Leaving Porn

LeavingPorn_ADDISON

Addison Graham on making it big in Hollywood, harsh realizations and how he found his true self in the desert.

BY PAULO MURILLO  |  PHOTO BY AJ FORD, www.ajfordphotography.com

Addison Graham is hardly the first porn actor to move to the relatively quiet desert town of Palm Springs after saying au revoir to the industry, but unlike most retired adult industry veterans who throw in the bath towel after long extensive careers, Graham was done with porn after only two years of working for some of the hottest production companies in the biz, like Lucas Entertainment and Randy Blue.

The surprisingly shy 30-year old Colorado native moved to Los Angeles over eight years ago with dreams of making it big in Hollywood, so to speak.

“I always wanted to do porn,” he tells THE FIGHT. “I would watch it and think these guys were beautiful… the fact that they were having sex in front of a camera—that turned me on.”

At first, reveals Graham, he assumed that being an adult film star would be a profitable venture—however—as time went by—he realized that assumptions and reality do not always mesh.

“I thought if I did this that I would be able to support myself into retirement,” he says, “but as I got more and more into it, the shoots were further and further apart… I was working less frequently and the paychecks would get smaller, because I wasn’t the new kid on the block anymore. The idea is that they’ll pay big for the new guy that’s never worked before and then it just goes away.”

THE MONEY SHOT

“There’s something about porn that I didn’t like … I felt like I was being manipulated,” reveals Graham, shockingly.

“I’d be on set and someone will tell me, ‘oh we need you to do this, or else we won’t pay you,’ and then if the scene doesn’t work out, then you don’t get paid. I was doing a scene and it went on for a really long time and we couldn’t finish by the cut-off time. My scene partner and me had been having sex for hours, but because we didn’t finish by 5 o’clock, we didn’t get paid. That really opened my eyes,” states Graham.

“The porn industry is always telling us that business is suffering because of piracy, but I don’t think they’re suffering as much as they say they are. It didn’t feel like there was an even playing field. It always felt like they try to make the performer feel smaller and less important.”

Manipulation aside, the actual money shot didn’t seem to pay off. “The money is not nearly what I thought it would be going in,” he says. “The amount always got smaller. Like in my first film I was paid around $4,000 for a scene. And by the time it was two years later, I was getting offered $1,000 per scene, which is good because there are guys out there who are doing it for $500. Still, it’s so not worth it.”

Graham hoped he’d get to travel and make club appearances, but he quickly learned that a lot of the money made by adult film stars comes from escort services—something he was unwilling to do.

“I didn’t realize in the beginning that the real money in porn is in escorting, which I never did,” he says. “I thought about it, but I never actually did it. A lot of the guys that I met who do porn are escorts also. It was really disappointing to me to figure that out, of course.”

REMAINING GRATEFUL

Being a porn star also had its benefits, admits Graham. He was able to use his porn name for the greater good. “I participated in AIDS/LifeCycle and used my name to raise a little over $10,000. I could not have done that without the people I have through Twitter, which I got through porn. That was cool.”

Despite the benefits, Graham reveals he knew he was done after his last porn shoot in September of this year.

“The last shoot I did was great. Nothing bad happened. I did three scenes and on my last one, it was an orgy scene with four people, and I found that really exhausting. It wasn’t sexy or fun and I thought: I don’t want to do this anymore. It wasn’t getting me anywhere. I thought maybe if I stop, it will help open me up to other things.”

Today, Addison Graham prefers the simple life Palm Springs has to offer, where there is less traffic, the gay community is friendlier and the job market isn’t so cutthroat.

“I work at Streetbar—it’s a great local bar. All the employees and the owners and the management—we’re kind of like a family… Right now I’m a bar back—working my way up to be a bartender. I’m lucky. The owner—Dick Haskamp—takes good care of his employees.”

Graham reveals that while this interview in THE FIGHT is the first formal announcement that he’s quit the porn industry—he’s not done pursuing acting and remains grateful towards the fans of his porn persona.

“There are a few fans that I keep in contact with via email and they’re really supportive about whatever I decide to do next,” he says. “I’m still doing gay erotica movies that have plenty of nudity—just no sex. I’m shooting a movie that’s being distributed by TLA video, just like I’ve done before, but right now I’m mostly focused on becoming a bartender.”

“I’m not done doing things,” he adds, “but I think I’m done doing sex things.”

You can follow Addison Graham’s next move on Twitter under @AddyAddicted.