Quarterly magazine FRANK151 released its 59th issue yesterday. Chapter 59 is dedicated entirely to the magazine's females and includes an essay from porn star Asa Akira. In it the feminist actress and writer looks back on her childhood and decides her professional photographer father is the reason she got into the porn industry. This isn't a sad tale about abuse or neglect, though. She attributes her career choice to her father because all the photos he took of her led her to equate being photographed with being loved. He also instilled in her the importance of chasing her dreams without compromising. Those dreams just so happened to involve having sex on camera.
Here's an exclusive excerpt from the essay:
Back at my parents' house in Brooklyn, there are tall, thick photo albums each labeled with my name and year, starting with 1985, the year I was born. I am in exactly every one of the photos. If you went through them, you would understand why, out of all the only-children, I am the most only-child of them all. It seems every moment of my childhood was captured, and from my face and body language, it's apparent I love it. Smiling, making goofy faces, holding dance poses—I was as comfortable in front of the camera as a child as I am now, although I showed a lot less pink back then. My dad is in exactly none of these photos—he was always behind the lens. It's obvious he was a man enamored with his daughter, unable to get enough of watching her.
There are seven of these big albums, and after that, there is just one incomplete album, holding photos from all the years of my childhood after 1991. I don't remember the photography stopping, specifically, but I do remember that '92 was around the time we moved to Japan, and my dad started a new job working for a magazine in Tokyo.
After years of reflection, I've come to believe that somehow, in my young developing mind, I learned to equate being photographed to being loved. That's not to say I stopped feeling loved once the photography slowed down—my father was as tentative as ever. But in those crucial years, in '85 - '92, my subconscious was set. Being filmed meant being loved. Add to that my hyper sexuality (still unsure where that one came from, aside from the fact that orgasms feel fucking amazing) and porn seems like a logical choice.
I feel lucky to have been born to my father. It's a strong belief of mine that women are defined by their relationships with their fathers. My father certainly raised an attention whore. But in addition to that he, by example, instilled in me a drive to fight for what I want. He made it clear I was to live my life to the fullest, my way, without compromise. He made it possible for me to have the pleasure of loving many men, all while free of trust or abandonment issues—a rare luxury these days. Add to that, he was a great father in general, raising me to be ethical and reasonable. All these things he's given me, I see them as symbiotic pieces. Because of him, I've been able to rise to the top in an industry that I'm absolutely in love with. An industry where I've found happiness, success, and even a husband. An industry where I proudly show my asshole to the world.
FRANK151's Femme issue includes other women who the magazine pegs as embodiments of modern feminism. These are women who "do exactly what they want, how they want, and make no excuses for it." You can pick up Chapter 59 May 29 in select stores, including Barnes and Noble and Zumiez. It'll also be available on FRANK151's webstore for $10.