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August 24, 2016 07:57am
Jump to Mainstream
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Rich Moreland

Traci Lords Having celebrated Jacky St. James' Showtime breakthrough in the previous column, let's review a little history of what crossing over is all about…

Venturing back to the 1980s, Traci Lords broke into filmed pornography at the tender age of fifteen armed with a forged driver's license that persuaded studios she was twenty-two. Later she parlayed that notoriety into mainstream work for legitimate movies and commercial TV. Among the Hollywood productions in which she appeared was Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), the same film, incidentally, that included porn's Katie Morgan.

The blonde Morgan, who has also appeared in HBO presentations, believes America's reception to porn is changing. She tells the LA Times that adult entertainment is becoming a part of "middle-class Americana."

Other porn girls have made the jump to mainstream. Sasha Grey was showcased in director Steven Soderbergh's the Girlfriend Experience (2009) and went on to land a role in the HBO series, Entourage. Jenna Jameson, a regaled adult superstar, was cast in the comedy-horror film, Zombie Strippers (2008).

Most recently, adult heartthrob James Deen made inroads into Hollywood, co-starring with Lindsay Lohan in Paul Schrader's the Canyons (2013).

Admittedly these are only a few of the many adult stars we've seen over the years, but does porn really open doors to mainstream? Perhaps, because today's audiences are not bothered by moral indignation and besides that, many porn stars can act.

And don't forget that Hollywood celebrity types occasionally produce sex tapes of their own, bootlegged (allegedly) or commercial, to tickle public interest in their otherwise unremarkable lives. Kim Kardashian, Pamela Anderson, and Farrah Abraham have enhanced their celebrity reputations with their sexual romps rather than trashing them. Since her fame skyrocketed after her filmed frolic with James Deen, Abraham now appears at the annual AVN trade show in Las Vegas while holding on to her mainstream status.

By the way, AVN and XBIZ recognize crossover stars in their awards shows. Some of the performers who have taken home accolades are Sasha Grey, Katie Morgan, Stormy Daniels, Riley Steele, Sunny Leone, and jessica drake. For the men, James Deen has won twice and Ron Jeremy once.

For the decades ahead, what can we conclude about porn's flirtation with mainstream?

Today's millennials are shaping a pop culture that blurs the lines between legitimate commercial entertainment (whatever that means) and adult film. Throw in the immediacy of websites and social connections like twitter that skirt the more staid media and anything is open for debate.

Sexting isn't going away, anyone with a cell phone can become an amateur pornographer, and cam sweeties, including the girl next door, get down and dirty in their own online shows.

Having said that, a key question remains. Will the public ever embrace a porn star, former or current, as a Hollywood fixture? Some say no, but others aren't so sure.

After all, it's about the money and porn performers add profit to a production. They come with an established fan base budding Hollywood types do not. Plus, they appear with their clothes on, negating the porn star image.

The renegade attitudes popular in the industry decades ago have given way to a corporate feel among the major adult studios, such as Jacky St. James' employer, New Sensations. Porn features now rival some of the classic adult films of the 1970s with directors just as talented.

The jump into mainstream exposure is hardly that anymore. As we venture toward 2020, it's a mere step.

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