The “other” industry is known as the “other” industry for a reason. There’s a multitude of actors and actresses who know exactly how to use their talents to not only satisfy their customers, but themselves as well; what job could possibly be better than that? Come on people! That said, we all must be honest with ourselves; when we think “porn star” does intelligence enter the mind? Does it even enter any sort of an equation? I think we all know the answer. But who cares, it's entertainment, right? Believe it or not, there’s more behind the flesh…Behind the attractive physique is a brain, people (adult stars are people too dammit!).
This list features a plethora of stars from the “other” industry who are not only gifted when it comes to their “sexploits”, they’re gifted between the ears as well; from multi-million dollar entrepreneurs to straight up members of MENSA. Take a peek at these most likely familiar stars and by the time you’re done reading why they’re so successful at what they do or what in particular they decided to leave behind you, like I, will come to realize, "damn, they’re way smarter than us!”
Stoya is a very well-known star that has been able to take her star within the confines of the adult industry and use that to catapult herself into another stratosphere, due to her astute intelligence. It turns out Stoya was home-schooled, receiving her high school diploma before she was 16! Her father worked in IT and so she had access to a plethora of electronics and thus became a "techie" in the process, learning how to navigate DOS (Disc Operating System) by the time she was three years old. Stoya’s momentum began almost immediately after she started in the adult industry. Stoya has managed to solidify herself as a pretty successful writer, writing for Vice, The New York Times, New Statesman, XCritic, Esquire, and The Verge. Stoya has also written a journalistic piece for Taylor and Francis. Stoya has no doubt made a name for her herself due to her intelligent prowess for the industry.
14 Jenna Jameson
Okay, to be honest, I’m fairly certain that academically, Jenna Jameson probably isn’t anything to sneeze at. However, basically becoming the face of her industry and growing a multi-million dollar empire definitely takes more than luck; you have to be pretty damn smart in that facet to take advantage of those opportunities. The adult entertainment icon owns multiple businesses, built up her production company, ClubJenna, and then sold it to Playboy. ClubJenna has generated well over $30 million in revenue. She’s not afraid to take on opinionated and highly controversial political commentators such as Bill O’Reilly. Jameson managed to put O’Reilly on blast when she wrote an email to the now fired Fox host citing the differences between a hooker and a porn star and noting that he requested some videos of hers after she taped her appearance on The O’Reilly Factor. Jameson also handily won a debate against the Oxford Union debating society about the proposed British law against pornography; she won 204 to 27. Damn Jenna!
13 Veronica Vain
Paige Jennings aka Veronica Vain, made the decision to leave Wall Street behind and dive into the adult industry. Obviously, anyone that has Wall Street aspirations is pretty damn smart. Vain graduated high school with a high GPA and solid SAT scores on route to being accepted to a top 20 ranked university. She ended up attending the University of Florida on a full scholarship. Vain envisioned herself earning an MBA and more, but then realized that scholarships weren’t paying her bills.
“I didn’t want to burn out, and I wanted to be successful,” said Vain in an article from the New York Post.
She ended up making money by using a sugar daddy dating site and then eventually started to work as a stripper. Vain hopped in and out between school and trying to figure out ways to make money her way then submitted an application in the form of sexy selfies for a show called The Sex Factor. Jennings’ advancements made tabloids and she basically became what she is now, the porn star from Wall Street.
12 Tera Patrick
Tera Patrick is not only one of the most famous and successful porn stars ever, she’s definitely one of the smartest and most interesting. First off, Ms. Patrick, like another legend in her profession in Nina Hartley, is a registered nurse. She studied nursing at Boise State University before receiving her EMT certification from a vocational school. If that wasn’t enough Tera went out and got a degree in Microbiology. If that’s not enough, Ms. Patrick is a successful entrepreneur. She’s the owner and creator of TeraVision Inc., which is worth millions of dollars. Tera has won numerous AVN awards and is in the AVN Hall of Fame. She’s been able to use her intellect to achieve feats and ascend to heights that only a select few others in her field have been able to do. Finally, Tera also wrote a memoir called Sinner Takes All, which chronicles her unique path to the adult screen.
Sasha Grey burst on the other industry’s radar in the late-2000s and quickly became one of the industry’s most well-known performers. Sasha was able to crossover eventually starring in the Steven Soderbergh’s film The Girlfriend Experience where Sasha played an escort who’s also in a relationship. Thing is, not only is Sasha “smart” in the XXX department, she’s actually gifted in general. The adult star turned novelist, turned real actress, turned musician, turned-whatever sports a 140 IQ.
She’s into everything from existentialism, German Expressionism, and French New Wave, and to be real, anyone that’s able to challenge their profession and make it more of an art form than what it is, deserves to be given props. Sasha has written books and has more or less made it clear that her choice to be in the adult industry was 100 percent hers, elevating herself in the process. Grey has basically become a brand all by herself, and she’s only 29 years old. The XXX legend has used her fame to back causes such as PETA’s animal birth control movement.
10 Shy Love
Shy Love may have starred in well over 250 adult films, but she’s also most likely smarter than anyone reading this article, including the one writing it (that’d be moi, yours truly—you get it). First off, Love graduated high school at 16 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Love also got two Masters Degrees, one of which is also in Accounting. Cool story right? Her second Master’s came in Taxation. Shy Love managed to be the comptroller of a multi-national pet pharmaceutical company located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida while taking night time classes to earn her second Master’s. By the time Shy was 25 years old she was a certified public accountant. Um, can you say, BOSS? Shy currently resides as a talent manager, starting her own talent management agency. Oh yeah, she also did all of this while banging away on the other industry’s screens.
9 Ron Jeremy
Okay, in all honesty, I’m being serious here. Ron Jeremy; the man, the myth, the legend, truly is one of the biggest if not the biggest legend in adult film history. He’s done well over a thousand movies and just about any and everyone knows who he is and what he represents. It turns out that Ron Jeremy obtained a bachelor’s degree in Education and Theater and got his master’s in Special Ed. Believe it or not, the legend taught special education classes throughout the New York City area. Jeremy has even taken part in numerous debates at various colleges and institutions throughout the country and the world (he actually went on a college tour during the year of 2006). Those debates usually have to do with the support and defense of the adult industry. Ron Jeremy obviously remains one of the most famous and yes, one of the most intelligent, adult film stars ever.
8 Kendra Sunderland
Kendra Sunderland made headlines when she recorded her “playtime” at the Oregon State University library. The video went viral, earning her the distinction of being known as the “Oregon State Library Girl.” Kendra quickly gained a fanbase but she also earned a public indecency citation. Nonetheless she ended up embracing her newfound fame, officially moving on with the webcam scene and began, well, filming actual XXX scenes in the process. Kendra, who didn’t want to go to college in the first place, began to earn money when she went the webcam route. Sunderland planned on majoring in psychology and was thinking about becoming a guidance counselor for teens. She lost interest, tried accounting, and realized she didn’t want to be in an office forever. That all changed when a friend of Kendra’s mentioned she’d make good money on MyFreeCams and Chaturbate. Kendra, who had model aspirations anyway, decided to give it a shot, and the rest is history.
7 Asia Carrera
Asia Carrera spent 10 years of her life in the adult industry starring in well over 400 films. She must’ve like really, really enjoyed sex because judging by her artistic and academic accolades, she easily could’ve gone an equally, though less pleasurable route in life. Carrera was a piano prodigy that performed at Carnegie Hall not once, but twice before she turned 15. She taught English at Tsuruga College (located in Japan) by the time she was 16 years old. If that wasn’t enough, Carrera won an NMS (National Merit Scholarship) for scoring over 1440 on the SAT. She attended Rutgers University on a full scholarship and majored in both Japanese and business (she didn’t graduate). The porn genius is a member of Mensa, sporting an IQ of 156. For those that don’t know, Mensa is a super exclusive and esteemed high-IQ society. Asia Carrera was the first ever Asian star to win AVN’s Female Performer of the Year; talk about being stacked with accomplishments!
6 Nina Hartley
Nina Hartley is known for a lot of things within the realms of her profession; she has been deemed as having the best ass in the industry and she’s a proponent and ambassador for the industry. She’s been on numerous TV specials, talk shows, and more talking about the industry in a positive light. Hartley has cemented herself as a respected, knowledgeable sex educator, “sex-positive” feminist, and author. Nina, who still performs today, actually sits on the board of directors of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, which fights against sexual repression. The legendary star also graduated magna cum laude with a degree in nursing from San Francisco State University. She was a registered nurse until 1986. Let’s just say this, she was selected to appear on Oprah back in the 90s to defend the industry in front of what was most likely a judgmental crowd; that takes some pretty damn good knowledge of one’s profession.
5 AJ Bailey
AJ Bailey has worked for a variety of XXX sites including Penthouse. Bailey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and she studied art at University of St. Andrews. If you don’t know about University of St. Andrews, it’s actually known as being one of the top universities in the world. The university is especially known because Prince William attended it. Bailey even managed to take MBA courses with some of Prince Williams’ friends; while she was doing all of that studious work she managed to pose for her first spread in Hustler Magazine. AJ reads a lot of Tolstoy and Oscar Wilde, and she definitely knows the stereotypes that come with being a star in the adult industry. Bailey definitely embraces being known has an adult film star with a brain to spare. She loves the fact that she’s one of the stars that’s able to break the stereotype of actors in her line of work.
4 Laurie Wallace
So, not only is Laurie Wallace a striking performer, she’d also most likely do very well representing you in court as your (very hot) lawyer. It turns out that before the blonde beauty set out on her XXX aspirations she earned a double major in German and Political Science at Loyola College, which is in Maryland. Laurie was accepted to George Washington University’s Law program, but that wasn’t good enough for her. Ms. Wallace decided to go to what she felt was a more lucrative and pleasurable route. She eventually left law school and signed on as a model en route to filming adult themed movies. Let’s be real here; this woman—this talented, smart, incredibly hot woman–not only double majored, but got out of law school so she decided to bang and earn a lot of money doing so for a living! Um, can you say “only in America?” Maybe we should say “God bless America.”
3 Lorelei Lee
Lorelei Lee began her career in the “other” industry when she was just 19. She’s starred in like 235 adult films and counting, but outside of all of that she’s found her niche in the world of writing. She graduated from San Francisco State University back in 2008 and later earned a master’s degree in creative writing at NYU (New York University). Lee has also been awarded a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts “youngARTS scholarship.” Lee has managed to maintain her industry identity as a fetish and bondage model (mainly for Kink.com, yeah you know you’ve been on it), while achieving all of those accolades. You’ve gotta admit, that’s pretty damn impressive. Like other stars in the industry, Lorelei is in the “sex-positivity” community. She’s been a topic in sex-focused documentaries such as A Tale of Two Bondage Models and 9to5-Days in Porn, the former of which was featured in the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. Lorelei teaches writing at New York University and the San Francisco Center for Sex and Culture.
2 Lisa Sparxxx
Lisa Sparxxx, first and foremost, might have one of the most outrageous Guinness World Records ever. She banged 919 men in one day. That’s A LOT of sex. That’s a lot of bangin’ y'all. Got damn. That said, she probably needs to engage in that much sex in order to relieve the stress of being so ridiculously smart. Lisa earned her Master of Arts degree in Multimedia and also minored in Business over at the University of Kentucky. Sparxxx started her own affiliate program courtesy of her website. The program she created allows her to keep as much as 65 percent of the initial sales from the ads and sites on her personal site that attracts thousands of visitors a day. So the question is, with all of these smarts and business prowess, why would she even bother getting in to the industry? That’s easy, it’s because she simply loves sex.
1 Lexington Steele
Lexington Steele is one of the few male stars that have been able to crossover and be known in the industry compared to their usual (and rightfully so) more popular lady counterparts. Steele attended the prestigious Morehouse College for two years then graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences with a double degree in History and African-American studies. Steele then went on to become a stock broker trainee at M. S. Farrell in 1993. He earned his license to trade and worked at Oppenheimer Financial. Boiled down, Lexington Steele worked on Wall Street before entering the “other” industry; you can say that’s definitely a sign of being pretty smart. Once Steele was licensed he made his foray into the adult industry.
“The Guy who trained me invited me to a party in a hotel suite, and it ended up being a sex party like the ones in Wolf of Wall Street…It wasn’t long before a bigger director from Los Angeles gave me a job and suggest I attend the annual porn industry convention in Las Vegas organized by AVN,” said the three time AVN Male Performer of the Year winner.