On the cold, rainy December day that Justine Romee comes to the AVN Online offices, she's a Best New Starlet nominee, and looks the part in her leopard catsuit and heels, her appearance and disposition entirely unmarred by the weather. Even in the face of a fracas with Web pirates, she's sunny.
Romee's www.xxxjustine.com is a Spanish/ English free site that she's operated with her husband for a year now. The pirate site, www.justineromee.com, has stolen material from xxxjustine and charged viewers about $25 for a monthly "membership."
"I visited [the pirate site] and it won't let me access it anymore," she says. "I've had a lot of fans email me, and they've also emailed [the pirates], and now when we try to go back into their site, we can't get in.
"It's so funny because just recently, after this happened, I was getting a lot of virus email... my husband checked into it and he said, 'You know what? They're the ones doing it.' I emailed them, and talked to them nicely. I said, 'Stop harassing me, stop sending me those viruses,' and I got a really nasty email [in response]. That's fine, because now, all the viruses have stopped. Isn't that interesting? It's like, 'Hmm.'"
Romee bears the site's owners no ill will personally, but at the same time, she's getting aggressive about defending her exclusive content and wants her fans to know in no uncertain terms that justineromee.com has nothing to do with her, and there is no charge at www.xxxjustine.com for the same pictures and premiums for which the pirates charge.
The first page of entry at xxxjustine allows visitors to choose a Spanish or English portal. Romee says the preference for either is "about equal," and identifies this aspect of her site as one of its catchiest hooks - aside from Romee herself, of course. The next page warns of the pirate site, and directs viewers to the ubiquitous age verification shield. Romee feels fairly comfortable with this as meeting the requirements for blocking minors under the law, but she's neverthless exploring the possibility of adding a paid verification system.
Her official Website front door offers a "special message" from Justine. "I try to change it as often as I can; if I have something new coming up. I try to do something different every time." Information and links are provided on the scrollable page.
Features inside the site include Romee's bio, QuickTime clips, a diary, a photo gallery, and a stuff-for-sale page. ("I do get requests for panties, and I do a lot of Polaroids, 8x10s. I'm even doing a CD-ROM.")
"My content - I try to change that all the time," she says. "But I need surfers to understand that it's only a free site, and what I put on there is what there is to use."
The constant demand, Romee observes, is a fact of maintaining an Internet presence. "I mean, they're fans, I love them to death. The only [drawback] is you do have to be constantly on it. Myself, I'm trying to be talent, camera, everything.
"On the site, not only do I offer pictures, I offer video clips. I have to keep those changed out. Because I'm quite busy, it's tough to get it updated. To top it off, my little digital camera is messed up right now! So frustrating."
As if all this were not enough to keep several people busy, Romee and her husband have started a production company, Square One Video. She's going to be hiring talent for projects that are script-based and gonzo.
"Square One is also going to focus on Spanish-speaking product," Romee says. She has previously worked for Spanish-only Video Amor. "I'm looking forward to directing and producing," she adds.
She'd completed work on a project for Jewel De Nyle and Michael Stefano, as of this writing. "[My husband and I] are also shooting for Randy West and Sean Michaels. We just finished Sean's We Go Deep.
"My husband helps so much, he's great. My husband's my Webmaster - we both are setting it up. We have nobody else working for us, just him and myself. We're going to be taking on two of West's lines: I Love Lesbians and Real Female Masturbation. It's still his, but [Square One will] be on the production end."
Upcoming on the site are new photo galleries, "and I update as much as I can." The shots are very much from a day-in-the-life POV. "When we're out and about, my friends who I hang out with; this is my best friend from Texas," she points at the screen.
Diary entries accompany the pictures. "I will be updating the Dear Diary section - my server messed up on me, and I lost some content. I'm trying to go back and remember everything."
Romee hopes to have a pay section up and running in 2002. "The pay section is going to include video-on-demand. It's all going to be personal - I'm going to be doing my own personal videos for VOD, so it's exclusive to the pay area," she explains.
Custom videos requested from the site account for a good chunk of Romee's time. Fans specify clothes, locations, and acts, and she accommodates them. "I just finished shooting something, and when I get back [from this interview] I'm going to finish up two more. I've got three or four I've got to take care of. They're so much fun!"
Some requests are very specific, indeed. "The gentleman I'm [recording for] when I get back asked for something totally different. He sent me a harmonica - a really beautiful harmonica. He wants me to play it while I... " she trails off, cocking an eyebrow. "Do what you do?" I offer. She laughs, and adds that then she's to send the tape and the harmonica back to the customer.
Performer Dave Cummings broke the news of her 2002 Best New Starlet AVN Award nomination. "He called up my husband - he didn't even know. I was working." Her other nominations include Best Anal Sex Scene and Best Group Sex Scene.
"What do you say if you go up there?" Romee jokes. "I told my husband, when he asked, 'Sweetie, what are you going to say if you win for anal?' I'm going to say, 'I'd like to thank my mom and dad for giving me a great ass.'
"I don't know, you know? I have no idea. Even if I don't win, just the fact that I was recognized and nominated makes me so proud."
That's the attitude Romee brings to all her endeavors, on site and off. "When I got into the business, I said, 'I not only want to be in front of the camera, I also want to experience being behind the camera.' I wanted to go out there and see what it's like. I was curious.
"And I loved it."