Jenni, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you.
You’re very welcome, anything I can do to help, it’s my pleasure.
How long have you been out of the porn industry now?
I officially left the entire sex industry about 3 years ago after coming to Christ and finding Shelley Lubben and the Pink Cross Foundation but I stopped actively doing porn in my late 20’s when I got married and had my son. I didn’t spend too much time doing porn but I used my porn title to sell myself more in other areas and it worked. I used my porn experience to promote myself as a dancer and a prostitute, etc.
Yes, because when you are in the porn industry, the clubs will promote you as a “feature dancer” and you can get more money that way.
Exactly!! I was only 20 when I moved to Hollywood to get into mainstream porn.
How old were you when you first started in the porn industry, and how long were you in for?
I was very young only barely 18 years old when I started doing porn and I would say I did it off and on for about 10 years. I really didn’t know how to take care of myself and it seemed to be an easy way to survive. I would say that I was in the sex industry for about 15 years. They love to prey on young girls who need money. They are very easy to take advantage of.
Approximately how many movies did you make?
I probably made about 20 movies not very many at all.
Would you mind describing how you got into porn? I know that no porn performer wakes up one day and randomly decides to get into porn. There is always something leading up to it. Can you just lay out for us the events leading up to your decision to enter the porn industry?
I started out by doing other things first like dancing in a nude bar, doing bachelor parties, and escorting. I needed the money and hadn’t finished school and was living on my own at that point. I started living that sex industry lifestyle so eventually someone suggested that I do porn and it sounded like it paid really well and it was legal so I decided to contact a local agent who got me started. The agent got me a scene in a cheap hotel in Denver and that’s how it all started. I had no idea what I was getting myself into at the time.
What do you remember the most about that first experience. Was it very traumatic for you?
That first experience was odd. I was bothered by the fact that my agent used forged documents that showed I had been tested for HIV and other STDs. I had never been tested. I also remember the porn star I was supposed to work with that day was there but she couldn’t do anything because of her health. Her insides were so damaged from porn. I thought it was going to be me and a woman – less threatening right? But these 2 guys joined in and I didn’t think they were going to do that I was supposed to act like it was NOT my first film ever but I think they could tell I was new. There were lots of red flags in the beginning there.
What about your childhood? I know a lot of girls in the industry have backgrounds of sexual abuse, rape, neglect, or some sort of trauma. Do you think any of the events in your childhood made you more susceptible to the idea of getting into porn?
I definitely think my childhood played a big part in me getting into porn, etc. My dad was never around much and my parents divorced when I was about 8. At 14 I ran away from home and eventually became a ward of the state and remained in and out of foster homes, group homes, institutions, and other places until I was 17. I ran away alot and spent time on the streets where it was easy for me to get into trouble and my life was never stable after that. I was also exposed to porn at a very young age and saw porn magazines many times as a child. I think alot of things things from my childhood set me up for a nice, long career in the sex industry.
You mention your dad not being around. I know that’s the case for most porn actresses. I know it was for me. What would you say your emotional state was like during your porn career?
It’s actually hard to remember alot of what happened since I have blocked most of it out. I think emotionally I was basically “not there” and I numbed myself with pot and alcohol and other things so I didn’t have to deal with my raw feelings. I found myself depressed and lonely quite a bit and my behavior was erratic and very self destructive. I look back now and see there was alot of anger and bitterness there as well. I was a real mess.
For a lot of us, drugs was a huge part of how we coped with being in that lifestyle. How did you cope mentally and emotionally with being in the porn industry?
I think it was all about numbing myself and finding any way to escape or “check out”. My drug of choice was mostly pot for many years but I got to be a pretty big drinker when I turned 21 while working in a topless bar. I also realized later on that sex was a drug for me as well and slept around alot even when I wasn’t working. The marijuana mixed with liquor and sex were a bad combination and left me feeling more empty, lonely and depressed afterwords. As a woman in that lifestyle, you find you never have to pay for drugs or alcohol etc. because someone was always there to provide those things for me. One thing I remember was trying to separate the real me from the porn star me. I became two people and turned it on and off when needed. My other personality “Veronica” was just a fake front to cover up and to protect the real me so I could get my job done. Veronica was very social and outgoing and bold, The real me, Jenni, not so much haha.
Jenni, a lot of people who watch porn believe that the women love what they are doing, and are simply acting out their fantasies. Is this REALLY the truth?
This is NOT the truth about porn, it is a lie. The women living that lie do not love it and if they say they love it, it’s a way they lie to themselves to make it seem better. When I did porn, I wanted it to be over as quickly as possible and it was all about the money for me. I thought I did what I had to do to survive at the moment. My fantasies usually consisted of living a normal life, I fantasized about what life would be like if I wasn’t stuck in that nightmare. When you watch porn, you are watching a lie that is made to destroy you.
Amen to that!!! When you were in porn, what was your opinion of the guys who watched porn – or even men in general?
I grew to hate men in general and had no respect for men who watched porn. I thought men were perverts and just wanted one thing from women period and they treated women horribly. I think of men differently now. I see them as victims of the porn industry as well. I know that men want what women want too, not sex but love. We all want love. We all have a void to fill but some people try to do that with porn. Some men pay a price for porn addiction by losing their families and jobs. It is so sad and tragic to me that porn destroys the people who make it and also the people to view it. That is clear to me now.
Ya, but when you are in the porn industry, you don’t really see it that way, do you? You basically don’t care about yourself or anyone else.
Totally. You don’t have any respect for yourself or the person you’re with. It’s all about money, and getting what you can from the other person. It’s all about survival. You go into the industry not caring about yourself, and the longer you stay in, the less you care about yourself.
I know I actually hated myself by the time I left. What was the breaking point for you? When did you decide that you finally had to break free from all of that?
It was not just one thing really that made me quit. Many things happened at once and I became severely broken. I was in and out of the sex industry for many years. I tried to get out many times before but I would always need the money and I didn’t know what else to do so I would go back to it. I finally hit bottom a few years ago. I lost everything and things were not going well anymore. I had enough of selling my body and soul and couldn’t take any of it anymore. I just gave up and didn’t know how I would survive, but I had no soul left to sell period. I was dead inside there was only one way to go and that was up. This was the lowest point in my life. I had a son at this point and wasn’t going to let it ruin his life as well. If I would have not been a mother, I may be dead. I think part of my motivation was wanting to be a good mother to him.
So, by this time, you pretty much determined to leave because you couldn’t take it anymore, but were there any fears?
It was very hard at first but it felt really good to just finally let go and be free from all of it. My only fear was being able to survive without the money. The money kept me hooked. I was worried how I could take care of myself and my child. But I decided I would rather be homeless than ever sell my self again. Once you let go of the money, it’s much easier to get out.
We both know that a lot of girls in the industry suffer from mental illness. I know that I myself suffered from serious depression, even after leaving the industry. How would you say your mental condition was upon leaving the porn industry?
I know now that after years of living that life, I was traumatized by it. It was like enduring many years of oppression and abuse of all kinds. When I left and got rid of the drugs, etc., my emotions were raw for the first time in years. Over the years, I suffered depression and anxiety among many other problems and had to have counseling and take medication. Anyone who enters into that and already has mental illness, it will only make it worse.
What about physical problems?
Over the years, I mostly had to deal with STDs. I had so many different infections all of the time. I left Hollywood because I became so ill from Chlamydia. My abdomen hurt so much I had to come back home. My insides had been so abused, that at one point, a doctor at Planned Parenthood brought a group of interns in to look at my damaged cervix! I knew that “business” was taking a toll on my body and it also ages you quickly.
How did you personally recover from your time in porn? Was it extremely difficult?
I feel like the only way I could recover from that is with God in my life. God gives me hope that I didn’t have before. The past few years have been hard but so worth it. Things that helped me have been constant support from others, prayer, God’s word, and lots of love. The most difficult things have been trying to break old habits and trying to have a “real job”. It’s all about learning to live a new way, a better way. I think my recovery is an ongoing thing and it takes alot of time. I was in for many years and there was alot of damage done. I know alot more about porn now than I ever did when I was doing it.
Do you feel that Christ had a significant part in your recovery?
I know Jesus was the only way I could get out and stay out for good! For once, I had hope. Jesus saved my life. His love is amazing and I had never experienced love like that before. It was so intense that it hurt sometimes. My mind is being renewed daily by Him. All of the lies that ruled my life are being replaced with the truth, God’s word. I had realized that God was my father and would take care of me. He started to fix things in me that were broken. I become stronger in my faith every day. I don’t think He is done yet. he is still working on me. I think I am a better mother now because of all of this too. I would not have done any of this if were not for my little boy. I want him to know the truth about porn and treat women with respect.
What about recovery? Do you feel like the hardest part is over, or do you still have a lot of healing to do?
I do think the hardest part is over but I still have healing to do and it will probably take the rest of my life. I have learned how to live a new way and I have been learning how God works. One of the most healing things for me is to help others affected by porn. Reaching out to others helps me heal. God’s love fills that void now. I told myself when I was trapped in porn, that if I ever got out (which I thought I never would) that I would try to help women out of that world. There was no help for women like me. I am passionate about it.
So, what do you see for yourself in the future? I know that you volunteer with the Pink Cross Foundation and reach out to other girls. Do you see yourself continuing down that path?
I definitely think that’s where God wants me, going back into that nightmare to help save people from it. When I see some of those girls, I see me at 18. There was no such thing as The Pink Cross when I did porn. I know that porn is a major problem and it seems not much is being done about it. I love The Pink Cross Foundation and will continue to work with them. There is a certain way to handle the porn issue and educating and informing everyone makes a difference. I also plan on moving from Colorado to California to help with the cause.
That is awesome, Jenni. If you could say one thing to the men who are reading this right now, what would that be?
Men, GOD LOVES YOU! I love you too and I will always pray for all of you, for the chains to be broken. You are a slave to porn much as much any porn star. If you are viewing porn or addicted to porn, you are trying to fill a void inside of you that only God can fill. Whenever you look at porn, you are making the void bigger, and you will destroy your life. It evil it is a drug and it is poison and a lie. If you think you can keep it in the dark, God will bring it out into the light to stop you and heal you. These women are precious and deserve to be loved just as much as you do. There is a real person on the other side of the images you are seeing, and you are destroying her life and the lives of her children. Every porno has somebody’s daughter in it. What if it were your little girl? You may actually be assisting in someone’s death! Male and female porn actors die all of the time from AIDS, drug overdoses, suicides, etc. Please stop looking at porn.
[Editor’s note:] If you need help to beat pornography addiction, please read: The Porn Circuit. It will help you understand how to overcome.
*First published on the website http://www.theporneffect.com
Jenni blogs at http://momentofclarityblog.blogspot.com/