Karenjit Kaur Vohra (Sarnia, Canada, May 13, 1981) better known as Sunny Leone, is a Canadian actress, model, businesswoman and former porn star. She was elected Penthouse Pet of the Year in 2003. She was under contract with Vivid Entertainment. In 2010, according to Maxim, she was one of the 12 most successful pornstars of 2010. She has since received more attention in mainstream media and has appeared in television programs and non-pornographic films.
Leone was born into a Sikh family from Punjab, India. Her father was born in Tibet and raised in Delhi. Her mother, who died in 2008, came from Sirmaur, in the Indian province of Himachal Pradesh. As a young girl, she was sporty and played street hockey with boys, and skated regularly.
Although her family was Sikh, her parents sent her to a Catholic school because her parents did not find a public school safe enough. At the age of 18 she came to the conclusion that she was bisexual.
When she was 13, her family moved to Fort Gratiot in the state of Michigan in the US. A year later she moved again, now to Lake Forest in California to the rest of her family, because her grandparents wanted it. She finished high school in 1999 and went to further education.
When Leone was training to become a child nurse in Orange County, California, one of her classmates, who was an exotic dancer, introduced her to John Stevens. He introduced her again to Jay Allen, a photographer for Penthouse. As a pseudonym, she chose Sunny - her brother's name and Leone was chosen by Bob Guccione, former owner of Penthouse. She posed for the magazine and was elected Penthouse Pet of the Month for March 2001. She also appeared in the Christmas edition of the magazine Hustler as a Hustler Honey. At that time she also appeared in other magazines including Cheri, Mystique Magazine, High Society, Swank, AVN Online, Leg World, Club International and Lowrider. She has also posed for ModFX Models, Suze Randall, Ken Marcus and Mac & Bumble.
In 2003, Leone was elected "Penthouse Pet of the Year" and appeared in the video Penthouse Pets in Paradise with Tera Patrick and Kyla Cole. In 2005, she was named "West Coast Internet Sales Representative" by Adam & Eve.
In 2005, Leone signed a three-year contract with Vivid Entertainment. With this, she switched to hardcore pornography. Leone agreed that she would only do lesbian scenes. Her first pornographic film was entitled Sunny and was released in December 2005. Her next film was interactive, which had never been done before by Vivid. The film was recorded in just four days. She also received her first AVN Award for best interactive DVD for this film. After this she made the films Sunny Loves Cher, in which she first squirted for the camera, and The Female Gardner, which she and Mikayla Mendez and Daisy Marie have made.
The last two films by Leone for Vivid were its Sunny in Brazil, which was filmed in Brazil, and The Sunny Experiment, in which Monique Alexander and Brea Lynn appeared. These films came out in October, resp. December 2007.
In May 2007, she extended her contract with Vivid for six more films. She also agreed to work with men in front of the camera, but only with her fiancé, Matt Erikson. Leone also received a breast augmentation in the summer of 2007. After this she appeared in the film Sunny Loves Matt. She was nominated by this film for three of the six AXN awards of 2009. She was also nominated for "Female Performer of the Year". In October 2008 she made her last film with Erikson, The Other Side of Sunny.
In January 2008, Leone announced that she would no longer work exclusively with Erikson and did scenes with other actors.
In 2009, Vivid released its only film in which she collaborated with other men. This film was released under the title Sunny B/G Adventure. In her latest film for Vivid, "Undress Me", she appeared with Daniel Weber and has indicated that she will work exclusively with him.
In August 2009, Leone announced that it was opening its own studio, together with Daniel Weber, under the name Sunlust Pictures. She wanted to write, direct and make her own films. The films were published by Vivid. Her first independent production came out in March 2009: The Dark Side of the Sun. The film was released in the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas. In June 2009 she was cast in Las Vegas for her second film, Sunny Slumber Party. This film was released in September that year. She then produced three other films: Gia Portrait of a Porn Star (2010), was nominated for several AVN Awards, Roleplay (2011) and Goddess (2012), in which she did an anal sex scene for the first time.
Since 2009, Leone has also worked with studios other than Vivid. She has become more famous online through collaboration with PPPcard, AdultPokerParty.com, Brickhouse, Flirt4Free, Totemcash and IMlive, to sell and distribute her films via the internet and other media. Partly because of this, she won the "Web Babe of the Year" XBIZ Award in 2008. Her website and affairs are run through the company Leone LLC. Leone said in an interview in April 2012 that 80% of the visitors to her website and 60% of her income comes from India.
In addition to her work in pornographic films, Leone was also part of the Vivid Comedy Tour, and she modeled for Vivid Footwear. She has also participated in other Vivid events such as Vivid/ClubJenna Lingerie Bowl and Vivid's Hot Rod Night.
There are also sex toys (so-called fleshlights) made in 2006 by Doc Johnson after the shape of her vulva and vagina, using a mold. The Sunny Leone Exciter vibrator was released in 2008. Control MFG uses Vivid models, including Leone, to advertise their skateboards. Leone was linked to Gab Ekoe, one of Team Control's skateboarders. She has also indicated that she wants to start her own lingerie and jewelry line.
Leone rose from place 41 in 2007 to 13th place in the "Top 100 Porn stars" of the Genesis magazine in 2009. She also came in 34th place in the "Top 50 Coolest Desis" in 2004 of the site Desiclubs.com. She was also one of the "40 under 40" in AVN Online. Maxim chose her as one of the top 12 female pornstars. On askMen.com, Leone finished in 82th place in the top 99 women of 2012.
In 2011, Leone participated in the Indian version of the reality program Big Brother, Bigg Boss, which was in its fifth season. She entered the house on the 49th day. She withheld her profession as a pornographic actress and told her roommate Pooja Bedi that she had been a model and TV actress in America for ten years. Her participation in Bigg Boss led to greater popularity outside of pornography. Her Twitter account received 8,000 followers in two days, and searches for her on Google showed a huge peak. Complaints were lodged with the Indian Ministry of Information arguing that the presence of Leone in the pornography program propagated. The complaints came from, among others, the Indian Artists and Actors Forum and Anurag Thakur, leader of the youth department of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
During her stay at the Bigg Boss house, Leone was approached by Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt, who visited the house for an hour. He offered her the lead in Jism 2, an erotic thriller that was the sequel to the successful 2003 film, Jism. She accepted the role and after leaving Big Boss she started recording Jism 2 in Goa, Jaipur and Sri Lanka. In the film, Leone plays a woman who is hired by the police to seduce her ex-boyfriend, a dangerous terrorist. The role was challenging for Leone, especially since she didn't speak Hindi that well yet. Her voice is therefore dubbed in the film, since Leon's accent was too heavy for the role. Jism 2 was released on August 33, 2012 and, despite bad reviews, was a big hit in India.
Shortly thereafter, she played a small role in another Bollywood film, Shootout at Wadala. In this film she played a dancer and she danced and played only in one song.
After this Leone played a role in the Bollywood comedy thriller film Jackpot from producer Kaizad Gustad. She played a seductive businesswoman. Jackpot came out on December 13, 2013 and was a flop. Leon's performance in the film, however, received positive reactions and most reviews agreed that her role in Jackpot was better than in her first film.
Leon's next Bollywood role was in another follow-up film, this time Ragini MMS 2 from producer Ekta Kapoor. This is a follow-up to the film Ragini MMS, a cross-over horror film, which became very popular in 2011. Leone played an actress who became possessed. The actress always claimed to have loved horror movies, so participating in this movie was a dream comes true for her. Ragini MMS 2 came out in March 2014 and was just like the first part a big hit and the reviews were also very positive.