Identity

'I Miss the Quality of Sex' – Porn Stars on Life After Porn

"I’ve got time to pursue other passions," says Franco Trentalance. "I write, I cook, I make my own wine. I’ve got lots going on."
Niccolò Carradori
Florence, IT
September 9, 2021, 12:54pm
Franco Trentalance/Cristina Ricci. Composite image. Left hand: Bald man in purple long-sleeved polo shirt holding a cigar, sat at a desk with a briefcase. Right hand: Woman wearing sunglasses and purple top.
All photos courtesy of the interviewees. 

This article originally appeared on VICE Italy.

Most porn performers hang up their boots at a fairly early age; some are disillusioned by the industry, others have got all they wanted out of it. And like any sex worker, they can face stigma in their post-porn lives.

I asked four Italian former adult entertainers what life looks like after porn.

Franco Trentalance

Franco Trentalance - Bald man in purple long-sleeved polo shirt holding a cigar, sat at a desk surrounded by wads of sculpted dollar bills and a white briefcase.

"I'm like a grandmother who talks to the soap operas on TV." Franco Trentalance posing with some sculptural work by Italian artist Narenzo Biondo.

VICE: Hey Franco. You retired four years ago. Why?
Franco Trentalance: I was at the peak of my career and wanted to leave the public with fond memories of me. I was tired and the job was nerve-wracking. You have to stand there with an erection while a director tells you to have sex on spiral staircases, on cold marble, on rocks, under the sun. Louder, softer, whatever they want. I was a little sick of it.

What do you do now?
I’ve got time to pursue other passions. I write, I cook, I make my own wine. I’ve got lots going on. 

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Is there anything you miss about porn?
On a sexual level, I kind of miss the quality of sex I had with some of the actresses.

What’s your relationship with porn like now?
I still watch it, but I’m actually a bit like those grandmothers who talk to the soap operas on TV. I’m giving the actors suggestions. “Move over there, why did you put yourself in that position?” It’s a hard habit to kick.

What do you think about the stigma towards the profession in general?When you make an anti-conformist career choice, you have to accept there might be a stigma or prejudices attached. Looking back at my career, the benefits outweighed the disadvantages.

Cristina Ricci (AKA Michelle Ferrari)

Cristina Ricci - Woman wearing sunglasses and a purple top standing in front of lapping waves

"My partners wanted to save me from porn. I didn't need to be saved from anything," says Cristina Ricci.

VICE: You’ve retired and made a comeback a few times in the past. Are you done with porn for good now?
Cristina Ricci:
Yes. Before, my motivations were different. In the past I retired because my partners were jealous, but now I think it’s time to end that chapter for good. Making movies doesn’t interest me anymore, it’s all become mechanical.

How do you fill the days now?
I live in the present. I had a daughter and I’m devoted to her. I’ve got my own interests, too, and I’m passionate about naturopathy [nature-based alternative medicine] and taking part in triathlons.

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Is it ever annoying to be thought of as a former porn actress? 
A little bit, yes, because the brand stays with you. I help my family run a rural holiday retreat, and every so often customers ask about what they call additional “room services”.

Have you ever felt pressured to act like a porn star in your private relationships?
No, quite the opposite. Porn was something I did because I wanted to, and sometimes I missed that transgression and that freedom in my private life. My partners wanted to save me from porn. I didn't need to be saved from anything.

Ruggero Freddi (AKA Carlo Masi)

Ruggero Freddi - Muscular, bearded, topless man, background: palm tree, blue skies, blue sea.

"What you do on video stays there," says Ruggero Freddi, adult entertainer turned maths teacher.

VICE: Do you look back fondly on your time in porn?
Ruggero Freddi: It was a very happy moment in my life – I’m proud to have been Carlo Masi. It’s important to note that I was part of an elite group in porn – I was privileged. Those who weren't as successful as me experienced more stigma and negative consequences.

Why did you decide to quit?
I’d made the most of that career – I was well-off, famous, and have a lot of great memories of it. It was becoming repetitive, so I decided to get out before it would have been too late to reinvent myself professionally.

Do you ever miss it?
I don’t miss the actual filming, no, but I miss the lifestyle. Travelling, award ceremonies, the fame. Pornography is show business. It’s a fun world to be a part of. 

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My ex-husband [Giovanni Fieschi Ravaschieri del Drago, a descendant of Neapolitan nobility], who passed away, was very wealthy, which left me in a comfortable position. That’s why I was able to pursue my real passion, which was teaching maths at university.  

I’ve remarried, to another former actor [Gustavo A. Leguizamon, A.K.A. Adam Champ]. There’s no showing off in our sex life. What you do on video stays there.

Have you ever felt stigmatised because of your previous job?
On a personal level, nobody’s ever dared say anything to me directly. But it has affected me professionally – I had long dreamed of a career in academia, but once word of my past got out, things got tough. 

Some of the professors who hired me later said they’d been advised against it. Unfortunately, that tells you about the sort of people who have the top jobs at universities, and you can’t get around them. So I gave up. Now I teach high school students.

Gianfranco Coizza (AKA Denis Marti)

Gianfranco Coizza - Bearded man in dark blue t-shirt holding a wooden board covered in sliced meat. Background: greenery and a barbeque.

Gianfranco Coizza showing off his culinary wares.

VICE: Why did you quit porn?
Gianfranco Coizza:
I’d achieved everything I set out to do. I’d been a top-level actor, director and producer. Porn had nothing more to give me.

You work in the food industry now, right?
In the last few years of my porn career I’d already entered the hospitality sector. I started investing in a restaurant in Budapest and I used to own an apartment restaurant in LA, so it wasn’t a total leap into the void.

Has leaving porn affected you financially?
Initially, a little, yes. But then again, as a porn actor, you’re sitting around waiting for producers to call, knowing that at any point the phone might ring for the last time. It's never been the get-rich-fast paradise people expect, not even when there was actual money going around.

I've always been too concerned about what others thought of me. I thought my coworkers would always think of me as “the guy who did porn”. And that actually happened a couple of times. I've lost out on few important collaborative opportunities in the past.

Do you ever miss it?
No. It was a career, not a lifestyle. 

Would you do it again?
To be honest, maybe not. The stigma towards porn actors is still very strong, and it overshadows a lot of who you are as a person.