LOS ANGELES—When we first saw Aaliyah (pronounced Ah-LEE-yah) Love in late July, we figured her for just another up-and-coming porn star who'd simply waited a couple of years after her 18th birthday to get into the adult movie business.
We were wrong.
"Believe it or not, before I did anything in the adult industry, I was a pre-school teacher going to college to get my degree in elementary education," the blonde beauty told AVN, "and I was a broke pre-school teacher, down on my luck, making hardly any money, and there was an ad in the paper advertising, 'Models: Make Up To...' some ridiculous amount of money, and I said, 'That has to have something to do with nudity; I just know it.' And I carried that ad around in my pocket for probably six months, and every time I would call the guy and he'd pick up the phone, I'd hang up, I was so nervous. But finally, I went through with it, and it was webcams, and I got my start in webcams and long story kind of short, I quickly became one of the top girls.
"See, the girls on this site were listed in alphabetical order, blondes, brunettes, et cetera, and they said, 'Your name's going to be Aaliyah, double 'A,' and you're going blonde tomorrow,'" she continued. "I was very against the idea, and they kind of gave me no choice, and I did it, and I got most of the traffic, and that's a big reason why I quickly became one of their top girls, I believe.
"From there, I became their spokeswoman, and from there, they started bringing me to porn conventions, and I started meeting porn people, and they started saying, 'Who do you shoot for?' And I'm like, 'What's this 'shoot' stuff you speak of? And can I make money doing it?' And they said, 'Who's your website through?' And I said, 'I think I should probably do that too'—and the rest is history."
Well, we won't dwell on the fact that it took her nearly a decade to rise from being a webcam model to becoming the star of Star Kissed, a romantic drama directed by Barrett Blade for Wicked Pictures—a movie, it's worth noting, that contains no Wicked contract performers, so it's easy to see why the role might have made Aaliyah a bit nervous.
"I feel like the luckiest girl in the world," Aaliyah confided. "I couldn't believe it when I got the phone call. They said, 'You have the lead role in a Wicked movie,' and I said, 'Sure,' and I really didn't understand what that meant until I got the script and I wrote my agent back and I said, 'Are you sure you gave me the right character name?' And he said, 'Yes, you're Harper,' and I said, 'But it's the lead role,' and he said, 'Yeah.' And I literally was like, 'Why? Why?' But everyone is trusting me and rooting for me and so I'm going to try really hard not to let anybody down."
But it wasn't just the starring role that pumped her anxiety level; it was also partly the fact that it's one of her first roles that will require that she have boy/girl sex on camera—this after spending years on webcams doing solo masturbation and, less frequently, webcam girl/girl scenes, which, she said, "is a lot different than porn girl/girl." In fact, a quick peek at the Internet Adult Film Database shows that since she started making movies in late 2011, the vast majority are listed as "LezOnly," mostly for Girlfriends Films, with just a couple of masturbation and fetish scenes thrown in for good measure.
"I just started boy/girl, and it's funny because—I don't know how to say this, but I don't know whether I'm good at it or not," she admitted. "I know I'm good at solo, I know I'm good at girl/girl; I don't know if I'm good at boy/girl yet. I've been getting great reviews on my scenes, though, and I just hope everybody likes to watch and they enjoy my scenes, and I appreciate all the feedback, good and bad, and I just hope people keep watching and they like what I'm doing."
We won't keep you guessing: From what we saw on the set, she's great at it—and pretty damned good at dialog, too.
"It has been an honor to work with Aaliyah Love these last two days," agreed Wicked Pictures publicist Daniel M. "She's been a consummate professional on the set; an enthusiastic erotic performer and a cheerful perfectionist when it came to dialogue and acting. Barrett Blade's Star Kissed was both her Wicked debut and her overall boy/girl feature debut. Barrett accepts nothing less than a performer's best when he directs, and Aaliyah exceeded expectations in every way."
Indeed; real porn acting is something she'd like to do more of in the future.
"I started my boy/girl out with Manwin/Brazzers, and they treated me very, very well. I've been doing my research and watching porn—I love that watching porn is my research; it's really fun—but I really want to get into the romance roles and the acting," she assured. "So I feel like today, everybody's going to be watching, and I need to prove myself. Am I any good at it? I don't know. We'll find out. But I hope I am. When I act in my living room in front of my mirror, to myself, I'm a great actress. If I can deliver it on set, we'll find out. I'm just gonna try my best; that's all I can do, right?"
As for the boy/girl sex, it isn't as if Aaliyah hasn't had practice at it.
"I grew up in a really small town in the Midwest, like a cornfield town," she explained. "I like to tell people Chicago but it was not Chicago; it was a tiny little town. We moved to the East Coast when I was in high school. I grew up in Baltimore. I lost my virginity to my high school boyfriend; we lost our virginity to each other. It was very sweet and romantic, and I'll never forget Beck's Odelay was playing in the background, so I lost my virginity to Beck. It was very sweet."
One thing she doesn't like to talk about, however, is what type of sex she likes or would like.
"I hate it when people ask me that," she frowned. "People ask me this in every interview, and I always say I can't pick because it depends. It depends on the person, it depends on—and usually, when I'm having sex, we're going to do a lot of positions, but I think 90 percent of the girls say doggie style, but I like missionary because I like kissing, and I know that may sound boring but I don't care. It's romantic."
"I'm so lucky; my fantasies were never too complicated," she added. "You know, some girls want to make love underneath a waterfall, and all this. I just like having good, passionate sex. I just like kissing and eye contact and having good sex, and if there ever was anything I wanted to try, either I told the production companies that were hiring me, or if I didn't get to do it there, I wrote it into a script and hired those people to do it for me for my own website. You get drunk with power thinking about all the dirty things you can make your friends do; it's great."
With everything else going on in her life, one might think that Aaliyah hardly has time to relax—and she'd agree!
"I take yoga classes, and I have a little dog who I don't get to see enough, so in my downtime, which I don't have a lot of downtime these days, I just like to play with my dog and go for walks," she said. "I live by the beach and I've been doing this five-mile beach walk every day, so yoga, beach, just relax with my friends, watch movies. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the amount of work that I get, and then I don't get enough work, and then I'm so bored. So like one day off is great; two days off in a row and I start looking at Twitter and all my friends are working on set, and I'm like, 'I wish I was on set.' I prefer to work."
And if what we saw on the Star Kissed set is any indication, once that movie comes out, Aaliyah will probably have more offers than she can handle.
"My life was very small until I got into porn, and only good things have happened to me since I got into porn," she reflected. "I would say porn was the best decision I ever made. It's just done nothing but make my life better. I have no regrets at all, and I'm just enjoying every minute. I wake up every morning like, 'Is this really my life?' Like, I can't believe it."
Pictured: Aaliyah Love with co-star Tyler Nixon in Wicked Pictures' Star Kissed.