"Mindy’s Story: Creating Porn Stars & Destroying Lives." A Letter To FTND From An Ex-Porn Producer.
Note from writer: I must warn you that what I’m about to share with you is dark. If you are in need of a “pick-me-up,” this story is not for you. For some, this article might be quite depressing. For others, it might be a wake-up call, causing them to think of a side of pornography they’ve never before considered. The latter is my intent. Also note that I have Mindy’s permission, and indeed encouragement, to share her story.
- Donny Pauling
When you tell a person what they can’t have, they’ll often try to convince you that you’re wrong. This is especially true for the college-aged, who have recently left the safety of the nest to spread their wings out on their own for the first time. When recruiting new porn actresses, I understood this very well and used it to my advantage.
I worked from a nice home, and I often let the house and our lifestyle do the selling for me. A new prospect would arrive after having driven through one of the better neighborhoods in town and, prior to sitting down to interview in my home office, would be shown around the property like a valued guest. My girlfriend and I had things the interviewee didn’t have. The photos of us were taken at vacations spots where the girl likely hadn’t been, and the “famous” people with whom we posed were people she’d recognize but likely hadn’t met.
There were psychological reasons for this: I not only wanted her to feel comfortable in a warm, non-threatening environment, but I also knew she’d start painting herself into the picture. “Porn can give me this lifestyle?” she’d ask herself. “No, dear girl, this lifestyle isn’t for you,” I’d say, “You can’t handle this business. What if your dad finds out you’re working for me?” The more a college-aged girl was presented with questions like this, the more she’d argue that I was wrong and this life was something she could handle. When her life began falling apart, I could pat myself on the back for having warned her against getting involved in the first place.
One December day, a girl named Mindy arrived at my house. She’d turned 18 barely a month before our interview. I wish I could deny playing the part I played in her story. For a long time after I left the porn industry, I simply didn’t want to talk about it. (Mindy is the reason my cell phone number has never been changed. She has it memorized and to this day she’ll call when she’s at her worst and has nowhere else to turn.)
Back on that first day, I knew I had a moneymaker. I verified the age on her ID because, well, she looked really young. I’d already been in the business four years by this time, so I had a pretty good handle on the demands of the market. I knew men would go crazy over this girl.
I initially emailed samples to clients who owned websites. Every one of them either matched their largest order size, or ordered more of her than they had of any other model I’d submitted. One client who specialized in the “teen” niche – which requires a model to be over 18 but look younger – started asking if I’d be willing to partner with him on a website dedicated exclusively to Mindy. We made a proposal to her: she’d receive 25% of site revenue, I’d receive 25%, and my new business partner would keep the remaining 50%. His portion was larger because he would be responsible for all website development, hosting and promotions.
Mindy was the easiest porn model I’ve ever worked with. She had a natural charisma, beautiful smile and a melodic laugh. She loved life, and enlivened any room into which she walked. At the beginning of her “career,” she could have been the poster child for “bubbly personality.”
Prior to the launch of her website, Mindy’s fan base had already exploded. We shared the feedback we received with her, using it to inflate her ego and prod her along. She clearly believed that she was going to become a celebrity.
When an 18-year-old girl begins making $10,000 per month, she most likely isn’t going to know how to handle that amount of money. Mindy was no exception. She wanted to take care of people by giving them money and buying things for them, and she wanted to have fun. Not being promiscuous by nature, she wouldn’t go home with fans, but she could be found passed out at parties. She was raped several times over the years.
In time, the lifestyle I had saddled her with drained all light and sparkle from her eyes. Where once a girl existed who would light up a room just by being herself, now there was a girl who would often, literally, begin a sentence laughing and end that same sentence in tears.
No Happy Ending
The first time Mindy told me she’d turned her life around and that she wouldn’t be doing porn any more, I was actually happy to hear it. I’d seen what had happened in Mindy’s life, and I felt bad, because I knew a big part of the blame was on me. Her decision meant I was going to lose one of my best-selling models, but at least I wouldn’t have to keep looking into those haunted eyes when she was around.
However, I was a hate-filled, selfish man. My hatred was fueled by the
hypocrisy I’d witnessed from people in society who would lecture me about the morality of my career, yet want to see what new pornographic content I’d produced. So while I was happy to see the lights return to Mindy’s eyes, I was not happy to be on the receiving end of her attempts to get me out of the industry as well. She definitely wasn’t prepared to discuss such matters with me. Had she not decided to tried to preach to me, I might not have made such an effort to drag her back into porn. But since the church ladies who she was now meeting with on a regular basis had encouraged her to “plant seeds” into my mind, in retaliation I decided I’d try to remove Mindy’s new found faith entirely.
Already, she was having a hard time making ends meet. So I asked her if she understood that old religious men were the ones who had made up the moral rules prohibiting her from participating in her website. I began pointing out inconsistencies in her new beliefs. After having spent so much time with her – at one time she even lived with me – I knew how best to manipulate her into seeing things my way. She’d come back to the lifestyle every time.
As time went on, things only got worse. I made her do things that she had refused to do at first. Sometimes Mindy would protest, but she knew she wouldn’t earn any money if she didn’t do it.
She started identifying as a prostitute and started taking drugs. I guess they made it easy to do what she was doing. She bounced from house to house, living with random older men who’d use her for a time and then send her on her way. One result of this is that she has no idea who her son’s father might be.
I wish there was a happy ending to Mindy’s story, but there’s not. Not many months ago, she called in tears, begging me to adopt her two kids. The State had taken them one too many times so she was no longer eligible to have them returned to her. Her social worker had informed her that a close friend or family member could be given priority and she wondered if I would be willing, as the rest of her family was not. I gave it thought and consideration, but realized I’m not equipped to take them on.
I’ve now known Mindy for almost 13 years. I could write more than one book about her life alone. What is important for you to know is this: when I led her into pornography, her life was forever changed. Random strangers still recognize her and make assumptions about her. She fights hard with mental illness. There is nothing at all attractive about what has happened to her.
I wonder if the men and women who found the images and video content we produced of Mindy so appealing would find it attractive if they knew what it cost her. I wonder if they would be aroused if they knew the reality. But while I was the one who put her in front of a camera, the Law of Supply and Demand also means all of us who have consumed pornography are a part of this cycle of broken lives. Mindy’s story is not unique; it happens in some form or another every day, repeatedly. Mindy is someone’s daughter. What if she was yours?
At the same time, while there is an enormous amount of darkness in Mindy’s life, there are also things I find encouraging. Even though she became pregnant through rape, and even though she knew she might not be able to provide for a child, the thought of abortion never entered her mind. Her children might not have been afforded the best life possible with her, but they do have life, and I have no doubt that they prefer that to the alternative. I also take courage in the fact that Mindy never gives up. There are situations she has faced that are just as bad as or worse than those I’ve shared, but she doesn’t give up. She’s never once threatened to end her life, she doesn’t whine, and she reluctantly accepts physical assistance.
What I want from you, dear reader, is to remember Mindy’s story. It has been almost 13 years since porn began affecting her life, and the images and video we created together will be around until long after she has departed this world. If you think porn is desirable or cool, remember Mindy’s story. Most porn stars out there have been manipulated just like Mindy was. Most have been taken advantage of, chewed up and spit out just like Mindy has been. Most porn stars are now as damaged as Mindy is. Take it from a guy who has been in the industry; I should know better than anyone. I recruited more than 500 models into the business over the span of my career and Mindy’s certainly not the only one of them whose life fell apart. Not a single one ever came back and said, “Hey, thanks for the porn career!” The vast majority are ashamed and full of regret. And if you still think porn doesn’t hurt anyone, I’d suggest remembering Mindy’s children. The most recent update I have about them is from a few months ago; they were in foster care at that time.
And finally, please help share the message that pornography hurts real people. Let’s humanize those who are involved in its creation, so that fewer consumers find it appealing. If you’re a consumer, please do whatever is necessary to stop consumption. Encourage your children to become warriors, fighting for those who aren’t willing to fight for themselves by refusing to ever become consumers of pornography. Fight The New Drug has done a great job with their marketing campaign to sell products such as t-shirts, hoodies and wristbands that are intended to make porn “uncool” for young people. Perhaps browse their store and make a purchase or two for the youth in your life. Let’s work to change the way porn is esteemed, transforming the attitude that “everybody uses it” to “it’s just not cool” in ways similar to anti-smoking campaigns. We CAN do it.
We think everyone who reads this will agree this is some powerful stuff. It’s sad what happened to Mindy and by raising awareness on the harmful effects of porn and continuing to try and decrease the demand for it, we can prevent it from continuing to ruin lives. We at FTND ask that you share and repost this story, so everyone can see what porn really does to people’s lives. We want to take the glamor and allure out of porn and leave it exposed as the cold, dark industry that it is. By sharing this story, you can help us do that; you can be a Fighter.
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