Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Porn Legend Teri Weigel Interview

Conducted and Edited by Brian Bush
Originally published in layers magazine issue number five

The third of five children, Teri was raised within a devoutly Catholic family in the conservative city of Deerfield Beach, Florida. A natural beauty, she began modeling in her teens, appearing in catalogs for Saks Fifth Avenue and other high-end companies. She later moved to New York and signed with a major modeling agency, which placed her in "Seventeen" magazine and other publications. Modeling gigs in Europe followed. Upon her return to Florida, Teri entered her first beauty contest and was named Miss Deerfield in 1979.

As a result of Teri's lingerie work for Saks and others, Playboy Magazine soon came calling. She did some test shots for the magazine, and was asked to become a Centerfold. Teri graced the cover of the November '85 issue, and appeared as the Centerfold in April 1986. Teri found posing nude liberating, and she enjoyed the fame and money that came with being a Playboy Centerfold.

Teri worked for Playboy for a couple of years, producing several well-received videos. But company gigs eventually became fewer and fewer. Worse, Playboy refused to help promote her mainstream television and film work, which ranged from multiple appearances on Fox's "Married With Children" to roles in "Predator 2", "Marked for Death" with Steven Seagall, "Sunset" with Bruce Willis and James Garner, and cult genre flicks such as "Auntie Lee's Meat Pies" with Karen Black, "Cheerleader Camp" and John Landis's "Innocent Blood".

It quickly became obvious that Teri had outlived her usefulness as a Centerfold, and Playboy unceremoniously kicked her to the curb. (It was the beginning of an acrimonious relationship that continues to this day.) As mainstream jobs became increasingly fewer, Teri finally considered a career in hardcore porn - something no other Playboy Centerfold had ever done (or has done since). Because of this decision, Teri became persona non grata within Playboy, which has gone to extraordinary lengths to squelch her porn career. In one notable example, Hugh Hefner actually called Bob Guccione asking him not to make Teri a Penthouse Pet. As a result, she has appeared only in smaller pictorials.

Wisely capitalizing on her fame and exposure a Centerfold, Teri quickly became a sensation within the porn industry. She had her breasts enlarged (something she says she did for her own self-esteem, not because she had to) and almost immediately achieved superstar status as a result of her remarkable enthusiasm as a performer. To date she has made nearly 50 adult videos. Much of Teri' continued success is a result of her uncanny ability to re-invent herself within an industry infamous for using then tossing aside its talent, and this has kept her in the forefront for nearly a decade.


Layers: What’s the best part about what you do?

Teri Weigel: Probably the fact that I’m able to be myself. Unrestricted. No rules.

Layers: What’s the worst part?

Teri: The traveling. I have 9 puppies at home and I have to leave them almost every week. I work about 40 weeks out of the year. I come home on Sunday and leave again on Tuesday or Wednesday. I only get to see my puppies like three days out of the week.

Layers: Have you had any problems in the past with obsessive fans?

Teri: Not really. I can usually handle people. No gory stories.

Layers: And you’ve been married for 16 years, correct?

Teri: Yes.

Layers: What’s the secret to maintaining a marriage not only outside of the adult industry, but especially being in the industry?

Teri: It’s hard. It takes a lot of communicating and talking to your spouse about the things that trouble you or about the things that you are interested in. The most important thing is the communication. There are times when I’ll be up against the wall with certain things that are brought up and you have to learn that when it comes to men that it’s “give and take” in order to get a step ahead. And as far as being in the adult industry, that’s just helped the relationship because of the honesty that comes with it. We were put in a position were we were forced to be honest with each other and it worked for us.

(Murrill Maglio, Teri’s husband, is in charge of most of Teri’s career on the business ends. He’s also directed approximately ten adult video, one of which won an award at the Adult Video News Awards circa 1995.)

Layers: Where did you guys meet?

Teri: We met in West Palm Beach Florida. He was doin’ a gig with his band and my sister was dating the keyboard player at the time. I was home visiting from Paris. That’s where I was living at the time because I was modeling. And we just started talking at the bar in between the gigs. He told me that he was going through a separation with his wife and are relationship began and ended that night. Then a couple months down the road, my sister told me that he asked to see me and I came in again.

Layers: And all of this happened even before Playboy?

Teri: Yes.

Layers: So you guys have been together since the beginning.

Teri: Yes. And it was hard with Playboy because Playboy didn’t want us to be married.

Layers: Why didn’t they want you to be married?

Teri: Because you are considered to be a “Miss” of a month. I was Miss April and they wanted you to stay single for as long as you could so you could be available for parties or whatever they wanted to throw you into. So we kept it quite for almost a year until one of the other Playmates blabbed her mouth. And Hef (Hugh Hefner, Playboy Publisher) was pretty pissed. Cuz I worked a lot for them. I was one of there top girls.

Layers: So how did that original Playboy deal come together?

Teri: About two months after I began dating Murrill, Playboy held a casting call for “See Through Fashions” in Miami. I had just gotten back from Paris and I had established a great look. I did a lot of stuff over there and I had a great portfolio put together and they picked me. They flew me to some island over the Atlantic and they did a small pictorial with me and another girl from the same agency I was with. And the make-up artist said that I would make a great Playmate and that I should go to Chicago and test shoot. So I waited a couple of months and Murrill thought that it would be a great opportunity for me. So I listened to him and I called Playboy and told them that I wanted to test to be a Playmate. They flew me to Chicago and we shot. And the shots turned out beautiful. I never saw myself look so good in a picture. The photographers were brilliant. It was the first time that I did anything like that and I was excited because of how good I looked nude. Then about a month later they called me and told me that they wanted me for the cover. And my cover ended up getting bumped for Madonna because there was a big scandal going on with her at the time. And I was pissed because I would have been the first cover girl in the staple-less issue. So I was the cover girl for the second staple-less issue.

Layers: What was Playboys initial reaction when you first made your venture into the world of hardcore?

Teri: It was almost hypocritical because Playboy began to venture out into cable with the Playboy Channel. And because me and Murrill were married, they decided to use us together in scenes. And the people who were shooting these “soft-core” videos for Playboy were filmmakers from the adult industry. So after about ten or fifteen of these shoots we started to get comfortable being on camera. And since we were married they just told us to go ahead and have sex. So we did and it made the films look really good and real and Hef didn’t seem to have problem with it probably because they were editing out the penetration. But I knew that once I crossed over to the point were I was working for other companies doing penetration that there would be trouble. Hef wrote me a letter telling me that I let the Playmates down by what I did. And I didn’t feel that way because I probably wouldn’t even have done all of this if it weren’t for Playboy. I just viewed it as a step forward in my career. There wasn’t much left for me to do for Playboy. I had done everything I possibly could for them. And at that point it was either go home and raise kids or continue on with my career. So I chose to go X-rated.

Layers: So you and Murrill made the step into hardcore together?

Teri: We did the first movie together. They had it set up where him and I did a scene and then he had a scene with two other chicks. It was his first time and it was really hard and the girls were real mean to him and he got turned off and decided not to do it anymore. We finished the movie but it was really hard for him. I had no problem though and it was a lot of money.

(Teri Weigels first XXX film was for Wicked Pictures. It debuted in 1991 and was titled Inferno. Inferno stared Ashley Nicole, Alicyn Sterling, April Rayne, Joey Silvera, Mark Wallace, Joey Murphy, and Teri’s husband Murrill Maglio.)

Layers: And he didn’t have a problem with you being with other guys?

Teri: No. It was something that we knew was gonna happen if I wanted to pursue this career. And that’s where the honesty comes from.

Layers: Was it difficult to make that transition?

Teri: Yea it was. I had a lot of factors to consider. Family and stuff like that. And Playboy just kind of shut the door and I was already kind of doing it so it seemed O.K. to me because they weren’t having a problem with it when I was making the money for them. The problem was that Hef no longer had any power over me.

Layers: What’s your relationship with Playboy today?

Teri: I tried to write him when they came out with the pictorial with the pornstars because they left me out. And I was very upset. And he wrote back and told me that I was a Playmate who broke the rules.

Layers: Is there anything you won’t do on film?

Teri: Anal. I will not do anal.

Layers: Has the adult industry changed at all since your first film in 1991?

Teri: Absolutely. There’s some good things and there’s some bad things. There’s better looking guys now. But they’re better looking with bigger attitudes and less performance qualities. Meaning that they’ve got big dicks but they can’t keep them hard. And with everybody eating Viagra like candy, they sometimes get aggressive. Back in the old days they fucked and it was their adrenaline. The companies have changed a lot too. There are a lot more companies out there and there are a lot more girls doing it. Stuff has gotten a lot harder- core too. A lot of the guys are into knockin’ the girls around. I’m not into that shit at all.

Layers: Who are some of the more well known stars you’ve worked with in the past?

Teri: I’ve worked with Rocco Sigfried, Peter North, Randy West…

Layers: …Marc Wallice?

Teri: Yea, I fucked Marc Wallice years ago and I know were you’re going with this and during the time period that he contracted HIV my career was on hold do to a major car accident. I was out for about three years. But yea, I was with him before the whole AIDS scare.

(Marc Wallice was considered to be one of the biggest male stars in the industry until he tested positive for HIV in 1998. If you’ve seen a porno, then you’ve seen Marc Wallice. This news was considered to be the biggest shock to the industry since the death of John Holmes in 1988 from an AIDS related illness.)

Layers: What was the feeling in the industry when they found out he had it?

Teri: It was pretty fuckin’ scary. The main concern was to how long he had it and who he had been with while he had it. And back then, they didn’t really know as much about AIDS as they do now. They didn’t know how long it lay dormant. It was scary.

Layers: You appeared for a short while at the Bunny Ranch in Nevada, the only legal brothel in the United States. How did that gig come about and what was that experience like for you?

Teri: It was just an experience. I met up with Dennis, the owner, and it was kind of like doin’ movies. They had really respectable high-end clients and it was a lot of money.

Layers: You’ve done some mainstream work too. What’s the different in the atmosphere on a big Hollywood set compared to the atmosphere on a porn shoot?

Teri: The attitudes are a lot more neutral on a Hollywood set. There’s more attitude on a porn set because sometimes you have a lot of hot girls together who each think they are better than the other. It can get catty.

Layers: Can you offer any advice to young girls out there who are considering a career in the adult industry?

Teri: They need to think about it really long and hard because it’s a journey that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. And if they are strong enough to handle it then they should have no problems. If they’re not strong individuals, then they might want to rethink it. It’s not as glamorous as it seems. It’s a hard life and people always recognize you for what you do.

Layers: What’s been the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome to get where you are today?

Teri: I don’t really know. Everything that has come my way in life I’ve been able to work through in a logical manner. If I had to say one thing, it would probably be my relationship with Playboy.

Layers: What do you have to say to people who condemn pornography as socially irresponsible?

Teri: I just think that everybody should think for themselves and make their own decisions in life and not have their decisions made up for them by what other people delegate as to what’s good or what’s bad. I think that an open mind is very important for young people today so that we can form a stronger society than what we already have. Porn is not the problem.

Layers: What’s next for the great Teri Weigel?

Teri: I just finished two films for Wicked Pictures. Those will be the last ones. But they don’t know that yet. I’ve got five more weeks in the adult industry and them I’m gonna turn a new leaf and I’m gonna have my own show at the Sahara Hotel in Vegas singing. We don’t have a name for the group yet but there will be a live band behind me and four backup singers. It will be a mixed show with a comedian and a magician and we got the big room so it sits 850 people. Rehearsals are the whole month of January and we’ll be premiering the week after the Super Bowl.

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