*TRIGGER WARNING: This article features sensitive content and references sexual abuse and graphic porn scenes. Reader discretion is advised.
*Jan is featured in Episodes 2 and 3 of Beyond Fantasy. You can watch the series for free here.
I never had any intention of becoming a porn performer. I was a single, recently divorced, 27-year-old, impoverished mother of three and I was desperately trying to keep a roof over my children’s heads and provide for them.
In my desperation, I naively believed that I could make a lot of money in porn in a short time and make a better life for my children. I had no idea of the coercion and scare tactics that awaited me.
How I First Entered the Porn Industry
I was working and going to school full time but still wasn’t earning enough to make ends meet. I started looking on Craigslist for modeling jobs because I had done some minor modeling in the past and I saw an ad for a lingerie model paying $300.
When I arrived at the location, I was taken by surprise – there were a couple of men in the apartment with video equipment. They closed the door behind me and told me that the job was modeling lingerie on camera, but I would also have to play with sex toys. I didn’t want to do it but I needed the money.
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Once I was done playing with the toys, the producer told me I would have to have sex with him. I told him I definitely did not sign up for that, but he told me if I wanted the money, I’d have to. I was so scared and at a loss.
$300 may not seem like a lot of money to some, but when it means your children won’t have to go hungry and you can keep the lights on one more month, $300 feels like a million dollars. This was my doorway into the industry.
Coercion and Abuse in the Porn Industry
The porn producers knew my weakness was my kids and they fully used that to their advantage. They knew I’d do anything to provide for them and that I felt completely helpless.
At one point, one of the producers threatened to call CPS on me and tell them that I was an unfit mother living in squalor and having sex in front of my children, which, of course, was absolutely untrue. But the industry fed off my desperation like a plague.
I was coerced and forced to do scenes that I never agreed to. I was even forced into doing “privates,” which is just straight prostitution. The porn producers would send me to their friends or a location of their choosing so I could sleep with them under the guise of it being a film.
Every scene was at least two hours or more. I was degraded on camera for two hours at a time and had to act like I liked it or else I wouldn’t get paid.
I was called derogatory and unmentionable names and because I was in the big, beautiful women (BBW) niche, my weight was consistently used as a form of exploitation and insult. I was told not to lose weight or I would never make it in the industry.
Coerced into Gangbang Scene with Strangers
One scene in particular is ingrained in my memory. I performed a brutal “gangbang” scene for Devil’s Films. The porn producers lied to me and told me that it was only going to be about 10-15 men and that I wasn’t going to have sex with all of them.
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They offered me more money than I had ever made in any other film and I believed that this could be my ticket out. I tried my best to prepare mentally and physically for the shoot but honestly, I was so sick to my stomach at the thought of it – I couldn’t eat leading up to the day of shooting.
When the day finally came, the producer came to my dressing room and offered me drugs and alcohol, and I gladly accepted them. I didn’t want to feel the pain of penetration from an over-sized man or from being told to hold poses for still camera shots while being penetrated and choked.
After taking the drugs, he told me that I was going to have to sleep with 25 guys and do anal. I vomited. He told me I had to do it or they would find someone else. It was common to not find out what the full scene would require until I arrived, and again, the loss of income was dangled over me as blackmail to go along with anything the producer demanded.
During the scene, the sex acts were so rough that I actually blacked out at one point. The cameras never stopped rolling.
STDs and STIs in Porn
After the film was done, the men from the scene started coming up to me asking me for my autograph. I was so confused because fellow actors never asked for each other’s autographs. I found out then that most of the men in the scene were simply fans who answered an ad to be in a film with their favorite porn star.
I was beside myself emotionally, mentally, and physically. I felt hopeless and had no idea what I just exposed myself to.
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I wound up getting chlamydia and genital herpes because the porn industry testing standards are a farce.
I somehow thought that by putting up with all of this, I would at least make decent money, but the truth is, most porn performers don’t make as much money as people think.
For a majority of the performers in porn, they have to work constantly to stay competitive and make ends meet, and because there’s always another girl, performers are constantly lowering their standards to keep being able to get work.
My Life as a Porn Performer Drove Me Towards Suicide
I eventually got to the point where I no longer even recognized myself. I felt disgusted and exhausted and wasn’t even much better off financially. By the end of it all, I almost took my own life.
I had a bottle of alcohol and some pain pills and I was ready to end it. I was so broken.
Thankfully, in a last ditch effort, I got down on my knees and started praying and asking the Lord to help me. After a couple hours of this I went online and searched “porn help” and found a woman who had been working with porn industry survivors. She immediately reached out to me and offered me genuine love and help. She truly was my guardian angel and I know without a doubt, I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for her.
WATCH Beyond Fantasy Ep. 1 “BARELY LEGAL”
My Life After Porn
It’s now been 15 years since I left the porn industry for good. In that time, I have fought to shine the light of truth behind the killer industry. I’ve traveled abroad and been on radio broadcasts, television shows, documentaries, and in magazines, sharing my message. In 2012, I aided in getting Measure B, also known as the condom law, passed in LA County.
I have boldly spoken out about the harms of pornography inside of porn conventions and I voluntarily consult with other organizations to help publish books and articles about the harms of pornography. I now consider myself a survivor leader. This fight hasn’t been easy and, although there have been significant breakthroughs in industry standards and accountability, there is still so much more that needs to be done.
I obtained my Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2020 and I am actively working as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Intern. Although life has hit me hard, I continue to press forward. I know that my life has meaning and purpose. I know that I can continue to be a voice for the voiceless. I know I can continue to make a difference and NOTHING will keep me from moving forward.
The story of what happened to me in porn isn’t the exception, it’s the industry standard. Porn is not glamorous and people are dying because of this industry.