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Porn Stars Talk About Their Day Jobs

"To really make it in porn, you need a lot of talent and a massive dick. Otherwise, you'll have to flip burgers on the side."

by Niccolò Carradori
27 June 2017, 10:04am

All photos courtesy of the interviewees

This article originally appeared on VICE Italy

Last week, the best and brightest in the Italian porn industry were honoured in a ceremony in Milan, during the Italian Porn Awards. It's a pretty festive event, but working in Italian porn isn't as glamorous as it used to be.

The easy availability of porn on the internet has made it very difficult for professional production companies to survive, which is as true in Italy as it is anywhere. Fewer professional productions are getting made and more amateurs are trying their hand at porn. Many actors quit after a few months of trying, but those who stick around often have to work a second job to pay the bills.

To understand what it's like to get by as a modern Italian porn star, I approached six eminent performers at the event.

LUCA FERRERO

VICE: How and when did you decide to go into porn?
Luca Ferrero: That was around 2013. It was a difficult time for my family, because my father's construction company was closing down. I had to get by working as a waiter. While on holiday with a friend in Budapest, I bumped into the porn producer Mario Selier. We met for a coffee and he asked if I would be interested in trying it out. I had never thought about being a porn actor before. My audition went well, and that's how it all started.

But you kept doing your other jobs?
Yes, because the pay for the porn productions I was in was low and I had very little experience. In some cases, I even had to work for free. It happens – I even know a lot of new guys who actually pay to be able to do porn. In Italy, it's hard to come up and remain in the national circuit because there aren't many productions being made. So I kept working as a waiter and helped my parents out in the supermarket they opened. I now work for XTime, which is one of Italy's biggest porn production companies. Considering how difficult it is to make it in this industry, I'm very lucky.

When you worked as a waiter, did your colleagues and customers know about your other job?
Yes, almost as soon as I passed my audition, everyone in my hometown of Riva Ligure knew. Everyone was curious, but respectful. I never felt judged. And girls have recognised me but nothing crazy ever happened – I was already married before I started in porn. Most people who contact me with indecent proposals are men, by the way, and they do it through the internet, not in real life.

Is it realistic for aspiring Italian porn actors to hope to work in porn full-time one day?
It's very difficult. There are so many amateur actors who would do anything to be in a professional porn feature. Because so many people want it, the pay has really plummeted. It's a complicated time for the industry, especially in Italy. To really make it in Italian porn, you need real talent and a massive dick. Otherwise, you'll have to flip burgers on the side.

CRISTINA MILLER

VICE: What's your day job?
Cristina Miller:
For the last eight years, I've been doing quality control for a firm that produces plastic. I started doing it almost immediately after arriving in Italy from Colombia, and I really like doing it.

So how did you end up in porn?
I used to work as a model. One day, my husband asked whether I wouldn't be interested in doing porn, because he thought my looks and body would be perfect for it. I really was interested, and it didn't take long before I found a production company and filmed my first scene. Now I'm in touch with an American production company, too.

Do your colleagues at the factory know about your other career?
Not really, only two really good friends from there know I'm doing this. They follow me on my Facebook page, and keep up to date with new things I have coming out. I don't tell the others about it.

MAX CAVALLIS

VICE: How did you end up in porn?
Max Cavallis:
I started in October 2015, though a casting agent. It had always been a secret dream of mine, but I never had the right contacts. Even at porn conventions, it's hard to come across producers who are interested in new actors. But I finally met this one casting agent, and she helped me find my way into the industry.

What was your job at the time?
When I started, I worked as a cleaner for a company that maintained all different sorts of buildings. At the moment, I'm unemployed and looking for something new.

So you don't make enough with your porn career to support yourself financially?
Not really, there's too much competition and very few jobs on offer. It's impossible to make it as an Italian actor right now – you'd have to be incredibly lucky and find a production company willing to offer an exclusivity deal for a number of years. Freelancers, like most of us are, can't get enough jobs to have any kind of financial stability.

HEIDY CASSINI

VICE: You got into porn a while ago, at a time when the internet hadn't had such a big impact on the industry yet. Did you have a second job in those days, or were you on porn full-time?
Heidi Cassini:
It was very different back then. Doing porn was more lucrative than it is now, there were fewer actors on the circuit, and they were all professionals. I got into porn after many years of working in theatre, television and film, but I was able to manage both careers at the same time.

How did you do that? Did your colleagues outside of the porn industry never judge you?
No, I've never faced any stigma. I was lucky enough to always meet intelligent people, who never questioned my professional skills as a host or an actress just because I also did porn.

You're one of the organisers of the Italian Porn Awards – what is it like for actors to try to make it in the industry today?
Only a few people working in the industry are able to make a living out of it. Most male actors who try to make it don't last more than a year before they give up, although women can often work as strippers to add to their income. A lot of today's amateurs think it's an easy way to make money – they quickly become disillusioned when things don't quite work out as they planned. In the past, people did porn because they wanted to, making a lot of money was an added bonus.

SEBASTIAN BONOMETTI

VICE: What job do you do besides your work in porn?
Sebastian Bonometti:
I'm a personal trainer in gyms and do some other odd jobs here and there. I started stripping in 2002, and I won a few awards doing that. That led me to move towards porn, eventually.

So do people recognise you when you're working in a gym?
Yes, and when they do, they immediately look at me in a different way. I've had people desperately try to become my friend, or offer me money to have sex with them. Guys are always very friendly, and although women might act a bit put off in public, they're very different when you talk to them about it in private.

MARIKA VITALE

VICE: You only started doing porn recently. What did you do before?
Marika Vitale:
I've worked so many different jobs – as a hairdresser, a sales assistant in a toy shop – really normal jobs. But, to be honest, I've always wanted to do porn. Jenna Jameson was my idol, I wanted to be just like her. At some point, I started working as a lap-dancer, and a few years after that, I had the opportunity to move to hard-core porn.

Can you avoid having a second job if you work in porn in Italy?
Hardly. You could try to work abroad, like in Prague, Budapest or Los Angeles, but in Italy it's definitely a struggle. In the past, there were lots of great Italian productions, but that's really died down now. And the few films that are still being made pay very little.

Was that what you expected when you joined?
I definitely imagined it would be a lot more lucrative and easier. Fans think doing this job is pure fun and money, but that really isn't the case. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to work in this industry. No matter how much I love it, I still need to pay the bills. Hopefully I can do something completely different when I quit.

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