Jane Esther Hamilton was born in Las Vegas on 27 October 1956 into a tightly knit middle class family. Her mother's family was affluent and her father worked out in the Nevada test sight. As a teenager she attended Western High School, where at age 15, she lost her virginity to her sixteen-year old boyfriend. "I had heard about sex so much, and I knew all about it from an early age. I have a lot of older sisters, and I used to read their little books on what your body is and how it works. At that time, I hadn't done much petting. I'd kissed but little fondling. I decided it was time. I knew it was going to happen but he didn't know. I got dressed up for it, put on my hippy-dippy get-up. I suggested that we stop by a friend's place, and I dragged him into another room and that was it. I was proud of myself. I was so in love and romantic. I felt wonderful. I talked to him on the phone the next day, and said how he was my boyfriend and asked him if he'd ever done it before. He said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'What? How many times?' He said 'Twelve.' I was heartbroken. He'd been with twelve other girls before me."
Their relationship soon dissolved and Jane waited three months before having sex again. "I was in the school talent show. I've always danced. I started taking dancing lessons when I was seven. It was the time of hot pants, and I was running around in a pair. I thought I was hot stuff. This guy came up to me, a nice looking guy, and he tried to put the make on me. I couldn't be bothered. I was snippy, very short with him. A few moments later, I found out that he happened to be the lead singer in the rock group that was playing around town. All of a sudden, it was, 'Hi, how are you? Can I help you pack your instrument?' He let me help him pack his instruments, and I went home with him. When I went to his house, he wouldn't let me go. He dragged me into the bedroom. My panty hose got down to my knees and he gave it to me. It wasn't anything I was into. It wasn't fun for me, but he sure taught me a lesson. It taught me not to tease men if I didn't mean it. Also, it taught me not to be such a shit towards people… Although it was a horrible experience, I bragged that I'd been with him because he was a minor rock star. I'd go up to him at a concert and say, 'Hi Wayne, remember me? Remember me?' And he'd say 'Hi' and walk away."
Nevertheless she was extremely popular with the boys at school and soon became head cheerleader. She continued having sex on a regular basis throughout her teenage years. "It was a way of getting accepted. I knew I could make men feel good."
After finishing high school Jane majored in theatre at the University of Nevada. One of her classmates happened to be the same Wayne she had previously had sex with as a sixteen year old. "We were both in theatre in college and we were both at the same level. It was important to me that I go back and fuck him because I was so bad the first time. And when I went back, I found out why it had hurt so much because he had a big dick. On our first time, I had no idea. I probably didn't even touch it. I didn't know what was going on."
Jane graduated from college at age 19 in 1976 and began performed in A Thurber Carnival and The House of Bernard Alba at the Kennedy Centre festival. Soon after, however, she decided to move to England where she remained for three years working as a model. In 1979 her career was cut short as a result of an accident when she spilt hot coffee on herself. She spent two months in hospital and 25% of her body was left permanently scarred. "At one point in the hospital, I felt that I'd never be able to take off my clothes in front of a man. On the first night I spent with my English boyfriend after getting out of hospital, he turned off the lights. And I like to make love with the lights on. So that really hurt."
Jane returned to the States and began living in New York where she became involved in mainstream acting again. "I had moved out to New York with a legitimate casting director. He was nasty. I got out of that. Two music deals fell through for me. I was forced into becoming a temporary secretary. It's tough to live on a $100 a week anywhere and in New York it's extremely tough." Jane was becoming frustrated and disillusioned with the acting business. "I wasn't really happy with the people I was meeting in the straight business. So I rented this room from this other gentleman [Roy Stewart], and unbeknownst to me, he used to get into films by bringing in girls. He used to meet girls and that's how he'd secure himself a position on the films."
She had been having a casual sexual relationship with Roy for some time and, although interested when he brought up the subject, still had reservations. "He saw my modelling pictures and my acting resume… so he said 'you should be doing this'. I really hadn't thought about it before, and the only thing I'd seen was when I was over in Australia - I'd seen a couple of loops and I thought nah, that's not really what I want to do." Nevertheless he persuaded her to at least check it out. "That was what they call the Golden Age of Pornography, when they were really starting to have stories and acting and production values. I saw it and thought, my God, this is perfect for me."
According to Jane: "there wasn't any big moral thing with me that I had to get over. So I tried it. I didn't go in thinking I'd be a big porn star, but some people told me early on that I could be. Most of the people I became acquainted with who did legit films, the supposedly moral people of our world, I found to be the most degenerate. Porn has its share of good and bad, too, but compared to legit people, they're more real and down to earth… The two things I have always been interested in is acting and making love. The X-rated business is a natural place for me." As she later admitted: "I was an exhibitionist, period… I was raised to be a complete show-off."
“The difference between the porn business and the straight business is that in porn you don’t have to fuck anybody to get a job. I pretty much fucked everybody in Hollywood, and it doesn’t get you anywhere… When I went into the porn business, I gave up my aspirations to be a straight actress. I realised that when I went into porn that this was not going to further my career. ‘Fuck the straight business,’ I thought. ‘I don’t need the hypocrisy.’ That was the lovely thing about being in the porn business. I didn’t have to fuck anybody or blow anybody to get a job.”
Jane, however, emphasises the difference between the porn industry of the late 1970's and early 1980's, and the one that exists today. "Porn was much more like movies. It's like the stuff I do today, if I get five minutes of build-up its like fifteen minutes of sex. What we were doing back then was, fifteen minutes of build-up an five minutes of sex… They had plots and stories… It was more explicit sex [than today], but they were more like movies with sex in them, rather then sex films. I like them… What we've learned to do is, we've learned to shoot sex a lot better. …Let's face it - we were a hairy bunch back then and they were more of the natural woman. I became famous as a porn star not because I was so gorgeous or I had the best body, but probably because people felt comfortable with me. I was kinda like the girl next door with that you could feel like you could talk to and maybe could get lucky with. Now our girls are much more beautiful, much more model-perfect."
Nevertheless, she herself admits that there were other reasons behind her decision. "You don't have to be a psychology expert to see why I got into porn. I've always liked sex but my life would probably have taken a different turn without that accident. People in pornography are usually rebels or are trying to make up for some kind of deficiency or defect. It could be in their character... or they could've been beaten or sexually abused in their childhood... or their nose is crooked or some other physical defect." "People back then went into the business probably maybe to prove something or to be rebellious…now people go into it as a profession."
Before making her first film though, Jane decided to do some live sex shows in front of theatre audiences and realised she enjoyed the attention. "Even after I'd made a couple of films, I went back to doing the live shows." Although she began performing with Roy, "he never could perform [on camera] but he'd try again and again. We did a week of live sex shows. And I literally blew my brains out. That was tough to fake with no hard on. And he continued to try." She eventually adopted the stage name Veronica Hart and finally appeared in her first hardcore porn film 'Fascination' (1980).
Porn actor Ron Jeremy also starred in 'Fascination'. In his autobiography he writes: "She [Veronica] was new to the business, and we were going to be working together soon in a movie called 'Fascination'. For some reason I mentioned to her that I could give myself head. Veronica insisted on seeing it, and I brought her to the bathroom for a private show. I dropped my pants and started kissing on it while my dick was soft. Veronica watched me for a few minutes and then, without any provocation on my part, crawled to the floor and began sucking it with me. We alternated between her sucking it and me kissing it, and then did it together. It was a first for me, and it remains the only time I've ever received and given myself a blowjob simultaneously."
Although Veronica, as she was now known, had no problem having sex on stage in front of a live audience, or in front of the camera, her parents were not as understanding. "[Appearing in porn movies] wasn't that big of deal. It was a big deal that I called my parents and told them. I just left a message for my mom with my dad… 'Hey, is mom there,' and he said, 'No, she is at the store.' I said, 'Give her a message - I'm going to do an adult film tomorrow.' He starting laughing, he thought it was really funny. I told him I was serious and he said, 'Well I'll be sure to tell mother.' [My parents weren't] conservative, but they weren't liberal - just regular parents. I'd been acting and I'd been doing stuff and they knew I was going to do something, but I don't think that they thought it would be that. They expected it to do with acting or something because that is what I always studied, something to do with performing… I have always been really sexual - it wasn't like I got into the movies to discover my sexuality. I was already sexually active and I wasn't a kid." Although her parents, never fully accepted her career in porn, they never alienated her either. It was enough that she was happy. They just didn't want to see her movies.
Following 'Fascination', she made a few films with Lenny Kurtmann, who used the name Leon Gucci. According to Veronica he "had a reputation for fucking all his actresses, which he did with me. I was having sex with a guy who was predominantly gay - Zebedy Colt. So I would get the guy hard, and he'd shoot soft footage, then I'd have to get the guy up again. It was getting on, it was a long scene - I can't remember if we'd been at it for an hour, an hour and a half, whatever - and he takes me over to the side and said 'gee, aren't you tired?' I didn't know what to say, so I said 'well, er, gosh… I don't know… er… yeah!' He said 'wouldn't you like this to be over?' and I said 'sure I guess'… I hadn't got a fucking clue what I should be doing, or what was right or what wasn't right. So we went back in, and the director pulled down his pants, bent me over, penetrated my vagina, pumped twice and came all over me. I didn't know much about the adult business at the time but I knew that wasn't right. Actors are paid to perform and directors don't stand in for cum shots. He got to fuck all his actresses that way… I knew the big difference between a director and an actor. Actors are hired to fuck. Not directors. It wasn't professional. It was the only time I felt like shit in porn." Veronica later recalled "Thank goodness, Seka was on the set, and she told me, 'honey, you don't have to do anything that you don't want to do - they're lucky to have you here.' That's a very important thing."
Veronica soon became one of the main stars of the early 1980's porn industry. Not only did she enjoy having sex in front of the camera, but she was also a good actress and easy to get along with. In his autobiography Jerry Butler recalled: "I found her to be extremely easy to work with. Polite, accommodating, and professional, Veronica's attitude seemed to be, 'Let's get the job done… and done well.'… Being inside her was wonderful, because she truly enjoyed sex and she encouraged my sensitivity. She was one woman who never faked it. On the outside, Veronica might look angelic and innocent, but I've seen her get so absorbed in a scene that she pleaded with the guy to come in her mouth or all over her face."
She credits this ability to enjoy sex in front of the camera as one of the main ingredients of her becoming a star in the business. "Film is the illusion of truth. What might look good on film is not necessarily what feels good. Still, I believe that the hotter you are, the hotter it's going to come across to the audience. A lot of girls in this business aren't into sex, or they aren't into making it with another girl. They play at it, and their coldness comes across on film. The more you can psych yourself up to be hot, the hotter it will appear on film." Furthermore, Veronica admits that she was naturally bisexual. "I love the warmth and tenderness that you get through ladies, but you can have that with a man, too. I love pussy and I love cock." One of her favourite parts of the business though, was "popping guys cinematic cherries. I've enjoyed being able to get them relaxed enough and to take them to some place and help them to perform."
Veronica stopped acting in porn films during 1984. "I stopped doing it when it became not fun. I only wanted to do it when it was fun and I was having fun at it. …I said would get out [when it was no longer fun] and I did." There were, however, other reasons for her retirement. "I fell in love, basically. I had to stop performing sex. If anybody noticed me, my fans or something, it wasn't because I was the most beautiful or the most this or that, they could tell that I really enjoyed myself. They could tell that I had heart - not to make a pun. I couldn't have sex and not enjoy it. When it stopped being enjoyable for me, I had to stop. When I fell in love, I didn't want to be with anybody else… It was just terribly romantic for me at that time. I'm still married to my husband. We've been separated for probably about three years. We have two amazing children. We stopped living together but we're best friends."
Veronica admits, "When I went into the adult business I basically kissed my straight career goodbye." Following her retirement "I did try and distance myself from the adult business, even though I made lots and lots of those films, I made most of my money through stripping. I stripped for years… For a long time, I did that whole thing of 'well, if people know I'm Veronica Hart then I'll never get any work', but that's bullshit. All the work I got was from people knowing that I was Veronica." She soon switched from working in front of the camera, to working behind it. "I started directing in this business for 'The Electric Blue Show' that was on Playboy Channel. I think that was in 1984, for a while. I production managed some things. I did only one hardcore piece that I directed back then. The other stuff for Playboy was soft-core, nudity, but no hardcore. I did one piece for Candida Royalle called 'The Pickup' on the video called 'A Taste Of Ambrosia.' Now I've been back in hardcore, probably for the past four to five years. I never thought I would be here again. I thought that I had left it in the 1980's"
Since her return to hardcore porn films, Veronica Hart, under her real name of Jane Hamilton, has directed comeback movies for both Marilyn Chambers and Ginger Lynn. Her work with Ginger in 'White Lightening' was among her best efforts to date. "I'm very in your face, very explicit. I'm not pussyfooting… My hardcore sex is very hardcore. I don't ask my performers to do anything that I wouldn't want to do or haven't already done. I like anal sex. That is a personal favourite of mine. I never had a DP, but I'm hoping to arrange it one day."
Apart from her work as a director, Veronica has also appeared in a number of mainstream stage shows and films, as well as over 30 R-rated movies. One of her most visible roles was that of the judge in Paul Thomas Anderson's 1997 homage to 1970's porn, 'Boogie Nights'. "I was prepared to have a really brutal picture painted of all of us, but he put the humanity into who we were and what we were trying to do. As cute and pathetic as we were, we really meant it. In the larger scheme of things, [our pretensions] were pretty funny. When I first read the script, I thought, `This is terrible. All they're doing is drugs.' Then when I thought about it, all we did was drugs."
Unlike other former porn stars, Veronica Hart has never turned against the adult industry. "I went on TV with Samantha Fox and she's telling me about how much pain she was in and how horrible it was for her, and I just wanted to say 'darling, when I was going down on you and eating your pussy, you didn't seem to be in too much pain', but I didn't want to take it down to that level." According to Veronica porn has "always been a case of mutual exploitation. “Sure I was exploited and I exploited them for cash… back then it was just all cash. I suppose when I first came in, like anybody who is green in any business, you make mistakes and people take advantage of you, but what business do they not do that in? This is one of the few businesses where it's better to be a woman as far as the payment goes. People have asked me what kind of influence do women have on this business? Minimal. It's funny because without the women it wouldn't be there… There have always been women involved…. I want to tell you it's not a gender-based thing. Just because a woman is a woman doesn't mean she's not gonna be misogynistic towards women. I know some women who really mistreated their talent."
"Let's face it, there are victims in all walks of life. There are women who are abused in all walks of life. If a person chooses to be a victim and chooses to be abused, they could end up in this business. Absolutely. They could end up in any business. They could end up an abused housewife or an abused secretary. It's secondary to the business. This business is huge. This business has everything in it. Anything that you want to find, these days, is here. You're going to find very spiritual, enlightened people, you're going to find very great people to hang out with, and you're going to find scum." "I'm a Christian, and actually a pretty religious person, and I'm not going saying it was horrible and I'm glad I'm out of it. Most of my friends are in this business, and they're pretty much good people and down to earth… I'm very lucky. The people that I deal with are wonderful wonderful wonderful people. I'm not gonna turn round and say 'oh, what a mistake.' Gimme a break. I like sex too much. I think it's a good thing."
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