Law graduate took up adult film career to support her Catholic family
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Looking for something to blame for why a young woman like law graduate Scarlett decided to get into the adult film industry?
Try the British economy and oh, look at the cost of living crisis now happening.
It's an alien prospect to see a woman excelling in a career she truly enjoys while also taking home a large pay-check comparable to that of some men's. Yet, the adult film industry can offer some women just that.
It may not be the topic you want to sit round discussing at the next family party with your grandmother, but the adult film industry is considered a valid, rewarding - and financially freeing - career choice by many women.
Meet the second of five adult films stars who are stripping back what it means to be in the porn industry:
My mum overheard a few seconds of my interview with Scarlett - a smiley girl who appeared on Zoom looking little older than me, no make-up on, sat in a baggy orange, sparkly butterfly design T-shirt, snuggled up to the side of a sofa.
As soon as I got off the call, my mum said, "Wow, she sounds very well-spoken."
Her surprise - at someone in the adult film industry being articulate, well-educated and a businesswoman - echoes the ignorance of many.
At the age of 56, I don't think my mum has ever uttered the word, 'Porn', and if she did, she would in a hushed tone with a pained expression on her face.
It's an expression Scarlett is used to.
At Christmas parties, Scarlett reflects how she ends up 'kind of just sat there' as everyone talks about their jobs.
"It's the elephant in the room. I travel internationally for my work, so people will ask, ‘Oh are you going anywhere soon?' They know what I’m going away for, they just don’t like to say it. They’ll just say, ‘Oh, that’s nice’ and then it’s really awkward," she says.
Scarlett admits one of the 'only negative' things about the industry so far is 'other people's reactions'.
Scarlett's strict religious parents refused to speak to her or come to her graduation when they first found out - that was when she was 'just doing Babe Station', and nothing 'really rude'.
It seems ironic to now reveal Scarlett first got into the industry to help financially support her Catholic parents.
Scarlett explains: "For a lot of people it's money focused. But for me it wasn’t for myself, it was for my family.
"I’d started at university at 19, my dad at the time was working nightshifts and I thought how amazing would it be if I earn enough that he didn’t have to work anymore."
However, Scarlett has also benefitted from her career herself, able to continue working during the coronavirus pandemic, travelling and meeting 'amazing people' - all with 'financial security and freedom'.
"The adult film industry has provided me with something I’d never have obtained otherwise," she says.
OnlyFans also aided her in continuing to make money amid covid, however, Scarlett explains the money isn't 'good at all' when you first start out.
"I had a high school friend who started and was expecting to make thousands, but she made two pounds and quit after a few days," Scarlett exemplifies.
"I schedule posts but don't really interact with OnlyFans much. I am an adult film performer - a porn performer - so it’s just my side thing.
"But the amount of money [I earn from it] is unbelievable, so it’s very worthwhile."
But was getting into the adult film industry to make money so young worth it?
I ask Scarlett if there's any part of her which wishes she'd started in the industry a few years later.
Scarlett replies: "It would be really hypocritical of me to sit here and say, 'You shouldn’t be allowed to do porn until you’re 21.' But I do now look back at when worked in the strip club at 19 - there were men a lot older than me - and I think back on myself and I do feel kind of bad.
"It’s an inappropriate situation to be in, I was a very young 19-year-old as well. I was really naive. And I do feel like at that age you can be taken advantage of."
Although, Scarlett argues porn is a lot safer than strip clubs. "You don’t interact (with fans) in person, you know who’s going to be on set and know it’s safe," she says.
Women have significantly more power in the world of adult film, so porn is more financially beneficial too.
Scarlett explains: "Women are very much relied upon in their roles. So I do think that with that comes a bit more respect, because if I left the scene, they’re going to lose out on thousands of pounds."
OnlyFans has also resulted in performers gaining power and financial freedom as they 'don't need to work with companies anymore, which means companies might pay more'.
More women are going on 'to direct, make their own websites and companies' too - women's growing power in the industry exhibited through how many women are on set.
"There’s a lot of female directors, scriptwriters, and videographers. I’ve never worked on a shoot and it be all male - the makeup artists are always female as well. There are still bad productions out there and that are male run, but that’s probably not a coincidence," Scarlett notes.
Despite the 'financial freedom' which can eventually be achieved by some women in the industry, Scarlett admits there are performers who turn to porn 'out of desperation'.
While adult film incorporates rigorous consent forms and drugs and alcohol checks, Scarlett thinks there could be more in-depth mental health checks - particularly for those entering the industry young 'to make sure the person is doing it of their own free will'.
She explains: "Anyone can join the agency I’m with and come along to a shoot but then regret it for the rest of their lives. It's a decision which shouldn’t be made lightly.
"I spent a lot of time contemplating it. I have a really stable life, living with my granddad and my cat, but I think it’s sad when people turn to it with no alternatives."
Another development Scarlett would like to see in the adult film industry is male performers getting paid more. Yes, you read that right.
"I really doubt this is going to happen, but men get paid really, really little in porn," she explains. "There’s no standard rate that you get paid in porn, but often I’ve gone to scenes and they’re not even getting a tenth of what I’m getting from the same scene.
"Also for men, they’re really disproportionately getting paid so much less for doing a lot of hard work," Scarlett adds.
Scarlett ultimately resolves she's 'never really had any bad experiences in porn itself' - it's people's reactions which have been the 'worst thing' she's experienced so far during her career.
However, Scarlett's 'got used to it' and it's a price she is ultimately willing to pay for financial security, to not only support herself and her family, but to have freedom.
She says: "As adult film stars, you are all, unfortunately, tarnished with the same brush so sometimes it’s not really worth trying to explain it.
"It’s like, oh no don’t say anything. I’m the slut in the room apparently, so I just have to be quiet."