When it comes to careers that are full of people who regret their decisions, there may not be a bigger example than a certain film industry that’s geared towards a more mature audience. That’s not to say they all regret it, but those that do (as you’ll learn) tend to have some very valid reasons for doing so. Below we’re taking an in-depth look at the film industry from two sides, 10 performers who deeply regret their decisions, and 10 who absolutely love what they do for work.
We’ve included quotes from the women themselves to help give further insight on why they love getting down and dirty, or why they view it as a mistake that they’ll never be to take back.
Of the 20 women below, many of them are huge names in the industry with 12 of them having appeared in over 100 films, including Aurora Snow who tops our positive list with 700 films, and Bree Olson who tops our list of regrets with 482 films. But we’ve also included a Hollywood star’s daughter whose 1 time in front of the camera cost her relationship with her father.
Whether you love or hate the adult film industry, we are sure you will look at it differently once we pull back the covers.
20. Regrets It – Montana Fishburne
We’re going to be honest, the women we have listed below are no rookies to the adult film industry. Several of our women (on both sides of the coin) have been in hundreds of movies, but for Montana Fishburne, it only took one to realize how much the industry is not for her. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because she is the daughter of Laurence Fishburne (best known as Morpheus from The Matrix films). Montana on the other hand, appeared in the movie Montana Fishburne: An A-List Daughter Makes Her XXX Debut back in 2010. The decision significantly strained her relationship with her father, to the point where he has allegedly cut all ties with her.
When talking about the decision, Montana said, “I don’t encourage people to go into the industry. You’re not going to be famous, or be a movie star. You may end up having a really sucky life. If you look at the celebrity sex tape, these girls are not your average girl next door jumping into [it] and for the average girl to get [in there] and have those results won’t happen. My idea is go to school and have life experience but don’t just jump into something blindly and have a big payday. If you’re going to be going into [it], you have to have a very clear head.”
Montana Fishburne was particularly upset because the company Vivid had released the “rehearsal footage” of Fishburne which they had said they wouldn’t. Fishburne has gone on the record also saying that she had hoped the tape would lead to the same success that Kim Kardashian found.
19. Loves It – Belle Knox: 32 Films
When Belle Knox started her film career one of the worst things imaginable happened, someone at her school found out and the word quickly spread. Knox was attending Duke University and said she was constantly harassed both in person, as well as over social media. When talking about her decision to enter the industry to pay the bills, Knox said “I couldn’t afford $60,000 in tuition, my family has undergone significant financial burden, and I saw a way to graduate from my dream school free of debt, doing something I absolutely love, because to be clear: My experience has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling and empowering.”
Despite the negative attention she received, Knox also went on to say “‘Everyone has their kinks and we should not shame anyone for enjoying something that is perfectly legal and consensual for all parties involved. For me, shooting [films] brings me unimaginable joy. When I finish a scene, I know that I have done so and completed an honest day’s work. It is my artistic outlet, my love, my happiness, my home.”
18. Regrets It – Shelley Lubben: 15 Films
Shelley Lubben may have only spent one year in the adult film industry, but that experience changed her life forever. Lubben contracted both Herpes and HPV during her time in front of the cameras, a period of her life that also included her working as an escort. When Lubben left the industry, she eventually set up the Pink Cross Foundation, which was aimed at helping women who have left (or were trying to) leave the industry. On top of that, the industry helps paint a very real picture of adult entertainment addiction. Lubben also turned her message into song, releasing a hip-hop album in 2011 with the single “Killer Fantasy”, which was geared at destroying the myths surrounding the industry.
17. Loves It – Misti Dawn: 48 Films
Misti Dawn may have hung up her lingerie, but she’s still got the reputation as being one of the nerdiest girls in the business, so you can imagine she has retained quite the following. Dawn is now working for Machima, runs her own podcast (called The Naughty Nerd!) and occasionally appears on G4. She also appeared with Elijah Wood in the viral movie Death and Return of Superman – how cool is that?
Dawn has opened up about several benefits that came from her career, saying “[Doing it] on screen cleared up a lot of insecurities I had about [doing it] in front of people. Hell, even [doing it] with the lights on, so that was a nice change.”
She also said, “I definitely learned a thing or two. I learned the logistics of certain sexual situations and a lot about people and the way [it] affects every aspect of one’s life.”
Last but not least, when she was asked if she regretted her experience Dawn responded “Not at all. I don’t regret anything in my life. I like who I’ve become as a person. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for everything I’ve done, good or bad.”
16. Regrets – Mia Khalifa: 22 Films
While Mia Khalifa has only appeared in 22 adult films, in 2014 she was ranked as the number 1 performer by one of the most popular adult film sites. Khalifa has since stepped away from the industry, saying that it was not for her. “I guess I was in my rebellious stage (…) Now, really, that was not for me. I want to improve my self-image and get away from that,” she explained.
Khalifa is hoping to use her social media popularity (of over 480,000 followers) to support her local sports teams and deems herself “The DC Sports Girl.”
Part of the reason as to why she may have wanted to step away is that Khalifa received death threats and backlash after she appeared in a 2014 movie wearing a traditional Muslim garb. Yikes! Despite this being technically not a positive situation, as a result, the interest in Khalifa increased five-fold online.
15. Loves – Jenna Jameson: 187 Films (4 Directed)
When you consider Jameson has been considered to be the world’s most famous adult performer, you better hope she loves her job. Jameson also founded the film company ClubJenna which at one point was worth more than $30 million. If that wasn’t profitable enough, she also sold a book that went on to spent 6 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.
When she was asked about her thoughts on the industry and why she entered it, Jameson said “To me, being [there] meant taking hold of my sexuality. Not allowing anybody to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body. I love my sexuality, I love having sex. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”
While Jameson has had some positive experiences, that doesn’t mean her opinion on the industry as a whole is positive. When talking about it, Jameson said “Most girls get their first experience in gonzo films – in which they’re taken to a crappy studio apartment in Mission Hills and penetrated in every hole possible by some abusive asshole who thinks her name is Bitch. And these girls, some of whom have the potential to become major stars in the industry, go home afterward and pledge never to do it again because it was such a terrible experience.”
14. Regrets – BiBi Jones: 50 Films
BiBi Jones debuted in the industry back in 2010 when she was 19 years old and appeared in 50 films before her retirement. Along with being in adult movies BiBi Jones got attention after a photo was taken of her wearing the uniform of a topless Rob Gronkowski (football player for the New England Patriots).
While that may have been a fun night, Jones was not happy with her time in the industry and retired in 2012, saying “You guys know me as the major super sl-t. I’m f***ing guys all the time and I do. But I kind of have some news. Big news. I’ve been extra unhappy the last couple of months. I’m not happy with me. [This work] is a life starver and family is number one and it hurts my family a lot so I am doing it for them and I’m doing it for me. I guess I’m saying that I am getting out of the business. I was promised a lot of things and I was so excited and so happy but nothing has happened and I can’t do it anymore.”
Jones later announced she was going to come out of retirement in order to fulfill the remaining years on her contract, but shortly after announced that she was pregnant which as you can imagine puts a kink in those plans.
13. Loves It – Maddy O’Reilly – 262 Films (2 Directed)
Maddy O’Reilly started out in the industry without much of an idea of what to expect. She was looking at some adult content, saw a models wanted ad and within 3 days had signed a contract to film her first 3 scenes. She must have loved it, because she has gone on to appear in 262 movies, as well as directing two others.
When talking about her experience with the industry, Maddy said “No, I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I kind of like that I went into my first pro scenes being very naïve. It allowed me to develop a style that was very true to myself.”
In fact, after a few years in the industry, Maddy even says she needs to get a little crazy which is why she recently flew to Europe to film with a company out there. When explaining her reasoning, Maddy said, “After 5 years, I want to shoot the type of [stuff] that drives me insane. I literally forget who I am during the scene. I can’t wait because I know they’re going to bring that out of me in every single scene.”
12. Regrets – Erin Moore: 67 Films
Erin Moore was 21 years old when she started out her journey in the industry. She has since retired, but ended up performing in 67 films.
When talking about her experience, Moore said “Over the course of my career I have been belittled and treated like a piece of trash more than I could have ever imagined in a lifetime I would… I’ve had men choke me, slap me, thrust me so hard until I couldn’t walk and this would happen even after I would tell them to stop. They have no respect for women.”
11. Loves It – Sasha Grey: 315 Films (2 Directed)
Sasha Grey is one of the most recognizable adult stars of all time having appeared in 315 movies. Grey entered into the industry at the age of 18 and in 2011 appeared on the Tyra Banks Show and defended her choice, saying that while some people think she is being abused, she loves it. Grey went on to say, “I have a purpose, I represent myself. I don’t represent the industry…it’s self-exploration in a safe, positive way.”
She was in 80 movies in her first 8 months, and started out her career by sleeping with a 50-year-old co-star. When talking to a website interviewer, Grey opened up more about her love of the industry, saying “When I started shedding myself of those stereotypes—what I’m supposed to think is sexy and what I’m supposed to think is dirty—I started to really enjoy it.”
10. Regrets It: Alexa Cruz: 92 Movies
Vanessa Belmond was 18 years old when she entered the industry under the name Alexa Cruz and elected to leave when she was 25 years old (which was back in 2013). Since leaving the industry, Belmond has been open about the damage that she sustained on both a physical and emotional level. Along with contracting several diseases throughout her career (including chlamydia on her first ever scene), the physical pain inflicted would often lead to an abuse of medications.
“When you’re on a really strong pain killer, it’s a lot easier to take something like [rear-entry] and smile and act like you’re having a good time,” said Belmond in a past interview.
Belmond has also started a website which is dedicated to preventing and combating the devastating harms related to working in the sex industry.
Belmond said that while the testing made them feel safe, the fact that it was only once a month when she was working was hardly enough to actually be effective.
9. Loves It – Belladonna: 350 Films (89 Directed)
Along with appearing in over 300 films, Belladonna went on to direct over 80 of her own, so needless to say she was definitely experienced around the set. While she has stepped away from the industry and does not plan to go back, she has spoken out in the past about what she loved and misses.
“You know what I think about? What I was thriving on when I was in [the industry]? The variety. The traveling. The performing. I loved performing. [It] was my life, my career, everything. And I was so blessed to be so successful in that world, because I went from having barely anything to being super financially successful. Walking away from that was very hard but it was what I really wanted.”
Despite the positive words there, Belladonna has also openly spoken about how she felt coerced into some of her earlier work, including a 12-man scene during her time of the month for which she was paid $3,600.
8. Regrets It – Jessie Rogers: 116 Films
Jessie Rogers entered the industry a few days after she turned 18 and quickly had her breasts augmented from her natural A, to a D. Rogers is only one of countless examples of women who felt pressured to get surgery after entering the industry. Rogers went on to appear in 116 movies (including playing Baby Spice in a Spice Girls parody), but has since been vocal about the abuse she suffered in the industry.
One of the more damning occasions came when she said a veteran male performer openly lied to everyone about having syphilis and then infected several performers. Rogers also detailed a story in which a male performer physically beat her off camera, including sticking her head in the toilet to choke her. That definitely sounds like enough to make you want to reconsider your day job.
7. Loves It – Kimberly Kane: 435 Films (15 Directed)
Not only does Kimberly Kane love her job, but she also loves Dungeons and Dragons and participates in a weekly game with other performers. How cool is that? Kane entered the industry in 2003 after spending 2 years stripping and has gone on to appear in 435 movies (including over 80 in her first year), and direct another 15.
When talking about what it is about the industry that she loves, Kane said “I really enjoy the performance aspect of [it]. Some of the best scenes to me can be poetry, and I think sexuality can be an art form. Sasha Grey always used to say that she was a performer, and I feel that way too.”
6. Regrets It – Jenna Presley: 330 Films
Jenna Presley performed in 330 movies under the stage name Brittni Ruiz. She was noticed when she was 18 after she began working at a club in California and within one month of her time in the industry, had contracted gonorrhea.
She appeared in movies for the next 7 years, but upon her retirement she had few positive words about her time. “It was torture for seven years,” she said. “I was miserable, I was lonely. I eventually turned to drugs and alcohol and attempted suicide. I knew I wanted out, but I didn’t know how to get out.”
5. Loves It – Asa Akira: 505 Films (8 Directed)
Asa Akira is one of the most successful adult film stars of all time, having appeared in over 500 films and racking up a net worth of over $1 million. Thankfully
despite the ups and downs that come with any job, Akira is definitely a fan of her industry.
“We’re in this business because we want to be doing it and we believe we should do what we want with our own bodies,” she said in a past interview.
“Is it so impossible for you to believe that a woman enjoys being a sexual being, to the point where she wants to do it for a living? Why is it that so hard to believe? If it were a man, you wouldn’t think twice,” she responded when asked about some of her critics who feel she is lying to her audiences with her positivity.
Akira went on to further express her enjoyment for her job, saying “The fact that I actually mean it makes me perfect for this job and this job perfect for me. I’m an exhibitionist, I’m hypersexual, I’m sure there’s a lot of me that’s narcissistic…the ultimate is to be the
star and turn people on. I’m an entertainer. We want the attention and we want to feel loved and liked.”
4. Regrets It – Jennie Ketcham: 482 Films
Jennifer Ketcham performed in 482 films under the screen name Penny Flame from 2002 until 2009. She elected to leave the industry when she enrolled in college to pursue her skills as a writer. Ketcham left the industry not long after she appeared on Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew in 2009.
Ketcham has since put her writing skills to good use, slamming the industry on a variety of issues:
“Porn is too easy of an answer for women and men who are desperate for the trifecta combo of money, attention, and love — even if the money received feels dirty, the attention, unhealthy and the love, contrived. I wish there were some handout they gave you that listed all the emotional issues you may come up against as a result of selling sex for money…By the time people are ready to quit, most are so tired and wounded (or confused or numb or high or dead) it’s nearly impossible to talk about it.”
As well as this, Ketcham has admitted that there really is “no difference between being [an adult star] and being a prostitute,” and that while some film stars find it empowering, Ketcham says, “Using my sexuality to be financially stable, respected and successful is not empowering. It is manipulative and the same as sleeping with your boss to get a raise.”
3. Loves It – Lisa Ann: 547 Films (54 Directed)
Even if you have absolutely no interest in the adult film industry, you probably were well aware that a few years ago there was an adult film parody that “starred” Sarah Palin, who was portrayed by Lisa Ann. Ann actually ended up portraying Palin in 6 films and also admitted that she put on the costume when she was working as an escort.
Ann has used her popularity to help out other film stars, including Bella Knox (who you read about above), saying “If ‘Palin’ had happened to me at 19, I don’t know how I would’ve managed it. So I reached out to her and we started just a little bit of mentoring by text, by phone, by Skype. And I enjoyed the bond when we talked.
Ann has said that she mentors on average 10-15 girls a year, and has done so since 2005. We are sure she has been a huge source of inspiration for many people that are struggling while trying to make it in the industry.
2. Regrets – Bree Olson: 486 Films
Bree Olson is recognizable not only for her time in the adult film industry but also for her short-lived relationship with Charlie Sheen that ended back in 2011. Olson was one of the most popular performers of all time, appearing in 486 movies, but has since stepped away from the industry.
In 2015, Olson took to social media to try and encourage people to not enter the industry, saying “I don’t hate [adult entertainment]. I didn’t have any bad experiences. But trust me when I tell you not to do it… [The industry] isn’t bad — how people will treat you for the rest of your life is… People look at me as if I am the same as a sex offender. They look at me as though I am less than them in every way, and they assume the absolute worst in every way.”
Olson went on to talk about how limiting this career can be, saying “I could never go back and be a nurse or a teacher, or work for any company really that can fire me under morality clauses for making customers feel ‘uncomfortable’ because of who I am.”
If that wasn’t enough, Olson also lamented about how she was now broke, saying “There are no royalties in [the industry]. I see ads to this day, and my movies are everywhere on the Internet. These faceless people behind the industry still make millions and face no repercussions, and I am left to try and come up with ideas of how to have my own business.”
1. Loves It – Aurora Snow: 700 Films (14 Directed)
After appearing in 700 films, you can understand that Aurora Snow is far from a newcomer to the industry. When talking about the journey that her career has led her on, and if she had any regrets, Snow responded “I am happy with where I have ended up. I entered the business a shy book smart kid in her first year of college. I am now a more social well rounded person with street smarts to accompany all of those books I read.”
Snow went on to talk more about the opportunities that have come with her job saying, “I have worked with some of the top photographers, been in mainstream movies, and magazines and best of all was granted an amazing opportunity to write for The Daily Beast. I’d always wanted to write ultimately and so in a way, I am doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. And that is rare.”
Snow did indicate some regrets back in 2013 however, releasing the letter which dictated her life choices. In the letter, Snow also mentions how a motorcycle accident left her brother Keith him with a broken neck and required her to take care of his two young children for a short period. It was this that led Snow to realize that she may in fact want a family one day.
Snow gave birth later that year and is still active in the industry.