Actress Rashida Jones is best known for her work in “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” But her latest project, a documentary called “Hot Girls Wanted,” explores the amateur porn industry, which she says rakes in gobs of cash by exploiting the gullibility of young women who thirst for fame and fortune.
“So much stands in the way of them and that dream,” she tells Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. “And the things that stand in the way are not being fully explained to them. “Their naiveté is really important as an engine for the porn industry, or at least this part of the porn industry. That’s the problem.”
The film, which Jones produced, premiered at this year’s Sundance Festival. It takes its title from ads that commonly appear on Craigslist seeking “hot girls” for amateur porn, a genre whose name gives the impression that the films are not professionally produced.
“The truth is, it’s cast, it’s lit, it’s scripted; and most of the young girls who go into amateur porn are very young, which makes it seem like they might just be the girl next door,” Jones says.
Jones says she is not anti-porn but is concerned for the well-being of young women who think having sex on camera for money might be their quick ticket to fame and success — to a glamorous life.
Online pornography is a multibillion-dollar industry with a massive reach.
Jones says that pornography used to be more taboo but has seeped into mainstream culture to a troubling degree, where the immediate sexualization of young women in popular culture is the norm.
She says she is thankful to have grown up in an environment where she was free to be sort of a dorky teenager and make mistakes that would not follow her for the rest of her life.
“Ultimately, we have a cultural problem where we put a huge currency on sexualizing young girls,” she says. “It’s been a problem for a while, but I feel like it’s reached a fever pitch.”
Careers in amateur porn are usually short-lived. Relatively new starlets are routinely replaced by newer, younger women to fuel the girl-next-door fantasy.
“The truth is [that in] any pursuit of fame and success and fortune, very few people get to realize that,” she says. “But along the way, unfortunately, I think the costs of this pursuit are higher.”
Jones says that Internet porn is so pervasive because humans are sexual beings and there is little regulation of the Web or porn — so we are left with a simple supply/demand situation.
“People want it. People can get it. We live in a capitalistic democratic society, so we get what we want, basically,” she says. “It’s kind of here to stay, so it’s not really about whether you are anti- or pro-porn,” she says. “It’s just a real part of our reality now.”
Jones, who is the daughter of legendary producer Quincy Jones, is currently at work for Pixar writing Toy Story 4, and starring in an upcoming comedy series produced by Steve Carell.
“Hot Girls Wanted” debuts May 29 on Netflix.