On June 17th, 2015, adult actress Brie Olsen, an ex-girlfriend of Charlie Sheen's, who knew her by her real name, Rachel Marie Oberlin, took to Twitter to warn young women to steer clear of the adult entertainment industry. She mostly maligned the stigma that comes with ever doing p*rn, and the double standard that exists, whereby men are judged positively and "get high fives" (Olsen's words) while women are shamed for being adult entertainers.
The stigma is even harder to run from these days, when a surprisingly not-that-extensive Internet search on the part of yours truly can reveal Brie Olsen's and many other adult actors' real names. Given that it's so difficult to hide behind an on-screen persona, it makes sense then that some adult entertainers through the years have chosen to use their actual names, or some slight variations thereof, as their on-screen title. This list starts off a bit rough, as the life of an 'adult star' is rarely glamorous and often tragic. Here’s a list of 15 adult entertainers who were either not afraid or had no other choice but to face the flak and discrimination that comes with the job head on.
Shannon Michelle Wilsey was most prolific as an adult performer under the pseudonym Savannah, but also performed in a handful of movies where she is credited as Shannon Wilsey. These films weren't technically X-rated but B-horror isn't much higher up the ladder than p*rn in my book. Sadly, Wilsey attempted to take her own life at the age of 23, and died hours later after being taken off life support.
14 Savannah Gold
There must be some bad mojo around adult actresses who take on the stage name Savannah later in their career, because Savannah Gold, credited in a few adult titles like Tales of the Unexxxpected as her birth name, Natalie Heck, also met a tragically early end at the age of 27. She survived a brutal assault in 2010 only to die a year later due to complications of alcoholism (most likely interacting with prior head trauma). Sadly, despite eventually using onscreen pseudonyms, neither Savannah managed to outrun their off-screen problems for long.
13 Christy Mack
Christine Mackinday is better known across the net (and to producers of X-rated material across California's San Fernando Valley) as Christy Mack. In 2014, the actress won Most Promising New Starlet and, in 2015, confirmed her retirement from the adult film industry in an interview with ESPN magazine. Off screen, the actress was in the news in 2014, for being the target of a vicious attack at the hands of then-boyfriend and MMA fighter, John "War Machine" Koppenhaver, whose nickname is regrettably tattooed across one of Mackinday's shoulders.
12 Paige Turnah
Given that the name Paige Turnah is such an interesting and clever play on words, it is a pretty lucky coincidence that this adult actress' real name is actually Paige Turnam... Or, wait a minute, is this alleged coincidence just a little too good to actually be the truth? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not very so clear, so Paige Turnah/m stays out of the top ten.
11 Anissa Kate
Similarly to Paige Turnah a.k.a. Turnam, Anissa Kate's birth name is allegedly Alissa Kate; again only one letter away. Seems a little lazy if you ask me, lazy enough to make me wonder if she was able to shake the prying eye of WikiLeaks. Anissa is one of the actresses whose pre - and post -makeup head shots are readily available to inquiring and judgmental minds on the Web; where some see a fake behind a mask of makeup, others see an adult actress who cleans up well.
10 Esperanza Gomez
Esperanza Gomez' full name is Esperanza Gomez Silva. Gomez and Silva are both family names, so it's almost as if Esperanza gets unmarried and goes back to using a maiden name while she's working. Given all three of her very Latin-based names, it's also safe to assume the adult film star is Catholic, so maybe she loses her 'God given' name as a way to distance herself from her relationship with Jesus while on the job. That's pretty heavy stuff, and pure speculation. What's more likely is that there are enough Gomez' and Silva's in the world that switching from one surname to the other is enough to secure an adult actress her anonymity.
9 Kagney Linn Karter
Kagney Linn Karter's last name is not Karter, it's Linn...her real name's Kagney Linn. The former Penthouse Pet and Hustler cover girl isn't a particularly controversial adult film star though, either that or she does a better job keeping her problems tightly under wraps. Whatever the case may be, there's not much more to say about the 5 foot 4 inch, 28 year old, former stripper, who was born in Texas but raised in Missouri.
8 Ariella Ferrera
Coming in at number 8 on our list of adult stars who utilize their real names, Italian-American adult actress Ariella Ferrera's name, as it allegedly appears on her birth certificate, is Elle Ferrera. This is just another good example of a name change that seems a little too lazy to in fact be true, but far be it from me to question the all-knowing WikiLeaks.
7 Zsuzsa Tanczos
Zsuzsa is actually a pretty common name in this adult actress' native land of Hungary, equivalent to the English, Suzy, short for Susanne. Your author happens to also know that her last name, Tanczos is the Hungarian word for "dancer", táncos, made into a last name, like Szinger from "singer" in English. I'll let the reader be the judge of whether the joke is on us and her stage name is Suzy Dancer, or the fact that the actress has no known aliases to be found (not in her credits, or on Wikipedia.org, IMDb.com or the X-rated Internet Adult Film Database) means her birth name is actually Zsuzsa Tanczos.
6 John Stagliano
Adult entertainment aficionados might better know John Stagliano as Buttman, and I'm sure he gets a good laugh any time somebody tries to talk about his X-rated alter ego with a straight face. Stagliano is one of two male actors on the list, and the only adult entertainer worth enough money, who amassed enough of a fortune through the 'p*rn' industry, to be under review for a Net Worth profile spot. Unfortunately, the successful entrepreneur was found to be HIV positive in 1997, though, by all accounts and as of 2015, he is still alive and well at the age of 64.
5 Linsey Dawn McKenzie
Linsey Dawn McKenzie is a British-born model and adult film star who entered into the adult film industry through the modeling world. She had no plans, at first, to take the plunge into X-rated territory, and so she felt no need initially, as a model, to protect her identity or distinguish between public and private personas. Having gained some popularity in the soft-core pictorial world, once she eventually did take that plunge, changing names wouldn't have thrown anybody off her scent.
4 Danny Mountain
The second of two male performers on the list, Danny Mountain was born, in the UK, Daniel Lewis Mountain. It's suspicious how the actor's name is simultaneously innocuous, not really suggestive, but still somehow a bit suggestive and perfect for that type of industry. Mountain was married to colleague Eva Angelina, with whom he had a daughter before divorcing in 2009 over allegations of domestic abuse. He remarried another co-worker, Mia Malkova, in 2014. Neither of Danny's wives use(d) their given names on screen.
3 Gemma Massey
Coming in at number 3 on our list is Gemma Massey. Gemma Massey's story is very similar to our number 5 entry, Linsey Dawn McKenzie's; Massey is the third British-born entertainer on the list, and the second to, like McKenzie, to enter into adult film by way of the modeling world and deciding a bit too late, after getting a bit too popular, to worry about using an alter ego.
2 Heather Hunter
Heather Keisha Hunter left home at the age of 16 and became an adult entertainer, a stripper, as soon as she legally could, and starred in her first adult film at 19 years old. She made her living outside the home first as a clerk, then as a 'striptease artist', and then as an actress in over 85 mainstream, X-rated movies since 1988. Her popularity seems to have peaked in the mid-1990s but her career spans a good 20 years, with her last contracted, major studio release coming through Vivid video in 2008.
Janine Marie Lindemulder is credited as Janine or Janine Lindemulder on all but her first film, Moving Target, a 1988 B-thriller where she is credited as Janine Linde, a pseudonym and clearly just a shorter version of her birth name. She was an unpredictable performer on set and with a tumultuous and scandalous off-screen love life to match. As just one of several examples, Lindemulder was arrested in 2003 for assaulting then-husband Jesse James of West Coast Choppers and Sandra Bullock fame.
Janine makes the top of the list for being the highest profile and most controversial of the bunch. Tying it all together, the actress released a s*x tape in the mid-90s with Mötley Crüe vocalist Vince Neil through the same company that brought us the Tommy Lee-Pamela Anderson video.