The adult film industry is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. With bigger budgets to play with and a number of high profile stars becoming world famous, it looks only to be getting larger. Or is it? There are also numerous reports now stating that the world’s most risque enterprise is now in a steady decline since its ‘Golden Age’ during the ’80s. So it is very unclear what is actually happening within the wonderful world of adult entertainment.
However, what we do know is that the stars are only continuing to become more and more prominent, with some even taking the leap into mainstream cinema and more importantly, being dutifully accepted by society as a whole. Therefore, with this new- found acceptance and triumph it only begs the question, how did they do it? Well, with the answer seemingly obvious there are also a number of other reasons that contribute to a star somewhat ‘making it’ in the adult film world and beyond. First, even though they may have started life in a frowned-upon line of employment, it has superficially worked in their favor, enabling them to make the transition from adult entertainment to full on mainstream cinema, becoming household names and popular faces worldwide in the process. Networking is key and the more people you meet the higher chance of success elsewhere. Second, as competitive as adult entertainment can be, compared to Hollywood everything is ever so different, with the women more likely to be the higher earners.
So with a long history of manufacturing high end female stars in the industry, some of these particular women have gone to earn millions, reveling in the big bucks and becoming hugely famous. To celebrate, here are 15 of the most successful female adult film stars.
15. Kayden Kross
Born and raised in California, Kayden’s blonde hair and blue eyes come from her Swedish ancestry. Embodying the Swedish fantasy of many, Kayden’s Nordic roots have definitely worked in her favor, as she enrolled as a stripper at the notorious Rock’s Showgirls ranch at just 18 years old. Scouted, Kayden went on to star in adult magazines which then led to a contract with the popular adult movie company, Vivid Entertainment. With major movies such as Kayden’s First Time, Hard Time, and Be Here Now, under her belt, Kayden is now a full-time writer with successful blogs and opinion columns to her name. In fact, she also holds the special privilege of being the only female adult actress to star in Breaking Bad, playing a stripper in the fifth and final season.
14. Jenna Haze
Adult film star-turned-model, Jenna Haze is somewhat of a legend in the X-rated movie world. She’s won a variety of awards including Best New Starlet and Female Performer of the Year, and Haze has even been inducted into numerous Hall of Fames. Now retired, Haze has her own production company, the aptly named Jennaration X Studios. Able to showcase her directing talents and produce her own style of films, Jenna has distributed a number of high profile movies. Dipping her toe into Hollywood and the music world, Haze appeared in the mega smash Superbad and also appeared in a video for rock band The Pretty Reckless.
13. Abella Anderson
Cuban-born cutey Abella Anderson became a success virtually overnight and was awarded with the best new adult star accolade in 2011. Appearing in over 30 movies, Abella retired after only 5 years yet has made a huge impact on screen and in the industry. Often placed in top ten lists everywhere, Abella is now the official spokeswoman for lingerie line, Eye Candy. How very fitting. Form fitting, that is!
So good she only needs one name, Stoya garnered the alias from a shortened version of her grandmother’s last name. Following a familiar pattern, Stoya started off in the modelling field, showcasing her assets on erotic and sexual websites. Preferring to shoot movies with a more artistic vibe to them, Stoya quickly became known as the “Fetish Queen.” As well as a major skin-flick star, Stoya has also established herself as a prominent writer with Vice, The New York Times and Esquire, all of whom are firmly inked on her resume.
11. Traci Lords
American born Traci Lords was initially a nude model at the tender and inappropriate age of 15. Using fake I.D to obtain the job in the first place, Lords went on to appear in a ton of movies with directors and producers having no idea of her true age. However, when the truth was finally revealed it resulted in one of the biggest scandals ever to rock the adult entertainment world. Nowadays fully clothed and upon the silver screen as an actress, Lords also has a finger in many other pies with singer, model, writer and even film director credits to her name – Lordy!
10. Alexis Texas
Named as one of the best female stars in the world on a variety of occasions, Alexis Texas has received a number of awards throughout her career. As well as an actress, Texas is also an established director and is famed for directing one of the most amusingly named adult movies in the biz, The Real Buttwoman. Making the crossover into mainstream film, Texas starred in the horror flick Bloodlust Zombies and is currently part of a dance duo named T&A.
9. Sunny Leone
Her real name is Karenjut Kaur Vohra, but Leone is one of the most successful Indian film stars to grace the adult film industry. Originally born in Canada, Bollywood superstar Sunny Leone has been involved in a number of X-rated flicks and also mainstream ones. A huge animal lover, Leone often campaigns in support of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and actively encourages better treatment of animals all over the world. Awww.
8. Tori Black
Seattle stunner Tori Black started her career at the tender age of 18. Winning a huge number of awards throughout her relatively short career, she is now positioned to become the next big thing. Following a recurring theme, Black has also guest starred in a number of TV shows and movies. Turning her hand to directing, Black made her directorial debut in 2014 for the website Elegant Angels.
7. Sasha Grey
Author, model, musician and former erotica actress, Sasha Grey has also been featured in a number of advertising campaigns for a variety of products. With similar respect to other female stars, Grey has also appeared in a number of TV shows and movies. However, it was her turn in Steven Soderbergh‘s The Girlfriend Experience, that really got people’s attention. Contributing vocals to a collection of bands and music groups worldwide, Grey also released an erotic novel in 2013 – talk about fifty shades, indeed.
6. Jesse Jane
American model and full time X-rated movie star, Jesse Jane has been on the circuit for a while. Starting her performing life as a cheerleader, Jane stumbled into the adult film world after reading an article on adult film star Tera Patrick. Starring in a number of popular movies, Jane even managed to produce her own line of marital aids due to the erotic nature of her movie’s themes. Later she became the host of Playboy TV and identified herself as as columnist for publication Cheri. Jane even has her own brand of Tequila, Diosa.
5. Lisa Ann
Erotica’s answer to Tina Fey, Lisa Ann shot to fame for famously spoofing Alaska governor Sarah Palin in a number of adult movies, going by the name “Serra Paylin.” A sports fan, Ann also works as a sports broadcaster and is said to be a huge fan of a number of sporting activities. As well as having success on the airwaves, Ann is also a major mentor within the adult film world, reaching out to a number of younger stars and offering them advice.
4. Asa Akira
Born in New York to Japanese parents, Asa started as a dominatrix at the tender age of 19. Rising to fame for a role in the David Aaron Clark-directed movie Pure, Asa received a number of awards and nominations. Acclaimed by her peers, Asa is often seen on a variety of best of lists and hottest stars. Paving the way as the most prominent Asian-American adult female film star around, Asa is also an established author and director.
3. Nikki Benz
Starting her career as a swimsuit model and part time stripper, Nikki Benz began starring in X-rated movies after emailing notorious director Jim Gunn. Appearing in a number of movies and magazines, Benz has also been featured in the super violent video game Saints Row. Originally born in the Ukraine, Benz emigrated to Canada at only 7-years old. Growing up in Toronto, Benz announced her mayoral campaign for the city in 2014, garnering international attention and a surprising amount of support. However, due to her driver’s license having expired, she was unfairly rejected. Maybe next time.
2. Bree Olson
Performing in a whopping 280 adult movies before crossing over to the mainstream world of cinema, Olson has gone on to become one of the biggest names in the adult entertainment biz. Otherwise known as Charlie Sheen’s ex, she is often heard speaking out about the stigma attached to female actresses. An avid supporter of women involved in the adult movie business, Olson has appeared on a number of reality TV shows including Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the infamous horror show The Human Centipede 3.
1. Jenna Jameson
Probably the most famous name associated with the adult film world, Jenna Jameson is undoubtedly the most successful. Worth a whopping $30 million dollars, Jameson has been in the industry for a number of years, carving out an image so defined she almost ultimately owns the whole damn thing. Garnering a huge amount of awards, Jameson even created her own adult entertainment company, simply named ClubJenna. Now retired from film, Jameson is a hugely successful model and entrepreneur, still continuing to bring in the big bucks and international acclaim.