Sex in the 70s was Seka. Half Cherokee, half Irish, and looking like a perfect Hollywood trophy, or a divination of death from the Norse Gods – Seka was a flinty mirage of whatever fantasy you had. Porn mag High Society dubbed her the “Marilyn Monroe of porn." Her costars were just as effusive. Jamie Gillis: “She was porn, but a little above it – sort of a white trash queen in a way that I found really erotic.” Veronica Hart: "As long as I have a face, Seka has a place to sit."
Dorothea Hundley Patton – Seka – started late for the industry, at 22. A nude spread in Vegas led to movie offers. All of a sudden, she was a star. Not too many porn actors are remembered for their faces – but Seka, with no effort, mainlined into the culture as a "Platinum Princess." She was arguably the last icon of porn’s film era – her films presaged "reality porn" and "performance artists" like Sasha Grey – and the first icon of porn's video era. Most porn actresses don’t get a second act, but in the 80s, after travelling the world on the strip circuit, Seka came back, this time to the small screen via video. She was, according to Playboy, “a bona-fide video phenomenon – just like Boy George and stereo television.” She went on Donahue and The Today Show, appeared in Entertainment Weekly and People. By the mid 80s, she was writing and directing, making her part of a seismic shift in adult entertainment – women having some control of the product. In the late 80s, with the threat of AIDS looming, she got out of the business again, but now, at 58, she’s back and running her own site, Seka.com. I called her up recently to chat about stuff like anal, her days hanging out with rock stars, her wedding night, and giving boners to three generations of men.
VICE: Dorothea Hundley Patton, that's quite a handle.
Seka: Dorothea Hundley was my maiden name.
You married straight out of high school, right?
I was in high school. I got married a week after I turned 18; I wanted out of the house. I guess I was in love with the guy, but I had just turned 18 for God's sake. I was a baby. When I got married on April 21, 1972, I'd never had sex. I was a virgin. And I didn't even have sex on my wedding night; I was too scared. I hid in the bathroom.
When did you have sex with him?
The next day, the next evening.
It was pretty damn good.
And then you ended up working at an adult bookstore?
I was divorced and I didn't like what I was doing. I was at Reynold's Aluminum, standing on my feet all night in a hot metal building pulling a production line. So I applied for a job as a clerk and started dating the owner. Most people think that we were married, but we were never married. He likes to think he was married to me but he wasn't. As a matter of fact, he was already married when I met him, which I didn't know at the time.
You're probably the only adult actress who got her start by reading books.
Not only did I read the magazines and the books, but this was in the day of quarter machines. When the film broke I'd have to get the projector and splice it back together, put it back in the booth, and make sure it was running OK. So I saw a lot of the films and thought, God these women look horrible! It wasn't their fault, it wasn't that they were ugly women. The films represented them badly – they had pimples on their butts, dirty feet, no makeup, and their hair looked like it needed to be washed.
You modeled yourself after Jean Harlow, Marline Dietrich, Brigid Bardot–
Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield. Oh, and Mae West.
Not role models from adult entertainment.
No, but they were sex sirens. And they had an elegance and an innocence about them. They stood out on screen. You didn't see anyone else around them, no matter who was co-starring.
And the way you held yourself, were you thinking about art deco? Erte?
Yes, with the hand on the hip and sideways. But I didn't even think about it, sweetheart, it just kinda… In the words of Jessica Rabbit, “They just drew me this way.”
The aesthetic of the adult business is pretty uniform now, but performers in the 70s had their own looks.
You don't see too many people who look very different now. When I was doing movies we had redheads and blondes and brunettes, platinums and raven-haired women. Big busted, small busted, tall, thin, medium weight.
And it wasn't as if there were a million performers in the 70s.
There weren't that many of us. There were ten or 12 girls or ten or 12 guys who were major players, and I happened to be platinum blonde… which happened by mistake.
How was that?
Oh I had either a movie or a photo shoot to do, I don't remember which, but I went to colour my roots and I got the wrong stuff at the store. When I washed my hair out it was platinum blonde and everybody went crazy for it so I just kept it that way.
Ron Jeremy described the industry back then as “a renegade, hippy-dippy, peace-loving business.” Is that accurate?
Pretty much, it was! For the most part, everybody seemed to get along. I mean, I didn't hang out after work with any of those people though. I went home.
You had an independent streak.
Yeah, I made decisions as to what I would and would not do on film. I’m not sure other women had the balls to stand up and say, "No I don't wanna do that," or "No, I don't wanna work with that person." And I just did. And they said, “Oh, you can't do that.” And I said, “Yes, I can.”
So there were scenes you didn't want to do?
Well there was a scene in Prisoner of Paradise where they wanted me to use a riding crop on this girl and really beat the crap out of her. I told them, “If you want to hold up a pillow and have action shots of me smacking this pillow and have somebody get her ass nice and pink and edit it together, fine, but I'm not gonna beat the crap out of this girl. I'm not into that.” And it's not to say there aren't people out there who are, and God bless them. Whatever blows your airbag. But it's not something I was in to and I wasn't gonna do it. I wasn't gonna do it to somebody else and I didn't allow it to be done to me.
Did you have a list of things you wouldn’t do? People you would or wouldn’t work with?
I loved working with Andy West, Mike Ranger, John Holmes, Herschel Savage, Paul Thomas. Jamie Gillis was one of my very favorite people to work with. There was only one person I didn't like working with and I didn't work with him for a long time, not until he apologised to me – that was John Lesley. As a person I got along with him fine, on set absolutely not. He was not a nice guy to women, in my opinion.
Well in one of my first full-length features, Dracula Sucks, he tried to write a scene in. I played the nurse and I was supposed to work with John Holmes before I worked with anybody else – but John Lesley wrote in a scene because he wanted me first. I was the new kid on set and it was like being fresh meat. It was a very demeaning scene and I said, “That scene's not in the script and I'm not working with you.” And he said, “Oh yes you will or you'll never work again.” And I said, “Well I don't give a flying fuck.” And I had on a pair of spike heels and I took one off and flung it across the room and missed his head by a hair and said, “Go fuck yourself.” They backed off real quick.
You did, sci-fi, horror, vampire movies – all X-rated, but they had scripts, right?
As trite as those films were, at least there was a beginning, middle, and an end. There was some kind of reason for the sex. The movie would open and people had their clothes on.
Of the scenes I've watched, you were copacetic except for a couple double penetration scenes.
Oh well, that was something they paid us extra to do and I did a few of those, but not that many. Anal is not my favourite sex act. Nor is it a really healthy thing to do.
There's a lot of that now.
Yeah, and it's insane. They tell people nowadays that if you don't do it you don't work.
You took a break from film, right?
I did for a while, I went on the strip circuit for several years – travelled the world doing different clubs.
What made you go back?
By the mid-80s you were on mainstream programs like Donahue, the Today Show, and I think they threw you a cameo on Saturday Night Live, right?
I was dating Sam Kinnison and when they wanted him back on a second time he said, "I'll only do it if I have Seka with me."
Wasn't he really into that dark nightlife stuff? I picture you living in Pomona, hanging around with the dogs and sitting by the pool – not drinking and smoking. Wasn't he into wild stuff?
Um, yes, he was. And by then I was too.
What was it, the lifestyle or…
It was the lifestyle, and it was everywhere, and it was fucking fun. It was fucking fun. I loved the 80s. Great music, great makeup, great clothes. Really good rock and roll. The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Springsteen. Bon Jovi, Motley Crüe, and Poison. I knew all those guys.
And you were hanging around with those guys, right? Wasn't that porn/rockstar thing kind of new?
Yeah, it didn't happen that often then. But they wanted to meet me, I wanted to meet them, we became friends. I never had sex with any of them, though.
You were really big and then… you stopped.
Pretty much, yeah. AIDS started to become a problem and they didn't want to do testing and they didn't want the people to wear condoms. My life is more important to me than their business.
Into the late 80s, the party line was, “This is not something you're likely to get.”
Well they didn't think it was a heterosexual disease, which was a bunch of bunk. It was crazy. People were dying.
There's a movement now to legislate against pornography as a health issue – to call it addictive.
That's a bunch of bullshit. I'm not saying that it's not possible, but if you're of that mindset, of that personality, then you can get addicted to anything. There's this show I've seen on TV, I think it's called My Strange Addiction. People get addicted to eating chalk or toilet paper, and they can't stop themselves from eating chalk or toilet paper. They're addicted.
And there aren't laws against toilet paper.
Yeah, I mean, come on. And people can be addicted to watching religious shows. Look at how many elderly people are suckered out of their life savings by some religious programme.
Yeah, Congress should definitely look at that.
I can think of worse things to be addicted to than sex.
You've seen generations of young men who had the hots for you, was there any kind of change–
They're all the same?
I got an email the other day from a kid… I call him a kid, he's 22 years old, a pre-law student from Mississippi, and he's head-over-heels for me, and I'm 58. And he goes, “I don't care, I love you, I've always loved you and I just think you're wonderful,” and yada yada yada and you know, my fans go from 18 to 90. So I've got three generations of men that I've raised, so to speak.
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