For some reason, I don’t remember my first ever adult shoot but I do remember the second. It was for a top shelf magazine publication and, as though to confirm his credentials to me, the photographer insisted on showing me some of his previous work before we started shooting. This basically just involved images of him being sucked off by Eastern European girls with poorly applied eye make-up. Him showing me those pictures pissed me off a bit because really, what is the polite response when what is effectively an employer shows you a picture of his penis before he’s even offered you a cup of tea? If you worked in an office and your boss sidled over to you and asked you to check out his dick pics that would be a whole different ball game (pun probably intended) but because in the adult industry you work naked around other people who are still clothed, boundaries and social norms can often get blurred.
There are no clear cut or set boundaries and you sort of get immune to that kind of thing pretty quickly too. There’s been a few occasions where I haven’t pulled people up on things like that that I haven’t found appropriate purely because we are now about to spend four hours in each other’s company and I’d rather not start off with any awkwardness. That and I don’t drive so I’m always relying on a lift back to the train station from them.
At that point of my burgeoning “adult career” I was still somewhat on edge about being naked around strangers. One of the sets for the shoot was a kind of abandoned warehouse set up with a lot of bashed up cardboard boxes scattered around and polythene sheets tacked to the wall. When I came into the room the first thing I was aware of was this odd chemically burning smell and I thought “OMG, its that stuff people put on a rag to knock you out”. I suddenly had all these images of myself passing out “Saw” style and waking up stuffed inside a cardboard box in the middle of nowhere after he’d had his wicked way with me but it turned out it was just the weird smell that baby oil made when it hit the polythene. I have a very overactive imagination.
My third ever shoot, I had a very hands on photographer who decided I was still too new to the whole posing and modelling game to be able to understand what “can you turn a little to the left for me?” could possibly mean and insisted on coming over and physically maneuvering me into positions. On noticing the mole I have at the very top of my thigh right by my vagina he even said “oh, you have a mole here” and proceeded to touch it. I so wish I was the person I am now back then. If he even dared tried to do that now I’d snap his fucking wrist but I was silly then and nervous and worried I wouldn’t get paid so I didn’t say anything. Even he knew he’d been too much as when I got home after the shoot he text me saying “hope I wasn’t too forward”. Forward!? Forward is what you’d call yourself if you were on a DATE and accidentally started talking about wedding dresses before your drinks order had arrived. We were supposed to have a working relationship over the few hours we were together, it was never going to go anywhere else so nothing you did or said should have been able to be misconstrued as “forward”.
Looking back, I have no idea why I didn’t take all these bad experiences as an omen and stop. I need to stress at this point that not ALL photographers are bad people or try their luck. The absolute vast majority are nothing but professional, good, kind people who I genuinely enjoyed working with but I did have bad experiences and I wish I’d stopped there before I got further into an industry that I never really wanted to be in. Ironically, the further you go up the “porn chain” and the more hardcore things get, the more immune to nudity people get and those behind the cameras are consummate professionals. It was those who teetered on the precipice of pussy who tended to be awkward and make me feel awkward.
At this point the guy I was seeing was quite religious – I don’t know if I was a personal project of salvation or what he was doing with me but he did keep asking me if I’d considered finding Jesus. I told him that unless Jesus was gonna open all those church collection boxes and pay my rent for me then I’ve have to keep shooting. Then off I’d trot with my leopard print suitcase that I never bothered unpacking because I was only going to have to repack it the next day, to trundle off to yet another station to get yet another train to Kent or Surrey or Milton Keynes, to wear the exact same outfits and go through the same rigmarole the next day. Me and him didn’t last long. I have a feeling he was coming to see me on a Tuesday and a Thursday then spending three hours repenting for it in Confession on a Sunday. At least I kept his priest busy.
I’d started being published quite regularly in top shelf magazines at that time and, I can’t lie, I did get a bit of a thrill to see myself in print. Okay I know nobody really “reads” them anymore and the kind of people who do buy them aren’t really the sort of people I’d want to be in any contact with but I still bought any copy I was in. Can’t say I was all that thrilled with the captions tho; one poster of me smeared in cake was captioned “Squirt your goo up my gash”. I appreciate the subtlety of this one; there’s a lot to be said for slow-burning erotic literature. It’s almost poetic. I reckon the writers at those mags have a piss about at the office though and see how much they can get away with, knowing full well no one ever reads the couple of lines of texts that introduce each girl. I once had a text box next to me talking about how my breasts were like “floury ciabattas from God’s own oven” and that one did make me chuckle.
One of my worst ever shoots was with a guy who, looking back, probably thought all his Christmases had come at once when I agreed to his shoot concept. I can’t stress enough how skint I was at this point. At times I was literally living off pennies. The irony is I was out every night in the West End, drinking Grey Goose and regularly staying in some of the top hotels in London and then I’d come back home to my depressing little bedroom in East London and have to go and ask in my local shop if they could change my coppers into silver so I could try and put a couple of quid in ten pence pieces on my Oyster card to get to shoots.
I wasn’t living hand to mouth I was chomping all my fingers right off in desperation. I had no business sense, no idea what I was doing and was sometimes doing eight-hour round trips for a two-hour shoot just to come home with £60. I was constantly skim reading e-mails until I found the £ sign, factoring the payment into my weekly budget and agreeing to the shoot so that by the time I’d actually get to the shoot and realised what we’d be doing, in my mind I’d have already paid my phone bill and some of my rent with that money and I didn’t know what else to do but go along with it.
Desperation does some fucked up things to people and this shoot was fucking awful. It was horrible. I should have just gone home but I needed the money.
He told me he was an ex-medical student and although I’d like to think I’ve never been naïve, looking back at when he told me that my stretchmarks might be down to tight jeans, I should have realised he probably hadn’t ever really been a doctor. His shoot concept was to put those old fashioned labels that are black with white typewriter type on them all over my “lady parts”, first of all with all the slang words for those body parts like “tits”, “nips”, “fanny”, “quim” etc and then take them all off and re label me with all the anatomically correct words for those body parts. He labelled the inside of the vagina too, like the vulva. I lay there with a man between my legs, his hands on my vagina as he stuck these stupid fucking labels on my most intimate parts. He was so close I felt sick but the only way I could focus past that was to keep talking about anything but what we were doing and keep staring up at the ceiling. He asked me if I’d go into the toilets and “have a little play” to make certain parts of my vagina more prominent for the photos and I’m so glad I at least said no to that. That photographer sent me an e-mail a year later to tell me how aroused he’d been working with me. I’m attaching that e-mail into this text post and oh how I’d love to be able to expose him but unfortunately I’d then be the one in trouble for putting his details online and so I have removed his e-mail address and his name from our correspondence.
What a c*nt and what a pathetic lie. Things like that make me feel sick but I try not to dwell on it. If I had to dwell on every bad thing a man has ever done to me I’d never get anything else done.
Even though I was shooting every day, I was still so insecure and awkward. I did one of my first shoots abroad in Europe and was working with this beautiful Polish girl who brought her husband along too. Within the first hour of arriving I’d been ordered into the bath and had to sit and scrub every inch of fake tan off myself using a loofah and tea tree face scrub. I was mortified and instantly in a bit of a tizz because I felt like I was holding everyone up and no-one really spoke to me much anyway because I didn’t speak Czech or Polish. People just keep strolling in at random, gawping at the colour of my bath water then shaking their heads and leaving again, whilst I desperately scoured away at my skin.
We actually had to do one ridiculous shoot in the same bath – it had been rinsed out by this point – in which we had to wear plastic kagouls and pretend to be sexy. I’d never actually modelled with someone else before and I couldn’t really work out the dynamic. I just felt frumpy and awkward besides this lithe, yoga toned goddess who could snap from pose to pose effortlessly and look fucking hot and the stupid bloody coats I was engulfed in didn’t help. Some men tell me “you’d look good in a bin bag”, which is not only a very unoriginal compliment but also could not be further from the truth, as pictures of me grinning inanely and awkwardly in a baggy plastic raincoat will prove. The model’s husband seemed to enjoy it though as he suddenly started talking to me after a weekend of ignoring me and asked if I’d ever considered visiting Poland.
Our next shoot was a twenty-minute oil massage shoot. Neither myself nor the other model actually did any “girl/girl” work or anything other than open leg levels so it’s actually quite hard work trying to stretch out rubbing someone’s back and tits for twenty long oil filled minutes. The cameraman looked like Crabbe or Goyle from Harry Potter and insisted that I wasn’t putting enough oil on myself before we started shooting and that he’d have to apply it for me. I don’t know what it is about photographers assuming that I can’t follow the simplest of instructions and feel that they have to take over. “That’s enough”, I told him. “No, it’s not”, he quipped. Oh, hilarious. So you have enough English to make jokes but not enough to make any conversation with me all weekend. Thank you for making me feel so welcome.
During the shoot, Crabbe advised me to move in front of the other model a bit so that my boobs were more in shot.
“Oh, so her breasts are more important than mine?” the other model joked.
Crabbe (or Goyle) couldn’t have looked more shocked if he’d discovered Malfoy naked under Harry’s invisibility cloak. “No way!” he gasped, in genuine shock, “yours are much better!”
Her husband – who’d insisted he had to sit in on the shoot because he was her manager – was quick to agree and I was treated to what I can only imagine was a discussion of the merits of her tits over my own for five minutes in multiple languages while she preened and I pretended to be deciphering the ingredients on the label of the oil bottle. Surprised they didn’t invite the owner of the company and his cleaning lady in too to give their input on my inadequate breasts. Literally could not wait to get back on the plane home from that one.
Another shoot that sticks in my mind was with a photographer who claimed he and his wife had made a fortune from porn in the 80s but that didn’t think I should ever get into it all as I wasn’t “sexualised” enough. That was fucking laughable considering I’d already slept with four men that week and it was only Wednesday but I kept my gob shut in case he thought I was coming on to him. I can’t remember what we actually shot but he cut the shoot short to show me some bukkake videos from parties he attended and would I be interested in letting nine strangers empty their balls on my face? I politely declined but he was not to be deterred. His next attempt was to show me a Facebook profile of a hench bodybuilder type who was really keen to get into shooting porn (said every man I’ve ever spoken to, ever). The photographer said he’d love to get us together because “basically, I’d like to see you get fucked”. Some men consider that to be a genuine compliment. Better than being told my tits are crap, I suppose.