Ever wonder what skin flick actors did before they were stars? Unless it’s Jenna Jameson who wrote a New York Times Bestseller titled How to Make Love Like a P**n Star: A Cautionary Tale, not much is known about the early days of these hotties. That certainly adds to their allure and mystery, but enquiring minds want to know! They are more than just eye candy, and it’s fascinating to learn about who was a goody-goody, who was a bad-ass, and who was somewhere in between. After all, no one grows up wanting to be am adult film star. What sparked their urge to explore the forbidden side of film? What obstacles did they encounter? What were their families like? Where did they come from?
It’s hard to dig up details on these actors because their pasts are kept quiet. (Peter North is notoriously tight-lipped about his early days.) Some actors are very private people, despite baring all in front of the camera. Others don’t want to share personal information as it can be at-odds with their image. And many just don’t get the forum to tell their back stories because they are often regarded as sex objects – and nothing more.
Nevertheless, their personal lives are riveting. From down home roots to dysfunctional families, from big dreams to last resorts, from holy rollers to sinners, these fifteen actors each have a story worth telling.
15. Tera Patrick
Tera Patrick grew up in a broken home. Her mother left when she was ten, and she was raised by her father in San Francisco in a hippie lifestyle – which might explain some of her choices. She had a real career after studying at Barbizon Modeling School. Patrick moved to Tokyo at the age of 14 to model. She reported that it was at that time that she lost her virginity to a photographer who gave her alcohol and drugs. Patrick said that she spent two years in Tokyo partying (i.e. drinking and drugging) and spent all her earnings during shopping sprees. At 16 she returned to the U.S. and thought she was “washed up.” Patrick continued her education. After earning her GED she enrolled in nursing school, and was even an EMT.
Adult film star Raylene is quite open about her life before the X-rated industry in the documentary After P**n Ends. In it, she speaks of her troubled home life. She noted that while her mother sent her to Christian school, her mother didn’t participate in her education and she was left to attend school activities by herself. Raylene was even an honor student, and graduated high school at the age of 16. She had dreams of becoming a teacher at a Christian school, but they were not realized due to financial difficulties. Raylene was no stranger, though, to the film industry. She began acting in front of the camera at age five and even appeared on 21 Jump Street.
13. Lezley Zen
Lezley Zen is a bisexual skin flick actress who makes pulses pound for men and women alike. Her good looks are due to her exotic lineage, as she is part Cherokee and part Irish. Zen opened up about her life before the biz during an interview with Howard Stern. Zen noted that she never tried to be a legitimate actress, like many other stars. She attended college for three years, and was in the pre-law program. After a traditional degree didn’t end up happening, she was managing restaurants to pay the rent for her and her kids. She got tired of the low pay, and that’s when she started stripping. While working at a club, Zen met an adult entertainer who turned her onto the industry – and the rest is history.
12. Savanna Samson
Savanna Samson, whose birth name is Natalie, grew up in Rochester, New York. She studied ballet as a girl and had dreams of being a ballerina. Her dreams didn’t come to fruition, so she took up dancing of another sort – she became a stripper at the famous New York City club, Scores. Samson entered the skin flick industry relatively late by comparison, as she was in her thirties. By that time, she was married and had a child. As fate would have it, she caught the eye of Howard Stern who ended up putting her in touch with the right people and she became a Vivid girl.
11. Bree Olson
Bree Olson is most famous for being one of Charlie Sheen’s “goddesses,” and of course for getting paid to have sex on camera. However, her life used to be wholesome. She grew up in the Midwest and her first job was detasseling corn and her second was bussing tables at a restaurant. At fifteen she didn’t have a boyfriend – she had a girlfriend who she says she was with for four years. Olson attended the prestigious Purdue University and was studying pre-med. She put herself through school working as a telemarketer. Olson says at that point in her life she was exploring her sexuality, so she can adult film a try. She was enticed by the money and dropped out of school to pursue her film career. Olson notes that all the while she was making movies, she never lived in Los Angeles but instead stayed in Indiana and carried on a “normal” lifestyle.
10. Capri Anderson
Capri Anderson is yet another adult star linked to party-hardy Charlie Sheen. She entered the adult film industry as soon as she could – at age 18. It seems she had her eyes set on such a career for a long time, as she was doing nude modeling before then. Anderson grew up in New York, NY, and her father was a doorman. She seemed to have lead a charmed life, as she trained as a dancer, competed in equestrian events and was in the National Honor Society. However, her career choices disappointed her parents and they became estranged.
9. Ron Jeremy
Ron Jeremy is every man’s hero, and his website boasts that “He’s the hardest [working] man in showbiz.” And by all accounts, he’s also a nice guy. It’s easy to see why, when you look at his childhood. Jeremy grew up in Queens with two hard-working parents. His father was a physicist and his mother was a book editor. They instilled a strong work ethic in him, and drove home the importance of an education. Jeremy earned a B.A. in Theatre, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. He tried to be a legitimate actor, but found that he was always broke. He got his start in adult entertainment after his then-girlfriend submitted a photo of him to Playgirl and he was featured in the magazine.
8. Ginger Lynn
Ginger Lynn speaks candidly about her early life in an E! True Hollywood Story that was made exclusively about her. In it, she described her tumultuous childhood. She was born to teenage parents in Illinois. She described her father as an absentee dad, and her mother as physically abusive. Ginger Lynn even recalled a time when she tried to strangle her mother with a belt. After that incident, she moved in with her grandfather and her life turned around. As a young woman she was a nurturing caretaker for her grandfather. She went on to have a promising career as a manager for a video rental chain. While she enjoyed the responsibility, the long hours and poor pay eventually turned her off. That’s when she pursued an alternate career – and men have been grateful for it ever since!
7. Jenna Haze
Jenna Haze grew up in Orange County, California. Her childhood was not glamorous like the TV shows The O.C. and Laguna Beach. Her parents divorced when she was young and her family was poor. Haze dropped out of school when she was 15 in order to support her family. She worked a bunch of minimum wage jobs, including fast food restaurants. She was sexually active at an early age, and reported that she lost her v-card at age 14 on her first day of high school. When she turned 18 she was a stripper – but only for a day.
6. Asia Carrera
Asia Carrera gets her exotic good looks from her Japanese father and German mother. She grew up in New Jersey and is probably the smartest girl on the list due to her Mensa-level IQ. As a child she studied piano and played at Carnegie Hall twice. Unfortunately, she felt too pressured to succeed by her parents and she ran away from home at 17. She attended Rutgers University through a federal grant program. She struggled to put herself through school, and turned to stripping to make ends meet. Carrera was scared of being homeless, so when she learned about the big money skin flick actresses made she turned her sights in that direction and hasn’t looked back.
5. Mary Carey
Mary Carey had a rather interesting life before she was a star. She was born to parents who were mentally challenged, and was later adopted by her grandparents as her biological parents were unable to care for her. She grew up dancing, and attended a renowned dancing school which lead to scholarships are various dance academies. Her dream was to be a ballerina. Sadly, it was not to be as her body matured, complete with big breasts and curvy hips – she just didn’t have the shape for the ballet. Carey attended Florida State University and earned a place on the dance team. Unfortunately, her grandfather had died by that time and her grandmother’s health was failing due to Parkinson’s Disease. Carey felt that it was up to her to support the family financially. She searched for a high-paying job, and found it as a model for an adult website. From there, she went on to stripping. Finally, she segued into adult-film in order to build a following for her exotic dancing.
4. Joanna Angel
Joanna Angel is not only a successful adult entertainer on screen, she is also a celebrated writer and director in the industry. She grew up in Brooklyn, and led a typical teenage life working at a kosher joint and later at Applebee’s. On her website, she describes herself as a nerd. According to her, she often ate lunch alone during high school and was frequently picked on by the jocks. She boasts a degree in English from Rutgers University. It was there that her adult film career had its origins. While most coeds were studying or watching TV in their dorm rooms, Angel was streaming video of herself and developing her online presence.
3. Sunny Leone
Sunny Leone is an exotic beauty who is of Indian heritage and was born in Canada. She loved the cold winters and spent her time ice skating and building snowmen. Even though her family was Sikh, she attended Catholic school because her parents were afraid that she would be targeted in public school because of her cultural beliefs. As she got older, she worked at a variety of jobs, including a German bakery, a tax/retirement firm and a Jiffy Lube. She even studied to be a nurse. Like many starlets, she didn’t finish her schooling because she was lured into the adult business. First, it was as a nude model for Penthouse and later it was in skin flicks.
2. Marilyn Chambers
Marilyn Chambers is known as one of the most famous adult stars from the 1970s – right behind Linda Lovelace. Sadly, no major motion picture has been made about her, so the public doesn’t know much about her personal life. Chambers grew up in Rhode Island, and always wanted to be an actress – a career her parents discouraged. Instead, they pushed her into sports, and she was a junior Olympian. Even more impressive is that before she burst onto the adult film scene with the hit movie Behind the Green Door, she modeled for Ivory Snow laundry detergent. She was on the cover of the box, holding an infant. She was the picture of innocence. The public promptly found out, and sales of the product soared.
1. Jesse Jane
Jesse Jane was born Cindy Taylor, and she grew up on military bases throughout the Midwest. She was a self-confessed tomboy who put her athletic nature to work as a competitive cheerleader. Her devilishly good looks opened the door for her to enter beauty pageants – most of which she won, including Hawaiian Tropic contests. She was also fortunate enough to make a living as a bikini model. Jane’s early film work was legitimate – she was in a Hooters commercial and also had a role on Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding.