Sasha Grey (born Marina Ann Hantzis on March 14, 1988) is an American former pornographic actress, who has since turned to mainstream acting, modeling and music. Later in her adult film career, she was profiled by several popular culture magazines and television programs. She won several AVN Awards between 2007 and 2010, and has also been featured in music videos and advertising campaigns.
After her feature film debut as the lead in Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience, she shifted her focus to acting, starring in the black comedy/horror film Smash Cut as April Carson, as well as having a supporting role in season 7 of HBO's Entourage. She has also appeared in independent films Quit, The Girl from the Naked Eye, Life, and Mark Pellington's I Melt With You. She is a member of aTelecine, an industrial noise band.
Grey was born and raised in North Highlands, California, to a working class family. Her mother worked for the state of California and her father is a Greek American mechanic. Her parents divorced when she was 5 and subsequently she was raised by her mother, who remarried in 2000. She's stated that while her parents do not like everything she does, they get along.
Grey attended four high schools, among them Highlands High, before graduating, having been unhappy in each one, though she graduated a year early at 17. In late 2005, she attended junior college and took classes in film, dance, and acting.
She waited tables at a steakhouse through March 2006 and saved $7,000 for a move to Los Angeles.
In May 2006 Grey moved to Los Angeles and started her career 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. 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.
Less than a year after entering the industry, in January 2007, Grey was the recipient of awards for "Best Three Way Sex Scene" and "Best Group Scene" at the AVN Adult Movie Awards. She was also nominated as "Best New Starlet", but lost to Naomi. Grey was named Pet of The Month for July 2007 and was photographed by fashion photographer Terry Richardson. In 2008, she became the youngest person to win the AVN "Female Performer of the Year" award as well as "Best Oral Sex Scene" for a scene.
In December 2006, Grey was interviewed on the syndicated entertainment industry news show 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 pornography as a career choice. The show was also criticized for twisting Grey's depiction to increase its dramatic value. Grey was profiled in the Rolling Stone "Hot Issue" for the December 2008 edition.
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 2011, she was named by CNBC as one of the 12 most popular stars in porn. CNBC noted that, while she is no longer acting in porn films, her current mainstream roles have kept interest in her earlier porn work high, and several companies continue to release compilations of her earlier work.
Grey filmed her last pornographic 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.
Grey was featured in the artwork for The Smashing Pumpkins 2007 album Zeitgeist, and appears in their music video for "Superchrist". Grey was also featured in the music video for the song "Birthday Girl" by The Roots.
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.
In January 2010, Grey appeared nude in an ad campaign for PETA advocating animal birth control.
Grey has appeared in Playboy Magazine twice, once for a December 2009 pictorial, as well as 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 role 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.
In March 2010, Grey was cast as an anti-sex Christian in the horror film Hallows, directed by Richard O'Sullivan.