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Aussie porn stars on industry pressures: ‘It’s killing us’

Olivia Nova, the porn star who died this week.
Olivia Nova, the porn star who died this week.

THEY'RE some of the most watched and best loved people in the world but they're also under more pressure and face greater stigma than many can even begin to imagine.

The porn star industry is in mourning again this week after another woman died - the fourth in less than three months.

On the morning of January 7, Olivia Nova, whose real name was Lexi Forte, died after less than a year in the porn industry.

The circumstances surrounding the 20-year-old's death are still unknown but she had taken to Twitter on Christmas Day to write, "Alone on the holidays and want to give a fan a holiday call. Would lift my spirit".

Feeling lonely and isolated while working in the porn industry is something both Lucie Bee and Madison Missina, two of Australia's most famous porn stars, understand well.

"We're considered outcasts from society. A lot of us have to hide parts of our lifestyles and that leads to isolation and a lot of us have strange relationships with our families and friends because most of aren't 'out' which can lead to more loneliness," Ms Missina told news.com.au.

Ms Bee, who has been in the porn industry since 2010, said the loneliness can come from the stigma they face on a daily basis.

"When you can't get that help and you don't have a lot of people who can at least listen to you to talk about what you're dealing with - that can be very isolating. Isolation and feeling alone sucks," Ms Bee said.

"What's really killing us at the moment is stigma. When we enter this industry we immediately get stigmatised, they treat us like garbage while simultaneously engaging and enjoying whatever we're creating.

"They love and watch the content but they don't really give a shit about the people that are making it, which I find incredibly frustrating," she said.

Ms Bee said there’s issues with stigma in the industry. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Ms Bee said there’s issues with stigma in the industry. Picture: Tim Carrafa

Ms Missina, who's been named "porn star of the year" for three years running, said there are also huge issues with bullying in the industry.

In December, famous porn star August Ames ended her life days after she sparked an online firestorm over tweets about working with men who had appeared in gay adult movies.

Ames, 23, was labelled a "homophobe" for the tweet and brutally bullied online. She died on December 8.

"All that bullying came from within the industry," Ms Missina said.

"There's issues with some of us that step out and become more accepted by society and I live quite openly and out and a lot of people in the industry will attack and bully me for that.

"Not a week goes by that I don't see someone getting cyber attacked from a member of our own industry and that's really sad," she added.

Ms Missina, who previously served as the president of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), said too many people in the industry are turning a blind eye to bullying.

"When organisations aren't standing up to stop or rectify the bullying, the person doing it then thinks it's OK to take a fight to Twitter and lash out at that person and that's not OK," she said.

Madison Missina is regularly bullied on Twitter.
Madison Missina is regularly bullied on Twitter.

Ms Bee, who has also experienced plenty of bullying online, said the death of another young girl in the porn industry was heartbreaking.

"These girls came to the industry and they worked hard, they created a brand and in any other industry that would've been appreciated and respected.

"I didn't know this girl personally but it's impossible not to feel bereft at a loss of life and it's very frustrating to be in this industry and to know that stuff like this could be avoided if society just looked at us as people. Because the problem isn't with how we see each other or see ourselves but it's how society sees us," she said.

A week after Ames died, fellow porn star Yuri Luv died of a suspected drug overdose.

One of her last Instagram posts was captioned: "I hope to my death, late, in love, and a little drunk."

The misconception porn stars use drugs more in their line of work than others is also something Ms Bee is hoping people will stop believing.

"I get that there's this image attached to the industry but it's not wholly accurate.

August Ames committed suicide after she was ruthlessly bullied.
August Ames committed suicide after she was ruthlessly bullied.

"They want a reason why [girls are dying] and that's usually what they lend themselves to, that it's a drug problem in the porn industry but it's the whole of the United States," she said.

Ms Missina said she's come across women in the industry who use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism but said there isn't "an overarching theme of drug use".

"There are some sex workers that say, 'I need to get high or be drunk to do this job' and they're the ones that shouldn't be in this industry. I tell them, 'you need to get another job,'" Ms Missina said.

Shyla Stylez, 35, a hall of fame porn star, was the first of the four women to die when she passed away in her sleep in November.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Topics:  colleagues deaths editors picks porn industry porn star

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