I’m A Porn Star. Coronavirus Has Changed My Industry Forever

As coronavirus brings traditional shoots to a standstill, performers like me are moving to independent platforms like OnlyFans that offer us freedom the industry never did.
Courtesy of the author
Courtesy of the author

My working life, along with everybody else’s in the adult industry, has changed a lot due to the pandemic. As a porn star, my job is to perform, often on a set – but with production being brought to a standstill, there are many out there who haven’t been able to earn any money.

There are, of course, other means of providing entertainment and earning an income for performers like me. There are countless cam sites always flooded with new models to donate to and, of course, the phenomenon of OnlyFans, where I can create my own content exclusive for paying fans. But the issue I’ve seen is that many performers might have only just kickstarted their career but all of a sudden they’re out of work, with no dedicated fanbase to provide them the opportunity to successfully earn a living on their own. And that’s not to mention many more involved in the industry – such as directors and camera operators – who don’t perform in the first place. I don’t envy them at all.

But for me, the biggest struggle through this pandemic hasn’t been monetary – it’s been the way isolation affects my mental health. I do everything I can to stay on top of it, although with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, some days are not easy at all. I aim to stick to a good routine of exercise, healthy eating and enough sleep. For me, personally, I know this routine is what’s best for my mental health. Without it, and a support system of friends and loved ones to reach out to, it’s easy to slip into a dark spiral which, through cruel irony, drains me of the effort and energy I need to stay happy. I’ve been in the industry long enough that I don’t necessarily need to be happy to shoot a scene in which I appear happy. It’s a job after all, and more often than not some acting needs to take place.

“A lot of my peers are being weighed down by awful bouts of anxiety, and I’ve seen what this can do to people on set.”

Poor mental health, for me mainly means depression, but there are all kinds of ways people are being affected by this lockdown. A lot of my peers are being weighed down by awful bouts of anxiety, and I’ve seen what this can do to people on set. Trouble ‘getting it up’ has always been a pretty common issue in porn, and with erectile dysfunction being regularly associated with anxiety, it’s no surprise that sales of Viagra and natural supplements have reportedly sky-rocketed since lockdown began.

Along with a good routine, I find staying busy in general is best for my mental health, which is why I’m putting a great deal of energy into focusing on my OnlyFans. In a way, it feels like the new ‘camming’ – you can be very flexible whilst reaping the full benefits of your income, something the porn industry doesn’t really allow you to do. To put it simply, when you do porn you’re really not working for yourself. In fact, sometimes it can feel like you’re working for everyone but yourself. But with OnlyFans, you can choose exactly what you want to post; how frequently you post; how frequently you interact with your fans; even how much you want to charge for a subscription or individual photosets. The sheer fact that I’m able to make my own rules and structure them around my life, rather than structure my life around my job, makes it a much more satisfying way of earning a living. Many might be surprised to hear this, but I’m actually earning more through OnlyFans than I ever did from shooting porn.

I don’t think this is solely due to Covid-19 either – it just seems to be the way the industry is headed. As performers, we’re too often reduced to categories – White, Black, Asian, Latina, and so forth – but you don’t often see many categories for multi-racial individuals like me. In the past, I’ve been told that I look ‘too light to be Black’, but ‘too dark to be Asian’, and I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities because directors have told me that I’m too difficult to ‘cast’ in certain roles, just because of my ethnicity.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the porn industry will continue to grow once the pandemic is over – but I can certainly see myself, and many others, leaning heavily towards more independent work.”

I haven’t been able to accept this ugly reality quite as easily as many of my multiracial colleagues. I have Black, Chinese, Cherokee, Mongolian and Irish ancestry, but I don’t want to be put into a box of being Asian or Black – I want to be judged on my performance alone. With things like OnlyFans, it’s kind of like you’re browsing performers, instead of categories, and my ethnicity never needs to enter the discussion. If someone likes me and the energy I bring to my performance, then hopefully they will subscribe. I understand the need for categories in porn – sometimes you just wanna watch blowjob video – but when it starts affecting a performers’ opportunities on the basis of race? That’s never a good thing.

Either way, there’s no doubt in my mind that the porn industry will continue to grow once the pandemic is over, but I can certainly see myself, and many others, leaning heavily towards more independent work. The industry, as it stood before the lockdown, didn’t offer a whole lot of freedom to many performers, and a lot of my earnings needed to be reinvested into things like agency fees, hair, make-up, wardrobe – not to mention things everyone has to worry about like taxes and rent.

If us performers are given the opportunity to earn a living without having to worry about these industry-specific things, we’re going to take it.

Honey Gold is a porn star and model. Follow her on Instagram at @honeygoldxx

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