(Translator's note: This post is a continuation of a previous entry.)
XCity: You really keep an eye out for yourself!
Ayu Sakurai: Right? I know that some of my co-workers love the industry. I've some friends who've been AV stars for twice as long and are still going strong. I really love being an AV star; it's super fun on set, everyone's friends with everyone, and cliques don't seem to exist. I'll never forget all the great friends I've made while working in this industry. What's more, fans think AV stars can be really loose which is far from the truth. Unlike other industries, we don't sleep our way up. I don't think there's any other entertainment industry quite like this one.
XC: While working do you find yourself concerned with topping previous milestones? For example, did you enjoy filming your first 100 titles? What about 200?
AS: That's right in that I didn't really concern myself with the total number of titles I've been in. Once upon a time, I got lonely very easily so I abhorred having blanks in my schedule. I always wanted to be with someone. My time on set is thus not filled with thoughts about my performance numbers, but enjoying being in the company of like-minded people. That mindset though is what helped me film so many titles in such a short period of time.
XC: Any hardships?
AS: Not in particular, but doing as much as I have has given me much to reflect about. I'm sure not every fan of Japanese AV is not a fan of me. That's something I've come to accept. I try to stay really open about myself. I avoid lying and what you see about Ayu Sakurai is really what you get. Even my birthday and birthplace are real. Both my hometown friends and also my parents know about my career as an AV star. Even before I signed an exclusive contract with the agency, I filmed an amateur video back home with my then boyfriend. So yea, everybody knows…
Ayu Sakurai, with support from home.
XC: Now that takes a serious amount of courage! It's great that you had so much support from the get-go.
AS: I know, right? I've been scouted for awhile before that, but I decided to take the first step myself. Not everyone was on-board initially though. Besides, I worked in a brothel and also worked a regular part-time job in the afternoons and from both I knew the kind of prejudices I'd be up against if I became an AV star. Both my parents and friends did take my side so long as I gave it my all which I think I did! My parents in particular did ask not that long ago if doing what I do was pushing me closer to my dreams. Compared to other families, we've a pretty open relationship.
XC: Were you happy when you landed that exclusive contract?
AS: Honestly? Not really.
XC: How come?!
AS: At the time I had similar offers from other production companies, but I turned them all down. I preferred being somewhat freelance at the time by starring in a variety of titles by various companies. The risk of signing an exclusive contract would mean the work offered to me may vary month to month and if it wasn't enough, I couldn't do other AV work on the side with other companies. The contract I signed though was with a company I've worked with before and had a lot of faith in. Fortunately, they have treated me very well and also have given me tons of work.
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