Skip to comments.Love on a Porn Set: One Woman's Story (ABC Expose of Porn Industry)
Posted on 05/28/2004 5:25:59 AM PDT by Aquinasfan
A Mormon Girl Gets Her Start in the Adult Movie Business
Jan. 23 When 20-year-old Michelle saw the handsome Spaniard who would later become her fiancé, she thought it was love at first sight.
[WARNING: This article contains descriptions of sexual acts that some readers may find offensive.]
"The day we met, he said, 'You're going to be the mother of my children. I love you,'" she remembers. "You know what I mean? I never had that before. I never had a guy be so in love with me."
The couple met on the set of a porn film in a rented house in Prague in July 2001.
Michelle, the daughter of a retired Air Force captain and former bishop in the Mormon Church, was an up-and-coming starlet in the adult video world. She had had some setbacks in her first year in the business, but believed her career was turning around with the Prague trip, which would be her first starring role. Her co-star, 28-year-old Nacho Vidal, was already a well-established star.
The director had told Michelle that Vidal liked her work, and when the pair saw each other they immediately fell into each other's arms, kissing from one side of the house to the other.
"There's nothing bad about you," she told him admiringly as they prepared for the shoot. "You don't know me very well" he replied with a grin.
But when the director finally got the pair to settle down to the business at hand filming a sex scene the tone changed. Without any prompting, Vidal got rough during the sex, slapping Michelle's face violently from side to side, and choking her. [Pleased to meet you/Hope you guessed my name]
Afterward, she looked shaken, her face reddened and her eyes watery. But she insisted she was OK. "I look torn up can you tell?," she asked an ABCNEWS producer who was following her progress for Primetime. Laughing and wiping her eye, she turned away and said without conviction, "I took a beating today, and it was great."
'Belladonna' Is Born
Michelle had gotten her start in the business at 18, when she came to Los Angeles from her home in Utah to look for work as a nude photograph model. When she failed to get modeling work, her agent encouraged her to try porn. She refused at first. "I always hated porn. I thought it was the most disgusting thing in the world," she told Primetime, which followed her career for more than two years.
But she finally agreed. Taking the name Belladonna, like the poisonous flower, she found herself preparing for what she thought would be a simple boy-girl sex scene. She was shocked when the director told her he wanted her to do anal sex something she says she had never even thought about before. Worried she'd have to go through with it if she wanted to work again, she let him talk her into it. "I was kind of scared. I didn't know if I could say no," she remembers. "I didn't know any better, you know?"
After the session, she was shattered. "I wasn't ready for anal sex.... It was painful. But I can hide it really well." She had just turned 18, the legal age for participation in sexually explicit films.
Michelle went on more shoots over the next few months. Then her agent sent her on a job where she would have sex with male actors in prison outfits 12 of them. Once again, she tried to back out, telling the director it was "sick," but once again she was talked into it. She had sex all kinds with the 12 men. "It was really hard because I really felt like a piece of meat ... in a lion's cage, 12 lions.... I had to do a lot of things I can't imagine anyone wanting to do." She was paid $4,000.
Afterward, she says, she couldn't stop crying. She packed her bags and went home to her family in Utah.
Glimpse of the Big Time
But within a year, she was back, even agreeing to promote the prison movie that had so upset her.
She began to feel that her career was picking up. She got a small part in a movie for VCA, one of the "high end" companies that produce big-budget films, and hoped it might lead to a contract. On the shoot, she met porn legend Ron Jeremy, who was making a cameo, and began to feel like she was fitting in. "The first second I walk in, this girl grabs my breast, and I'm like, Wow, you know, that's like the best welcome ... 'cause then you feel like, Oh, someone likes me, you know?"
Another company considered giving her a contract, but at a meeting, the owner, veteran porn star Ona Zee, sensed that Michelle was not emotionally ready to become an adult star. "There's a part of me that wants to say to you, 'Run for the hills, girl, do something else, because you can be something better,'" she told her.
At the high-end companies which produce a small proportion of the thousands of adult titles released each year performers often have contracts and can make six figures by shooting just eight to 10 movies a year. They can pick their own partners and condoms are generally required. Shot on film with elaborate, sets, costumes and plots, the movies can have budgets up to $250,000.
But Michelle did not get a studio contract, and ended up taking a job with a company known for "gonzo" porn sex-only, amateur-looking productions shot on video. The company, Elegant Angel, was making a film in Prague and offered her a starring role, which she hoped would show the big studios that she could carry a film.
Love Blossoms in Prague
She was thrilled at the attention Vidal gave her during the week in Prague but wary. "It's weird to have a guy love you that much. That almost scares me because I have a hard time trusting men," she told Primetime, explaining that her first boyfriend cheated on her repeatedly and ultimately left her for a stripper. Privately, Vidal had told Primetime he could never be with just one woman, and would be happy if Michelle's attraction did not lead anywhere.
She came back to Los Angeles by herself, so sore from the week's filming that she says she could hardly walk. But then she flew to Spain to visit Vidal, and their relationship seemed to be going places. She said he could keep having sex with other women, as long as he agreed to be "honest to me, loyal, and just respect me and tell me that I'm number one every day."
She even began hearing wedding bells, telling Primetime, "The second I get married, I won't having sex with men in this business any more."
By December 2001, Michelle and Vidal were engaged. As she proudly showed off her diamond ring, saying how pretty it was, Vidal joked in his Spanish accent, "I need to fk so many girls for that ring."
The couple was in love, Michelle says, but they were fighting regularly. Vidal would sometimes get what he calls "Latino jealous" when he saw her talking to other men at clubs. Michelle told Primetime, "It's hard to be in a relationship with someone in porn."
By now, she was working steadily, even shooting for the same company she shot the prison gangbang for. "I guess now I've gotten past the whole feeling-bad-about-it thing. I'm like, 'OK, I did it and that was pretty damn rough of me' ... Like wow, you know?," she said with a laugh. "I can say that I've done pretty much everything there is to do, and I can walk away feeling a little proud about it, you know?"
The Primetime producers who had been following her noticed changes. At 18, she had said she would never use drugs, but now Primetime learned that she was sometimes high on marijuana during her scenes. She was working without condoms, though she said the risk of AIDS was never far from her mind or her prayers. "The fans don't like to see condoms ... If I would have said I want to use condoms every time, I really wouldn't get any work," she explained. She contracted chlamydia, which can make you sterile.
And anal sex which she had be talked into during her first shoot was now her specialty. "Funny, isn't it? Something I didn't want to do and now I'm known best for it," she told Primetime. No longer a fresh face in the business, she found she had to agree to even riskier sex acts to earn the same money.
Ona Zee, the producer who had interviewed Michelle the previous year, noticed a difference, too. "I said to my husband, Our baby is all grown up and left home. She's no longer the adorable fresh-faced girl that I met ... Now she's really in the life ... Even in the pictures that I see of her, she's much harder, much tougher."
Behind the Smile
During interviews with Primetime, Michelle kept the happy smile she had always had even when describing things that many people would find disturbing. However, her composure cracked when Diane Sawyer asked why she always smiled. Tears came to her eyes as she said, "Because I like to hide hide everything, you know?" Then she began to cry, explaining that she hides her real emotions because she wants to show everyone how happy she is. "And I'm not happy ... I don't like myself at all," she said.
Michelle confessed she often felt physical revulsion during her scenes: "My whole entire body feels it when I'm doing it and ... I feel so so gross." While pretending to be enjoying the sex, she said, she was in fact counting the minutes, telling herself, "Hey, I only have this much time left. Don't worry about it. Get the check. Gonna go deposit it in your bank." She admitted: "You get addicted to the money."
Like other performers Primetime spoke to, Michelle said that during shooting she often imagines herself outside her body. "I call it the 'other half,'" she said.
Bringing Home a Trophy
In January 2002, Michelle's Prague movie won an award at the Adult Video News awards in Las Vegas, considered the Oscars of the adult industry. Things were not going smoothly with Vidal that day he complained that Michelle "don't do the ironing my clothes... I still 28 and I need my mother," and at the ceremony he openly checked out other women but there were crowds of admiring fans for Michelle and she soaked up the attention.
After going on stage to pick the trophy, she was beaming, telling Primetime she had worked hard for it. "I think this is the very beginning of my career, like I've just begun," she said.
And at the 2003 AVN awards two weeks ago, Michelle was an even bigger winner, taking home awards for best supporting actress and three other categories.
This aired last night as an ABC special with Diane Sawyer. The special included the video discussed above, and also some new footage and interviews regarding the HIV outbreak among those people who get paid to sodomize each other on film.
The show also included new interviews with Michelle's sister and mother. Michelle's mother said that her husband was very upset about Michelle's decision. Michelle's mother was depressed, but said that Michelle was now an adult and she couldn't control her. Michelle broke down later in the interview.
The program also featured one of the women who has been in the news because of the HIV outbreak. She also got her start in this vice at the young age of 18. She said that her home life was very unhappy, and at 14 she began acting out in a bid for attention. She ended up in a home for juvenile delinquents and eventually found her way into the world of pornography. She had hoped to sell herself for only a few months, a decision that proved to be fateful. She contracted HIV within weeks.
Some facts from the program that stood out to me.
- Half of all porn videos produced involve sodomy and much worse. They tend to be very violent.
- Most of the girls who enter the business are young (around age 18). Most are runaways in need of money. Like the woman mentioned in the Primetime story, most of them arrive on the set thinking that they're going to engage in intercourse, only to find out that they won't be paid unless they agree to be sodomized.
-Most of these women were victims of sexual abuse as children.
Bookmark this thread for responding to the pornography-is-a-victimless-crime crowd.
It must be Friday, time to post about porn and tittie bars.
I'll post it, so we can get it out of the way:
It's a sick business. Russian child porn is the new hot commodity. They farm orphanages for new "talent".
Gasp! You don't say?!
Most of the girls who enter the business are young (around age 18)
Coincidentally this is the age of consent in the US.
Like the woman mentioned in the Primetime story, most of them arrive on the set thinking that they're going to engage in intercourse, only to find out that they won't be paid unless they agree to be sodomized.
Replace "intercourse" with "interesting work" and that describes my last job.
You're complicit in the destruction of lives like Michelle's. Not that you seem to care.
I still don't. Nobody twisted this dumb broad's arm to get "into the lifestyle." Her own dim-witted choices and a slavish need for money led her to it. So let her wallow in this filth with all the other pigs; I won't shed a tear for her.
Not even if it was YOUR daughter?
I saw this the first time it was on TV (a year or two ago?) and it made me sick then! I will never forget the look of fear on the girl's face as the 12 "actors" started on her. This stuff is a sickness...both on the part of the males participating and the females that allow it.
You are not a victim if you choose your bondage.
I saw it. Anyone with half a heart had to feel sorry for the girl. She may have been of age, but she certainly was not mature when she started. It's sad and sickening.
I pray that she will be saved.
Go ahead, defend this evil. This girl's blood is on the hands of everyone who supports pornography in any way.
Ah, but I see you didn't get the jest.
Every thread that mentions these things, inevitably comes with the request for pics.
I figured, get it over with.
Spare us the boo-hoos.
Spare us the false facade. If it was your daughter, you would be as frantic as the rest of us. It is someone's daughter and these porn kinds don't care how many people die as long as they make a buck.
Certainly, she shares some of the blame, but not all of it.
Regardless, we are our brother's keeper.
Recently, I have read, one of the top Porn stars of the mid-late 90's died of AIDS in Norfolk, Va. I don't know her stage name, but the news said her "films" are still big sellers.
OK. You should have added the sarcasm tag.
Ah well, usually I don't. Maybe in future, though...
If she were my daughter, she would have been raised in such a way that she'd realize that porn wasn't just another career choice, like hmm . . . investment banking or porn star? Computer programming or anal recipient on film?
So honestly, spare me and us the melodramatic crap. I say again, nobody forced poor Michelle into porn: according to the article, she originally went from Utah to La-La Land in order to become a nude model. Obviously, the girl has problems.
This is one of those Libertarian "baby food" examples. If a baby food company started putting ground glass in their baby food, conservatives would want to shut them down. Libertarians would just demand they put a label on the jar.
Note to libertarians: This is a figurative example, not a literal one.
Ok. She's an adult. She is considered responsible for her own choices. Unless you want to raise the age of consent to 37 of course.
Secondly, I guess you're part of the reason PrimeTime Live does an "expose" of the porn industry, convienently scheduled during May sweeps. I should do an "expose" of network sweeps programming decisions - it turns out its not based on quality of programming but cheap stunts to attract viewers.
Which brings me to number three - most people (and believe me it's not just of couple of pervs who watch porn) are well aware of what types of sexual activities go on in porn - there are whole subgenres devoted to various acts.
And you know she wasn't....how? Kids don't always follow our instructions to the letter. I'm sure we fathers are greatly conforted to know there are people just waiting to take advantage of every weakness in people.
A lot of people who casually defend the industry act as if conditions at these high-end productions are the norm, rather than the rare exception that only a lucky few "performers" achieve.
I didn't read the article, just wanted to pass along my comment; it must be sweeps week.
Words fail me. This is one effed up girl. Even before she got into 'the business'.
Can you not read? She went from Utah to LA to become a nude model.
Great career choice!
In reality, there is no legitimate age of consent for intrinsic evils like pornography and abortion.
Intrinsic evils should be criminalized. The only subject for debate are the penalties that should be applied.
The "sweeps" argument is a red herring because last night's program was a public service.
How on earth can someone who claims familiarity with Aquinas be so oblivious to the concept of PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY FOR ONE'S OWN ACTIONS?
It Takes A Village.
I don't think you'd want to see pictures of this particular actress. She looks hideous, in my opinion.
I will not attempt to name them again here because I was not taking notes. However, major hotel chains, major media giants, and a very BIG publishing and Internet conglomerate were mentioned.
I hope mainstream America was watching last night. Diane Sawyer questioned a young woman about her repeated humiliating mistakes. Cameras followed her on a trip to Eastern Europe where she made another porn film.
Motive for making porn is its huge profitability. Billions and Billions of dollars.
Diane Sawyer did not mention that most of the local porn stores are money laundering fronts for major drug enterprises. Billions and Billions of dollars in cash is being washed every month. The obvious links between major U.S. corporations and illegal drug enterprise (organized crime) was not even mentioned.
Indeed. Politicians who interfere in the consensual conduct of peaceful citizens have undermined the basis for America, and should face the traditional punishment for attempting to weaken one's country in the face of the enemy.
Oh, I agree. Now we need a War on Pornography to augment the highly successful War on Drugs and the triumphant War on Poverty. After all, if we don't act, who'll save the children?
This girl was born in Biloxi, MS and was an AF brat.
All I know about her is what was printed in this piece: "Michelle had gotten her start in the business at 18, when she came to Los Angeles from her home in Utah to look for work as a nude photograph model."
I assume you believe that our children always make the best choices. In this case, those choices can be fatal and an entire industry is there to take advantage of them.
Read what was said. They don't want condoms to be used. Hello!!! That's like a company not wanting safety glasses to be used.
Interesting how you throw abortion in there even though it has nothing to do with the topic. Ok I guess you're one of the government-in-the-bedroom types then. End of discussion.
People, whether they be porn stars, porn producers, or porn purveyors, are responsible for the choices they make, a notion which shouldn't be a hard concept for a "conservative" to understand. What, exactly, is your argument---that the federal government should get involved and launch a War on Pornography?
And an extremely poor one.
"I will not attempt to name them again here because I was not taking notes. However, major hotel chains, major media giants, and a very BIG publishing and Internet conglomerate were mentioned."
Wow! And yet, somehow not surprising.
I feel bad for this girl.
So, enlighten all of us as to the specific actions you have taken to remove young women from a life of porn? How many have you saved from this terrible fate?
You preach well, but I really don't think there is anything real behind your sermon.
No more than the federal government should launch a War on Rape.
I'm familiar with the concept. Yet we are our brother's keeper. The purpose of society is to promote the common good. Turning a blind eye to vice is not charitable, it's evil. Specifically, it's a sin of omission.
2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD .
4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?
7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field."  And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.
35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
"...promote the general Welfare..."
Notice the capitalization.
What exactly is the "basis for America?" Who is the enemy?
Good for ABC's ratings. Sex and violence.
I forgot that very important point.
Newscorp, which includes Fox News, unfortunately, was mentioned, along with Time/Warner and major hotel chains.
Yes, yes: women who willingly have sex for thousands of dollars as a professional activity are exactly the same as women who've been raped. I'm starting to think you're a real crackpot, sir: no offense.