by Asia Carrera

I got awfully tired of telling this over and over, so I'm telling it for the last time - here it is:)

OK, we all know I was an academically gifted little girl. What I don't publicize, is that I was not an especially motivated one. I was an overachiever only through a)genetic luck, and b)incredible pressure from my parents. My parents wanted me to go to Harvard and be a doctor or a lawyer, and I wanted to play piano and hang out with friends.

Needless to say, my parents and I butted heads. My father was born in Japan, and my mother was born in Germany. They were from the "old school", strong on discipline, and overachievers themselves, so they were in no way being hypocritical with their demands on me. (My dad went to Caltech on full academic scholarship for math and physics. He's the biggest nerd I know)

I was grounded for every "B" I got, and beaten for getting anything lower than that. I was not allowed to socialize at all, or go to parties, because they said there'd be time for that after I got into a good college. Well, I did what any red-blooded American kid would do, I'd sneak out. And get caught. And get beaten. And get grounded again. Without launching into too much detail, let's just say I was unhappy. (I tried to kill myself a lot) (Asian kids everywhere have e-mailed me to verify that this is standard practice in Asian households - what a relief to find out I'm normal, huh!)

Shortly before my seventeenth birthday, I ran away from home. I stayed where I could, with a rock'n'roll band, with friends, with strangers, in hotels, at one point in a tent. I worked when I could, but I couldn't do much at seventeen, so I had no money. I had friends drive me to school every day, and I begged people to bring me Doritos so I'd have something to eat. Everything I owned fit in two garbage bags. Sometimes I fucked people I didn't want to, so I could have a place to sleep, or a good meal. I gritted my teeth a lot, and did what I had to, rather than crawl back home and grovel for my folks' forgiveness.

Eventually the State found out I was living on my own, and I got put in a foster home. My foster parents were as strict as my own parents, and I still was not allowed to date or socialize. This was twice as difficult for me to handle, after having had a taste of freedom, but I stayed until I finished high school. I ran away from my foster home on my eighteenth birthday, knowing I only had to fend for myself until the fall, when I was going to Rutgers on my full academic scholarship. I hitchhiked off with my two garbage bags of stuff, and did what I could to not starve until school started.

So I confess, I went to college not for an education, but for the promise of a hot meal and a free bed while I plotted ways to become wealthy, so I wouldn't have to go begging or fucking any more strangers for lousy scraps of charity. Four years of college is a goal I'd like to finish attaining one day, but for a runaway who lost 15 pounds without enough food to eat, getting money in the bank immediately was my priority. I got a job as a bartender, and wished I had the guts to become a stripper 'cause I heard they made lots of money. One day the owner of the bar asked me if I would serve drinks topless at a private party for $100. Wow, a hundred bucks was a lot of dough for me, so I said sure. I drank a lot of vodka to screw up my courage. Next thing you knew, I was on the bar with some strippers he'd hired, and I was collecting tips like crazy. I came home with $300 bucks, and was amazed. I'd never made that much money in my life!

The next day I took a bottle of vodka and got myself hired at all the local go-go bars. I then proceeded to work seven nights a week, and I saved a minimum of $1000 every week, and sent it off to various mutual funds. (ever hear of someone who still has the first dollar they ever made? That would be me!) I obviously stopped attending classes, only going in to take finals. As one of the highest paid dancers in NJ, I searched for a way to get paid even more money dancing. I discovered that girls who made movies or magazines got paid more than regular 'house girls' like me.

I went to the local 7-11, bought all the men's magazines, and sent pictures of myself to the little addresses inside the first couple pages. Club magazine responded, and sent me to a photographer in NY, who proceeded to shoot me for most of the major men's mags. I asked him about making adult movies, and he gave me the number of a director in LA named Bud Lee. I called this Bud guy, and he told me if I flew to LA, he could use me in a movie or two. So during winter break '93, I flew out to LA with just a suitcase and a teddy bear. I found that I liked making movies, then I married that Bud Lee guy, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I know some of you still think I'm "settling for less than I could achieve" in life, but all I can say is this: I'm happier than I've ever been in my life, and I don't consider that "settling" at all! I have a fun job that provides me with the time and money to do all the things I love, like playing piano, drawing, writing, and working on my web site! I've slowly lost the hard edge and the "fuck-the-world" attitude I had as a runaway, and gained a love for life that I never had before. I save and invest for the future, and I'm going to finish my degree at my leisure. After I'm done with adult, I'll be a mom, or a stock analyst, or knowing me, probably both. And when I die, I'm leaving behind a trust fund to provide help and shelter for abused and homeless children, so a little piece of me will live forever!

Hugs, Asia

p.s. I'm not mad at my parents. I know they just wanted me to be the best I could be, but they pushed too hard, that's all. Being successful is great, and it's a goal I strive for, but never at the expense of happiness. I think happiness should come first, and then success!

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