Born Terah Wicker in 1983, Gianna Michaels made her debut in the adult film industry in 2003. Michaels’ big year came in 2008, where she won AVN awards for the Best Sex Scene in Foreign Shot Production, the Unsung Starlet of the Year and the Best All-Sex Release for ‘G for Gianna’. Michaels, who was born in Seattle, won the FANNY award for Most Valuable Vagina (aka Female Starlet of the Year) earlier this year at Exxxotica’s kickoff event in Atlantic City.
How did you get your start in the adult business?
"I moved from California when I was 18 and that's actually where I ran into an 'agent' if you want to call him that, somebody that was recruiting models to do pornography. He approached me with his 'Would you like to do some modeling?' Then it turned into modeling into nude modeling into sex scenes. From there, all of it. He approached me with the model spiel and ultimately got what he was looking for, me to do some pornography."
Prior to your modeling and adult film career, what did you want to do with your life?
"I didn't know specifically what I wanted to do. I was just having fun traveling. Prior to going to California, I went to Hawaii. I was just wandering around, having fun, being a free spirit. I didn't really have anything set in stone. I really wanted to do something in the medical industry."
Did you have any preconceived notions about the business before you started?
"I had never watched porn except for the [skin flicks] when you're flipping the channel. When you see something, and you look for a minute, you assume that someone is going to walk in the door so much so that you change it. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I was very naive. "
What has been the most pleasant surprise about the business?
"Going into it, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There was nothing that I was like 'Ooh, it's going to be like this.' Some of the people are cool as [crap]. Some of my best friends are in this business. I've met some of the most business-oriented, driven, super . . . I don't even know how to explain it. I think there are obviously preconceived notions that people don't even understand it themselves and therefore judge and place titles. I don't know what the [hell]. You can take it as you take life also, the way the people you work with. Some people are cool as [crap]. You get along with some people. You're going to run into some people that you're like, 'God, you're a freaking [expletive].' I can get along with some people. I'm, not going to get along with others. Surprising, I have met some of the coolest people in this industry that play large roles in my life and are very close to me."
Fan interaction is huge in any entertainment industry. How much do you enjoy the opportunity to meet with your fans at events like Exxxotica?
"I love Exxxotica. They make sure everything is fun. All the different people they have right now and all the different things they have going on, I would have to say it's my [most favorite] convention. I really enjoy it. It's a huge turnout at Exxxotica."
You won the Most Valuable Vagina Award presented by Exxxotica for 2013. How does that award, basically the female star of the year as voted by the fans, stack up among your career accomplishments?
"I appreciate it. They love me. They really love me. I think it's cool. I wouldn't think that I'm relevant at this point, especially for being around as long as I have been. I, honestly, was not expecting it. For my name to be brought up in it, I thought it was kind of silly. I'm flattered, even more so flattered because it was all voted on by the fans."
What type of music do you listen to?
"I [freaking] love every type of music you can possibly think of. Some, maybe not at the moment, but I appreciate them all. Anything that kind of provokes emotion or sexuality or just makes you want to dance, [have sex], or you feel it. It doesn't have to be sexual, anything that pumps you up or motivates you. Anything that provokes emotion."
Have you been to South Florida before? If so, do you have any favorite places to go, things to do or restaurants to eat at?
"There's not one specific place. It's so crazy. A lot of people, I think because of the companies I've worked for, they assume that I've been there a lot or think that I frequent Florida often. I don't necessarily. A lot of times that I've gone, it's been for work or conventions or something specific. I don't really have the chance or opportunity to enjoy as much as I'd like to. I always, always love when I get to South Beach, just that little strip where all the nightclubs are and the topless beaches. Just all that right there. I get lost and time flies."
You crossed over and did some mainstream movies. Obviously taking sex out of the equation, were there any similarities between the two?
"The crews are a lot bigger. I remember there being like at least 100 people on set, different directors. I don't know what all these people were doing there. It was hilarious. While I was doing the little part on Piranha that I did, I remember being up in the parasail all freaking day long -- which is not an issue. I remember laughing every time I looked down because there was this little boat, a flat boat, where they had all the crew and the video cameras and the equipment and all that. I swear, it was no bigger than three cars and there was 100 people on this boat all crammed together. It seemed a bit much for me, but I don't know what goes into that industry to produce what they're producing."
How difficult is it to find and maintain a relationship while working in this industry?
"I think it as hard dating and maintaining a relationship for anybody. I guess it depends on who you find and if everybody's on the same page, then it's a nice, happy situation. Overall, I think that dating, in general, and relationships can be difficult. You just have to find someone that can kind of roll with it, that you're compatible with. I don't think it's any harder than relationships in general."