Improve Your Taste With... Sasha Grey

The adult film actress and star of The Girlfriend Experience on Led Zeppelin, Richard Kern, and The Graduate.

By James Brady Ryan

Sasha Grey is the adult film phenom who's often thought of as the thinking man's porn star. She's also the star of Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience and the upcoming documentary film 9to5: Days in Porn. Making the jump from the adult film world to mainstream Hollywood is nearly impossible, but with an upcoming multi-episode role on HBO's Entourage, it seems like Grey made it happen. And while she couldn't give us any recommendations when it came to porn — turns out she doesn't actually watch too much — she was more than happy to share her other cultural appetites.

The Graduate

See The Graduate. I recently re-watched it and I think it's a hilarious film. It's actually one of the best comedies out there. And there are just so many layers to that film: it's funny, it's serious, it's dramatic. It has things that everybody can relate to. And there's definitely an aesthetic to the film, visually, that's lost in the majority of films today. [Ben Braddock] just graduated from college. Whether or not people are college graduates, [they can still think], "Okay, I'm twenty, twenty-one years old. Where am I going from here? I've been completely serious about my life up until this point, but now I have no idea what I want."


Richard Kern

Right now I'm actually editing my own book, so I'm kind of in pain, going over and over and over things with a fine-toothed comb. And that's coming out this fall. It's a photography book, and there's a lot of self-portraits and a lot of documentary-style photography, and my views on the photographs in the book, what they mean to me, and what inspired me to take them. I'm a huge fan of photography, a huge fan of Terry Richardson.  I actually had the pleasure of shooting with him five or six times, same thing with Richard Kern. Especially Kern, I think he has such an interesting aesthetic. He lifted up that new-wave, post-punk era, and I really enjoy his aesthetic and his approach to his work.


Hippie Style

I'm kind of all over the place with fashion. I've really been into vintage in the past year. I found a really cool place in Highland Park, in a really crappy area. They had some really cool pieces. They have stuff that ranges from the '50s to the '80s, but my favorite stuff there was the '60s and early '70s stuff. I've always kind of been obsessed with the aesthetics of the '60s and '70s — when I was a kid I wished I could be a beatnik or a hippie. I think it's just a general aesthetic I'm drawn to.


Led Zeppelin

I'm really all over the place with music. Hendrix, Throbbing Gristle. Definitely Dennis Brown, Led Zeppelin, and Immortal Technique. But with Zeppelin, there's something very calming about it to me. [Their music] is so fulfilling and it's so rewarding. Without both of them Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, you wouldn't have a lot of the music that you have today. And I think the dynamics in their music and the dynamics in the band... the energy they have is something you don't get a lot in modern music. Even down to the way they actually recorded it. There's a texture and a feeling and a sound you don't get with digitally made music.


The Shield

That was one of my favorites, and I'm very sad that it's no longer on. All police dramas obviously have an A story and a B story and a C story, but The Shield had so many interwoven stories. It really just kept you on the edge of your seat. And all the actors on the show were great, not just one or two of them. I think the photography of it was beautiful, and something we had never seen on television before. It really set the standard for cable television, for what the audience expects today. And Vic Mackie was awesome. But I love the whole crew.


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Commentarium (25 Comments)

May 17 10 - 1:56am

Hmm, i really should get into this "Led Zeppelin" these cool people speak of. Next Week: Someone on discovers Mapplethorpe! OMG!

May 17 10 - 5:37am

Ha! What claptrap. The only thing worse than girls who think they're interesting because everybody wants to bang them is the editors who enable them.

May 17 10 - 5:59am

aesthetic, aesthetic, aesthetic!!! did anyone else notice that!?

Oct 05 11 - 2:34am


Oct 05 11 - 7:01pm

aaw.she learned a three syllable word! YOU GO GLEN COCO!

May 17 10 - 8:10am

I've been waiting for Nerve to do more cultural pieces with established stars for a while instead - MORE!

May 17 10 - 8:57am

Very a-N-esthetic!

May 17 10 - 10:02am

Yeah dude, that was terrible. Unworthy of publication. Instead of the "thinking man's porn star," she should be labeled "the porn star for the man who thinks he's a thinking man."

May 17 10 - 10:26am

I actually really dug this. Eisenberg and then Sasha Grey, love the mix.

May 17 10 - 10:42am

@Taylor....I lol'd. I'm guessing that was on her word of the day calendar that morning

May 17 10 - 4:20pm

Well, hot girls discovering culture isn't really a bad thing, is it? Let's encourage the discovery process as long as it includes more nudity.

May 17 10 - 4:28pm

The problem is the title: "Improve Your Taste." An article like this shouldn't be pitched as "Get culture and style advice from this celebrity" but rather, "See what clothes/music/books/movies a person with a somewhat interesting entertainment career track is into." The latter is fun (I think). The former...well, was anyone expecting to improve their style through this feature? Or through this website, for that matter?

May 17 10 - 4:34pm

Hey Stos, I think you are taking the title way too literally. It's clearly meant by Nerve as partially tongue in cheek and just a cool title for a feature that does either one. And plus, from the perspective of Sasha or any of the interviewees, they are improving your taste by sharing their favorite cultural things.

May 17 10 - 4:55pm

I actually clicked on this article believing she would be providing advice about improving the taste of .. CUM. A subject in which I would completely respect her opinions and guidance. (Perhaps she could describe how she's aesthetically drawn to its texture and feeling?)

Oct 05 11 - 7:03pm


May 17 10 - 7:21pm

The real benefit of all this is that we get to think of Sasha Grey when we see these other things in culture. For that I am eternally grateful.

May 17 10 - 11:03pm

@Elana, yeah maybe. I wasn't really reacting to the article itself as to the multiple comments eviscerating her for having somewhat boring tastes and speaking with a limited vocabulary. (By the way, most of us repeat the same descriptors over and over and generally sound idiotic in interview transcriptions.) Anyway, it's fascinating not because of the things she was recommending but because it was she who was recommending them. It's funny to think about Sasha Grey sitting around laughing at The Graduate. "Unworthy of publication" is sort of a stupid thing to say about this on the basis of her writing and recommendations unless you were hoping for a rich, multi-faceted interview and a window to new areas of art and culture.

May 18 10 - 7:07am

I think that Sasha Grey came across as pretentious and mean spirited in that Nerve interview she did last year. I think there's nothing less edgy than a person who thinks they're so edgy. Did I mention that I know the word aesthetic AND I fuck for money? I'll bet you didn't know I was so smart and had all this book learnin'.

May 22 10 - 5:54pm

I think Nerve commentors are vicious. Seriously, were you expecting to read something that would change your life? Back to the Ezra Pound for you!

Jun 19 10 - 5:34pm

@dudeinhammock I agree! And I think that's my favorite part about Nerve, often times reading the comments is wayyyy more interesting than the articles. Like this one.

Jun 20 10 - 9:23pm

Unfortunately for her, the way her hair is positioned makes it look as if she has chest hair. Yikes.

Nov 22 10 - 6:04am
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Slyly schuryus, comparing the facts ... *

Oct 05 11 - 2:35am

Wow she actually sounds so dumb. Dumb girl trying to sound smart...

Oct 31 11 - 11:46pm
Creole Kitty is...

Late to the party, but I thought this was an advice column on improving taste. After reading this bullshit, all I want to do is take a shower.

Aug 24 12 - 5:55pm

yeah, to say that a terry richardson is your favorite photographer is like to know nothing about photography