8. Career Prospects

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
2

just as sex modeling appears to offer few opportunities for creative expression, so too it seems to allow only sparse chances for longterm employment and remuneration. The life of a typical model's career is extremely short, usually not more than a few months or years. Of twenty new male "stars" each year in "adult" films, only about half a dozen will remain in the business for over a year.[1060] One of the few women to survive long in the industry, when asked what advice she would give to new female models, replied:

I would tell them not to burn themselves out so fast. What happens is that they become big names and everyone wants them. A couple of years down the line, these girls are going to find people telling them they're overexposed. The typical line is something like we can't pay you a great deal of money because you're not a name yet. Then when they use you in every damn thing around and you become dependent on the income, they tell you we can't pay you very much because you're overexposed. They're setting themselves up for a really had experience. I had a six year career. I think the reason it was that long is because I would only do three or four films a year. I tried to be choosy. These new stars shouldn't depend on hardcore as a full-time income. The directors are gonna grab them, chew them up, and spit them out real fast.[1061]

Some models manage to remain for longer periods in the "X" rated world, but after they reach the age of forty almost never appear naked, and only rarely appear in sexual intercourse."[1062] Women can almost never expect to hang on in any but minor roles after age thirty,[1063] although a few women have successfully moved into production and management roles.[1064] As for switching to legitimate acting, Mr. Margold has said bluntly, "if someone thinks he's going to get into mainstream through porn, he's deluding himself."[1065] Whether in films or traditional modeling, his observation seems to hold fast.[1066]

As for money, models in the sex industry collect none of the residuals on which professional actors expect to survive through lean years.[1067] One angry former model was quoted at the time she left the business as follows:

And they deserve it. Do you know what it's like to have somebody pay you five hundred dollars to do two sex scenes, considering the money he's gonna get back? If you want to know something, I've got nothing really to show for it.[1068]

Her experience seems common, and her current dilemma wrenching.

Notes

  1. Bennett, supra note 972, p. 71.
  2. Interview: Candida Royalle Adult Video News, (July 1985), p. 38.
  3. Rimmer, supra note 1145, p. 28.
  4. Id.
  5. One such woman is Candida Royalle, whose written statement is on file with the Commission. See also, Candida Royale Interview, supra note 976. Other prominent women who have survived in aspects of the "adult entertainment" business are Dottie Meyer  (management position at Penthouse), who testified before us; Seka (mail order pornography business), and Veronica Vera (writing for such "adult publications" as Puritan magazine). See, 1984 Senate Hearing, supra note 975, pp. 313-22 (statements of Seka and Vera).
  6. Bennett, supra note 972, p. 72.
  7. See, Male Model, supra note 926, p. 186 (statement of Jack  Wrangler  that "a lot of companies, film companies as well, won't hire you if you have done nude modeling whether it was for Playgirl or for Playboy or whatever.") See also, Miller, supra note 1006, pp. 284-86 (discussing death of Dorothy Stratton, whose "death was a cruel blow to Playboy, since she was the first Playmate, of all the many Playmates, who looked as if she might become a Hollywood star.... One after another, the Playmates disappeared into obscurity...." Id., p. 286).
  8. In this respect, as to a lesser extent with respect to age limitation, "modeling" in pornography is similar to traditional modeling-which, unlike acting, is not organized in unions and thus has never established residual, retirement, and fringe benefit standards. See, Male Model, supra note 926, pp. 109-50.
  9. Heather Wayne Interview, supra note 987, p. 58. Bruce Seven, a prominent X-rated film producer, was quoted in the same interview as agreeing with Ms Wayne, listing only four female performers "who made anything out of it." Id.