm blessed with that factor. If anything, everybody thought it was great because I made my own way in life and didn't answer to anybody. The only time I was ever made to feel bad about my career was with a couple of my ex-husbands who would use it against me. When I say ex-husbands, I mean two of them that were not in the porn Industry. I've been married four times. But even when they used it against me, I really could give two fucks about it. I kind of pity them for being so shallow and insecure.
Jim– I get it, trust me. Shallow and insecure sucks. Your name– I’ve always been fascinated by the name you took… the persona it projects, almost that of a mythical creature. “Jewel De'Nyle”, was it a form of escape or just pure fantasy? You were, and still are, a beautiful girl. You have an exotic appearance and it’s lovely. But aside from that, what drove you to excel in your performances? What was it that got Jewel De'Nyle out of bed in the morning and off to the set? I’ve heard that you consider porn to be an artform. Was that your motivation?
Jewel– I treated porn as an artform because I believe it is, and still do to this day. I think a lot of performers lack the art of porn these days. They just lay there, and smile, and take a dick… and it bores the fuck out of me. Unless you can really engage with your audience and do something to draw them in, you will not have staying power in this business. You’ll get lost in the shuffle. Now, more than ever, with the internet, and everyone shooting their own content, you look like everyone else… unless you can stand out in a crowd and make yourself a star. Performers really need to put forth the effort to market themselves to create a mythical goddess like being, or they will never be anything in this business except another girl filling the slot. Only those who put in the effort and the time to make themselves larger than life with standout performances have staying power and become legends. The others just become faceless and nameless... forgotten after their 15 minutes of fame are up.
Jim– Whatever the motivation, let’s talk turkey for a minute. I’m not going to count all the individual awards, but you have been inducted in the Halls of Fame for AVN, Night Moves, and XRCO. Then, I want to add in all of your scene credits, acting and directing. I mean, let’s face it. You’ve got an impressive resume, and I’m only scratching the surface. Did you ever think, when you stepped out to do that first scene in ’98, that this kind of staying power would be the result?
Jewel– I didn't realize the staying power I was going to have. I was a little apprehensive after being gone for 13 years and stepping back into the limelight. I wondered if I was even going to have a fan base anymore because of the market being so flooded. But, lo and behold, after I got back into shooting my OnlyFans content, I started watching, to see what the Industry was like today and I can see why girls like me have staying power. A lot of today's girls lack any sort of performance abilities. They don't try hard at all, and very few of them market themselves well. I can count on one hand the performers that I have seen out of the thousands I've watched that remotely caught my attention. I also think being a part of the Golden era of porn had a lot to do with my success. Stars were made, big movies were made, and you had to have some sort of acting chops and sexual prowess about you to even make the cut. When I first started doing porn, not everybody made it. Now, today everybody gets a trophy and it's fucking ridiculous.
I earned every single fucking award that I received. I have I busted my ass for every single one of them, and it wasn't a popularity contest amongst fans. These were awards that were given by your peers… the toughest critics of them all. The hardest critics in the Industry awarded me, along with Industry leaders. One of my first awards, which was Starlet Of The Year, was presented in Cannes France. That was something I was very proud of. Mainly because, they don't hand out the awards in Europe to just anyone. You have to be the BEST in the World. I was very grateful for that. I was at one of the very last awards shows that were ever held there, the Hot Video Awards. Sadly, those awards are thing of the past. Being at an award show on a grand of scale like that in Cannes France is something that this next generation will never understand… or ever be a part of. I'm truly grateful I'm a part of that moment in porn history. Sadly, one day it will be lost and forgotten.
Jim– Back to the whole backend/production part of the Industry. As an example, you were an integral part at Platinum X. If we want to talk about staying power, you’ve accomplished that by being responsible for not only acting creds, but also the administrative, production side of things. It takes a lot for a performer to hit all the right notes and still be as respected as you are in the office. Straight up. Do you look at the Industry as a job, career, a calling… or a passionate mix of all the above?
Jewel– I enjoyed producing and directing and being part owner of a business. But, when you are on top and you're a force to be reckoned with, there's a lot of people that will do everything and anything to tear you down. After a while, I got tired of dealing with the wolves that were constantly biting at my heels. After a good long run of producing and directing, my business collapsed, and I caved to the wolves. I was burnt out and I stopped enjoying myself because I was completely taken advantage of over and over again … it became exhausting. Porn lost its allure. I knew when it wasn't making me happy anymore, it was time to walk away. And… that's exactly what I did.
Jim– Alright, so you needed a break. But now you’re back! Looking back, as a performer, who was your favorite guy? I know that a Fan favorite was always Peter North and he was in your first scene. If it was Peter, then fine. If not, who was Jewel De'Nyle’s fav hunk and why- (we’re all taking notes here)?
Jewel– I enjoyed Peter North for the first two years in my career because he was a big part of it. After that, I also had excellent chemistry with Joel Lawrence, Steve Holmes, Manuel Ferrera and Julian. They were some of my favorites to perform with. Of course, there was Rocco Siffredi, who I wish I could have performed with more. They brought out the best of me in my performances, because they themselves knew how to put on a show. They were all great performers.
Jim– Now comes a fun part of the conversation, at least for me. I knew from talking with Jewel prior that her and Tera Patrick were acquaintances… they’re friends. To take it a step further– Jewel, Tera… Tabitha… the whole bunch were very much on my radar from years ago. I wasn’t gonna miss this chance to find out what was up. Still, I couldn’t find a good record of Jewel and Tera having worked together, not even at the trusted IAFD (Internet Adult Film Database)! But I had to know… Where and when did they meet? So, an awkward sounding question (especially when you’re supposed to be informed on the subject…), rewarded with a cool story involving several with superstar status. All of that to say that sometimes, but not all the time, it’s alright to just blurt out a question.
Jim– Tera Patrick. I know that you two are friends. Talk about a superstar status duo in the 2000s and you guys had it. Where did you meet her?
Jewel– I was actually dating Peter North at the time. He and I hired her for the North Pole series, and she shot a scene with Erik Everhard. That was my first time meeting her, and I thought she was just absolutely stunning. She could have been a supermodel and mainstream all day long. I always thought she was spectacular in everything that she did. She was, and still is, a very classy lady.
Jim– Tera’s beautiful, and goddammit… she was everywhere. Great story. Who was your Favorite girl– why?
Jewel– Serenity was one of my favorite girl/girl performers of all time. Her and I had a relationship off screen for a couple years and remain friends to this day. We had wonderful chemistry together. I also loved working with Jessica Darlin, Inari Vachs, Gwen Summers and Kylie Ireland. They were all fantastic to work with. Then there was Nikita Denise and Nina Hartley. Yeah, those are some of the scenes that stand out to me.
Jim– Is there a difference for you in saying that “This girl is number 1 because of A, B, C, and D”? With guys the attraction is sometimes easy to see. I think that Girl/Girl chemistry goes a bit deeper? To put it another way, what do girls bring to the table that guys don’t?
Jewel– To me, girl/girl chemistry is something completely different. I think you genuinely have to be into women to pull it off, because I can tell when a girl's not into another girl. As an example, I've shot movies before… when they're just gay for pay. It's not as intense and lacks sexual energy.
Jim– Fair enough. So, is being with girls something you go for all the time, or are you for the most part straight?
Jewel– My first sexual experience was with a woman, and I still am with women to this very day in my private life. I have a boyfriend, but I also have girlfriends that I frequently have over for much needed sexual fulfillment.
Jim– Let’s back up a minute. You start in ‘98 with New Sensations. With that studio, we see something like eight “North Pole” films with Peter North, then four “Video Virgins”. Fast forward two to three years and you’re with Jill Kelley putting out five “Sluts of the Nyle” films. I’m only counting part of what you did those first three or four years. Still, consider who’s mixed in during that time period. I’ll miss some, and you’ve already mentioned a few, but obviously Peter North, Nina Hartley, Lexington Steele, Chris Cannon, Tabitha Stevens, Sydnee Steele… Whoa! That’s quite a start, wouldn’t you say? But you didn’t stop there, it just went on and on. So, here’s my question: You start off that big, there’s nowhere else to go but bigger, right? Was all that ever intimidating, or did it just come naturally?
Jewel– I was never intimidated by anyone. If anything, I intimidated a lot of my co-stars, and made them very nervous to work with me. Porn and sex were just completely natural and putting on a performance was something that I craved and loved to do. I think I raised the bar so high that my co-stars were nervous because they knew they had to be on top of their game to keep up with me in a scene.
Jim– I can see that, to say that you were energetic and successful is an understatement. Still, in the middle of over 300 and however many scenes. I think you show up with 83 directing credits. Which is a lot in that period of 10 or so years. The interesting part for me is that you started acting in ‘98, then hopped to the other side of the camera in 2000. What prompted you to direct? I’d like to know how you felt about that, was directing as successful and satisfying as acting?
Jewel– When I first started directing, female directors were very scarce, and Gonzo female directors were pretty much unheard of. So, I decided I was going to do it no matter what, and I'd convinced Jill Kelly productions to give me a shot at shooting the Gonzo style format. From then on, I just kept pumping out movies, and eventually ended up owning my own company. Once I had my eye on the prize, there was no stopping me. I was a force to be reckoned with.
Jim– There weren’t very many girls directing back then, right? I’d say that number gets even smaller if you count girls that were acting and directing. Did you meet any real roadblocks from veteran directors, and even maybe some of the talent, when you were trying to wear both those hats?
Jewel– When I started directing, most of the girls were directing feature films or co-directing feature films, but they were not directing Gonzo style movie. I was one of the only ones doing that at the time. But once I opened that door, I hired other females to direct for my company, Platinum X. By doing that, I also opened the door for many other females to be accepted in the Industry, as in with them stepping behind the camera. So, in that way, I feel like I was a pioneer of the Gonzo genre for women. I made it acceptable that women could shoot hardcore porn. Before that, there was a stigma attached to women directors. The thinking was they could only shoot pretty stuff, that women were incapable of shooting extremely hardcore. Well, I shattered that mold immediately. Women directors in porn were never looked at the same after I broke the mold.
Jim– So, which do you prefer– acting or directing?
Jewel– I can't really compare the two because they're such different art forms. I love them both, although acting is such a different art form from directing. Each one creates two different mindsets, and completely different abilities. Both are demanding and challenging in their own ways.
Jim– But you can do both. So… that’s cool. I think that the whole directing angle shines in the production of your OnlyFans. I don’t want to take anybody to task, because everyone has their own style but your productions on that platform… you can tell that there is some thought and effort that goes into it. I mean, it’s clear that you’re doing a little bit more than just propping an iPhone up and hitting “Record”.
Jewel– The funny thing is I don't even use a phone when I'm shooting. Haha. I'm using professional equipment from start to finish. The director in me is incapable of using a phone. I also have professional editing equipment, so yeah, it’s polished. I cannot be one of those people that just goes to the cell phone. Then I’m calling myself a real performer/director? Sorry, but I just can't. I'm also one of those people that go through the details of how the scene is going to go down ahead of time with my co-star. Also, when I'm editing it with my co-star, everything is predetermined so that it is shot to perfection, or hopefully, shot to edit. My subscription is free to my page. However, I do charge for my videos due to the fact everything is a bit more entailed because of the professional equipment and editing methods I use.
Jim– I understand that you’re not really shooting any scenes right now, it’s just OnlyFans? That would be a good reason to put so much effort into it, to get a terrific finished product. For those who remember you in film, and even for the younger group that is just getting to know you, give us a tease. Pretend I have no clue, make me wanna sign up. What are we going to see over at Jewel De'Nyle’s OnlyFans?
Jewel– Well, l I have no desire to go back to the porn Industry. Mainly it’s because on my OnlyFans, I am in control of all my content, and I own all my content. I'm not making anyone else rich. What you see me doing is exactly what I want to do, and what drives me. It's all very natural, my performances, my interactions, etc. I think that what also sets me apart is my performance capabilities, because everything you see is genuine. Like I said before, I use professional equipment. I’m not just holding my cell phone and masturbating. That works for some girls, and I'm totally down with that, but I've been a perfectionist and a professional my entire career. and I've set my standard very high for myself, and I know my fans don't expect anything less. I would not want to disappoint them because I want them to know when they're on my OnlyFans, they are getting quality content, and it's 100% worth every dime. Another perk, and this is a good one, I answer all my messages personally. I do not have an assistant. I don't care how big my OnlyFans gets, I believe being personal with my fans is very important. After all, they're the ones who have made my career over the years. Without them, there is no career. And for that… I am eternally grateful.
Jim– That’s a great attitude. Interaction is such a huge deal… it’s what keeps the whole online thing alive in my opinion. So, you’re still a young girl, what are your plans in the next two, three, or five years? Are we going to see a re-emergence of Jewel De'Nyle on one or both sides of the camera? I’ll speak for thousands when I say that it would be welcomed– like an old friend had come back for a visit. I think you could absolutely help keep everyone on task. Thoughts… hints on what’s to come?
Jewel– I'm a commercial beekeeper now. My partner and I have over a thousand colonies. It's a full-time job and it naturally creates social distancing! Haha… I do my OnlyFans because it's something that I enjoy doing. I have no desire to get with any porn company, or to shoot porn on the mainstream level again. I'm having fun keeping it personal, shooting in my own home, and interacting one-on-one with my fans. To be honest, today's talent couldn't handle me as a director! I'd demand too much from them. I think most are incapable of doing what I would need, and they lack the lust and charisma that performers once had. I think I would be bored to death. The only thing I can see myself doing… Maybe a reality show where I critique these girls like Gordon Ramsay!
Jim– You’d have to get a Brit accent to be authentic… Haha. So, there’s been a different attitude in shooting over the last year or so. There are some within the Industry, and I’m one of them, that believes the whole Covid hiccup and shutdown during 2020 went a long way in thinning the herd. To put it differently, when the studios fired back up (some are still not all the way back, but they’re getting there), many did so with a very different and perhaps higher quality product. We are seeing more scripted story lines and bigger productions. This opposed to scenes taken from the cutting room floor going into 50 different compilations. If you were working as a performer or director, would that be your vision, to shoot quality over quantity?
Jewel– I always believed in shooting quality over quantity. I never understood the hurry up and rush to get productions done. I'm glad that porn is attempting to go back, and realize that there is glamour to be had, stars to be made. But it's going to take them a long time to figure it out. It's been damaged for so many years, it’s a broken system. Today's talent is spoiled by it. The thing would be getting talent to stay on set for hours upon hours a day. They're used to banging stuff out quickly and getting paid. It’s going to take a whole other set of performers, ones that are in it for the art form, and not in it for the quick dollar. I truly believe the Industry needs an overhaul because it's flooded with a bunch of garbage, … girls that couldn't fuck themselves out of a paper bag.
Jim– Well, I haven’t heard it put that way before, but it’s funny. Maybe “fucking in a paper bag” will be the next big hit. I get what you’re saying though, it’s a different mindset than twenty years ago. Wow, thanks Jewel. I appreciate you having this conversation with me. One more question and I’ll let you go. You’ve got over twenty years in the Biz. When you came into your own, everyone was crossing over from VHS and CD-ROMs to DVD. Now, we’re streaming over Wi-Fi onto smartphones. It seems as if the Industry is alive and well, no matter what platform or delivery device it’s on. Nobody knows the future, but I see a drift towards tighter control over content by the producers. The thing last month with Pornhub taking down unauthorized material is the latest in that. There are so many variables at play in the coming months and years. Do you think it’ll close ranks or be wide open? Will that mean an over-regulated Biz? Do you think we’ll ever see a world with 100% Paid for Content? As always, the Industry has always been fluid, ever-changing. Where do you see the Biz in five to ten years?
Jewel– I'm hoping there's 100% paid content. I think a lot of people were spoiled with free porn. I’m sorry, but free doesn't necessarily mean good. Also, along with that, you have lower quality performers, and as a result, the business has lost its luster and the glamour is gone. It became very dull and boring. It needs an overhaul. It needs time and effort put back into it to make it respected again. Over the years, parts of the Biz lost the respect it had. Too many fans got away with expecting too much for very little or nothing, or free. It’s a perfect example of what free porn has done. I can see why they've gotten bored over time with that mentality. I think true fans crave quality porn and are willing to pay for it. And I also think fans want stars to be made again so they have somebody to focus on. The way it is now, fans are flooded with a bunch of girls who can't whet their appetite. Over time, with the way it is now, what little appeal there once was doesn’t last.
Jim– Jewel, thanks again for the interview. I had a great time. I think everyone will have something to take home from all that we’ve talked about.
Jewel– Thank you, it was my pleasure.