Earlier this year, I published an interview with Becky LeBeau. That interview was such a success that one of Becky’s friends, as seen in the cover photo, reached out about the possibility of an interview with me. That friend’s name is Antonia Dorian, and she’s worked in multiple fields, ranging from dancing in Las Vegas to modeling for SoftBodies to acting in many of Jim Wynorski’s movies. We discussed all those things and more on Tuesday, February 19th, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know her.
Say hello to Antonia Dorian!
Johnny: Hey, Antonia. It’s Johnny.
Antonia: Hi. I know. I remember your number (laughing). Hi.
Johnny: How are you?
Antonia: Oh, I’m good. Thanks for waiting.
Johnny: I have my questions ready to go…
Johnny: …Starting with this: Although you started acting in the 90s, you came of age in the 80s. What are your favorite memories of the 80s?
Antonia: That’s cute (laughing). Do you mean what I liked? I actually was a dancer, so that’s what I started out doing, and I grew up in Las Vegas.
Johnny: What kind of dancing were you trained in?
Antonia: Jazz, but I had to take ballet. If you want to become a professional jazz dancer, you have to take ballet, too.
Johnny: Okay. What are your favorite memories of your dancing days?
Antonia: Well, I didn’t start dancing until I was 10. I first took tap dancing, and then I remember when I was 12 and did my first performance at school, I remember I told my mom that I really loved being on stage. It was like the best feeling ever.
Johnny: Alright. If my research is correct, you spent some time as a model as well.
Johnny: What’s the most outrageous fashion you can recall wearing as a model?
Antonia: Well, I modeled lingerie for Playboy, but I did some catalog work, like dresses. I mean, they weren’t well-known fashion designers like Yves St. Lauren. I remember they were dresses for a couple of catalog companies.
Antonia: I also did trade show modeling in Las Vegas, so I did the conventions. I did the big film convention for NATO. When I was dancing, that led to modeling, and my girlfriend told me that Playboy had a show in Las Vegas called Playboy’s Girls Of Rock N’ Roll. She was like, “Oh my god, you would be perfect. You should audition for the show”. I mean, I wasn’t like a really good dance. I was a good dancer, but not that good. I really wanted to try out as a showgirl, but showgirls in Las Vegas has to be 5′ 9” and up, and I was only 5′ 8”, so I was under height, but the Playboy show didn’t care about height. They just wanted a girl who looked like she had been in Playboy and could dance, so I auditioned for that, and they were looking for two girls for replacements in the show, which was at Caesar’s Lake Tahoe, so I got the job.
Johnny: When it came to that Girls Of Rock N’ Roll show, what was your standout number in it?
Antonia: My favorite number was the first one. Me and two of the other dancers had to get on a motorcycle and move around on it. I loved that part, and we were topless. Some scenes were topless. In two of the numbers, we wore lingerie, and in others, we were topless.
Johnny: Alright. Sounds like a lot of fun.
Antonia: Oh, it was. Actually, it was really hard work. That probably was the hardest job I’ve ever done because we had to do two shows a night, six nights a week, with only one night off.
Antonia: Yeah, but I loved being on stage and in front of a live audience. That was so great. I then moved back to Las Vegas, and that’s when I did the trade show modeling. I met this producer. He came up to me and said, “I’m producing this beer video in Los Angeles, and I’d love for you to be in it”. I don’t remember the name of the beer, but they were promoting beer and they had Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in the video. They wanted 20 models in the video, so there were 20 of us, and we shot for three days. One of the other models I worked with looked a little like Kim Basinger. Her name was Amanda, and she was from Las Angeles, so we became good friends and I would go to Los Angeles on the weekends to hang out at parties. She was like, “You should move here and we can become roommates”, so that’s how I moved to L.A. I moved here in 1991.
Johnny: Alright. To stay with the modeling for a moment, you appeared in several installments of SoftBodies, the video line created by our mutual friend Becky LeBeau, a former interview subject of mine. How did you come to know Becky, and which of the SoftBodies shoots was your favorite?
Antonia: Okay. I first met Becky when I moved to L.A. I did some lingerie modeling for a photographer. I don’t remember his name, but he said he shot with Becky, and he said, “Becky’s doing these videos. She would love you because you have natural breasts, and all her videos are women with big natural breasts”. I met Becky, and I did my first video with her. I’ve done three of them with her, and that’s how I met Becky.
Antonia: Whats my favorite one? Probably the second one I did, because I was thinner (laughing) and looked better. I was 29 when I did the second one. When I did the first one, I was 23 and had a lot of baby fat on my face, so when I got a little older, it went away.
Johnny: Alright. I go to my next question: You were a friend of Tony Curtis’.
Antonia: I was going to bring that up. Tony Curtis and I were boyfriend and girlfriend, and when I did Becky LeBeau’s first video, I was with Tony Curtis.
Johnny: Alright. What advice did he give you that you would carry into your acting career?
Antonia: Gosh, that’s a good question. You know, he didn’t really give me a lot of advice because he knew how hard it was. It was really easy for him at the time because, back then, the studios would sign them to contracts, and they would start making money and being put in films. It was harder for me, and he knew that. I had to go on auditions and compete with other women, but it was a little easier back then for him because there wasn’t as much competition as there was for me now. He wanted me to be with him as his girlfriend and not acting, so at the time I wasn’t doing much because he wanted me to travel with him. He would sell his art and make appearances, but he knew I was pursuing acting, though. He was more of a boyfriend. By the way, you did good research. How did you know about me and Tony Curtis?
Johnny: I visited your BlogSpot page, and I saw some pictures of you with him.
Antonia: Yeah, I mentioned that. Good research.
Johnny: Alright. I’ll go to my next question: In our first phone conversation, you mentioned that one of your SoftBodies appearances led to your first film, the Jim Wynorski film Little Miss Millions, where you played a Ticket Agent. What do you recall the most about that movie?
Antonia: Becky LeBeau had done a few of Jim Wynorski’s films. They were friends. He saw my pictures and my video, and he said he wanted to meet me, so I had an interview with him. I said I wanted to act, and he said, “Alright. I’ll give you a small part in Little Miss Millions”. I was so excited for my first acting job…Actually, my second acting job. My first acting job was in Las Vegas, so this was my second acting job. This was with Jennifer Love Hewitt. She was only 14 and the star of it. She wasn’t famous yet, but she was very sweet and very professional for a 14-year-old. The other actor was Howard Hesseman, so that made me a little more nervous. It was my first time working with him, but I did the part really well at the time. I just made myself calm. I wasn’t so nervous, and it was great. I remember Jennifer was very sweet.
Johnny: Okay. To my next question: You played April in the Wynorski/Fred Olen Ray collaboration Dinosaur Island. A very tongue-in-cheek movie, what’s the funniest story you can recall from the set of that film?
Antonia: The funniest one? Well, it was funny working with two different directors. I love Jim, but he’s very hard to work with. As a friend, he’s the opposite. He’s so nice. Fred is so sweet and calm, so you have one sweet and calm director, and one who is really hyper and loud, but gets it done. That’s Jim. I actually ran into Fred. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, but I saw him a few months ago. Another funny thing was that it was my first-ever love scene, you could say, I did. It wasn’t really a love scene, but I was really nervous about it, and Jim said, “Well, if you want, I’ll give you a glass of wine to calm your nerves”. I said, “Yes, that would be great”, so he gave me a glass of wine as I was really nervous about doing a love scene, kissing a guy, pretending to be making love. I was topless, and he let me limit the crew when we were doing the scene. We only had a small set that we needed because I didn’t need all these people watching. The dinosaurs were funny because we had to react to a lot of nothing there, so that was hard. I thought the dinosaurs were funny because they were funny-looking. We had a really good time on that set. We went to all sorts of different places. I don’t know how funny that is, but I did have a good time.
Johnny: That’s always important.
Antonia: Yeah. It was my first lead role, and it was so much fun. We shot at Yosemite one day, and then we shot a lot up in the mountains in Hollywood, in the caves where they filmed Star Trek shows there.
Johnny: Oh, yeah.
Antonia: Yeah. We shot near where they were shooting the Flintstones movie out there, so we saw that. That was kind of cool.
Johnny: To my next question: In 1995, you played Trisha in Sorceress. Which was your favorite part of working on that movie?
Antonia: Oh my god. I loved my girlfriend Julie Strain. We got to become good friends when I worked with her on that shoot. Julie’s not doing too well.
Johnny: I am aware that she’s dealing with the final stages of…
Johnny: That really saddened me to read because…
Antonia: She’s not that old. She’s only in her 50s. It’s very sad. She is such a sweet person. Her and I became good friends on Sorceress, so it’s very sad.
Johnny: I mean, you look at her in her 90s and 00s roles, and there she is. She’s kicking ass, she’s packing heat, she’s wielding swords. She’s this dynamic lifeforce, and then she has this bad luck.
Antonia: Yeah. I know. She’s beautiful, tall, 6′ 2”. Yeah. Beautiful inside and outside. I have to say I loved working with Julie.
Johnny: Also in 1995, you played Junie Ray in Hard Bounty. A fun B-Western, what was it like playing a role in the cowboy genre?
Antonia: That was cool. We shot in Tuscon, Arizona, so that was cool to go do. We shot on a Western set where a lot of them were filmed, so it was cool to be shooting on those stages. It was very authentic, but I don’t know if you’ve seen it. They shot it, and my scene was cut out. I met Kelly LeBrock on the set, and we hung out at the bar with Jim after shooting for the day. She spoke her mind. I’m kind of that way, too, when I drink. Kelly was very beautiful in person, and she had a very ballsy character.
Author’s note: At this point, I got an urgent message from my brother, so I had to interrupt the interview. After we talked about how our cats were doing, I called Antonia back up, and we resumed the interview from there.
Johnny: One of your most notable roles for Jim Wynorski came with your role as Toni in the 2000 spoof The Bare Wench Project.
Antonia: That was my idea, by the way, because I grew up as Toni.
Johnny: Oh, cool.
Antonia: My mom loved calling me Toni, so I used Toni.
Johnny: Alright. A movie often revisited by Jim on his Facebook page, what do you think has made that movie stand out among the many softcore spoofs he’s done?
Antonia: Well, we had so much shooting it. Jim always got these ideas every time. I mean, Dinosaur Island, he got it from Jurassic Park. The Bare Wench Project, he got the idea from The Blair Witch Project. I remember he took me to go see it for a little bit of research we were doing, and because The Blair Witch Project was all improv, he wanted us to do improv. I loved it because we got to say whatever we wanted. We didn’t have to read off a page, and we got to work off of each other, which is something I always wanted to do.
Johnny: Very cool.
Antonia: It was.
Johnny: I think that’s probably what made it stand out.
Antonia: Yeah. One night, when we did the bonfire scene, we were all drinking a bit because we were shooting somewhere out in the desert in California, past Lancaster. It was really far out, and one night it got kind of scary. We were out in the middle of nowhere. Jim let us drink a little wine, and I got a little tipsy, and I was forgetting my lines. I wasn’t remembering what I was saying in the bonfire scene, so he put in an outtake that was kind of funny. That was fun.
Antonia: Lorissa McComass was in it, and she killed herself. I hate to keep bringing up bad things, but it’s shocking. I was living in Northern California at the time with my first husband, and I found out from Jim that she killed herself. I didn’t know.
Johnny: That’s very sad.
Antonia: When I met her on the set, I think she was a lost soul, and she had problems. It was very sad that she took her life.
Johnny: Yes. On a lighter note, in 2004, you played Larry The Stripper in the Troma release Tales From The Crapper.
Antonia: Oh, yeah. I worked with Julie Strain.
Johnny: What were, respectively, your most and least favorite parts of making a Troma film?
Antonia: It was great. They were all great. I mean, I thought the lines were kind of corny, but we had a great time, and I got to work with Julie again.
Johnny: Alright. You ventured into the field of writing. What has writing provided for you that modeling and acting have not?
Antonia: Was I a writer?
Johnny: I was looking on your BlogSpot page, and you’re credited with helping to write a book about being in a harem.
Antonia: Oh, that. Yes, yes. Oh my gosh. That’s another story. I forgot about that. Yes. What was the question?
Johnny: I was going to ask you what writing has provided you that modeling and acting have not, but it seems like there might be a little bit more to the story behind the story.
Antonia: Yeah. It’s a true story, but I wrote it with my ex-fiancee, and I kind of wish I did not because his writing is a little strange. I should’ve read it before I sold it, and we tried to sell it to make money, and we didn’t. It was more of his writing, and I should’ve found another writer by the time I was with him. He was like my ghostwriter, so I would tell him and he would write, but then he would add in other stuff that he was writing, and I never looked over it.
Johnny: Would you ever consider writing again, but this time in your own voice with no ghostwriters?
Antonia: Oh, I would need someone because I’m not really a writer. I would need someone to help me. I mean, my friends have written several books. Bobbie Brown, who was in the music video for Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” and was married to Jani Lane, wrote a book, but she had help. I have another girlfriend who’s a Playmate, and she’s planning on writing a book. I can’t say her name, but that’s because I’ve forgotten it.
Johnny: I’m friends with Dona Speir on Facebook, and she’s putting the finishing touches on her autobiography.
Antonia: Oh, I worked with Andy Sidaris.
Johnny: Oh, you did. Which movie?
Antonia: He was in The Bare Wench Project.
Johnny: I’m sorry I forgot about that. I thought you meant…
Antonia: Well, I wasn’t in one of his movies, but he was in a movie I was in that Jim directed, and then he died a few years after that.
Johnny: Right. My apologies. I forgot about his role in that movie.
Antonia: That’s okay.
Johnny: To go to my next question, I know I keep on bringing up Jim Wynorski, but that’s because of your frequent collaborations with him. He often creates Photoshopped images of actresses who have worked for him, turning them into superheroes and things like that. Inspired by that concept, have you ever considered venturing into cosplay for possible convention appearances?
Antonia: Well, I have. I’ve talked to Jim about it. I would love to do it, but I don’t know who could help me out. I’ve only done it a couple of times in the past, but I would love to. I just don’t know.
Johnny: Moving on to my next question: When it comes to Playboy, I know you did stage work for them, and you appeared in the magazine also, I believe…
Antonia: Well, actually, I did a test shoot for the magazine and they turned me down, but I did some videos for them. I was turned down for Playmate, and they don’t tell you.
Johnny: Ooh, that sucks.
Antonia: I know, but it’s okay. I’ve gone to the mansion a hundred times. I met Hugh Hefner. He was a sweet man. A lot of my good friends are Playmates, including a Playmate Of The Year, so I got to experience all of that, even though I wasn’t a Playmate. It’s interesting. I actually did a convention in 1998, and Hugh had broken up with Kimberly Conrad. He actually forgot because I think he was getting early dementia, but he met so many women that he forgot he met me so many times. I was speaking to him, and I said, “Hef, I met you before because the first time was at the Playboy Mansion with Tony Curtis”, and they were really good friends. I said, “I met you when I dated Tony Curtis”, but he complimented me and said how beautiful I was. He was kind of asking me out, and he had his entourage, but then he had to walk away. He was signing autographs that day, and I probably could’ve dated him, but I never did.
Johnny: When it comes to the Playboy Mansion, you don’t have to answer this question if you don’t want, but did you ever cross paths with Bill Cosby, or did you manage to dodge that bullet?
Antonia: I never met him, but if it’s something you want to hear, I was there one night at a party. I was dancing with some friends who were Playmates, Hef, my girlfriends Mandy and Sandy, they were twins, and my friend Brande Roderick. We were at the mansion, and Robert Blake came up to me. One of my friends actually stepped on his foot, and she got a little upset. I apologized for her to him, and he asked for my number. He was like, “No, it’s okay”. I gave him my number, and he called me a few days later. I forgot I gave him my number. I said, “Who is this?”, and he said, “Robert Blake. We met at the Playboy Mansion. I would like to take you out for some coffee”. I was like, “Why don’t we go out for dinner?”. I figured if you’re going to ask me out, especially a man with a little power and some money, I would rather go out for dinner than coffee because I’m not really a coffee drinker. He said, “Well, I’d like to go for coffee because I’m sober and I don’t drink anymore”. I said, “You could still take me to dinner. You don’t have to have drinks”. I said, “Let me get back to you”, and I never got back to him. I ignored him and I never went out with him, thank God, because I saw a year later that he was accused of murder, and that restaurant he went to was right around the corner from me.
Johnny: Ooh. Good thing nothing happened from that.
Antonia: What was the question you asked me?
Johnny: It was the Bill Cosby question.
Antonia: Oh, yeah. No, I never met him. He’s in prison, right?
Johnny: Yes, he is. He was just a real sleaze. I mean, personally, honestly, I’ve always been more of a Richard Pryor person because he was flawed, but he was honest about it, and I think I prefer someone who’s more honest about being a jerk than someone who’s dishonest about being friendly.
Antonia: You’re right, and I just can’t believe him.
Johnny: On a lighter subject, have you ever considered giving music a shot, like your fellow Wynorski veterans Rocky DeMarco and the aforementioned Becky LeBeau?
Antonia: Oh, no. I can’t sing (laughing). I mean, I love music, and I love to sing, but I’m not good at it.
Antonia: Rocky is a pretty good singer from what Jim told me.
Johnny: Oh, yeah. She’s a wonderful singer. Rocky is a good friend of mine.
Antonia: Oh, does she sing anywhere?
Johnny: You can find videos of her singing on YouTube and her Facebook fan page, and she’s currently working on an album paying tribute to her mother and her sisters, who were the DeMarco Sisters, a popular singing group of the 40s and 50s.
Antonia: Oh, I never knew that.
Johnny: Yeah. She’s a great singer and a good friend of mine.
Antonia: Cool, but is she performing anywhere?
Johnny: I don’t know if she’s singing publicly, but she appeared at the Chiller Theatre convention last October.
Antonia: Yeah. Jim was there, right?
Johnny: No, but Rocky performed “I Love Rock N’ Roll” and did a great job with it. I now come to my final question: What advice would you give to someone who is hoping to have a career in the entertainment industry?
Antonia: Well, my stepdaughter is 26, and she is gorgeous, and she got into the acting business about six years ago. I told her, “Even though you have a beautiful face and a beautiful body, it’s a tough job. There’s a lot of competition. You’ve got to go to acting school and act”. She did. All she did was focus on acting. She got a few things, a music video and a few low-budget films, but she realized that it wasn’t going anywhere. She changed from acting, and now she’s doing something else. I would say keep trying, because I have friends who are still going on auditions and have been doing it for 25 years. I quit auditioning. I don’t audition anymore. I quit it 6 or 7 years ago. It’s hard, but definitely keep your dream and passion. It’s a great profession because whenever I am on set, acting never felt like a job. It was so much fun. It’s a business, too, and everyone will say that because everyone who doesn’t work as an actor all the time needs to have another type of job.
Johnny: Alright. That about does it for my questions. I again thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Antonia: Well, I do miss the low-budget world. I loved working in it, I loved acting, and I do miss the 90s. It was just so great. I had a great time with Playboy and the low-budget world. You know, I met Roger Corman, too, so that was really cool.
Johnny: What was he like to meet?
Antonia: Oh, a very, very nice man. I met him through Jim Wynorski. He was very nice.
Johnny: Of course, Roger Corman won an Honorary Oscar a few years back for having hired so many great directors early in their careers.
Antonia: Right, and actors.
Johnny: Oh, of course, and actors, too.
Antonia: Did you know he was an actor?
Johnny: Yeah. I know he still acts on occasion. I know he had a role as the director of the FBI in The Silence Of The Lambs, directed by Jonathan Demme, who used to direct for him.
Antonia: He was also in The Godfather, Part II.
Johnny: Well, I thank you for having taken the time to do this. I loved this interview. I loved hearing your stories.
Antonia: Oh, thank you.
Johnny: Thank you, too, and I’ll definitely be in touch soon.
Antonia: Okay. Thanks.
Johnny: Okay. Bye.
I would like to thank Antonia Dorian for taking the time out of her schedule to speak to me. Stay tuned as I’ll be flashing back in future articles with talents like actress and stuntwoman Mindi Miller, documentarian and journalist Maryam Henein, actress and singer Ann Jillian, and actor and skincare line creator Shedrack Anderson, as well as doing follow-up interviews with Kimmy Robertson and Jennifer Rubin.