by Rich Moreland, July 2013
An acquaintance of mine is leaving the adult business after four years in front of the camera, a lifetime by porn standards. It’s time to move on, she told me recently, though her exit strategy is a work in progress. She admitted that all the pieces must fall into place for her to make the final move.
The business still has its appeal for her; she continues to pop up on internet shoots and in an occasional DVD. In truth, unless she has established a direction out, a hasty departure may not serve her well and I believe she knows this. Should her post-porn road be paved with fits and starts, a return may be in the cards, something adult actresses do more often that is generally imagined.
For ex-performers, the “civilian” world often resembles barbarians at the gate waiting to consume anyone who ventures beyond the adult film cocoon. Transitioning out can be culture shock. Coping with new demands and curious people, whose knowledge of the adult film universe is hearsay at best, is ever present. For instance, dealing with a potential employer who wants to know how the previous working years were spent can be a nervous and formidable experience.
However, in the process of adjustment a performer may discover qualities she never imagined she possessed.
Consider the retirement of Aurora Snow. The adult industry is going to miss her intelligence, controversial opinions, and legendary film performances. During her lengthy career, Aurora joined an elite few recognized within the business. She was Adult Video News’ 2003 Performer of the Year and was enshrined in the XROC (X-Rated Critics Organization) Hall of Fame in 2011. These are not minor accomplishments. The number of women who have bared it all since porn’s modern era began in 1972 runs into the tens of thousands.
After a decade of filmed sexcapades, Aurora leaves on a positive note. Her recent article in The Daily Beast, “How a Porn Star Retires: Aurora Snow on Life After Porn,” examines some of the shortfalls performers face and offers timely advice for the day a model walks away.
It should be required reading for every newbie who is considering an adult film career.
A Master Plan
Aurora Snow reflects on what I’ve heard from industry people, too many girls lack the responsibility to manage their affairs. They can earn into the six figures, but find themselves impoverished when their days are done. Too many dollars are wasted on expensive apartments, clothes, cars, facials, and partying. Because they know a couple of bookings will replenish their bank account, a rainy day fund is far from their thoughts.
The adult industry offers no retirement plan, film residuals, or health insurance, and does nothing to prepare a performer for the day the phone stops ringing. Needless to say, there is no union like mainstream Hollywood’s equity system. A performer is left on her own.
Nevertheless, Aurora explains how difficult it is to leave the biz, especially if sex-for-money is all a girl knows. She tried to do it gradually but was continually caught in a spiral of shooting scenes to pay the bills.
Extracting herself was problematic, so she went cold turkey, packed her bags and got out of town.
But the emotions hung on, Aurora says. Pulling away from the spotlight and fan adulation is a downer. Yet, a girl eventually must figure out how “to do something with your clothes on,” she insists, a real challenge because the usual options are not the long-term answer.
Too many female performers rely on archived web cam shoots as their retirement ticket, Aurora points out, and some continue with a dancing career (she is mum on escorting). But everyone ages, so exit preparations need to be on the table. Timing is important, Aurora indicates, and quotes talent agent and former performer, Shy Love. “‘Don’t quit until you have a master plan for what comes later.’”
Aurora Snow’s departure is an opportunity to encourage all performers to take responsibility for their future. She goes over the list. Develop investment alternatives early on. Experiment with daily life constrained by a budget and curtail the urge to blow away dollars on unneeded and fanciful wants. And, don’t ignore that nagging feeling to improve educational opportunities. At the very least, consider picking up college credits on a regular basis.
Eventually, Aurora took decisive action to break the pattern of doubt that was not serving her well. The result introduced new horizons she never expected.
“Once I hit the eject button and became far enough removed from the porn machine,” she says, “I found that brand-new opportunities eventually presented themselves.”
Aurora Snow’s exit tells us that porn people have more skills than they realize. They are truly people-friendly, just ask their fans. Personally, I’ve seen this up close. Circulating among industry people has proved to me that everyone has something to offer once the last shoot wraps up and a career is concluded.
So, farewell Aurora Snow, I wish you Godspeed. You leave a legacy of top-notch performances and an articulated wisdom. Your message is clear for every girl in the business: invest “wisely” and remember there is “life after porn.”