Kayden Kross Discusses Going 'Deeper'

Kayden Kross is having quite a year. In January, her Abigail Mac showcase netted her a well-deserved Director Of The Year win at the AVN Awards. Then in April, the Vixen Empire launched Deeper, a new site under Kross’ distinct vision, and a continuation of the exciting work that she started with TRENCHCOATx. As Deeper makes its HotMovies debut with our new VOD exclusive, The Predatory Woman, Kayden sat down with us for a thoughtful discussion on her directorial efforts, her relationship with sex work, what makes a great porn star, and just what she thinks of Greg Lansky.

Kayden Kross

What do you want our readers to know about The Predatory Woman?

This collection of vignettes is focused on the idea of the woman-as-aggressor, which is a dynamic I’ve always loved because I feel like men are at such a disadvantage when they step into the role of the pursued.

Did you take the take of this movie from the book The Predatory Female? It’s been pointed to as an early influence on red-pillers. If so, do you see your movie as a counter or perhaps a mockery of Manosphere fears?

There is no connection. I’m not familiar with the book.

When your site Deeper launched, you said that you hope it will ‘help viewers discover more about themselves.’ What discoveries do you think can be found in The Predatory Woman?

We play with a lot of mixed emotions in this one. There’s anguish and anger blended with arousal. I love that zone, and I hope viewers will find they love it too.

Haley Reed & Manuel Ferrara in The Predatory Woman
Haley Reed in The Predatory Woman

What did you learn from your time helming TRENCHCOATx that you’ve brought to Deeper? What’s different this time around?

TRENCHCOATx was a crash course in everything porn. I learned how to direct, how to budget, how to create effective stories, how to work with different talent and personality types, how to land on my feet when things didn’t go as planned. I failed a lot and learned how to not fail the next time. This time around I’m able to approach my brand with experience and intent. There’s a finesse and purpose behind Deeper that I didn’t have before.

You’ve been working closely with Greg Lansky the past few years, and he’s something of both a mainstream sensation and a controversial figure within in the industry. What’s your take on him?

Controversial or not, Greg started a brand in the middle of an industry recession when everyone else thought expensive content was dead for good. Not only did he succeed, but he succeeded far beyond even optimistic expectations. His work contributed to higher rates for performers and inspired copycat brands. I know I personally wouldn’t have taken a chance with TRENCHCOATx if I hadn’t seen someone else succeeding, and I know there are others who took chances with new brands for the same reason. So my take on Greg Lansky is he changed the industry for the better, and you can like him or not, but you’re still working here and your work is probably influenced in some part by his.

How do you feel you’ve grown as a director since you first started?

I’ve become more confident, I take more risks. I also know where not to take risks. In general I think my range has broadened and my intent is more clear when I come at a project.

Do you feel it’s important for a director to have previously been a performer? In what was does it help your craft? Has it ever been a hindrance?

I think it helps a great deal that I’ve been a performer. There are some things that directors do that I know ruins the talent’s ability to perform at their best, and I’m very careful to not do those things. I know the stress of performing and can understand when someone’s mood swings or they need time. I know my place. Talent is not just interchangeable. Without the right people I have nothing.

Kayden Kross

Congratulations your Director Of The Year win! Your acceptance speech was really beautiful; you spoke about how when your first entered adult, you were told that sex work was a moral failing and a weakness of character. Then you thanked your fellow performers for their strength and resilience in baring themselves to strangers. Can you elaborate on your personal evolution with sex work?

I had a lot of conflicted feelings on it when I came in. I’m from a conservative family and had a religious upbringing. I attended religious schools and was heavily enmeshed in that community while the whole time finding serious flaws with the ideas and generally feeling like my time was being wasted. I look back at my childhood and a lot of my time was spent just trying to get through whatever designated activity I’d been placed in—Sunday school and services and bake sales and choir practice and prayer groups and potlucks. There was a heavy emphasis on value judgments of whether the involved adults were good men or good women, and those judgments were assessed based on how the marriage was doing and how well-behaved the children were and how regular the church attendance was, then there was always an added inflection on a person’s career. “A good man, and a lawyer!” It was like there were two sides to a person. Their binary quality of goodness or non-goodness, then their job. No one said those things about sex workers.

As I got older, my vague sense that something was off was replaced by the critical thinking skills necessary to show how and why it was off, but it took longer to drop the idea that the job choice is somehow reflective of whether a person is worthy or not. I started porn because I thought it was easy. I thought it was fun. I thought it paid a lot. What I learned is that you have to have a backbone of steel to stay in it and succeed. You don’t need that for most jobs. Most jobs, the work is in getting the job in the first place. Then the accolades follow and everyone props you up and applauds you along. There’s value just in being employed. For sex workers, you’re working for yourself and working in spite of everything the world wants to throw at you. What I know and what has kept me going is the feeling that what I’m doing is something I’m excited about doing. I’m not just trying to get through it. Life should not be spent watching the clock between one internment and the next.

You’re in Glenn Danzig’s first movie, Verotika, which has received some interesting coverage. What can you tell us about this project? How did you get involved?

I’ve worked with Glenn on past projects and he’s always been wonderful. They reached out to ask if I’d do this one and I said yes. The rest is history.

What do you think makes a great porn star?

An intimate knowledge of sex. I want to shoot people who come in their personal lives, and often. I want them to bring the details of how their fingers claw skin and where their eyes roll to.

Kayden Kross & Riley Steele for Deeper.com

What do you have coming up next?

I just wrapped Deeper’s first feature movie. We’re in the post-production process right now.

Any final words for our readers?

Thank you for reading (and hopefully watching!)

Watch The Predatory Woman exclusively on HotMovies!

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