Society has a love/hate relationship with the ever-controversial (but always popular) adult entertainment industry. Adult entertainment has been there to spice up the lives of couples in the bedroom and helping other exercise their curiosity since before even the advent of the printing press. From comic books to literature to films and TV programs, the adult entertainment industry is one of the biggest areas of the entertainment industry as a whole.
There are currently millions of websites hosting adult photos and videos, sites which are now the leading source of revenue for filmmakers and professional actors and actresses, as well as proving to be goldmines for amateur talent. The moguls of the adult entertainment industry are particularly prolific: The archetypal adult entertainer has filmed more movies than most of the longest careers in Hollywood. But to be fair, movies in the adult entertainment field tend to be a bit shorter,with lower production values, making it easier to move between projects.
The adult entertainment industry is unique in that it is one of the rare industries in which women consistently make more money than their male colleagues. Female adult entertainers tend to have more 'celebrity' value, and can typically expect to be paid at least a third more than their male equivalents. Indeed, we recently took a look at the richest actors in the industry; you'll notice when reading below that many adult entertainment actresses reach dizzying heights of wealth that none of these actors have attained.
Many believe the adult entertainment industry is counterproductive in the fight for gender equality, while others hold that adult entertainment actresses are role models of feminine independence and strength. Call it whatever you will, but the female stars of the industry are certainly independently financially comfortable, at least. Some among the following 10 richest actresses in adult entertainment have become cultural icons, many even breaking through to mainstream film. Whatever your feelings about the industry, there's no denying these 10 women are making serious profits from their very particular and popular, ahem, skillsets.
10 Gianna Michaels - $2.2 Million
Gianna Michaels was living life in Seattle, Washington as a waitress at a hamburger joint when she was approached about modeling. She figured, if she didn’t like it, she could always quit. Well, it turned out she enjoyed modeling, and her experience opened doors to the world of nude modeling. Nude modeling led to movie work in the adult entertainment industry where Michaels met with a lot of success. Her career in the adult entertainment industry began in 2004, and is still going strong 10 years later.
9 Sasha Grey - $2.5 Million
While Sasha Grey may no longer be a part of the adult entertainment industry, she was a major star and was once hailed as the next Jenna Jameson. Grey has recently made an enormously successful transition into mainstream acting, but she remains a major defender of and advocate for the adult industry and defended her choice of career. Along with being an actress, she's also an author and published an erotica book in 2013.
8 Audrey Bitoni - $2.5 Million
Audrey Bitoni hails from Pasadena, California and became well known in the adult entertainment industry in 2008 when she won the AVN Award for Best New Starlet. She was also featured on the cover of the November 2008 issue of Penthouse Magazine along with being featured as the Pet of the Month. Bitoni was also the cover girl of Club International Magazine in November 2008. For the years of 2008, 2009, and 2010, Bitoni won numerous awards for her work in the adult entertainment world. She got her start in 2004 when she went to a Playboy call for college students, and enjoyed it so much that after she got her degree, she returned to nude modeling.
7 Jenna Haze - $3.5 Million
At the young age of 19, Jenna Haze entered the world of adult entertainment. She started out working exclusively with other women due to an agreement that she had with her boyfriend, which lasted from about 2001-2006. She then began working with men. Jenna realized early on in her career that she didn’t need an agent to help find her work, but that she could go manage herself. In 2009, she started her own production company called Jennaration X Studios.
6 Kayden Kross - $4.5 Million
In 2011, Kayden Kross was named as one of the twelve most popular people in the adult entertainment industry. Her career began while she was a senior at California State University, Sacramento. She had an agent for a short time before becoming a free agent in the industry where she signed on with production companies. Kayden has won numerous awards for her work and even hosted the AVN Awards in 2010. Not only is she active in the adult entertainment industry, but she is also a very accomplished writer who works for several publications.
5 Katie Morgan - $4.5 Million
Katie Morgan is another retired adult entertainment actress, but her net worth certainly earns her a spot on this top ten list. Along with being a part of adult entertainment, she was also a well known talk show host. Like many people, Katie had debt, but her debt was in the legal world. She needed quick money to pay off her bail and plea bargain after she was caught transporting marijuana from Mexico to the United States, so she went into adult entertainment. The snap decision became a business venture that earned her millions.
4 Bree Olson - $5 Million
From 2006 to 2013, Bree Olson earned $5 million from her work in 280 adult films. She was considered to be a budding starlet in the adult entertainment industry, starting her career at the young age of 20. She is also known for being one of the actresses living with Charlie Sheen in 2011 during the controversy regarding his drug use and departure from “Two and a Half Men”. Olson was also named by PETA as the official “Lettuce Lady” and is an advocate for veganism.
3 Jesse Jane - $8 Million
Jesse Jane is the All-American girl. She grew up as a military brat, took dance classes, and was a varsity cheerleader in high school and graduated in 1998. Hailing from Moore, Oklahoma, Jesse Jane (real name Cindy Taylor) became inspired to join the adult entertainment industry after reading an article on Tera Patrick and quickly called the production company Digital Playground to sign a contract with them (and they own the rights to her stage name). In addition to adult entertainment, Jane has participated in other mainstream media appearances as well as investing in her own vodka line.
2 Traci Lords - $7 Million
Traci Lords started her career in the midst of controversy because she was only 16 when she started her career in the adult entertainment industry in film and in print. However, Lords also came from a very broken home that was filled with sexual abuse, as her mother’s boyfriend got her into adult modeling after she dropped out of high school. From modeling and print, she transitioned into film and even went on to starting her own production company. She later transitioned out of the adult entertainment industry and went into mainstream media as an actress. Given her difficult life, Lords' acting career has made strides over the years, establishing her wealth.
1 Jenna Jameson - $30 Million
Jenna Jameson is one of the most iconic actresses in the adult entertainment industry. She started out as an underaged stripper, with aspirations to follow her Vegas Showgirl mother’s footsteps. She even went as far as removing her braces with pliers so that she could land a stripping job. One thing led to another and she entered the adult film industry to much success. Not only is Jameson a film actress and model, but she has also published two books - one an autobiography and the other a fictional book. Jenna Jameson remains as one of the most famous adult entertainers as well as a successful entrepreneur.