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Say It With Me: Porn Stars are People Too

Updated: Dec 24, 2022


Along with the rise of Euphoria is coming the slow, but long overdue, appreciation for prior porn stars turned Hollywood stars. Chloe Cherry, who you may know as Faye on Euphoria, is just another of the latest stars to turn their earlier acting careers into newer and bigger brands for themselves. Since just the start of 2022, Cherry has had many big-time accomplishments. She walked the runway during the LaQuan Smith NYFW show alongside Julia Fox and she has been interviewed and photographed by numerous publications including huge names like Variety, Nylon, i-D, & Paper Mag. She also had an art showcase in Los Angeles, all while amassing thousands of new followers. But, she isn’t the first.


Before she was Josh Safdie’s muse, Julia Fox was a dominatrix who has now acted in an A24 film, posed for Paper Magazine, attended the Oscars, and become a social icon. In recent years, Mia Khalifa has rebranded herself using Tiktok and Twitch as platforms to transition to acting, content creation, and activism. Lana Rhodes has dominated the adult-film industry while also maintaining an influencer status with a successful podcast and Youtube channel. All of these lovely ladies can be accredited for being a part of the larger culture change to destigmatize sex work, however, it can also be attributed to a few other aspects.


Most Hollywood films still abide by the Hays Code, but streaming services like HBO can show as much or as little as they want up to rated M for Mature. Content platforms put the power in the people’s hands so that they can post to their heart's desires (except for some community guidelines.) We have the freedom of the world wide web to thank for our many new perspectives on what’s appropriate nowadays.


The generations before weren’t as open-minded to stars being salacious. If they had been, the tabloids would have never made any money pre-click bait. Numerous celebrities got their start working in the sex industry in some shape or form. Hustlers made over $150 million in 2019. It was the hottest new film, showcasing some of the biggest stars like J. Lo, Keke Palmer, and, of course, Cardi B who has been incredibly open during her rise to fame about her past work as a stripper, and is now Playboy’s first-ever Creative Director. Just a few years before that, Magic Mike was the latest thing, and its lead actor, Channing Tatum, also performed as a stripper before his big break. Matt LeBlanc, Sylvester Stallone, Jackie Chan, and Cameron Diaz are only a few more who were either dancers or had small roles in adult films ahead of their stardom. Jeff Koons is currently one of the biggest pop artists of the 21st century and his ex-wife was a famous Italian porn star, who’s now an activist.


Today, the President of the United States has a grandson whose mother was a former stripper. There is even a congressional candidate who was also an ex-stripper. Even President Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, posed for Playboy, and First Lady Ivanka Trump modeled for a few scandalous shoots. This all just goes to show how even your girl next door can also be a private performer and a person too.


Perhaps we can contribute this social shift to the previous two decades of user-friendly content-creating platforms. In the last ten years, individuals have been able to self-advocate through several eras. First, came the Youtubers and with them, the Vloggers. Then podcasts started taking off, which gave us voices such as Call Her Daddy, Slutrepeneur, and more. As videos adapted, Vine turned into Tiktok, and somehow, through it all, Instagram and Twitter adapted photos, captions, videos, stories, and reels. More than ever people have a way to share their interests, hobbies, and opinions, influencing how they are perceived. We can try to understand each other better than ever by seeing one another through their eyes.


Social media has also come with negatives. Really, the internet in general… However, every con has its pro. People are now capable of sharing even the most intimate and more private images. Sometimes, things that were only meant for one person’s eyes find their way into the public’s eye which introduces shame and blame culture. On the flip-side, because so many people are realizing they’re also sharing these private things with more and more people, it is also becoming more common to embrace this new reality. Year after year posts get “spicier” as Spring Break bikini posts evolve into casual under-boob on a Tuesday.


All of this goes without mentioning, the change in narrative and new takes on the discussion of the subject matter had led more individuals to consider turning to sex work, It’s now considered a more valid job opportunity to start due to platforms like Onlyfans making the general demand for private content creation and consumption more transparent. As being a sex worker becomes more normalized rather than criminalized, as it should be, so does the opportunity to become something other than one, to those who choose to follow a different path. I mean, if you’re good at acting when it involves something as personal as sex, then you’re good at acting. And while I doubt this is how my mother ever hoped I would take her advice, she did tell me once that you should never do anything you’re good at for free. Sex work is real work, whether it’s on your resume already or not, and that’s that.


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