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June 14, 2010 Print

I Was an Underage Porn Star

by CitizenLink Staff

An interview with Penny*, former stripper/porn star, age 24

Citizen magazine conducted this interview in February 2008.

Citizen: How did you get started in the so-called ‘adult’ entertainment business?

Penny: I had a very troubled childhood. I had been sexually abused when I was 12. I was molested by my dad’s friend, and then I was sexually abused by four guys in the neighborhood. I ended up being very promiscuous. I kind of hid it from my family. And then I started running away a lot and getting in trouble. I was getting locked up in detention homes for running away because I didn’t want to be home. Every time they would release me, I would do it again–anything I had to do to stay away from home, I would do it.

I got hooked up with this older guy who told me about getting a fake ID and getting a job at a strip club where he was a bouncer. So, I worked at the strip club for quite a while, got in trouble for fighting and went to a detention home for that. So, I went back to my parents’ house, and then I ran away again. This time I was introduced to modeling nude on my own. The guy told me there was this site called craigslist and since I was already dancing for money, why not dance nude for money?

Citizen: Were you 18 yet?

Penny: No. I was 16 years old when I started stripping. I was 17 when I got into amateur porn.

That guy introduced me to craigslist and the Internet. He showed me how these girls can go up here, and they’ll post the ad saying, ‘Full Service’ or ‘Girlfriend Experience’ or ‘Dominatrix.’ At first, I just started putting ‘I’ll dance for $150 an hour.’ And I started making good money doing that. I remember the first time, I was so scared because I didn’t know what type of environment I was walking into. But I looked up to this guy. It’s weird–I kind of looked to him for a sense of protection. I trusted everything he told me.

I next went to being videotaped having sex with these guys for money. I was making about $250 to $300 an hour. I remember I got on drugs because I didn’t really want to deal with the situation. Like I knew it was wrong, because, I mean, even though my parents were really kind of screwy, I did have morals, and I did know that it was wrong. But I started doing cocaine and marijuana, and I stopped thinking about it. Like my judgment totally changed.

Citizen: So, it took you pretty quickly into prostitution. What happened next?

Penny: I ended up leaving that guy, and I got hooked up with this other guy, Shawn. And he had girls working for him. I found out later that basically this guy was a pimp. He had two houses full of girls. These girls he would take to D.C. and put them in a hotel, and then he would take some to Richmond and put them in a hotel. He would have this girl, which he called a ‘bottom b****’–which was, basically, she was in charge.

She trained us to ‘walk the tracks’–basically putting these girls on this street and they’re getting calls and clients and basically prostituting themselves. Then they go from that to car dates, where you get in these cars with these people and you do stuff in cars, and it’s really scary because sometimes, you know, people get violent and you have to jump out.

So, then he got into videotaping us doing regular calls and then putting it on the Internet. We had to sign a model release form, where he could use our pictures anywhere for anything without our permission and he would get paid for it. So, I’m on over 50 sites right now worldwide, and I’m not even benefiting from it, just because I signed this paper. I was really too young to understand.

Citizen: Did you get the sense of ‘the younger the better’?

Penny: Yeah. Because pimps will look for the ones who look younger and they’ll try and bait them. Because the younger they are, the easier they are to train.

Citizen: When you were under-age, did you use a fake ID or did people just not check? How did that work?

Penny: I used a fake ID. But that was for dancing and stuff like that or Web sites, when they needed my ID. But as far as doing the calls or bookings or whatever, none of these guys checked my ID. I mean, it was really obvious that I was under-age. I didn’t even really get developed until I was about 18 years old. Guys don’t care, as long as you’ve got what they want, pretty much.

Citizen: How did you get your fake ID?

Penny: It’s easy. I went to a bank in Portsmouth. I gave them somebody else’s information and Social Security number. They took my picture, put the ID up there, all the information, and that was it. I paid for it.

Citizen: Then you started doing things online?

Penny: Somebody contacted me from imlive.com. The guy basically told me that these girls do porn on cam and people come on, and for the first three minutes it’s free. And you convince them to pay for it. And then once they pay for it, you can use your [sex] toys or whatever. I felt way more comfortable with that than actually going out and doing something with somebody.

Citizen: Did you have any dealings with of the commercial pornography industry, the San Fernando Valley, California, crowd?

Penny: I did. There was a Vivid scout, for Vivid Entertainment. This guy came down and asked me if I wanted to sign a contract for three movies for $50,000. At that time I had my own escort service with seven girls working for me. They’d seen the Web site, and they contacted me. He came over and basically used the fact that he worked for Vivid to get free sex. He would tell me that he needed to have sex with the girls to find out what they would and wouldn’t do and if he could use them, then he’d send the information to a ‘review board.’

He also asked me if I was interested in being the first female Vivid scout because I had so many girls in this area that had either worked for me or I had worked with them. He wanted me to use that to get them into Vivid. But I turned down the offer because I would have had to move to New Jersey.

Then I worked for another company [name deleted] for adult videos. I did some amateur films for them–under-age. The first one I did, I was 17.

Citizen: Did anybody there ask for ID?

Penny: The first time they asked for ID, the guy who was with me told them that I was under-age. One of the guys in the room had said that I kind of looked under-age. And he said basically as long as I had something proving that I was of age, it didn’t matter to them. So, I did about four movies with them.

Citizen: How did they know of you?

Penny: I guess they had seen my pictures on craigslist. I learned how to do my own professional pictures. I had taught my cousin to do the same. We had like the best pictures on craigslist. And I guess that’s what attracted their attention. I was all about looks then. I would switch up my hair and my looks every week, I guess. The nastier I could be, basically, is what I thought would get attention.

Citizen: When did you get out of the business?

Penny: I had my own Web site, where people subscribed to see naked pictures and videos and stuff like that. I got out of that in November ’07.

Citizen: Was this when you met Shelley Lubben?

Penny: Yeah, Shelley. I was at the point where I felt so depressed that I was thinking of suicide. I was sleeping all the time, for days. And when I was up, I was doing drugs and doing calls, and I just felt like basically I was just a body. Me and my parents have a really bad relationship. My daughter was taken from me. [Voice quavers.] I’ve been through a lot of stuff, and I was just at that point where if something didn’t happen, that that was just going to be it.

So, I met Shelley on MySpace. I saw her site. I actually came across her video of her testimony–and I watched it, and I was like, ‘If this woman can go through all this, you know, why can’t I change? Why can’t I have what she has?’ She’d been through some really tough stuff, and I really wanted to talk to her. I was so hopeless for so long, and I felt this woman could help me.

Citizen: Then you came to faith?

Penny: I did have some kind of religious background. I had started going to church on my own at 6 years old. My parents would drop me off at the church, and they’d go to the bar and leave me there, and then somebody would bring me home. I remember loving church. I was in the choir and everything. I used to try and tell my mom about it, but she wasn’t interested. I was in all sorts of activities, and then somewhere about 15 years old, something just snapped in me. I just don’t know what it was, but I didn’t go back to church.

So, I already had that in me. I started having phone conversations with Shelley. She just really started helping me emotionally, sending me books and just giving me all of this love that I wasn’t used to. So, I ended up quitting everything.

At that point I was still kind of confused about whether or not I wanted to really change. But I can say that ever since I gave my life back to God, I’ve just been blessed. I’m in therapy now. I’m in a group called Sexual Trauma Group. It’s helping, but at the same time I’m kind of depressed because it’s bringing up a lot of issues I didn’t really want to get into.

Citizen: You must have some regrets. How do you deal with that?

Penny: I never thought it would so easy to get involved in all the things I’ve done. Like really, any teenager can go on the Internet and sign up for one of these sites, and as long as they have a cam, they can do anything and the check comes right to them.

I have a sister right now who’s 14 years old, and a big reason why I stopped doing what I was doing is because she found one of my sites and got into it. She got a hold of her parents’ credit card, and she got right in there. So, it is very easy. Like anybody can get into this if they want to. As long as they’re computer-literate, their chances are very high.

And it’s surprising because so many kids, like 12 to 17, think that it’s so glamorous. Like nowadays, I know 13-year-olds who watch like ‘The Girls Next Door’ thing, and they’ll be like ‘Oh, I wish I could do that.’ I would say it’s a lot different now because when I was younger, I didn’t know any teenagers who thought it was cool or wanted to do it. Now, it’s like amazing how many want to.

*Penny’s name has been changed to protect her identity.



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