“Honesty is key. I will never ever ever spread my legs again in this industry. Ever!”
That’s what Jenna Jameson said five years ago when presenting the AVN Crossover of the Year Award. I, much like everyone in the audience, was stunned. There was applause. There were boos. It was a slap in the face to an industry that had put her on the pedestal. And yet, even then I could understand what she was saying. She’d done her time, paid her dues, and she was officially moving on. The industry had already grown small in her rearview mirror. She had a bigger dream.
Then why is the 39-year-old mother of two coming back to porn?
Three years ago Jenna was a happily married woman embarking on a new chapter in life: motherhood. She initially said she quit for her kids. “I made a promise to my children when they were in my tummy that there is no way I could ever, ever, ever go back,” she had said.
Sadly, she is currently engaged in a brutal custody battle over her twins with ex Tito Ortiz. Her coming out of retirement, apparently to do exactly what she so vehemently said she would never do again, is because of this. On the surface her return to porn may seem like a hypocritical choice, but dig a little deeper and imagine what it's like in her shoes. Fame doesn’t always equal happiness, or money.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight on November 15, Jenna said she hadn't seen her kids in four months because she has to pay a mediator $600 an hour just to spend time with them. She also goes on to say she has no car, and is homeless thanks to her ex. As if to explain her current choices, Jenna says she's "out and doing it like I always do."
Yet, it's a stretch to say Jenna has really returned to porn. If anything she's playing footsie with the industry. When I think of creating porn, I think of sets, lighting crews, directors, and scene partners. Not my bedroom. Thanks to the digital era, porn can be shot anywhere these days. Plenty of girls are making money for themselves from the comforts of their own home. All you need is a webcam, an Internet connection, sex toys, and a willingness to spread your legs. Jenna made a huge fuss about never going back. Yet here she is, stripping down and offering to show her girl bits for a price once more. It's like that old adage, never say never.
Webcamming can be a lucrative endeavor. In some cases, a girl can make more from home than on an actual porn set. Someone with Jenna’s fame could do especially well. Top stars on MyFreeCams make over $50,000 a month. While that’s probably an inflated figure, the incentives to webcam are there. From the industry’s perspective, Jenna isn’t making a comeback. Plenty of semi-retired porn stars do cam shows without ever making another movie. Both Tera Patrick and Devon Michaels are considered retired porn stars, yet both of them offer regular cam shows on Streamate. No one in the industry considers this a career renaissance.
Though Jenna couldn't be reached for comment, it's obvious she doesn't feel she's regressed. Yet it conflicts with what she told W magazine in 2010. She felt a Maxim cover would be too racy, but now she finds herself performing solo acts for fans on MyFreeCams. Considering her personal affairs, it'd be easy to assume money is a motivating factor.
As a soon-to-be mother myself, I understand that having a child drastically changes a person’s viewpoint. You are not only making decision with yourself in mind, but that of a child who you are helping to mold and shape, a person who will grow and one day look back on those very choices. Jenna is a in a tough spot. Apparently broke and with few financial choices, her choice to dabble in porn once more isn't a mystery.
Despite her very public intentions to separate herself from porn, Jenna has come back to her comfort zone. There's a sense of familiar security in stripping down for webcam shows. The money is practically guaranteed. There aren't exactly a plethora of lucrative job choices for a famous ex-porn star. And custody battles are expensive.
Ask a hundred people on the street to name a porn star. I'll bet at least half of them name Jenna. She’s an icon, a multi-million dollar brand. There may never be a porn star more famous than her. And Jenna seemed to have grandiose ambitions beyond the sex for money business. I hope she succeeds in those. It's not an easy path. Leaving adult entertainment is hard, and for those of us that do leave it will always be there lurking in our past, patiently waiting to become our present.