Why do I love an intern? Let me count the ways. Not only are they useful for sorting through my mound of mail, fact-checking, and picking up small writing assignments, but, like little lab mice, occasionally they’re fun for an experiment or two.

It would have been just a day’s work to ask one of my most industrious interns, Leona Liu, to interview Mr. Skin, a local “documentarian” of sex and nudity in mainstream film. Mr. Skin, who’s a regular guest on the Howard Stern show and had a cameo in the movie Knocked Up, has recently published a book, Mr. Skin’s Skintastic Video Guide: The 501 Greatest Movies for Sex & Nudity on DVD (SK Books; $19.95). The thrust of the book are the boob and butt counts for movies like Action Jackson (breasts: 4) and Amazon Women on the Moon (breasts: 5, butts: 3). Who does all the counting? Well, Mr. Skin and his army of “Skinterns,” of course!

I thought it would be fun and utterly ridiculous to have my intern interview a skintern. For her part, Leona Liu was willing and called up William “Doc” Heath, 30, one of the Skinterns who helped with the book. We didn’t end up running the interview in the magazine, but I thought it was so great that I’m posting an edited version here.

Intern: Let’s talk about the hiring process. Did you list “love for gratuitous nudity” as one of the skills on your resume?
That should be one of the requirements! No, actually the whole thing was really laid-back. [My friend] basically told [Mr. Skin] I was interested, and I started about 6 months ago.

Intern: Describe the office [located in Wicker Park]. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have this image in my head of a Bud-stocked fridge and a huge plasma screen TV where guys sit around watching nude women all day.
Actually, we work in cubicles! The office has about 30 employees and is broken up into different departments—tech, editorial, and promotions.

Intern: Describe the decor. Overtly sexual stuff?
We have posters of nude women around the place. There’s an autographed one of Jenna Jameson and Misty Monday.

Intern: What are your daily tasks as Mr. Skin’s intern?
The “skinterns” were hired to help with Mr. Skin’s second book, which includes breast, butt, and bush counts for each movie. So we did what we call “boob counts.” Basically, we fast-forward films to the nude scenes and count the number of exposed body parts we see.

Intern: How long does this usually take?
I’d say about 20 minutes per film. It can get really hard though because we can only count each actress in a movie once. Even if she shows her right breast five times and then her left once, we still count it as one boob. Intern: On average, how many films do you get through daily? Skintern: I’d say about 10.

Intern: Do you watch them alone or with coworkers?
You do it by yourself. Everyone watches them on their own computers. This is probably the worst part of the job—you’re working so fast through each film that you can’t actually watch them in their entirety. Because I’m always fast-forwarding to the nude scenes, the endings are always ruined for me.

Intern: I’m curious, are there any female staffers?
Oh yeah. There’s one in editorial and one of our “skinterns,” who has been here for about four months, is also female.

Intern: A lot of women would find what you’re doing degrading. Are you dating anyone right now? If you are, how does she feel about your work?
I’ve had a girlfriend for about two years now. She’s great. I had a slight hesitation when I first heard about the job, and she was actually the one who told me to go for it. She completely supports what I’m doing.

Intern: What about your parents? What was their response?
My mom and my dad were a little skittish at first, but they’re good people. It’s actually kind of funny—my mom tells family friends that I “work with computers.” That usually flies over.

Intern: On average, how many exposed body parts do you see daily?
I’d say anything from 50 to 100 a day…it’s hard to keep track.


Photography: Black Box Studios, Inc.