This article originally ran in the September issue of AVN magazine.
In August, AVN Award-winning director Mason announced she was leaving Elegant Angel after seven rewarding years for an exclusive deal with a new company. One of the industry's most talented all-sex directors was closely identified with the studio, and it surprised many fans and industry observers that her productions would no longer be for Elegant.
The enigmatic director's new home is at the recently launched OpenLife Entertainment, a joint venture between Mile High Media and Gamma Entertainment. Renowned for her capacity to bring out the best in the performers she's working with, Mason will continue her glossy-yet-hard-edged style to two new studios under the O.L. Entertainment banner.
As Mason describes it, she will direct high-end erotica with an emphasis on aesthetics, romance and eroticism, as well as her more stylized form of gonzo that is pretty and filthy at the same time. Mason’s trademark scenes with d.p.s, massive facials, and porn star hardcore firsts will be prominently featured. She'll also continue star showcases and a gangbang series.
No matter where she goes, Mason is sure to leave a mark. AVN caught up with the notoriously press-shy director in August for a conversation in which she looks back on her time at Elegant and details her excitement about the next phase in her career at O.L. Entertainment.
You were at Elegant Angel for seven years. How do you view your time there? What accomplishments are you particularly proud of?
I'm most proud of being part of a team that was committed to doing great things. I had the best production assistant in the world, who was always there for me; I had the best GM to guide me; and Patrick's ethos permeated us all. The magic that was created there didn't happen by accident. My time at Elegant Angel is one I'll never forget.
We all know there's a lot going on behind the scenes at Elegant Angel. Honestly, was that part of what prompted you to explore other opportunities?
I have so many fond memories. I'm at a point in my career where I'm excited to move forward.
You certainly made your mark at Elegant with signature series, Superstar September releases, and more. Your new deal has you branching out into romance movies and other genres. Are those avenues you've been wanting to explore?
I fell in love with the romance genre through the Club 59 brand, which I helped create. It was a different type of challenge, but so inspiring once we got it right. Shooting for Erotica X has been an equally, if not more, fulfilling experience. It really is a different way of exploring pornography.
You've done numerous movies that have focused on a superstar performer—Jada Stevens, Asa Akira, Dani Daniels, etc. What qualities put these girls at the top? What makes them special? Do you have to have a special connection with them in order to shoot something so intimate?
I've learned over the years that dedication plus commitment over an extended period of time brings people to the top. Each one of those girls possesses those qualities; they just don't stop or settle for anything short of their best. That's what makes them special. Combine that with a deep understanding of their sexuality, and that creates a superstar.
Working through an experience on a star showcase brings me very close to those involved; I can't help but feel a strong connection to those girls. I find them very inspirational, both professional and personally.
A lot of female performers mention you as their favorite director—that they do their best scenes for you. What's in your secret sauce to get these award-winning performances?
That's very nice of them to say, for sure. I just try and give my all to everything I do. I'm a very passionate person, and I live for my work. I truly love what I do.
You're also known for getting girls to open up in pre-scene interviews and reveal pieces of their inner selves. In a way, is this sometimes more intimate than shooting a hardcore sex scene?
Physical attraction is one thing, but, combine that with beauty from within, and that is everything. The pre-scene interviews are a great way of showing what makes a performer so unique and special beyond their obvious parts.
Your deal with OpenLife sounds exciting. How do you view this opportunity?
I think it's a fucking amazing opportunity. I can again throw myself into something I wholeheartedly love. Jon and everyone there have been so supportive of my ideas and work. I'm beyond grateful for this opportunity and ready to give them everything I have.
Please discuss your initial projects for OpenLife. What are you excited to tackle first?
We've started two brand-new and distinct studios: HardX and EroticaX. HardX allows me to continue shooting the high-end gonzo lines that I'm known for, while continuing to tap into the romance genre for EroticaX. I'm excited to continue bringing the fans the same quality movies they are accustomed to.
I know you have some big announcements planned with OpenLife, including new studio lines. Please tell us what you're cooking up.
Our first movie from Erotica X is Eternal Passion, starring Mia Malkova, Chloe Foster, Natalie Heart and Dillion Harper. It's visually stunning and shot on DSLR cameras, but the main focus is on connection and chemistry.
My first movie for HardX is a star showcase movie starring Anikka Albrite, featuring her first anal scene. It's one of the best movies I've ever been a part of. Anikka really brought it. (Click here to see a gallery of images from the movie.)
Is there anything in particular (a girl, a scenario, etc.) that you're eager to explore that you haven't before?
I think Lily Love is something special. I had the opportunity to shoot her for HardX, and I was really impressed. She's an amazing girl.
From a content perspective, how do you see the business changing? What are the significant recent content trends you've noticed?
Expectations from the consumer are at an all time high. There's no room for cutting corners. It's important to make everything the best it can be, and the paying customers deserve and demand it.
For all the fans that know you as this glossy-yet-hardcore director, how do you plan on maintaining that identity (and fan base) while exploring other avenues?
Ultimately, I'd like to be known for my desire to capture authentic exchanges between performers. Authenticity and passion transcends, no matter the genre. It's a timeless quality.