by Rich Moreland, April 2014
In preparing the re-post of the final part of the Tara Lynn Foxx trilogy, I remembered the difficult days she faced a couple of years ago. In fact, I inadvertently experienced one of her upsetting moments on a Friday afternoon during the 2012 AVN convention.
After talking briefly with Tara during her floor signing time, we planned an interview in her hotel room later that evening. As our 7 p.m. appointment neared, repeated text messages got no response so I took a chance and went to her room. To say the least, I sensed something was amiss.
Tara answered the door with a look that announced a bad situation. While she and other models were at their signing tables, cellphones were stolen. For industry people, this is devastating because it upsets the fragile balance between personhood and profession. With her phone went Tara’s appointments and shoots, a performer’s lifeline, not to mention contact info for industry personnel who want their personal lives to remain private.
We never did the interview, though I did insist on taking her to dinner. An exasperated girl recovering from enough drama to knock down the hardiest of people was having it handed to her in spades.
But TLF persevered and I’m delighted to report the almost twenty-four-year-old is a respected industry veteran with an education no college degree could ever duplicate.
Read on with the knowledge that to sustain a porn career takes a dose of personal fortitude many people would have to dig deep to find.
A note: as I have done with the previous posts, some modifications have been made to the original entry which is available at Tara’s official blog.
By Rich Moreland, November 2011
Book writing is a time eater and I’ve been working to get my manuscript ready for the early rounds of edits. I lost track of TLF for a couple of months and when porn models I know disappear off my radar and their names don’t come up in new releases, I get concerned.
So I turned to Tara’s blog for updates and saw “Some Heavy Shit” (August 2011).
It was time for a phone call . . .
“I doubted myself when I talked with you,” Tara told me. She was referring to a conversation we had months ago. Keeping her “game face” up and running, she did not let on at the time that her self-esteem was under fire.
Though our talk on this late November afternoon was hardly light-hearted, Tara assuaged my concerns that she might be spiraling in a direction that was not good.
How do you spell relief?
She is doing fine, taking some time off, getting ready to reenter the swirl of an industry that the late porn pioneer Marilyn Chambers claimed, “eats up girls and spits them out.”
After being reassured that she wasn‘t suicidal, the urge nagged at me to do something to send her some love. We said “goodbye” with the promise to speak again soon and I immediately dug into my computer files to locate an unpublished piece I crafted some time ago. It was about courage in the adult industry and Tara’s strength of character called it to my mind. She was not the subject of it then, but is a subject for it today.
Here is an excerpt.
“Porn girls are vivacious, attractive, naturally hedonistic, and draw instant attention. But despite their ‘money and fame’ persona, the cost is high. Their bodies are penetrated and used for profit and the glamour can sometimes reek of men who stink in body and soul.”
In Tara’s case, the cost was extracted from her spirit. If you read her blog entry you’ll see what I mean.
Here is more from the same piece.
“For those not in the business, the thought of exposing one’s body, engaging in sex acts of various kinds, and having it displayed on the internet is overwhelming and prohibiting. It can lead to feelings elucidated by Tera Patrick. ‘We’re all hos on this bus,’ she said.
Courage is on display in pornography to a greater extent than we realize. Striving for acceptance is basic to our survival and rejection hurts. We want people to believe in what we do, the decisions we make. For a porn performer, the personal issues for entering the business may be varied—economic concerns, lack of opportunity, a free spirited sexuality, or a sense of adventure. But whatever the reasons, courage is necessary. Without it, the human spirit collapses.”
What happens when the unscrupulous—in the porn business think agents, producers and directors—abrade and smash a performer’s ego, in effect reducing a woman’s personhood to whatever can be shoved into three holes? Such a contemptuous exploitation is particularly devastating to an eighteen-year-old whose naiveté is stripped as bare as her body.
Respect is evasive or non-existent.
Floating Endless in Cyberspace
In Tara’s case, her inner fortitude was battered, but not buried. She remolded it into a resilience that continues to cope with two demands in her professional life: perfecting her on screen performance and excoriating the stench of a casting couch that brutalizes and numbs.
Everyone has doubts, but in porn they can be crippling. The average career, after all, runs about eighteen months. Some make it longer. Nina Hartley, Bobbi Starr, Aurora Snow, and Madison Young come immediately to mind. But it is daunting.
Porn means putting your vulnerabilities on the line for all to see, hoping your looks and the ability to turn a good fuck keep you sane.
“Remember the camera, sweetheart, give it a look and point your toes,” the director says as the crew prepares to shoot the DP. Bear in mind, not every pronographer cares if a model can stomach co-stars she marginally tolerates popping Viagra to make her day a little longer. And, don’t forget the wretchedness of a dirty bathroom, or the terror of anal without a condom.
“If you won’t do it, Sweetheart, I’ll find somebody who will,” is the tacit implication. Along with the slime of wheedling agents, it is ugliness at its basest level.
As Tara informs us, the industry has its share of shady characters.
Failure, defined as looking too mechanical or being resistant to that little extra not spelled out in the call sheet, costs a performer work. And if she decides the business is not for her, it’s pack up time to go home with the haunting memory that her short career is out there floating endlessly in cyberspace. Social media lights up and her high school friends troll the net to find out if she is shaved as smooth as a baby’s butt.
Most egregious are paydays that depend on deals struck before the shooting starts. Paved with false promises, the first round is sex for free. The emotional pain is overwhelming or totally denied.
Tara knows this all too well.
That’s why the business’s famous adage is, “you don’t fuck to get a job, fucking is the job.”
A porn generation ago, the infamous Traci Lords was said to service the crew when not in front of the camera. But Traci was a manipulator, who turned her talents into a kind of porno blackmail. On the other hand, Tara was barely legal, as they say in the business, when she entered porn. Wettest behind her ears, she was like many others, just a kid who wanted to please.
In the industry, scenes are marketed as boy/girl and a performer’s resume lists her other shoot availibilities with girl/girl and boy/boy/girl among the standard choices. Talent is infantilized, second-class citizens in a billion dollar industry. And if you didn’t know, there are no residuals when a DVD or internet shoot is marketed or scenes are extracted later for compilations.
Bill Margold, porn’s eminent historian, has said many times that the adult industry should hug the “kids,” as he calls the models, but would rather screw them instead.
But, I will tell you this. Tara Lynn Foxx is a survivor. When I said she could roll through an interview like the baddest big boy in a monster truck rally, I was not kidding.
When her confidence crashed around her, doubts about loss of control surfaced. Questionable decisions that were not always in her best interests piled up and depression moved in for a stay. Trust took a hike.
But with a person of Tara’s courage, recovery flickers softly at first, then roars like a fire.
I know because I could hear it in her voice as we talked that chilly November afternoon a continent apart.
She can “put on her face,” as she calls her professional demeanor. But the true test of strength comes when she is “not on anymore,” those moments when her porn persona melts away and she morphs into the “natural” Tara: honest and sweet with those captivating eyes.
This woman has mettle, that inherent quality of temperament that crafts toughness and internal strength. She can follow her passions while shielding herself from the dirt flung by critics and abusers. Her inner sanctuary has not collapsed.
Best of all, she knows this.
My little piece of writing here is an emotional and psychological obituary for the “kid” Tara once was and an introduction of a Tara Lynn Foxx that has vacated girlhood to become a “woman” in a tough industry. She has experienced death and rebirth accentuated with spirit and spunk.
Doubt will always inhabit the soul, as I shared with her in our conversation. I’ve had mine and you, her fans, have had yours.
But our inner strength, the belief in ourselves, never goes away; it just hibernates, waiting to be called up in time of need like the army reserve.
And, don’t forget the words of Ringo Starr, it’s sweet when we get “a little help from our friends.”
Tara could use a little boost at her back right now. This is where you come in. Send her a comment, email, or make a phone call.
She has my trust and faith. How about yours?
* * * * *
In closing this trilogy, I want to mention something of interest. Not long ago, I asked Tara if she supported an idea some industry people—award winning director Axel Braun and porn historian Bill Margold among them—are talking about these days: an industry-wide voluntary restriction that models be twenty-one before they are allowed on a porn set.
Not surprisingly, she gave me a resounding, “Yes!”