When we were brainstorming our V-Day stories, we knew needed a few fun recipes here, some eye candy there, and a little music to get us in the mood, but most importantly, we needed to talk about sex. Well, more specifically, we needed to talk about seduction. In this fast-paced world of swipe-left this and Snapchat that, the delicate craft of enticement seems to have fallen by the way side. Call us old fashioned, but a poke on Facebook feels nothing like a little charm and flattery IRL. So first, we enlisted the beautiful sisters of 12.29 to teach us a few things about, what we like to call, scentual seduction and after that, we knew there was only one other girl in the world who we could ask, Sasha-freakin’-Grey. Sasha knows a few things about seduction, she wrote a damn book about it, and when we learned that she also loved to cook, well, we pretty much declared that day National Sasha Grey Day.
Having recently wrapped Open Windows with Elijah Wood, Sasha is already knee-deep into writing her second and third romantic novel, which follow on from her first, The Juliette Society. To put it plainly, Sasha is a total SS bad ass. She’s just as comfortable discussing sex, feminism, and, quarter life crises, as she making a ragu sauce from scratch. We talk her creative process, her dating life, and why she did porn below.
Hey Sasha! It’s Pippa, how you doing? So tell me, what’s it like to date being Sasha Grey?
Did you just say “Ugh”?!
It can be really difficult. I guess I’m not afraid to be labeled a bitch…
Are you a bitch?
No, but every once in a while I find myself in an uncomfortable situation [with a guy] and I always think, Oh I don’t want to be rude, but in actuality it’s the guys who are being rude, so I stand up for myself!
Have you ever tried online dating?
I’ve totally signed up for Tinder… under under a fake profile though!
Are you telling me that there are men within your vicinity that you may swipe right for?
Actually, I signed up as a man!
OMG! What’s your profile picture?
It’s a random photo of a man off the Internet.
Do you ever swipe right?
I swipe left, I swipe right, I heart, I dislike…
Is anyone interested in you right now?
There’s this one transgender person who messaged me at 3am the other day saying “I just want to get nasty.” I think it was fake though…
Amazing! So, happy Valentines Day! Tell us straight, what is the art of seduction all about?
It’s all about aesthetics
What do you mean?
Well, in the beginning of a relationship, whether its casual or not, I think that’s what we’re all looking at. Their style, confidence, the way they smell, the way they carry themselves…
What’s the best way to get over a guy?
Definitely going to the gym—keeping yourself active and busy.
Or getting another one! OK, enough love and sex, let’s talk about food!
I grew up with brothers, sisters, and parents who love to eat. So I’m not afraid to try anything that’s for sure. I was just in Norway and had some really weird s***! I love to cook and eat a homemade meal, rather than go out.
After a really long day at work, what do you like to make yourself?
Either barbecued filet mignon or a really simple tomato pasta.
Kind of like what you cooked for us! It looks incredible, BTW, we wish we were there! Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
My dream dinner party would be my friend Ahmir Thompson or Questlove as most of you know him, David Chang, Anthony Bourdain, and Giada De Laurentiis.
Love Giada! She has the best life ever! We should talk about your first book, The Juliette Society! You’re writing a sequel, right?
Yeah, I just started working on the sequel over the holidays. I’m trying to finish up the proposal for third one as well—I would like to be writing the second and the third book at the same time.
What’s the most random thing that’s inspired you?
Most recently, the film Casino. A conversation with a friend led me to reading about various Vegas mobsters. I took the name of one guy and then I found the name of someone he had killed…
Oh my goodness, how good is Sharon Stone in the movie? She such a sexy women and she’s so brave with her role choices.
She’s amazing! Sharon Stone has played every role. She knows how to be hyper sexual and the femme fatale, but she doesn’t rely on this—even as she ages. I think that this is a very difficult thing for woman to do. I often think about myself in 15–20 years from now: I don’t want to be in a bikini on the cover of a magazine. When I’m 40, I want to be sophisticated, I want to have grown and changed.
Would you call yourself a feminist?
I’ve been having this conversation a lot lately, especially because of The Juliette Society as it deals so heavily with female sexuality. I’ve never really considered myself a feminist. I think that term has become so overused and watered down. Sometimes saying that is just like taking the easy way out. But I do believe in self-empowerment of young women and men everywhere.
Growing up, was there ever an album or movie that affected you in this way?
I wasn’t into music at a young age, but definitely later at around 15 , 16. I think in terms of today’s generation, we underestimate parenting and people might get pissed off ’cause I’m not a parent, but I see these young girls on Instagram wearing high heels and booty shorts, and it’s like, you’re a kid go climb a f****** tree! I’m definitely not a conservative Christian who thinks pop music is bad for young children, but I think it’s important to remind people that pop culture is a fantasy and these people are performers! I think we are afraid to talk about fantasy versus reality.
So you’re saying the fact that I spent 2 hours this morning trying to twerk is a bad thing?
You might need to reevaluate what you do in the morning!
So, you’re about to turn 26, have you stumbled onto your quarter-life-crisis yet?
I think about this a lot, especially in terms of what I’ve done and where I’ve been. People always say, “Wow, you’ve done so much and you’re only 25,” but for me I haven’t even scratched the surface.
When I turned 26 I quit smoking and I started going to the gym—I wanted to become a “better version of myself.” Who is the woman you would like to become?
I want to be self-sustaining. Over the past few years, I’ve gone through different working and romantic relationships and I’ve found that my strongest trait is my instinct. I want to learn how to refine that. I feel like this a challenge for all young people.
How does one refine their instincts?
I think it has to do with believing in yourself. Whenever I let other people jump into the mix and they try to turn things into something bigger or something more commercial, things are no longer mine. I do believe in team efforts, but really trusting and believing in myself has always carried me along.
How has your self-perception changed over the last five years?
I’m much more comfortable in my own skin. When I was 18-19, I was still figuring out my style. I never felt comfortable being a buxom sex symbol, but so many people perceived me that way. I’m always asked to audition for the role of the hot girlfriend who just lays around the apartment. I always feel like asking [the director], Have you ever actually watched my porn work? I’m still this really ironic, sometimes cynical, goofy kid. That really how I view myself but I guess I’m challenging that everyday.
Would you call yourself a brand?
Yes, I do.
What’s that brand?
It doesn’t just involve sexuality, but being strong, self-empowered, and happy with myself. And I’ve seen this message connect with fans all over the world, people come up to me and say things like, “You’ve allowed me not to be ashamed of myself.” That’s a really powerful thing to hear.
Stay tuned for Sasha’s recipe! Want more Sasha? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy V-Day, lovers!