THE EDUCATION OF JASON SECHREST
by Tripp Daniels
"Porn's boy-about-town is ready for his closeup."
*The following article is courtesy and copyright AVN Online magazine, February 2002. Click here for the article on the AVN site. For more on AVN Online, check out their official web site at http://www.avnonline.com.
Many 21-year-olds are content to sit back, gaze at the newly framed diploma hanging on the wall, and daydream about what lies ahead. But Jason Sechrest hasn't the time for such reflection. He's already spent four years learning about life, love, and hard work at the University of Adult Entertainment, and his thirst for knowledge is insatiable.
The culmination of those years as an actor, writer, publicist, and networker extraordinaire is his Website, JasonCurious.com. The site may best be described as a naughty playground of adult industry news, gossip, articles, photo layouts, videos, and other sexually oriented fun for straights, gays, and those who've yet to decide, or simply don't care to. The site fits the Sechrest style and personality like a tailored suit from Barney's. It's an extension of himself, his ideas, and a window into his personal life as framed by the adult industry. "I think it 'feels' different because I am so different," says Sechrest, "and it is a reflection of me."
The underlying theme of JasonCurious.com is that of "choice" and "freedom" to explore life and sexuality. "No one is like you, no one is like me, and they can't take that away from us," says Sechrest. "If you get in touch with that truth in yourself and stop trying to fit into society or blend into the crowd and just feel free to be you, there's nothing that can stop you."
As for his own sexuality, Sechrest admits to having a preference, but not toward a specific gender. His response to the question of sexual orientation is deliberately coy, calculated to promote the ambiguity of his adult industry persona. "If you presented me with the option of fucking Madonna or Brad Pitt, I'm going to choose Madonna," he says. "But if you presented me with the option of fucking Madonna or Mark Wahlberg, I'm going to go with Marky."
Wahlberg looms large in the Sechrest story. The singer-turned-actor who gave life and girth to "Boogie Nights" Dirk Diggler apparently possesses the power to induce sexual preference -- at least, according to Sechrest. "Marky Mark was actually the dude who made me realize I liked dudes," says Sechrest. "I didn't even think about men sexually until I was 13 years old and saw one of those underwear ads he was doing back when he was with the Funky Bunch."
Those notorious Calvin Klein ads, which helped transform Wahlberg from middling pop star to A-list actor, pushed Sechrest over the proverbial edge, sexually speaking. He fondly recalls lying in bed, perusing a magazine, and coming across an ad featuring Wahlberg in tight, white underwear. "I can vividly remember saying out loud, 'Damn that boy is fine,' and then slamming my hands over my mouth and being like, 'What in the hell did I just say? I can't like guys. What's wrong with me?'"
Though it may take a man to arouse him, it's women who have shaped his career. "I have always been influenced by really emotionally strong, powerful, and independent women," says Sechrest. "I've learned so much from Danni Ashe's business savvy, Sam Phillips' accessibility as a celebrity, Julie Strain's marketing tactics, Nina Hartley's sense of self-worth, and Tera Patrick's overall presentation of herself.
"There's something in each of these women to be admired and I, like any good actor, have been an absolute sponge and have absorbed whatever qualities I like in them, making them my own."
Sechrest hopes the passion, understanding, and independence he exudes will draw an audience ready to have fun and open their minds about sexuality. "JasonCurious.com is a lot like me," he says. "It's a place where you feel free to leave your inhibitions at the home page. Labels are for groceries. Not for people."
While Sechrest has in recent months enjoyed a significant rise in publicity (in addition to his writing, acting, Website, and PR duties, he also began co-hosting a weekly talk show on KSEXradio.com), he is well aware of the downside of notoriety. "The more of a celebrity you become, the more people want to bring you down," he says. "There's a really sick side of our culture that gets off on putting someone on a pedestal only to knock them down." Be it good or bad press, however, Sechrest is happy to be at the center of attention. In fact, he's been a quick study in the art of self-promotion, an invaluable trait in the adult industry. "You have to realize that they wouldn't be saying things if you hadn't actually had an effect on them. Complacency is the last thing I would ever want anyone to feel about me. I would rather have someone hate my guts than not feel anything at all."
While he believes the general public has responded favorably to his site, Sechrest's not so sure about his peers in the adult press. "They're really torn on how to perceive me and that's understandable. I think there's a part of them that wants to go, 'Wow, this is really innovative and entertaining,' and then there's another side of them that's going, 'Who does this guy think he is?'" But Sechrest is no stranger to ambiguous vibes. "I've been dealing with reactions like that all my life. There's people who don't know whether they want to hit me or kiss me, but sooner or later, everyone ends up kissing me."
Sechrest says his intent is not to force a certain lifestyle or attitude on his audience. "I think anyone who sees the site will realize that I'm not throwing anything in anyone's face," he says. "Society has become much more tolerant of different sexualities, different fetishes, and different people in general, and the ones that are still uptight and repressed about it, I don't want them visiting my site anyway."
He hopes his connection with and attention to both men and women will ultimately be the site's primary lure. "I don't differentiate between the two. I don't subscribe to the theory that men and women are inherently different creatures. They're actually very much the same at the core of their beings."
As for the future, Sechrest is torn: He has never performed on camera in an adult video or film, though he waxes quite confidently about a future success should he decide to do so. "It would be very easy for me to just become an adult film star at this point in my career," he says, "but I want that to be a really well thought out and conscious decision if and when that happens. It would be a lifestyle choice."
Yet the bright lights of mainstream remain a powerful lure. "There are times when I feel so torn and feel like I have to make a decision between the two," he continues, "but then I also think, 'Wow, if these are my two options, my future is so bright. Who could ask for a more exciting and fulfilling life?"
But those are questions that don't require immediate answers. Sechrest has other things on his mind. "I may be busy as hell and I may be absolutely exhausted and desperately in need of sleep, but I am having the time of my life." - AVN Online, February 2002