Sunny Leone

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Not to be confused with pornographic actress Sunny Lane.
Sunny Leone
Sunny Leone launches PETA - Adopt a stray dog campaign 3.jpg
Leone launching a PETA campaign, 2013
Born Karenjit Kaur Vohra
(1981-05-13) May 13, 1981 (age 33)[1]
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada[2]
Nationality Canadian/American
Ethnicity Punjabi[3]
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)[1][2]
Weight 110 lb (50 kg; 7.9 st)[1][2]
Spouse(s) Daniel Weber (2011–present)[4]
No. of adult films 52 as actress,
51 as director
(per IAFD)[5]
Website
http://www.sunnyleone.com/

Karenjit Kaur Vohra[6] (born May 13, 1981)[1] better known by her stage name Sunny Leone is an Indo-Canadian and American actress, businesswoman, model and former pornographic actress.[7][8] She was named Penthouse Pet of the Year in 2003 and was a contract star for Vivid Entertainment. Named by Maxim as one of the 12 top porn stars in 2010, she has also played roles in independent mainstream films and television shows. She later made her Bollywood debut in Pooja Bhatt's erotic thriller Jism 2 (2012) and now works in Hindi films.

Early life

Leone was born in Sarnia, Ontario to Sikh Punjabi parents.[3] Her father was born in Tibet and raised in Delhi, while her mother (who died in 2008)[9] was from Sirmaur, Himachal Pradesh.[3][10] As a young girl, she was very athletic and played street hockey with the boys,[2] and ice skating on a nearby frozen lake.[11]

Although the family was Sikh,[3] her parents enrolled her in Catholic school[3][12] as it was felt to be unsafe for her to go to public school.[13] She lost her virginity to a basketball player at another school at 16,[12] and discovered her bisexuality at age 18.[14] When she was 13, her family moved to Fort Gratiot, Michigan, then to Lake Forest, California a year later,[12][15] fulfilling her grandparents' dream that the family be together in one place.[3]

Career

Before working in the porn industry, she first worked at a German bakery,[16] a Jiffy Lube,[12] and later a tax and retirement firm.[17]

A black-haired woman wearing a yellow top and jeans sitting behind a table looking up at the camera.
Leone at the 2002 Adult Entertainment Expo, one of her earliest promotional appearances

While studying to be a pediatric nurse in Orange County, a classmate who was an exotic dancer introduced Leone to John Stevens, an agent who in turn introduced her to Jay Allen, a photographer for Penthouse magazine.[10] When picking a name for her adult career, she has said that Sunny is her real name and Leone was picked by Bob Guccione, former owner of Penthouse magazine.[18] She posed for Penthouse magazine, and was named Penthouse Pet of the Month for the March 2001 issue, followed by a feature in the Holiday 2001 edition of Hustler magazine as a Hustler Honey. She has also appeared in other magazines including Cheri,[19] Mystique Magazine,[20] High Society, Swank, AVN Online, Leg World, Club International and Lowrider,[21][22] while her online credits include ModFX Models,[23] Suze Randall,[24] Ken Marcus[25] and Mac & Bumble.[26] Her pictorial credits also include working with stars like Adriana Sage, Jenna Jameson, Jelena Jensen and Aria Giovanni.

In 2003, she was named "Penthouse Pet of the Year" and starred in the video Penthouse Pets in Paradise alongside Tera Patrick and Kyla Cole. In 2005 Adam & Eve appointed her as their West Coast Internet Sales Representative.[27]

That same year, Leone signed a three-year contract with Vivid Entertainment with which she transitioned into the world of hardcore pornography, stating that she would only do lesbian scenes.[2] Her first movie released was titled Sunny[28] and was released in December 2005. Her next movie, Virtual Vivid Girl Sunny Leone, was the first interactive title for Leone, who was the first Vivid Girl to make such a movie.[29] Taking only four days to film,[16] the movie won her her first AVN Award (Best Interactive DVD). She followed this with Sunny Loves Cher, which featured her first on-screen squirting, and The Female Gardner co-starring Mikayla Mendez and Daisy Marie.

Leone's last two movies under her contract with Vivid were It's Sunny in Brazil, which was filmed in Brazil.[30] and The Sunny Experiment also starring Monique Alexander and Brea Lynn.[31] The movies were released in October and December 2007 respectively.

In May 2007, upon re-signing her contract with Vivid for another six films, Leone agreed to perform for the first time with men on camera, but exclusively with her fiancé, Matt Erikson.[32] That summer she also received breast augmentation,[33] and shot her first movie under the new contract titled Sunny Loves Matt. The movie led to her to be nominated for three (out of six) AVN awards in 2009 in addition to being a choice for Female Performer of the Year.[34] She followed up her first boy-girl title with The Other Side of Sunny in October 2008, which would be the last time she would perform with Erikson.

A woman shown in three-quarter length, wearing a yellow mini-dress
Leone at Vivid booth during the 2008 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas

In January 2008, Leone revealed that she was no longer exclusive to Erikson, and had done scenes with other actors, most notably Tommy Gunn, Charles Dera, James Deen[35] and Voodoo.[36] In 2009, Vivid released her only movie performing with other male actors titled "Sunny B/G Adventure".[37] Her final release under contract with Vivid – "Undress Me", once again made her exclusive to performing with just one male actor-Daniel Webber.[38]

In August 2009, she announced the launch of her own studio, Sunlust Pictures, with Daniel Weber as her partner.[39] With her new venture Leone plans to write, direct and create her own brand of adult movies with Vivid Entertainment as her distributor.[35] Her first independent production, The Dark Side of the Sun, was released in March 2009, and was debuted at the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas.[40] In June 2009, she held a casting call in Las Vegas for her second independent production titled Sunny Slumber Party[41] (released September 2009).She followed up with three other self produced features Gia Portrait of a Porn Star (2010) which was nominated for multiple AVN awards,[42] Roleplay (2011) and Goddess (2012) which featured her first anal sex scene.[43]

No longer exclusive to Vivid, Leone has started working with other studios and performers since 2009. She has managed to leverage her online popularity by striking deals with firms like PPPcard,[44] AdultPokerParty.com,[45] Brickhouse,[46] Flirt4Free,[47] Totemcash[48] and Imlive[49] to sell and distribute her content over the internet and other media. She won the "Web Babe of the Year" at the 2008 Xbiz Awards.[50] Her websites and business interests are run under her banner company Leone L.L.C. She indicated in an April 2012 interview that 80 per cent of the traffic on her website, and 60 per cent of her revenue comes from India.[51]

In addition to her film career, Leone has been part of the Vivid Comedy Tour,[52] and has modelled for the Vivid Footwear collection.[53] Leone has also participated in events like the Vivid/ClubJenna Lingerie Bowl[54] and Vivid's Hot Rod Night.[55] Doc Johnson launched a pocket pal in 2006 moulded to her vagina,[56] and in 2008 released the Sunny Leone Exciter vibrator.[57] Control MFG currently uses Leone's image along with other Vivid girls to market their line of skateboards. She is paired with Gab Ekoe, one of the Team Control riders.[58] She also indicated that she plans to launch her own line of lingerie and other Sunny-branded products including a diamond jewellery line.[35]

In September 2009, an iPhone application consisting of a collection of non-nude photos, some videos and a porn star-penned blog[59] was approved by Apple for sale in the iTunes store, making it the first officially sanctioned application featuring a porn star.[60] By February 2010, the app had been removed by Apple from the store.[61]

Leone was voted number 13 (up from number 41 in 2007[62]) on Genesis magazine's "Top 100 Porn stars" list,[63] number 34 on Desiclubs.com's Top 50 Coolest Desis of 2004,[64] and one of the "40 under 40" ranking on AVN Online magazine.[65] In 2010, she was named by Maxim as one of the 12 top female stars in porn.[66] She was voted number 82 in the Top 99 Women for 2012 in AskMen.com's list.[67]

Mainstream appearances

Leone's first mainstream appearance was in 2005, when she was a red carpet reporter for the MTV Awards on MTV India. She has also had a cameo in the film The Girl Next Door, performed in Ja Rule's video Livin' It Up and a video for Kidd Skilly.[68] Other credits include E!'s "Wild On!" and the Sundance Film Festival's 'After Dark'.[69] Leone was a contestant in the second season of the Fox reality show My Bare Lady 2: Open for Business, in which a group of adult actresses were given classes and training on how to pitch investment ideas and competed for success in the business world.[70] In addition to filming her scene for Debbie Does Dallas in 2007, Leone was also part of a Showtime documentary of the same name detailing the production of the movie and the personal lives of its stars.

She has indicated that for the right price she would seriously consider a career in Bollywood.[71] She has been courted by Indian directors in the past but has felt uncomfortable with the roles that she would have played.[18][72] Director Mohit Suri reportedly asked Leone to play the lead role in his film Kalyug, but instead cast Deepal Shaw as he could not afford Leone's $1 million acting fee.[73] She has mentioned that Aamir Khan is her favorite Bollywood actor,[74] and that over 60% of her fans are from South Asia.[75]

In 2008, Leone announced that she would be starring in a mainstream action adventure movie titled Pirates Blood, which was shot in Oman. The shooting was completed in two weeks and was to be released in winter 2008.[76][77] Leone also landed a role in Middle Men, producer Chris Mallick's indie feature about the birth of the online porn industry set for wide theatrical release in 2009.[78][79]

She appeared in the film The Virginity Hit playing a version of herself, where she is hired to take the virginity of the lead character.[80]

Leone has made appearances at events such as the 2002 SEMA International Auto Salon, the 2002 Extreme Autofest Pomona and the 2006 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.[81] Sunny has also been the hostess at events in clubs like the Mansion in Miami[82] and the Highlands in Hollywood.[83]

In 2005, she was mentioned in Forbes magazine for a story on Vivid Entertainment.[84] Leone has also been featured in mainstream publications like FHM, Front and Jane magazine.[85] In 2007, along with the other Vivid Girls, she was seen in a 48' high holiday Billboard in Times Square at W. 48th Street and Seventh Avenue.[86] Leone is also one of the Penthouse Pets who appears in the PlayStation Portable game Pocket Pool. She was also featured in a coffee table book titled Naked Ambition: An R Rated Look at an X Rated Industry by Michael Grecco.[87]

In 2004, she was part of "No More Bush Girls", in which she and several other popular adult actresses shaved off their pubic hair in protest of the Bush presidency.[88] In May 2008, she shot a promotional video for Declare Yourself, a nonprofit, nonpartisan voter registration campaign targeting 18-to-29-year-olds.[89] She indicated that Barack Obama would be her choice in the 2008 U.S. election, primarily because she felt he was more business friendly to the adult industry than his opponent John McCain.[90] She also released a public service announcement on behalf of the ASACP, reminding adult webmasters to protect their sites from children by having an RTA label on it.[91]

Leone has a strong interest in health and fitness, and has been featured in several mainstream fitness publications. Leone has modelled fitness clothing for the sports brand Fantasy Fitness[92] and shared that she keeps her body in shape by working out as much as she can despite her busy schedule and as quoted in Men's Fitness magazine, "I try to eat very healthy – lots of vegetables, drinking my milk every day."[93]

In 2013, Leone posed for a PETA ad campaign, encouraging dog and cat owners to have their pets spayed and neutered.[94]

Bigg Boss

Leone with show host Sanjay Dutt after her eviction from the Bigg Boss house

In 2011, she participated in the Indian reality series Bigg Boss, entering the house on day 49.[95][96] However she refused to divulge her porn star status, and replied to fellow house-mate Pooja Bedi that she was a model and a TV star in America for the last ten years or so.[97] It was reported that she has caused a stir in the larger populace[98] with her Twitter feed gaining 8,000 new followers in just 2 days[99] and Google saying searches for her experienced a "breakout".[100] There have also been complaints lodged with the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting alleging that the Colors TV channel is promoting pornography by having Leone appear on the show; among those who have filed are the Indian Artistes and Actors Forum[101] and Anurag Thakur, member of Lok Sabha and head of the Bharatiya Janata Party's youth wing.[102]

Indian cinema

During her stay in the Bigg Boss house, Sunny was approached by Bollywood film-maker Mahesh Bhatt who entered the house briefly to offer her the lead role in Jism 2 (the sequel to the 2003 film Jism). She accepted it, which resulted in Pooja Bhatt's production house, Fish Eye Network and Leone's agent discussing the movie further.[103] The first look of the film Jism 2 was released anticipating her entry in Bollywood.[104] Jism 2 was released on August 3, 2012, to poor critical reception but was commercially successful.[105] Sunny Leone signed her second Bollywood film which is Ekta Kapoor's Ragini MMS sequel, "Ragini MMS 2". Ragini MMS, a crossover horror movie was one of the most talked about sleeper hits of 2011.[106] Sunny Leone featured in an item number in the Sanjay Gupta and Ekta Kapoor's 2013 film Shootout at Wadala.[107][108] She further started filming for Kaizad Gustad's Jackpot in which she plays a femme fatale.[109] Jackpot released on 13 December 2013 and was panned by critics but Leone was praised for her performance. Taran Adarsh wrote, "Sunny also shows a marked improvement in her performance."[110] A review from Bollywood Life compared her to Katrina Kaif and opined,"Sunny Leone reminds us of Katrina Kaif only a decade ago, but an aged version. Ms Leone would fare better than the superstar as far as the expressions and dialogue delivery departments are concerned even today. "[111] She found additional support in Bollywood from actor Abhay Deol who stated in an interview that "I hope more porn stars come in to our industry as it fits in very well" [112] Her first film of 2014 was the horrex Ragini MMS 2. The film earned her more appreciation for her better acting and was a huge hit. In November 2013, she confirmed that she would make her Tamil film debut in Vadacurry which released in May 2014. She made a special appearance in the song Low ana life u.[113]

Upcoming Projects

As of March 2014, after the success of Ragini MMS 2 Leone is having several projects in development. She is playing lead along with Karishma Tanna in forthcoming action thriller Tina and Lolo in which she'll be seen in a new avatar.[114] She appeared in Hate Story 2 sequel to 2012 thriller Hate Story in an item song Pink Lips. The song became a hit.[115]


She is signed to appear in Milap Zaveri's sex comedy Mastizaade alongside Tushar Kapoor and Vir Das. She is also signed to make a special appearance in a Tamil film Oru Oorla Rendu Raja. As of 2014 she will also make her Telugu film debut in a Cameo appearance with Current Theega in which she'll play a school teacher. She'll play a princess in Bobby Khan's musical Leela. She'll also be seen alongside Ram Kapoor in a dramedy Patel Rap. She had also signed to act in a film titled Tera Beimaan Love by the journalist turned filmmaker Rajeev Chaudhari.

Personal life

In June 2006, Leone became an American citizen,[16] but plans to remain a dual citizen of Canada.[116] On 14 April 2012, Leone announced that she was now a resident of India [117][118][118] explaining in an interview to The New Indian Express that she was an Overseas Citizen of India and that she was eligible for overseas citizenship because her parents lived in India. She applied for it prior to filming Jism 2.[119][120][121]

Sunny Leone and husband Daniel Weber arriving in India to promote Jism 2

Although bisexual, she has stated that she prefers men.[122] Leone was engaged to Matt Erikson, a vice-president of marketing at Playboy Enterprises but they broke up in 2008.[15][123][124][125] Sunny Leone had dated stand-up comedian Russell Peters for a brief period in 2008.[126][127] She mentioned in an interview at the start of 2011 that she was married to Daniel Weber.[128] During her stay in the Bigg Boss house later that same year, Leone indicated that she had married; Leone said she 'purposely arrived late' to their first date as she was not impressed with him, but he changed her mind by sending 24 roses to her hotel room.[129][130] She currently resides in Hollywood, California with her cat and drives an Audi A5.[12]

In 2010, Leone's father died of cancer, which he had been first diagnosed with in 1999. In 2011, Leone along with Monique Alexander and Keni Styles ran in the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles Half-Marathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society.[131][132]

A 2008 Eye Weekly article reported that "Leone does her best to maintain a link to Sikh traditions, even if more in theory than in practice. But she's unlikely to disavow her career path due to religion" and that Leone said "Girls will leave the industry claiming that they found God. Well, the fact is, God has always been with them the entire time."[133] In a 2010 interview, she said "It's a community-based religion. You walk into a temple and you're greeted with the utmost respect... But, just like any religion it doesn't want you to shoot adult material. I mean, I grew up going to temple every Sunday. When my parents found out they knew my personality which was very independent. Even if they tried to stop me or tried to steer me the right way they would have lost their daughter. I'm too headstrong. And it wasn't a plan. It just happened and my career and everything just kept getting bigger and bigger."[13]

In her spare time she enjoys abstract paintings, horse riding, reading, playing World of Warcraft,[134] watching The Simpsons and the Discovery Channel.[135] She used to play on a women's soccer league team in California.[2] Her favourite holiday destination is Hawaii,[16] and her favourite cuisine is Italian.[135]

Filmography

Bollywood films

Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Role Language Notes
2012 Jism 2 Izna Hindi
2013 Shootout at Wadala Laila Hindi Special appearance in song Laila
2013 Jackpot Maya Hindi
2014 Ragini MMS 2 Sunny Leone Hindi
2014 Vadacurry Herself Tamil Special appearance in song Low Aana Life-u
2014 Hate Story 2 Herself Hindi Special appearance in song Pink Lips
2014 Tina and Lolo Film has yet to be released Tina Hindi Post-production[136][137][138][139]

Hollywood Films

Year Title Role Language Notes
2004 The Girl Next Door Herself English Cameo appearance
2008 Pirate's Blood Sunny English
2010 The Virginity Hit Sunny English

Pornographic films

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Penthouse Video: Virtual Harem Sunny
2003 Deadly Stingers Hot Tub Hussey
2004 Mystique Presents H20hh
Busty Cops Taluca Lake
Lingerie: The Secret Art of Seduction Sunny
2005 Centerfold Fetish
Sunny
Alabama Jones and the Busty Crusade Queen of the Jungle
2006 Busty Cops 2 Taluca Lake Sequel
Virtual Vivid Girl Sunny Leone Sunny Leone
Sunny & Cher Sunny
The Female Gardener
2007 Debbie Does Dallas... Again Corky
Sunny Loves Matt Sunny
It's Sunny in Brazil
The Sunny Experiment
2008 The Other Side of Sunny
Dark Side of the Sun
Descent Into Bondage
Costumed Damsels in Distress Gypsy girl
The House of Naked Captives
2009 Undress Me
Deviance
Naughty America 4 Her 6
Sunny's Sluber Party Sunny
Sunny's Big Adventure
2010 Live Gonzo
Shut Up and Fuck Me
Sunny's Casting Couch: I Wanna Be a Pornstar
All Sunny All the Time
Sunny Leone Loves HD Porn
Sunny Leone Loves HD Porn 2
Girlfriends 2
Hocus Pocus XXX Townsfolk
Gia: Portrait of a Porn Star Gia
Not Charlie's Angels XXX Kelly
2011 Roleplay
Sunny & the Suitcase Sunny Short
Lies: Diary of an Escort
Bang Van Blowout with Nick Swardson Short
2012 Sunny Leone: Goddess
Lesbian Workout
Sunny Leone: Erotica
Home Alone
2013 Charlie's Girl: Georgia Jones

Television

Year Serial Role Channel Notes
2005 MTV Awards Reporter MTV India First mainstream appearance
2007 Debbie Does Dallas Herself Showtime Documentary
2008 My Bare Lady 2: Open for Business Contestant Fox Reality Channel
2008 Co-Ed Confidential Stripper Cinemax After Dark Three episodes
2011 Bigg Boss 5 Contestant Colors Evicted on Day 91
2014 Haunted Weekends with Sunny Leone Host MTV India
2014 Splitsvilla: Season 7 Host MTV India Announced

Other media appearances

Year Production Role Type Notes
2001 Livin' It Up Dancer Videoclip song by Ja Rule
2007 Pocket Pool Penthouse Pet PlayStation Portable game

Awards

Year Ceremony Category Work
2008 XBIZ Web Babe of the Year[140]
2010 AVN Best All-Girl Group Sex Scene[141]
Web Starlet of the Year[142]
F.A.M.E. Favorite Breasts[143]
2012 XBIZ Porn Star Site of the Year[144] SunnyLeone.com
2013 AVN Crossover Star of the Year (tied with James Deen)[145]

See also

References

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  4. ^ "Sunny Leone's husband comes to India". Times of India. April 16, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
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