BIG REVEAL

How Porn Stars Broke the News to Their Parents

Several adult film stars offer their stories of how they first told their parents they were doing porn—and their sometimes surprising reactions to the news.

Netflix

Daddy issues driving women into porn? Think again. While this antiquated stereotype is common amongst porn labels, it’s mainly fantasy material for the next generation of porn stars. Instant social media stardom might be the latest cattle prod herding girls into the XXX world. These days, a successful porn star has to be a social media maven, primping for the camera and constantly doing what it takes to earn followers. With that kind of online visibility, a choice has to be made: fully disclose, in your own terms, the XXX career to your parents (they’re going to find out anyway) or let them discover it.

Whereas some young women get into the adult industry to pay for college, Ela Darling had already graduated with a master’s degree before embarking on a career in porn. Yet that didn’t make the first conversation with her parents any easier.

“I was in makeup on my very first porn shoot when my parents called. It was a defining moment in my life: either I’m honest with my parents and the chips fall where they may or I lie to them now and continue lying for the next several years and they’d likely find out anyway,” says Darling, who at the time felt her parents would prefer an uncomfortable truth to a comforting lie. Hoping it wouldn’t change the way her parents viewed her, or upset them, Darling started the conversation with: “I know you’d rather I be honest with you than not, so….”

She remembers the way her parents laughed. Clearly she was joking. Only she wasn’t. The daughter they’d helped put through college had just told her parents she was on a porn set. Realizing she was serious, Darling’s parents peppered her with questions: Is this what you really want to do? Are you safe? How do you know these people you’re shooting with? How do you know they’re safe? And then, recalls Darling, her parents surprised her with their support. “They said we raised you to be someone we believe in. Someone we trust to make good choices and we trust that if you’re making this choice, you thought it through and we’d rather support you than not if that’s what you’ve decided,” she recalls. “Darling knows she’s one of the lucky few to have parents that treat her career success the same as if it were any other profession, without downgrading her accomplishments just because they’re in porn. 

Maintaining a close relationship with your parents doesn’t mean they have to love what you do.

Netflix

April Flores, BBW Performer of the Year recipient, says she still doesn’t know what her Mom thinks of her career—and it’s been over a decade. “After my third or fourth film, I told her so she could hear from me and not find out from someone else,” says Flores. “Her answer has been consistent throughout the years: ‘You’re an adult and can do what you choose and you know how I feel about it.’ But the funny thing is, I don’t know how she feels about it. I’m thinking I should have this conversation with my Mom again.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Jenna J Ross says she was estranged from her parents long before she embarked on a career on porn. Though she’s avoided having the talk with them, there have been plenty of other uncomfortable interactions where her career is concerned. “My mother didn’t find out for about two and a half years, until someone told her,” says Ross. “She hired a private investigator to find me, but it’s not like I’m that hard to find. I’m everywhere online.”

No matter how “adult” their 18-year-old may be, some parents aren’t ready to let their child go off into the world of porn. In the two years that Ross managed an all-girls model house, where girls in the porn business are kept tabs on and rent rooms in a dorm-like atmosphere, she’s seen plenty of parents show up to claim their kid. “I have seen parents show up at a model house because they found out their daughter got into the industry and they’re coming to save them,” she says. “I always tried to stay out of it.”

Saving their daughter from porn would have been an impossible task for Leya Falcon’s parents. She knew she wanted to be a porn star at a very young age and it wasn’t just a passing phase. “I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was fourteen,” asserts Falcon. “I told my parents at fourteen and they were pretty devastated. They thought I was a crazy, wild teen but it was legitimately what I wanted to do.” Falcon says she aspired to be a porn star after seeing Jenna Jameson on TV and looking her up online. So when her teen dream came true at the age of 23, she says her parents were supportive. “They knew it wasn’t a random decision and they had nine years to prepare for it.”

Describing herself as hypersexual at an early age, Ashley Fires claims it was her libido and not her home life that drove her into porn. To prevent her family from stumbling across her XXX work, she didn’t just break the news to her Dad—she warned him:

“You need to avoid blondes on the internet. And the name Ashley Fires.”

Her Dad’s response? “He told me to be careful and asked if I was happy… my mother was a different story,” remembers Fires. “I told her for Mother’s Day, she was confused at first but then I explained that I gave her the gift of honesty.” Her father seemed to handle the news far better than her mother, according to Fires, who prodded her with questions like: ‘At what point are you too old to perform?’ ‘Do you have any plans for later?’”

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“I can always be a GILF,” jokes Fires.

Whatever drives young women into porn these days, one thing’s for sure. “So many girls come into the business seeking external validation,” says Fires. “They’re definitely fame-obsessed. We’re seeing more self-important fame-obsessed youth with this attitude that they have to constantly know what they’re ranking is and how many followers they have.”