Nina Hartley is the youngest of four children. She attended San Francisco State University as a nursing major, and in 1982—during her sophomore year—she began stripping at the world famous O’Farrell Theater run by the Mitchell Brothers. It was here that she chose the stage name of Nina Hartley; “Hartley” because it so close resembled her surname, and “Nina” because it was easier to pronounce for the theater’s major clientele of Japanese tourists. She eventually graduated magna cum laude, and maintained her license as a registered nurse throughout the majority of her porn career—though it lapsed in 2001. With her most well-recognized appearance in the Oscar nominated film Boogie Nights—playing the minor yet pivotal character of William H. Macy’s blatantly unfaithful wife—and line of films (Nina Hartley’s Guide To...), she is most known as a major actresses of pornography’s “VHS Era” (the late 1980’s).Breaking Into The Business
Nina made her adult film debut in 1984’s Educating Nina, and since has earned a reputation for her interracial and lesbian scenes, her round butt (often referred to as the “…best ass in the business”), and her legitimate acting skills. She has also been seen as an ambassador for porn to the mainstream: during several controversies and legal issues regarding adult films in the 1980’s, she was frequently the go-to spokeswoman to defend the industry for talk shows and media reports. Her articulate, well-thought-out demeanor was particularly on display during a famous interview she did on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she and fellow actress Ona Zee appeared to defend adult films—facing hostility from a mostly female audience, Hartley and Zee held their own in supporting the business.Quirky Facts
Despite an active career as both performer and producer (though she has jokingly quipped, “...I work with women who are younger than my breast implants”), Hartley appeared in the documentary After Porn Ends, examining the lives of adult film actresses upon leaving the business.Personal life
Nina is married to adult film director Ernest Greene, and identifies as both bisexual and polyamorous. Her parents—a Lutheran father and Jewish mother—converted to Buddhism when she was a child, and from this experience she now identifies as an atheist Neo-Pagan with Buddhist leanings. Furthermore, as a self-professed liberal and sex positive feminist, she often works as an activist to support both beliefs.Porn Awards
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