Sasha Grey (born March 14, 1988 as Marina Ann Hantzis) is an American actress, model, musician, writer and former adult film actress. She first made her name in mainstream media after appearing on several popular television programs and in pop culture magazines, examining her willingness to enter the world of hardcore porn at a young age. She has also been featured in movies, television shows, music videos and advertising campaigns. She won many awards for her work in adult film between 2007 and 2010, including the Female Performer of the Year at the 2008 AVN Awards, as well as the XRCO Awards.
After her feature film debut as the lead in Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience (2009), Grey shifted her focus to mainstream acting. She starred in the Canadian black comedy horror film Smash Cut (2009) and played a fictionalized version of herself in the seventh season of the HBO comedy-drama series Entourage. She has also appeared in independent films such as I Melt with You and Open Windows. She is a former member of aTelecine, an industrial music band.
In May 2006, Grey moved to Los Angeles and began appearing in adult films just after turning 18. Originally she toyed with the name Anna Karina,taken after the French New Wave actress, before deciding on her present name. The name “Sasha” was taken from Sascha Konietzko of the band KMFDM, and “Grey” represents Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Her first scene was an orgy with Rocco Siffredi for The Fashionistas 2 by John Stagliano. Grey quickly made a name for herself in the business after she asked Siffredi to punch her in the stomach; however, she later stated that she was improvising and it was taken out of context.
In January 2007, Grey was the recipient of awards for “Best Three Way Sex Scene” and “Best Group Scene” at the AVNAdult Movie Awards. Grey was named Penthouse’s Pet of the Month for July 2007 and was photographed by fashion photographer Terry Richardson. Dave Navarro’s film Broken starring Sasha Grey won the AVN Best High End All-Sex Release award.
In 2008, she became the youngest person to win the AVN “Female Performer of the Year” award and “Best Oral Sex Scene”. Grey formerly represented herself in the adult industry through her own agency, L.A. Factory Girls.
Grey has indicated particular appreciation for the work of Andrew Blake and Kimberly Kane. A. O. Scott of The New York Times described her pornographic career as “distinguished both by the extremity of what she is willing to do and an unusual degree of intellectual seriousness about doing it.”
In 2009, she was voted number #1 on Genesis magazine’s 11th annual edition of its “Porn’s Hot 100” issue. Apart from performing in 371 adult films the IAFD credits her as director of Birthday Party (2009) and The Seduction (2009).
Less than six months after entering the adult industry, Grey was featured in the November 2006 edition of Los Angeles where she was flagged as a potential major star, perhaps the next Jenna Jameson. In December 2006, Grey was interviewed on the syndicated entertainment industry news program The Insider.
In February 2007, she appeared on The Tyra Banks Show, discussing teenagers in the sex industry. There was speculation that the show was heavily manipulated through editing, and did not include her defense of adult film as a career choice. The show was also criticized for doing this to increase its dramatic value.
Grey was profiled in the December 2008 Rolling Stone magazine.
In 2011, she was named by CNBC as one of the 12 most popular stars in adult film. CNBC noted that, while she is no longer acting in adult films, her current mainstream roles have kept interest in her earlier adult film work high, and several companies continue to release compilations of it. Grey filmed her last adult film at age 21, although she did not announce her retirement for some time after, realizing that many of her fans still believed her to be an active performer in the industry. On April 8, 2011, she officially announced her retirement from adult films on Facebook.
She has modeled for French fashion designer Max Azria’s ready to wear line Manoukian, Italian footwear brand Forfex for an international campaign, and American Apparel. She’s modeled for Richard Kern as a part of Vice magazine’s anti-fashion layout, and appeared in a three-part VBS program, “Shot by Kern”. She also appeared in Taschen’s 25th anniversary reprint of Terry Richardson’s Terryworld. Among other collaborations with Richardson, she has also appeared in Wives, Wheels, Weapons, a companion book to James Frey’s Bright Shiny Morning. She has also modeled for artists James Jean, Frédéric Poincelet, Zak Smith, and David Choe.
Grey has appeared in Playboy twice, first in a December 2009 pictorial, and then for the cover feature in October 2010.
Grey appeared in an episode of James Gunn’s PG Porn with James Gunn, as well as a cameo appearance in Dick Rude’s independent film Quit, and stars in the 2009 Canadian low-budget black comedy/horror film Smash Cut from the Ottawa-based Odessa/Zed Filmworks. She plays a TV news personality who goes undercover as an actress in a horror film production, only to discover her older sister’s murderer.
Grey played the lead role, “Chelsea”, an escort who is paid to act as her clients’ girlfriend, in Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh’s film The Girlfriend Experience. Soderbergh cast her after reading her profile in Los Angeles magazine, commenting that, “She’s kind of a new breed, I think. She doesn’t really fit the typical mold of someone who goes into the adult film business…I’d never heard anybody talk about the business the way that she talked about it.” In having Grey prepare for her role in The Girlfriend Experience, Soderbergh asked her to watch Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre sa vie and Pierrot le fou. Vivre sa vie concerns prostitution, while the relationship portrayed in Pierrot le fou was suggested as a model for the dynamic between Chelsea and her boyfriend and clients. Grey and Soderbergh also interviewed two escorts, and borrowed character traits and behavior from them. Critics had mixed assessments of Grey’s performance.
Grey was cast for the seventh season of the HBO show Entourage, where she played a fictionalized version of herself. Her character was Vincent Chase’s new girlfriend in a multi-episode arc. Grey co-starred alongside Thomas Jane, Carla Gugino, Jeremy Piven and Rob Lowe in the thriller I Melt With You which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 26, 2011. She then starred in the Indonesian film Shrouded Corpse Bathing While Hip-Shaking also known as Membunuh: Murder. The film premiered in Indonesia on April 28, 2011. She voiced the character Viola DeWynter in the 2011 video game Saints Row: The Third, which was released in November 2011. In 2013, she appeared alongside Mariya Ocher in the German documentary series Durch die Nacht mit …, their episode airing on German and French television on December 7, 2013. In 2017 she was a leading actress in China Test Girls with Danny Trejo directed by Frankie Latina. In 2009, she was a co-producer of Latina‘s Modus Operandi also starring Danny Trejo.
In February 2011, she appeared in the music video for Eminem’s song “Space Bound”. Grey plays the role of Eminem’s girlfriend, whom Eminem strangles only to realize she is just a figment of his imagination. The video was premiered on Vevo on June 27, 2011. Previously, she appeared in the music video for the 2008 song “Birthday Girl” by The Roots. She also appears in the music video for The Smashing Pumpkins’ song “Superchrist”.
Grey is listed by the Narnack Records website as a guest artist on Repentance by Lee “Scratch” Perry, though Perry himself denied her involvement in a 2009 interview.
In 2008, Grey began an industrial music collaboration, called aTelecine, with Pablo St. Francis. They later added members Anthony D’ Juan and Ian Cinnamon. Their first EP, aVigillant Carpark, was released in 2009 by New York label Pendu Sound on 7-inch vinyl only. Grey also contributed vocals to the Current 93 album Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain. In 2010, aTelecine released their first LP, …And Six Dark Hours Pass, and in November of the same year followed it up with the LP A Cassette Tape Culture. In August 9, 2011, aTelecine’s first full-length album, The Falcon and the Pod, was released (this album is the first of a planned trilogy).
In 2012, Grey contributed to the X-TG album Desertshore. aTelecine’s first live concert took place on October 20, 2012, in Kraków at the Museum of Urban Engineering during Unsound Festival. In July 2013, it was announced that Grey was no longer a member of the band and that Ian Cinnamon and a new vocalist, Sveio, were the only remaining full-time members.
In August 2015, it was announced by the psytrance band Infected Mushroom that Grey’s vocals would be featured in their upcoming album Converting Vegetarians II in the track Fields of Grey. In 2016 Grey contributed to the Death in Vegas album Transmission. In 2018 Death in Vegas published the single Honey with Grey as writer, singer, and film director of the Drone Records video.
In August 2018, PIG published “That’s The Way (I Like It)” featuring Sasha Grey and premiered on Pornhub.
Since 2010 Grey regularly performed as DJ and published some of her mixes on SoundCloud. Earmilk editor David Sikorski considered her mixes as “testament to her wide range, eclectic taste in music and her ability to understand the mechanics of solid electronic music production.”
Grey’s first photo book, Neü Sex, was released on March 29, 2011. Her second book, The Juliette Society, an erotic novel, was released on May 9, 2013. In 2016, book II (The Janus Chamber) and in 2018, book III (The Mismade Girl) of The Juliette Society was published.