80s & 90s Dutch Porn Legend Zara Whites

Dutch born natural beauty Zara Whites was one of the hottest European stars of both hardcore and softcore porn on both sides of the Altantic through the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her movie roles with the directors John 'Buttman' Stagliano and Andrew Blake are her best-known hardcore works, but ironically it was the French softcore erotic TV series Joy In Love which made Zara an instantly recognisable face in France and much else of Europe. The Emmanuelle style series has been repeated on late night European TV stations for the best part of two decades and still gets regularly reshown. Zara herself, though now retired from porn, often turns up on TV still in discussions on vegetarianism and animal rights, two causes very much close to her heart. In 2007, she even did a highly publicised nude walk through Rotterdam for anti-fur campaign group PETA. She remains a strong supporter of the porn industry. "I don't understand that if the woman enjoys having sex that way, why is it degrading for her. Why should porn be degrading to women and not for men? We can use men as much as they can use us. I don't understand why it should be degrading for women to open up their legs and not for a man to show his dick hanging halfway down his leg. If people don't like it, they shouldn't watch it," she says.

The shy girl from Rotterdam, as she used to call herself, probably never would have foreseen someday becoming a pornstar, however. She didn't even have her first orgasm until she was 19. Born Esther Kooiman on 8 November 1968 in Rotterdam, but raised in leafy Gravondeel, near Dordrecht, where her parents moved shortly after, Zara was the friendly, but shy, good student at school. Her first genuine sexual experience, described in her 2006 autobiography Je Suis Zara Whites Mais Je Me Soigne, has a typically Dutch lack of inhibition about it. "I started masturbating when I was nineteen years old while looking at a porn magazine I found. I found it really strange and I thought I was going to die. I ended up shouting to my mother for help. Her reaction was really good. She explained to me that I had just had my first orgasm!" she recalls. Zara had sex with a boy for the first time not long after and admits to becoming somewhat sexually obsessed in the years which followed. She dropped out of education aged 21, moved in with a boyfriend and found work as a barmaid and doctor's secretary. The relationship didn't last and wanting to support herself Zara took a job dancing in a men's club in Amsterdam. "I had nothing to lose and wanted to gain my independence and freedom. Within three months I was dancing, singing and prostituting myself in a private club in Amsterdam. The oldest profession in the world. I loved sex and new experiences, I enjoyed having a man next to me. It was a time when the timid little girl from Rotterdam began enjoying the pleasures of sado-masochism, wild sex and too much cocaine," she recalls.

A year later, down on her luck and determined to clean up her act, Zara walked into Dutch modelling agency 'Veronique' and, to her amazement, found herself instantly cast as a topless dancer on the raunchy Italian TV quiz show Colpo Grosso, a job she would hold down for the next 18 months. Much like the character Joy she would later play on TV, it was the start of a whirlwind life of sexual exploration. She had a relationship with a rich Italian, moved to Paris, became a high-class call girl, began modelling for Hustler and Penthouse, then found herself whisked off to America to do a Suze Randall shoot with Rocco Siffredi, someone who would become one of her favourite porn co-stars. "Rocco has kind of a big dick so I was sitting in front of him but his dick would show every time so we stuck it to his belly with tape, but he had a hard-on so it wouldn't stay. I ended up sitting on his dick so it wouldn't show and Rocco said, 'You can do this, so you can also do porno movies.' I was pretty curious and said 'Why not, let's give it a try'," she recalls. Rocco introduced her to John Stagliano, who paid a hefty fee to have her debut in Buttman's Ultimate Workout and the rest is history as they say. She appeared under a variety of aliases, including Zara White, Amy Kooiman, Amy Kristensen, Paulina Peters and Esther Kooiman.

Her debut led to her getting the lead in her favourite movie Andrew Blake's classy House Of Dreams, where she met a future lesbian lover Jeanna Fine. Zara won an AVN award for best threesome just a year later after teaming up with Rocco again and fellow Dutch actress Silver Forrest in Buttman's European Vacation. She remained choosy about who she would work with, however, maintaining "I just don't like to pretend to make love with someone I don't like." She returned to Europe in 1992 to appear in the award-winning French movie Reves De Cuir, which involved extensive scenes of domination and sado-masochism, something she would enjoy experimenting with further in a string of movies to follow. She quit hardcore just a year later when French television station M6 came calling with the offer of the lead in the Joy In Love series. But the porn bug still burned strong. Asked about a hardcore comeback in 1998, Zara said: "I would love to! There are a couple of things I'd have to work out first. Most of the movies I did made lots of money and I don't get any royalties. It's so unfair because like in Paris I'm so well known that I can't walk in the street. If I do another adult film it's got to be a very good story with a lot of acting. It would have to be very erotic porn so women would enjoy it also. I love doing porn and I'm missing it. Hell, I had a ball!" She found the right opportunity just a year later, making a mouth-watering comeback in Alan Payet's much-praised movie La Dresseuse. A year after that, she shot her last hardcore movie for now in a farewell lesbian scene in Mario Salieri's Divina. In both movies, Zara Whites looked as naturally and smoulderingly sexy as ever she did in her porn heyday.

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