Asia Carrera (1973)
It was on this date, August 6, 1973, that the erotic actress and self-styled computer geek known as Asia Carrera was born Jessica Andrea Steinhauser in New York City to a Japanese father and a German mother. Eurasian genes and some later cosmetic surgery contributed to her stunning good looks, but the pressures of her rearing – for example, at age 13 she performed as a pianist on stage in Carnegie Hall – caused the 17-year-old to flee her New Jersey home and make her way on her own. She studied Japanese language and Economics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, partially through a government grant and partially through employment as a stripper. She was also New Jersey spelling champ, a member of the National Mathematics League and the National Honor Society – and a member of MENSA, with an IQ if 156.
Having been homeless, and hearing about young women making lots of money in the pornographic film business on the West Coast, Asia moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s. There she was introduced to director Bud Lee, who cast her in her first film. She married Lee in 1995 and starred in or featured in over 270 films (according to the Internet Movie Database) or 370 films (according to Wikipedia). She won the Adult Video News “Female Performer of the Year” in 1995 and the AVN “Best Couples Sex Scene” in 2000. Asia retired from erotic films in 2003, with only occasional films since then. She had divorced Bud Lee in 2003, still remaining friends, and married Don Lemmon that same year. With Lemmon, Asia had two children, and stayed with him until his accidental death in 2006.
Asia Carrera says she chose her screen name this way: “I picked Asia because I’m Asian, and I think it’s a pretty name, and Carrera from actress Tia Carrere, but I spelled it differently to prevent lawsuits – even though she got the name from actress Barbara Carrere.”* After retiring from adult films, the mother of two devoted much time to her passion of marketing herself through the personal website she designed on her own. Asia says her idol is Berkshire Hathaway “legendary financial genius” Warren Buffet. Both Buffet and Carrera are atheists.
About her beliefs, Asia says,
I’ve always been an atheist. Science explains everything. There is no meaning in life except to be the best at something. If only I could be the best at something, perhaps my parents would love me.*
– and –
Religion is silly. When you’re dead, you turn into a source for future flowers and plants . . . I don’t know what’s on the other side of death and it scares me. Darkness and nothingness scare me. I’d rather face the miseries of my day-to-day life than turn into darkness.*
Asia says she has no regrets about performing in the adult film industry, but has no plans to return. She devotes herself to her two children and her website and lives in Utah.
Originally published August 2011 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.