Exclusive: Sasha Grey talks Derby and photography [Kentucky Derby]

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This past weekend, Sasha Grey, a 23-year-old actress, photographer, model, and performing artist from North Highlands, California traveled to Louisville to watch the Kentucky Derby in person for the first time.

Sasha was primarily in town to make an appearance at 4th Street Live!, and admits she wasn't sure if she would make it to Churchill Downs Saturday, but said she was excited to wear her Derby Hat.

Sasha said, "I plan on [going to the Derby], but you never know what may happen when you're in a city for only 36 hours, but I've got my Derby hat ready!"

This wasn't Sasha's first Kentucky Derby experience. Sasha says she has never been in person, but Grey says that she has watched the Bluegrass leg of the Triple Crown many times.

Sasha said, "I watched [The Kentucky Derby] many times as a kid, with my grandfather."

Sasha Grey stayed at Louisville's 21c, voted #1 Hotel in the U.S. and #6 in the World by Conde Nast. I asked her where she planned to eat while she was in town, realizing that staying at 21c, it really isn't necessary to go anywhere to get a first class meal. Sasha said that the room service would probably be her first go-to, but added that she wanted to get out and try some of Louisville's famous restaurants.

Grey said, "Unfortunately, my hotel room service [is my first choice]! I do hope to make it to Lynn's Paradise Cafe or at the very least, Maker's Mark Bourbon Lounge."

As a former porn star, Grey has already conquered the Adult Film scene with 15 various awards, and has since transitioned out of the porn industry into acting.

She received warm reviews for her acting performance in the experimental drama "The Girlfriend Experience". GFE was written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who wrote Oceans Thirteen.

Grey also played a supporting role in the 7th season of HBO's Entourage, acting alongside the lead character "Vince"; Sasha’s character was a fictional version of herself.

Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times commented on Grey's portrayal of Chelsea, the character she played in GFE.

Ebert said, "Once she allows her mask to slip: a surprising moment when she reveals what she may feel. Grey perfectly conveys both her hope and her disappointment, keeping both within boundaries."

Sasha seems poised to continue her acting ambition, saying that she plans to focus on her acting and writing projects.

Sasha said, "I'm putting all of my energy into acting, and developing screenplays along the way."

Yet, Sasha's talents as a photographer have been long apparent. She recently showcased some of her work publicly for the first time and received lots of positive feedback.

Sasha recently finished a four year photography project "Neü Sex". The recently published book has received four out of five stars on Amazon.com and builds upon her ambitions as a professional photographer, something she didn't take seriously until 2006.  

Sasha said, “I’ve always liked [photography], but when I started taking it seriously back in 2006, I started showing my work for the first time and received a great response; naturally, this encouraged and inspired me to do more."

NEU SEX - Part 1 from Sasha Grey on Vimeo.


Some say it's hard to see the picture when you're inside the frame. In Sasha's case, the former adult film star, now on the other side of the camera, is creating the subject, theme and direction of the photography. In spite of the different viewing angles, Grey says it's a new challenge that she feels very comfortable taking on.

Sasha said, "I know how to take my time with a stylized shoot, and conversely I know when a shot requires immediacy."

Sasha talked about what she likes to shoot when photographing, and what catches her eye as a photographer.

Sasha said, "I like creating a character, having a loose concept, and running with it. This allows room for really structured shots and when I get lucky, really unique moments."

Some of Sasha’s photography influences come from Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin.

Sasha said, “Still images vividly capture emotion, a second in time that can be left open for interpretation by the viewer and the creator. I am inspired by the work of Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin. Sherman’s work continues to inspire me to develop certain characters. I figured if I am on set I might as well take advantage of my surroundings, and document my life in an exciting, untraditional manner. I look back at photos, and see how much I’ve grown, how my opinions have changed, and how they will continue to change. ”

In addition to her photography ambitions, Grey has also taken on the music scene. Grey contributes her vocals to the band aTelecine, an Industrial Rock band. Sasha says her band plans to release three albums in the near future.

Sasha said, "The band I'm in, aTelecine is also releasing three albums over the next few months, starting with 'The Falcon And The Pod'."

 

Photo: Ian P. Cinnamon