Student-turned-porn star: My job has 'changed my life for the better'

If things had gone according to the plans she had growing up, 25-year-old Jade would now be working in the fashion business.

It was her dream since she was little, and she pursued it determinedly for many years, studying fashion at Manchester Metropolitan University.

She graduated in 2015, but while she’s found career fulfillment, it’s not quite in the area you might expect: these days Carly-Rae, as she's known on camera, is a full-fledged porn star, complete with a wardrobe not of designer clothes but stripper heels, sexy underwear and see-through tops.

It may seem a strange choice for an educated, articulate young woman — but Jade insists it has brought her far more fulfillment than a career in fashion ever could.

I honestly think that discovering the porn industry made me the person I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful

— Carly-Rae

"I love my job, it’s changed my life for the better," she says.

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But while Jade likes to present herself as empowered ‒ "a self-fulfilled woman" is how she puts it ‒ it also seems clear that her choice of career is more complex than she first lets on.

Strict upbringing and abuse

Jade allowed herself to be filmed for a BBC documentary called: "Jade, Why I Chose Porn" and at one point she tellingly confides that working in porn was a way of rebelling against her upbringing.

"My parents were so strict about everything I did, that’s how I rebelled and ended up how I am," she says. "If you let your child be their own person, then she probably wouldn’t make the same decisions I did."

More poignant, however, is the revelation that Jade was sexually assaulted when she was 16 — at a time when she had never even kissed a boy.

Understandably, the traumatic experience had a profound effect on her.

"Anything that happens to someone at a young age when boys cross the line, it is going to affect you," she says now.

"Afterwards I was having sex a fair amount and I thought that was all I was worth."

The British adult film star said the porn industry "allowed me to mature, to grow into myself."

The British adult film star said the porn industry "allowed me to mature, to grow into myself." (Courtesy Carly Rae)

"Getting into the porn industry allowed me to mature, to grow into myself," she says.

"When I got into this, there were people telling me I was beautiful and it brought me out of my shell, it made me believe in myself more than I ever did before."

"It’s given me independence and self-esteem.

"On some level I’m the last person you would think works in the adult industry — but often it’s the girls you never would have expected having sex for a living, like the quiet ones you used to see sat in the library with a book."

My parents were so strict about everything I did, that’s how I rebelled and ended up how I am

— Cary-Rae

Jade wasn’t quite that girl, although she describes herself as a "naive" teenager. She won’t discuss her family, although she describes her upbringing as "perfect."

By the age of 13, however, she was already watching porn online.

"Boys in the playground at school were using all these sexual terms. I didn’t have a clue what those words meant so I started looking things up on the Internet," she says.

"It was curiosity really. We’re the generation that’s grown up with the Internet, with online pornography, it’s more normalized for our age group."

Unorthodox student job

The porn star said she had a strict but "perfect" upbringing.

The porn star said she had a strict but "perfect" upbringing. (Courtesy Carly Rae)

Initially a more traditional career path beckoned though: Jade was accepted on a fashion degree course in Manchester and embarked on student life in the city.

But as her student loan started to run out, she took an unorthodox route to topping up her funds.

"I tried everything I could to get a traditional job to get some extra cash, but every job in retail I applied for there were to 200 applicants for," she insists.

I went from a small B to a DD. I wanted that perfect rounded shape

— Carly-Rae

"Then a guy I’d met online suggested I sell some pornographic pictures and videos.

"I already had some on my phone from previous boyfriends so it wasn’t a big leap.

"Suddenly I had $136 in my bank account every few weeks and I could go shopping and it made me happy."

Then, aged 19, she received an email from a website asking if she’d like to make a pornographic film. "I said yes, that I would absolutely love to," she says.

The "basic" shoot involved a "very simple" boy meets girl scene. "I had no idea what to expect but I wasn’t nervous," she insists.

"I knew nothing though — I turned up with just the clothes on my back. I remember them asking me where my underwear and outfit options were. But I enjoyed it."

Unhappy experiences

Quickly, it seems, Jade found that performing porn gave her a sense of self-worth that had been missing from her life: she describes her student days as "lonely" and "depressed" and says that her newfound porn career gave her confidence.

Nonetheless, it’s clear she has gone through experiences which made her unhappy, some of which unfold in the documentary.

In one scene, in which her male co-star is struggling to perform, Jade can be seen having a panic attack as she worries about filming with him again.

In another more shocking incident, she confides that she has been bleeding after suffering a tear in her vagina after a vigorous sex session — yet feels she has no choice but to have sex with the same man on camera again. "It’s my job," she says to camera.

Today she does not want to dwell on these incidents, saying they are "in the past."

Full-time career

It was the start of what would become, post graduation, a full-time porn career, traveling to shoots all over Europe — among them Prague, Budapest, Spain and Austria.

"For two years I didn’t see my bed for more than about three days in a row." she says. "But I found it very fulfilling. It gave me independence in a way that getting coffees as an intern in the fashion industry could never do."

And while the pay wasn’t huge ‒ some shoots pay $680 a day, some much less, with an hourly rate of around $16 ‒ it was enough for her, by the age of 21, to rent her own city-center apartment.

She was also able to fund a boob job, something she calls her "21st birthday present to myself."

"I didn’t do it for men," she insists. "I wanted to balance my body out. I went from a small B to a DD. I wanted that perfect rounded shape."

She insists that she’s never had a bad experience or felt vulnerable. "When I first started out I did some things I’m not proud of —someone was a bit rough with me," she says.

"But it was because I was bottom of the ladder. Now in terms of what I do on set, everything is agreed on before I arrive.

"If I think a guy is going too hard I will just tell him to stop and they always respect it."

Like all sex workers, she has regular sexual health checks as 90 percent of sex takes place without protection. So far, she has emerged unscathed.

Life away from the cameras

Carly Rae said she isn't interesting in dating while she continues to do porn.

Carly Rae said she isn't interesting in dating while she continues to do porn.

Years later, she now says that it is her work in porn, not real relationships, that give her a sense of self-worth.

"In my professional life men treat me with nothing but admiration and respect. But I find in real life that’s not the case," she says.

It’s one reason she has decided to remain single for the foreseeable future, describing herself as "asexual."

I work three days a week from my own home and while I’m not rich I’m not poor

— Carly-Rae

"It’s just easier this way," she says. "One ex-boyfriend was fine with it at first but then got jealous.

"It’s just easier to have either porn or a boyfriend, you can’t really have both at the same time."

Her friends, meanwhile, are aware of what she does but are unfazed.

"They’ve known me a long time and they know I enjoy being outlandish. It wasn’t the biggest shock to them."

This description seems at odds with the portrait of the naive and lonely girl that Jade also likes to paint of her past self.

Either way, today Jade likes to think of herself as an entrepreneur as well as a porn performer.

She has given up traveling to shoots and instead works from her Manchester apartment creating her own content, which she sells to subscribers.

"I work three days a week from my own home and while I’m not rich I’m not poor. For me it’s not about the money," she says. "It’s about doing something I enjoy."

Is there a sell-by date on what she does? "Who knows?," she asks. "I live each day by the day."

What about regret in the future? After all, the 60-year-old Jade might feel differently about what she did as a young girl. "Maybe, but I don’t think so," she says. "I like to think that I’ll enjoy seeing how hot I was.

"I am proud of what I do. I honestly think that discovering the porn industry made me the person I am today, and I couldn’t be more grateful."

This article originally appeared in The Sun.