Why I Went from Small Town Sweetheart to Popular Porn Performer

By KC

People Are Not Products - White

Many people contact Fight the New Drug to share their personal stories about how porn has affected their life or the life of a loved one. We consider these personal accounts very valuable because, while the science and research is powerful within its own right, personal accounts from real people seem to really hit home about the damage that pornography does to real lives.

This is a true story we received from a former porn performer named Halli. She gave us permission to use her name, and her image.

I am 20 years old. I grew up in a tiny town in New Mexico in a family that was super conservative. My first exposure to porn came after I had graduated high school and started dating a guy in college who had a pretty serious porn addiction. It was difficult for me because he often disconnected after sex or would leave quickly after it was over.

It led me to feel insecure about myself and I started watching porn to see what he liked. For several years even after we broke up I would practice things I had seen in porn because I assumed that the only way to keep guys around was to be like the girls they always watched. Unsurprisingly, it mostly just led to them treating me like their personal porn star and real feelings of love and intimacy never developed out of it.

The first time I ever thought I could be in porn

I first entertained the idea that I could be in porn when I was approached by a guy on tinder who was scouting for new models shortly after Backpage closed down. I figured that I was letting guys use me for sex anyway, so I might as well get paid for it.

My first shoot was very low budget, and was shot by an older man and his wife in their basement. Classy, I know. I was nervous for it up until I walked through the door. Then it was like a switch flipped in my brain and I wasn’t me anymore, I was a performer. A sexualized character of myself.

Related: What It Really Costs (And Pays) To Be A Porn Performer Today

I was referred to the older couple from the first shoot by the guy who was scouting on Tinder for models. He had been working with them for a long time and knew they were desperate for new girls. I never had an agent, although I was approached by many people wanting to sign me. Lots of my friends in the industry told me not to go through an agent because most are shady and end up taking 70% of your earnings for themselves. Luckily, I lived in a place where the porn industry was thriving so I never had a problem booking jobs by myself.

Why I stayed in the industry for so long

For the most part, the people I worked with were kind, if not a bit quirky. My first producer was very protective of me and helped me navigate the ropes of the industry so that I didn’t end up working with dangerous people. Every shoot I ever did I signed consenting paperwork, showed STD test results and provided two forms of identification.

The craziest shoots I ever did were BDSM videos where I was whipped, slapped, tied up and gagged. I remember going to my desk job the next morning and not being able to sit down for long because of the bruises and slashes all over my body.

The reason I had stayed in the porn industry for so long is because everyone made me feel like I belonged there. There was a sense of community and everyone was really friendly. The other thing I loved was that it felt safe. Shortly before going into the industry, I was sexually assaulted and that experience made me crave control when it came to sex. When I shot porn I knew I was in control. I had signed consent agreements, and there were other people in the room and I convinced myself that this made it safe, and that I couldn’t get hurt this way.

The moment I decided to leave porn forever

When I chose to leave the industry I was working a lot with a company I had done several shoots with and I had become very close with the guys I worked with as well as the producer. I trusted all of them and we had almost a family-like bond. One day the producer approached me and said he wanted to sleep with me off camera and that he’d pay me.

I had been offered things like this before but the fact that I became so close with him and knew his wife and trusted him made me realize that the industry wasn’t as safe as I’d thought it was. His betrayal of my trust made me see that I wasn’t in control, I was being manipulated and used. Once I lost that power, none of it mattered anymore. I came home and immediately blocked all my porn contacts and never spoke to them again.

Related: “The More Real The Pain, The More Views I Got”: Confessions From An Extreme BDSM Porn Performer

Shortly before I quit, a bunch of people from my hometown found my porn Twitter account and it spread like wildfire. I was very conservative in high school and so the fact that I did porn was a crazy shock to everyone I knew. It was super difficult to deal with the comments and assumptions made about me, but in some ways I’m grateful for this entire crazy experience because it’s made me come to terms with everything that has happened.

I feel like I’m better able to spread awareness on this issue because I’ve been on all sides of it.

Porn Is Totes Not Cool

Life and relationships after porn

Currently, I’m working for a bank and I’m planning on going back to school to finish getting my cosmetology license. The transition has been difficult just for the fact that while I was shooting I never had to budget or worry about finances at all. It’s a massive lifestyle change. Financial security is the only thing that has ever made me question my decision to leave the industry. But whenever the temptation for easy money comes, I remind myself of how far I’ve come and how much better I feel about myself now that I’m out.

I definitely think this is something that will affect my future relationships. I dated a guy while I was in the industry who knew about my job and it created a lot of tough conversations for us. I think the hardest thing is that because I’m so open about my experiences, and it’s pretty common knowledge at this point, I worry about the way guys will react.

Related: 5 Male Ex-Porn Performers Share Their Brutal Experiences Doing Porn

It’s challenging sometimes to see the difference between someone who is understanding and accepting of my past and someone who is just really excited to be dating an ex-porn performer. At this point, I feel like I’m really sensitive to objectification, and if for a second I feel like a guy is with me just because of my history I get really defensive.

For now, I’m trying to focus on healing and therapy, so hopefully one day I’ll be able to feel comfortable and safe in a romantic relationship again.

The harsh truth I learned about the porn industry

If there is one thing I want people to know about the industry it’s that literally everything about porn is fake.

It’s not sexy, it’s not romantic, and it’s definitely not real. I was shocked my first time shooting when they explained to me that they film the ending of the video first to get it out of the way and then piece together the clips of everything else to make a believable video.

There were so many times while I was shooting I wasn’t even focused on the sex, I was worried about making sure my face was visible in the lighting and that my hair wasn’t falling in my face. The reason you shouldn’t take sex tips from porn is because when we film it, no one is focused on pleasuring the other person, all anyone wants is to make a good video. That’s it. We’re not in it to “educate” anyone, just put on a show.

Related: “I Thought I Was Keeping Marriages Together”: True Stories From A Former Porn Performer

Before going into the industry I wish I would have known how easy it is to get sucked into the normalization of objectification. My only job was to look good and have sex and I was actually okay with it.

I let myself be flattered when people left nice comments on my videos and it made me feel good that people were at home wishing that they were with me. Now, the thought makes me sick to my stomach knowing how many people are using my videos as a mental reference on how women are supposed to be treated.

That’s why I want to speak out about this because I know how many people I have hurt by contributing to this industry and I want to be able to help make up for my mistakes in any way I can.

Halli

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The realities of the porn industry

We’re so proud of Halli for boldly sharing her story and making the decision to step out of a toxic industry full of lies. This story shows the realities of how some performers can believe they’re safe and in control, but that illusion doesn’t always last.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Fixing The Porn Industry’s Problems Won’t Actually Fix Porn Itself

Halli’s experience gives us a look into the total lies of the industry, and also how some performers channel the pain of abuse into their performance in the industry. Not every performer in porn has an abusive past, though from our experience with interviewing former performers, it is a common theme.

Ultimately, a takeaway from her story is that performers have to deal with sexual entitlement of others who are waiting to exploit them on and/or off the porn set.

It’s time we put an end to the porn industry getting a free pass when it comes to the dehumanization of women and girls—and men and boys, too. People aren’t products or simply a collection of body parts to be used, consumed, and discarded. Each person exploited through porn and the resulting mainstream media—and each of you reading this, right now—deserve so much better than that.

Related: What Porn Performers Are Really Thinking When They’re Having Sex On Camera

With research continually showing how harmful porn is, we can take a stand against these harmful ideals, fight for our humanity, and give a voice to those who can’t fight for themselves. We’re so glad Halli has joined this fight for love, and we hope you will, too.

The post Why I Went from Small Town Sweetheart to Popular Porn Performer appeared first on Fight the New Drug.