Photo series shares the lives of mums who work in porn

People often think of porn stars as distant beings, far away from their normal day-to-day lives.

They’re super glammed up, have perfect bodies, and we’ve seen them naked and doing all sorts of sexual acts. It’s easier to process all that if we pretend they’re not regular people, just like us.

But porn actors have lives outside the moments we watch on our screens.

They’re more than what they do.

Porn Moms is a photo series by Mary Beth Koeth that captures porn actresses’ lives outside of their work, documenting their everyday moments with their children.

In autumn 2017, Mary Beth rented a car and drove from New York City to Edison, New Jersey for the Exxxotica Expo, an erotic arts convention, to meet women who work in the adult film industry and also have children.

She wanted to explore a reality entirely different from her own.

‘I was intimidated by this project because I didn’t know how I would find subjects, or if these women would be open to sharing their stories,’ says Mary Beth.

At the Exxxotica Expo, she met an actress named Emily Mena, who had a three-year-old daughter and a son on the way. Emily was immediately on board with the photo series and helped put Mary Beth in touch with other porn actresses who also have kids.

Together with writer Lauren Lee Huttanbach, who transcribed the interviews and wrote captions for each photo, Mary Beth set about capturing the complex lives of mums who work in porn.

‘Their lives are just as complicated as the rest of ours,’ says Mary Beth. ‘I’m grateful to these women for trusting me with a piece of their lives that, professionally, they prefer to keep secret.’

Emily Mena, 25, pregnant and with her four-year-old daughter, from Phoenix, Arizona

Emily doesn’t want her work in porn to affect her children.

‘Being in the adult industry kind of hurts you a little bit, so who knows,’ she says.

‘I don’t care what people say about me. I just don’t want it to affect my children. That’s all I care about.’

Her hope for her children is that ‘they’re genuinely happy, successful, healthy, and that they know the world is theirs. They can do anything they set their minds to. And that they’re safe. There’s so much bad stuff out there.’

Makayla Cox, 35, and her seven-year-old daughter, from Las Vegas

Makayla plans to be honest with her daughter about her work.

‘She’s going to grow up knowing,’ says the mum. ‘It’s going to be common knowledge. Oh, okay, mommy does porn for a living.’

Makayla’s dream is to move with her daughter to Los Angeles and buy a house close to the beach, where they can live like hippies.   

Tiffany Brookes, 31, and her one-year-old son, from Dallas, Texas

Tiffany wasn’t planning to return to work in porn when her son was born, but quickly realised that as a single mum, it was the best way to earn money.

‘You do what you gotta do,’ she says. ‘After having my son [I realised], I’m a single mom and oh shit, what can I do that’s going to bring in income now?

‘It enables me to be a hands-on, stay-at-home mom. He literally is my everything.

‘The minute the camera is off and I’m off set, it’s back to being a mom.’

Cameron Canela, 24, and her newborn son, from Las Vegas, Nevada

‘All my friends and family knew I was adamant about not wanting children’ says Cameron.

‘I didn’t want to be a mom. I actually didn’t like kids at all.

‘I thought it was going to be like, what is this leech in my body? I don’t want it. But I immediately felt connected.

‘I just felt like I became a whole new person in the coolest way. As cliché as it sounds, your heart just grows immediately.’

Becoming a mother has changed Cameron’s view of her career.

‘Before, I definitely embraced who I was in the adult industry and didn’t really care how people thought about it,’ she says. ‘I was like, this is what I am, this is who I am, this is what I like to do.

‘Now I like having more of a conservative image and being a mom. That’s been the biggest transition for me, just realising that there’s still a whole other side of me.’

Nickey Hunstman, 26, with her nine-year-old daughter, from Colorado Springs

Nickey says she was made to be a mum.

‘I was very clingy and protective of her for the longest time when she was itty bitty,’ she says.

‘When I had her, it came automatically with mothering skills. Sometimes you just know that you’re made to do something.’

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