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vol 6 - issue 05 (jan 2004) :: interviews
ASHLEY FONTENOT
interview by mister sister

EAT YOUR HEART OUT, PEOPLE OF EARTH! ASHLEY FONTENOT THROWS BETTER PARTIES THAN YOU. SHE HAS BETTER LOOKING GIRLFRIENDS THAN YOU. AND SHE GETS TO PHOTOGRAPH IT ALL FOR A LIVING. OUR VERY OWN MISTER SISTER SITS DOWN FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF THE HOTTEST UP-AND-COMING EROTIC PHOTOGRAPHERS IN THE BIZ, AND TALKS ABOUT FEMINISM, SEXUALITY, AND WHY SHE’S BEING CALLED THE "FEMALE HUGH HEFNER". SHE'S SMART, FUNNY, AND SOOO SEXY. WILL SHE MARRY US? READ ON AND FIND OUT.

Mister Sister: So how does it feel to photograph the hottest women on the planet for a living?

Ashley: It's amazing. I feel like a kid in a candy store most of the time. I doubt it's something that I'll ever get tired of.

M: How did you get started?

A: Shortly after using a digital camera for the first time, I became obsessed. I shot everything I could. Most of the time it was flowers, and friends would sit for me, too. Slowly, over time, I found myself shooting the things that turned me on,.. and here we are. My work has continued to evolve. I recently began shooting males. For a long time it was a phobia of mine. But I think it just took me awhile to figure out how I wanted to shoot them.

M: So, uh,.. is it safe to say you like girls? What about us guys? We need Ashley love, too!

A: It's extremely safe to say that I like girls. I had my first girlfriend in high school, and I've been into them ever since. I prefer cute girly-girls. The ones who wear their sex on their sleeve. The ones who have a sweet face, but could also make a priest sin because of her smile. Nice lips, alabaster skin, long eyelashes,.. purr,.. I digress. I also like guys. Especially the rebellious ones. Artsy, freaky weirdoes. I live a pretty unique lifestyle, and it takes one heck of a man to be able to handle all of me.

M: You've only been doing this for a short while, and yet you're already in league with some of the most noted erotic photographers working today. Are you friends with them, or do they see you as a threat?

A: Most of my friends are all in the same field. Everyone is generally supportive of each other's work, as long as you don't get a big head. There is some cattiness, though. And I'm not so naive to think everyone is welcoming me with open arms. Every now and then I get the sense that some people are threatened by my work. A few weeks ago I heard of another photographer slamming me because I shoot all digital. It was quite funny, though. It's like one painter making fun of the other for using acrylics over oils. I understand that it's human nature to be competitive, but I don't take criticism too seriously. I'm doing what I love to do. It makes me completely happy. You can't allow something petty to taint the very thing that brings you joy.

M: Tell me about your website. Do you find this the best way to display your photographs, or are you working on a hardcopy format?

A: This is a digital age, so-- like everyone else-- I'm addicted to the Internet. And as much as I don't really feel like I need approval to justify my work, I guess I am somewhat of a showoff. If I take a photograph that I like, it feels really good to put it in a place where everyone can see it. So the website has become an immediate outlet for my obsession. I am also working on various other projects, such as magazines, film projects, a book, etc. But all those things are a bit slower to materialize. I like being able to take a picture and post it the next day. Ironically, it feels tangible that way.

M: Are you naked right now? If not, will you get naked and finish the interview that way?

A: I'm not naked,.. but I'll make you a deal. I'll get seminude. Seminude is more fun than naked. I like my imagination.

M: Now that you're seminude, don't you think that anyone reading this interview should get seminude, too? Just to be fair?

A: Yes! Tighty-whities must come off! Cute panties stay on!

M: Who are your favorite models to work with?

A: Wow,.. that's a tough question. I like girls who love being models and ooze sensuality,.. ones like Aria Giovanni, Emily Marilyn, Lorraine, Dragonlily, and Justine. Mmm,.. Justine.

M: Favorite photographers?

A: That's easier! I'm currently digging Ellen Von Unwerth, Floria Sigismondi, Emma Delves-Broughton, Ian Vloke-Wurth, Christine Kessler, Siege, and David LaChapelle.

M: Any chance we'll ever see an Ashley Fontenot DVD? When I see your photography it seems like it would be a great direction to go in, like Andrew Blake-type movies.

A: I'm moving into that direction. I have a couple filmmaker friends who are wanting to collaborate on some sexy projects. It's just about finding the time to dive in at this point.

M: So, do you help get your male friends laid? Please, say yes. And then, please, can the whole staff of tastes like chicken be your friend? I mean, you're the closest thing to the female Hugh Hefner. Please, can we be friends?

A: (laughs) I should probably say no, otherwise I'll never hear the end of it. But, actually, I do have a few friends that have met sexy models through me and have "hooked up". Will I give you a girl's number? Hell no. Is there a possibility that you could be rubbing shoulders with one of them at one of my parties? Absolutely. Yes, tastes like chicken can be my friend. Just make sure that you're not rubbing something other than your shoulder on my girls, otherwise security might escort you off the premises.

M: Okay. Give the men and women reading this some advice. First, how do we score with hot models? Next, if we're completely a lost cause, how do we get started taking photographs of hot models? And lastly, after we finally start taking photographs of the hot models, when can we start sleeping with them?

A: First, don't try to be super cool. Most of the time, hot models are real live human girls. The worst thing that you can do is to assume that you're her type. Next, buy a camera. Read the instruction manual. Learn to operate your device. Approach girls until one agrees. Repeat. And lastly, after you have a strong body of work and become famous, then you can sleep with them. Historically speaking, talent and fame give you a certain degree of immunity. This allows for bad habits, such as alcoholism and womanizing. But beware of gold diggers.

M: You've photographed some of the top models of today. Are there any girls you haven't worked with, but would like to?

A: Absolutely. I have a model wish list at all times. There are so many girls that I'd love to work with. I'm constantly looking for new girls to shoot.

M: Describe Aria Giovanni's breasts in eight words or less.

A: Yummy.

M: A lot of people have a problem with erotica and porn, and feel it's degrading to women. Can you please discuss this, and explain why you feel it's liberating to women?

A: There is truth to the saying, "We are defined by the choices we make." I once saw a photograph of protesters with signs that read, "Porn destroys men and families." And I thought to myself how ignorant these people were. Men destroy men. Bad choices destroy men and families. Sex has always been a scapegoat for people who refuse to come to terms with their own sexuality. People use it to their benefit, but then shun it away when they feel pressure from society and religion, or don't want to take responsibility for their actions and/or urges. Life is sex and pleasure and beauty. Human nature. Natural selection. We are animals with the ability to understand what we are, and why we are the way we are. There's no excuse for not trying to gain a deeper understanding of yourself. Organized religion has given people a distorted view of themselves, and this creates internal conflicts. But, I digress. Sexuality is liberating and empowering. I create beautiful images of women, and the women that I photograph feel good about how I make them look. Erotica is a way for women to be empowered through their sexuality. It's a way for them to make a good living and prepare for their future. It's a way for them to be independent. It's a way for them to materialize their dreams, whatever they may be. My best friend travels all over the world because of the modeling she does, and that is her idea of happiness. Some models I know just love the creative process; they get their thrills out of creating beautiful images to share with people. Degradation is subjective. What may be degrading to a viewer may be empowering or exhilarating for the woman depicted.

M: Will you be my girlfriend?

A: Perhaps. Will you sponsor my lingerie addiction?

M: Are you influenced by any cinema?

A: Absolutely. My mom raised me on horror movies, so I'm sure that attributes to my darker aesthetic. I love the work of David Lynch. I appreciate films that paint an unusual palette. For example, I thought the cinematography in The Cell was brilliant. I am a completely visual person, so I'm a huge film buff. I'd much rather curl up with a movie than a book. Well, unless the book had lots of pictures.

M: You know, something just occurred to me. If you were born 200 years ago, you would have been burned at the stake. So, do you think you could have been burned as a witch in your past life, and now you've come back to flaunt images of beauty in the face of puritanical creeps everywhere?

A: I do believe in the possibility of past lives. It would be pretty neat if that were true. I do get a kick out of putting a consumable face on something that's taboo.

M: What's the strangest thing that's ever happened to you on a photo shoot?

A: One time I had a girl start sucking on my fingers while I was shooting her. That was more hot than strange, though. And I've had girls put on their lingerie wrong. But I think the weirdest thing that ever happened was when one model brought her cat to my shoot; litter pan and all! It was a pretty cute cat, though.

M: Finally, do dogs have lips?

A: No. But I don't hold it against them.

VISIT ASHLEY HERE.


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