Generating a bit of a buzz on social media is the porn documentary “Hot Girls Wanted” by directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus. The documentary focuses on young girls who are just 18 or 19 years old and who’re taking their first steps into the world of adult entertainment. They try to unravel why these girls made this choice and how they hold themselves up in this very adult world.
Porn exists as long as film exists, but the age of the internet has certainly changed things. 20 years ago you had to go to the video-rental store and rent a copy of an adult movie if you wanted to watch one. Nowadays everybody with access to the internet has an enormous amount porn just a few mouse clicks away. And not just the normal “decent” stuff. If you can think of something extreme, odds are there’s a website dedicated to it. If you like Latino girls licking up their own vomit, there’s a site for that. I didn’t know that, but thanks to Hot Girls Wanted I now do. This is just a tip of the ice-berg as the internet is filled with sites catering to people’s fetishes and in order to do so they have to have performers who will perform these acts in front of a camera. Luckily “every day a new girl turns 18, and every day a girl decides she wants to do porn” as “talent scout” Riley dryly states.
Riley is a young man who founded Hussie Models, an agency specializing in fresh amateurs. Riley posts ads on Craigslist in which he promises a free plane ticket to Miami and such. He’s pretty upfront about everything, making him not the sleazy pimp who’s trying to trick girls into porn. He has a 5 bedroom house where he houses the girls that take him up on his offer. These are girls from all over the US coming to Miami for one thing: to start a career in porn. Riley has the contacts and sets them up with a portfolio as well as shoots in exchange for rent and 10% of every shoot they do. The only thing Riley and his talent have different views about is longevity: he states that the average girl will last three months in the business, the girls think they will all be in it for the long run. I think you can probably guess who’s right.
Riley markets his girls as amateurs, meaning that these are girls who have just entered the business. After a doing a couple of scenes the whole “new” factor has worn off and these girls have to result to the more fetish oriented stuff I earlier mentioned. This is one of multiple times I started questioning if what we were presented with, was in fact the cold truth. I have a hard time acknowledging that bondage-porn and such is the only thing these girls are offered. Sure, every one of these girls secretly hopes to be one of those famous porn stars that have their names above movie titles, AVN awards on their mantle and maybe even be the next Sasha Grey; going from porn to Hollywood movies. But there are a lot of of productions made not simply focusing on the “fresh new face” aspect of the girls. There are plenty of girls active for 2-3 years who never reach the top, but do have a steady stream of mainstream porn to their credit without appearing in scenes that require them to do nasty stuff.
While this all is supposed to be considered shocking, I had a hard time feeling sorry for these girls. Sure they’re not the brightest bulb in box and all a tad naive, but all of these girls willingly and with firm conviction decide to do porn. People expecting drug users and girls from broken families will be disappointed: these girls have loving families back at home, sometimes even a boyfriend. This is the case with the girl featured at the center of this documentary: Tressa Silguero/Stella May. Tressa is an 18 year old girl who sees porn as a way to escape her small town life. She wants to make a lot of money, become famous even. She doesn’t want a normal job or as she herself puts it: I made $900 in five hours. I’m going to go home and make $8.25 an hour?
Early on the reason porn seems so attractive to these young girls is not just the easy money, but because it offers them an escape out of their boring lives. We live in an age where people have gotten famous just because they made a sex-tape. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are good examples of people that weren’t household names until a sex-tape leaked. What these girls don’t realize is that even if such a tape was leaked without their consent, these girls had rich (semi-)famous parents. That’s why it’s news when Laurence Fishburne’s daughter starts doing porn, and not when it’s them. Girls like Paris or Kim were probably also quite smart, or had smart people doing the thinking for them as they seized this opportunity to work their way into the public eye and get all sorts of deals: reality shows, modeling etc. $900 for five hours work is a nice sum of cash, but to really become successful in porn you need to have the three B’s: Boobs, Brains and Bluff.
The makers of Hot Girls Wanted probably wanted to show us the horrors of the porn industry, and as soon as the girls start doing niche porn the documentary does take a more harrowing turn, but there was never any true sense of exploitation. One of the girls mentions she was offered $300 for a blowjob scene, only to find out it was for a “forced blowjob”, another 18 year old girl feels disgusted that one of her co-stars is a man three times her age. While you can understand that their job has this downside to it, you can’t help but wonder what these girls were thinking; that it would all be high budget movie making with attractive male models as co-stars? You wonder if they have ever watched porn before making the decision to get into the business. The harrowing aspect of the movie also falls flat when you look at these girls’ filmography. Tressa mentions with a certain disdain that in order to make some money she has to do a BDSM shoot, but when you go to her IMDB page it states that she has performed in at least 6 BDSM shoots. Since none of the girls seems to be forced into doing to these shoots I can only conclude that she must have done these shoots consensual. I can understand that the first time might be a bit a bit of a cold shower if it turns out it isn’t your thing, but Tressa went on to do another 5 scenes. So far for the harrowing aspect.
Tressa’s life with her parents and her boyfriend is also shown as she visits them from time to time while working on her career. Her dad doesn’t know yet, though afterwards he claimed he always knew. Sounds logical, but I wonder what the explanation was during filming as to why they’re making a documentary about his daughter. The conversations between Tressa and her mother show us how ill-informed young girls like Tressa are: discussing the lack of condom use her mother asks her if she’s isn’t afraid of attracting diseases or getting pregnant. She mentions everybody gets tested every two weeks and tells her she’s safe from getting pregnant as the men always pull out before ejaculating.
This documentary isn’t about warning us for the porn industry, it’s a wake-up call warning us about the lack of education of young people.
It surely is an interesting documentary which finally shows us where these girls come from and how they enroll in the industry. It’s a nice companion to the more glamorizing documentaries like “After Porn Ends” and it’s actually a suitable film to be shown in schools to adolescents. It might turn those few girls off that are like Tressa and Ava. The girls who are still into it after watching it: good luck, I’m sure you will be the next Sasha Grey.