Rolling Back the Years: Q&A With The Star Of ‘Grinders’

This May marks two years since the cinematic release of ‘Grinders,’ the ultimate throwback film to the rebellious spirit of 90s skateboarding culture. In 2022, Adult Time unleashed this coming-of-age gem by Director of the Year winner Ricky Greenwood, capturing the raw energy of an era where skaters ruled the streets and lovers’ angst ruled the sheets.

The film follows Lucky (played by Lucky Fate), a mid-20s skateboarder shredding up the city with gravity-defying tricks while trying not to get thrown to the curb by the twists and turns of life, love, and friendship. Brush-ins with the law, secrets kept by those closest to him, and an unexpected visit from an out-of-towner turn Lucky’s world upside down – a dizzying 180 that Lucky will have to stick the landing for, or it may be a wipe-out he can’t ever recover from.

But hold on to your grip tape because things get even more complicated as Lucky starts to reconnect with his longtime crush from back in school, Morgan (played by Maya Woulfe) after several years estranged. Sparks fly, and their budding relationship starts to help Lucky come out of his shell for the very first time… but just when things seem like they might work out in the end, life throws him the gnarliest curveball, and Lucky faces an impossible choice.

This epic retro ride features a stellar cast of both seasoned veterans and rising stars in the adult entertainment world. Industry icons Vicki Chase, Vanna Bardot, Tommy Pistol, and more bring their A-game as the supporting roles to Fate and Woulfe’s leading love-match. And it shows! ‘Grinders’ didn’t just skate by unnoticed; it conquered the scene, earning the coveted Grand Reel award at the 2023 AVN show, solidifying its status as an instant classic. The film’s success is a testament to the cast and crew’s dedication and craft, and we couldn’t be prouder.

Fast forward back from the ‘90s to 2024 as we sit down with Maya Woulfe, the gorgeous and charismatic star of ‘Grinders,’ here to look back on the making of this unforgettable film. Grab your board for a trip down memory lane as we chat with her about the impact ‘Grinders’ had on her career and the thrills of bringing this technically ambitious and narratively complex masterpiece to life.

How did you prepare for your roles in “Grinders,” considering the unique nature of the film?

MAYA: Preparing for my role in “Grinders” was a relatively seamless process, considering the character’s nature closely resonated with aspects of my personality. I was cast as a shy, put-together, and intelligent young woman, traits that felt quite familiar and close to home. Given the character’s similarities to myself, I found that I did not require extensive preparation to embody her persona and mannerisms on screen. Instead, drawing from personal experiences and traits, I was able to authentically portray the role, allowing for a natural and genuine performance.

Can you share any memorable moments or challenges you faced during the filming process?

MAYA: One of the most memorable yet challenging moments during the filming process for me was the first day we shot the pool scene. Due to a misunderstanding, the pool was expected to be fully heated, but unfortunately, it was not. Upon jumping in, the water was freezing cold, which presented a significant challenge for me as I am particularly sensitive to the cold. Despite the discomfort, I remained committed to capturing the necessary shots. However, during the shoot, it became evident that the conditions were affecting the quality of the scenes. At one point, it was brought to my attention that my shivering was noticeable, and it was then decided that a reshoot day would be necessary to ensure the desired outcome. 

“Grinders” received several awards. How does that recognition impact your career and personal growth as an actor?

MAYA: Winning awards for this film has been an incredible honor, and it was a privilege to be a part of the project. It’s not just a validation of the hard work we all put in, but it also inspires me to push boundaries as an actress, constantly seeking new challenges and growth. This recognition motivates me to continue exploring diverse roles and stories, both for my career and personal journey in acting.

In what ways do you believe the adult film industry has evolved since the release of “Grinders” in 2022?

MAYA: Since the release, and throughout my time in the industry, I’ve observed a notable shift in adult film. There is a noticeable trend towards a heightened emphasis on storytelling and production quality, transforming adult films into more nuanced and artistic expressions. This evolution reflects a move towards the era when iconic movies such as “Pirates,” “Conquest,” and “The Fashionistas” set new standards for the industry. It’s encouraging to see this trajectory as it signifies a return to an era of innovative and boundary-pushing filmmaking.

Were there any misconceptions or stereotypes about the industry that you aimed to challenge through your performances in this film?

MAYA: Absolutely. One of the misconceptions or stereotypes about the industry I aimed to challenge through my performance in this film is the idea that we, as adult actors/actresses can’t act. Films like ‘Grinders’ provide a platform to showcase the depth of our skills, portraying complex characters and delivering authentic emotions. By participating in projects like this, we aim to challenge the notion that adult film actors are limited in their abilities. We demonstrate that we can deliver compelling performances that resonate with audiences, hopefully reshaping perceptions about our craft.

How do you navigate the balance between personal boundaries and the demands of your profession in the adult film industry?

MAYA: Maintaining a balance between personal boundaries and the demands of the adult film industry is a delicate but essential task. It starts with a deep understanding of oneself and what we are comfortable with. Communication is critical – not just with co-stars and directors but also with myself.  Outside of work, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for my well-being. Engaging in activities that rejuvenate and center me helps separate my personal life from my professional commitments. Ultimately, navigating this balance is an ongoing process of self-awareness, communication, and self-care. 

Can you discuss the collaboration and chemistry you developed with your co-stars on set?

MAYA: Collaborating with my co-stars was a bonding experience. The long days on set bring us closer, and being around like-minded people makes everything easier. We develop a chemistry that translates on screen, creating authentic and compelling scenes. The atmosphere of professionalism and mutual respect encourages us to bring our best performances forward.

“Grinders” has been praised for its unique storyline. How do you think the narrative challenges conventional norms within the adult film genre?

MAYA: “Grinders” stands out for its innovative narrative that challenges conventional norms within the adult film genre. The film delves into deeper themes and character development, offering a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of the industry. Rather than solely focusing on explicit scenes, “Grinders” explores the personal lives, struggles, and aspirations of its characters. This shift in focus humanizes the performers, breaking away from the one-dimensional stereotypes often associated with adult films. 

How has your perspective on your own career and the industry changed since the release of “Grinders”?

MAYA: Since the release of “Grinders,” my perspective on my career and the industry has expanded towards exploring opportunities in mainstream media and larger projects within the adult film industry. “Grinders” & truthfully, every feature/featurette I’ve had the privilege of working on has served as a stepping stone, illustrating the potential impact of storytelling beyond the typical boundaries of adult films. I am excited about the prospect of working on bigger projects within the adult film industry, aiming to challenge traditional narratives and contribute to the genre’s evolution. Simultaneously, this experience has ignited a passion for venturing into mainstream media, where I believe I can continue to push boundaries and contribute to authentic representation on a broader scale. 

Were there any unexpected positive outcomes or challenges that arose post-release of the film?

MAYA: Post-release of “Grinders,” I was pleasantly surprised by the strong friendships that developed with many of the cast and crew. The collaborative nature of the film created a sense of camaraderie that extended beyond the set, leading to lasting connections and exciting opportunities for future collaborations. These bonds have not only enhanced my professional growth but also enriched my personal life.

Can you share any lessons or insights you gained from working on “Grinders” that you apply to your current projects?

MAYA: Working on “Grinders” taught me that investing time, energy, and effort into a project can pay off. Seeing the dedication of the cast and crew to make something great has inspired me to approach my current projects with the same level of commitment and passion.

What advice would you give to aspiring actors looking to enter the adult film industry or explore more unconventional roles in their careers?

MAYA: For those considering entering the industry, it’s important to develop a resilient mindset and be prepared to face stigma. The adult film industry, like any other, comes with its challenges and misconceptions. Actors exploring this field should understand that they might encounter judgment from society or even friends and family. Developing a thick skin becomes essential, as navigating these preconceived notions can be tough. However, it’s crucial to remember that these challenges are not a reflection of your worth or talent. Accepting and navigating this reality with strength and determination is pivotal to pursuing a successful career in adult film. It’s about finding the balance between staying true to yourself and being open to growth and change. Confidence in your abilities and a resilient attitude toward setbacks will help you persevere in an industry that demands mental, physical, and emotional strength.

For actors already in the adult film industry looking to explore more unconventional roles, my advice is to understand the dedication required to expand your repertoire. To be considered for these projects, it’s essential to invest time into developing new skills, honing your craft, and showcasing versatility. Embracing continuous learning and growth will not only open doors to more diverse roles but also demonstrate your commitment to the craft. It’s also important to network within the industry, building connections with directors, producers, and fellow performers who share a vision for innovative and boundary-pushing projects.

Watch a full Grinders scene for free here!

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