Carter Cruise is adult entertainment’s new “it girl.” Earlier this year the sorority girl-turned-adult-film star earned the porn equivalent of the rookie triple crown, taking home trophies for Best New Starlet at XBIZ, XRCO and the AVN Awards. She was also the first to take home laurels for Best New Starlet and Best Actress since Jenna Jameson did it in 1996. Cruise is outspoken, fearless, literate and charming, and now that she’s at the top of the adult industry she’s eyeing something else: a career in music.

I visited her airy downtown Los Angeles loft to eat pizza and talk about Hot Girls Wanted, EDM and her new project.

You - and several others in the industry - have been critical of the Rashida Jones produced documentary Hot Girls Wanted, saying it’s pretty unrepresentative of most women’s experience in porn. I watched it expecting it to be full of shock and awe, but it really doesn’t expose anything that degrading. It’s really quite tame.
Nothing was that bad. The only thing that they really focused on was the facial abuse thing. Everyone in the industry knows that that’s bad. I remember my agent when I first got in. He was like ‘Don’t do that.’

I shoot for Kink all the time, and they do BDSM. They push your limits, but at the same time Kink is the best company to work for. You go there, and they have everything you need. They’re like the nicest people you’ve ever met. Even if on camera you know you’re getting tortured in a sense, it’s very comfortable. That facial abuse site, it’s pretty degrading. I personally don’t have a problem with it, because people like what they like. But that’s one very tiny, tiny piece of the industry that most people in the industry are kind of freaked out by. They showed so much of it, too. They were like, 'We have to show how terrible porn is,’ and this is the only site we can find, so let’s feature it for seven minutes. Like, why?

Isn’t the irony that Rashida Jones - born into the Hollywood elite - thinks porn is somehow less moral than mainstream Hollywood? Doesn’t she realize that actresses who aren’t using nepotism to break into acting often are put in compromising circumstances?
Other porn girls have done mainstream movies and played themselves and stuff. I knew a few different girls - who knows if it’ll actually come to fruition - but they actually got some minor roles in mainstream movies because they did “privates” for the director. They fucked him. I was like, 'Wow, this is how Hollywood works.’ Which is interesting because people think that’s how porn works. In porn, OK, you want to get ahead by fucking that director? He doesn’t care. So, I’m being judged because I have sex on camera but mainstream Hollywood directors and producers fucking these actresses is cool? It’s the disconnect that’s really interesting.

What are you shooting now?
I’m only shooting girl-girl at the moment.

You said something like ‘I don’t have much more to prove’ in porn.
To me, porn is about experiences. I did want to put out pretty much every scene you could do. But I’m about doing what feels right in the moment. After my first anal, I did a DP. The whole double anal thing - it never really presented itself. It never really happened. I don’t need to prove that I can fit two dicks in my ass.

So the plan is phasing into music full-time?
Yeah, I have some pretty good shows coming up in the fall.

How did you get interested in dance music?
I was in college, and I was hanging with these guys from New Jersey and New York. And they put on a Skrillex song on the radio - the first dubstep/brostep song I heard. I was like, “What the fuck is this?” It was like nothing I had ever heard before. These noises and computer sounds that sounded amazing. I needed to know what this was. I was obsessed. Most people in the South didn’t listen to this, but the ones who did could find each other. I met so many of my friends through EDM. There weren’t as many shows by then. Now, there’s a growing culture in North Carolina.

And was EDM a gateway drug into trap and rap?
EDM really got me into hip-hop. I had never really listened to rap or hip-hop. I had never even heard rap or anything until right before ninth grade because I was home schooled. I wasn’t sheltered in that my parents were like “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” But I just wasn’t exposed to things. I was very pop culturally unaware. I didn’t have a TV as a child. I would just read all the time.

Tell me about the jump from porn to music.
What I like about the music industry is that no one really gives a fuck that I did porn. First of all, there are bunch of porn people in music. And everyone’s banging mad groupies anyway, so no one really cares. But mainstream acting seems much more judgmental. Music industry people seem more self-aware and less self-serious than mainstream film people.

So, your goal is not to use sex to get ahead in the music game?
When I got into music, I decided everyone is off limits. If you’re in any way involved in the music industry, it’s not happening. I don’t ever want anyone to think I got someone because I fucked or dated this person. I love Nicki Minaj and was reading an interview with her where they asked where what it’s like to be a woman in a male dominated industry? She answered saying she was very professional. [She paraphrases Minaj] I can be flirty and sexy on stage. But when I walk into a meeting, I’m all business, and I never use my sexuality to get things. When I walk into a room, everybody gives me respect. And when I leave the room, I know that no one in that room can say, 'Oh, I fucked her.’ And that makes a big difference. You’re not just someone using your sexuality.

It’s easy to fall into that trap. Push your tits up and get a free drink. Flirt with this person to let you in here. We’re trained that way as women to do that. It can get you far, but in the long run it doesn’t do much for you. You don’t have the respect. Everything I did was done openly and publicly.