Before shooting her very first pornographic scene, Honey Gold was overcome with nerves. Her stomach trembled with butterflies, her palms sweated and her heart beat like jackhammer. As she waited to be called onto set, she watched a scene being filmed right in front of her and in that moment, she considered putting an end to her porn career before it even began. “I remember thinking, ‘I cannot do this! What was I thinking?! I’m way over my head!’” Gold shares.“It goes without saying that I didn’t leave. I had what I call the ‘do or die’ feeling, where my choices were to do the scene or to walk away—and I absolutely love this feeling. You get a rush of adrenaline and are just able to go balls to the wall, putting everything you’ve got into the scene.”

Honey Gold threw caution to the wind during her first scene—which happened to be with Aaron “Small Hands” Thompson and directed by porn icon Joanna Angel—and her performance propelled her into the industry at full force. “My start in the industry came from modeling, and it was through this experience that I discovered how liberating it felt to be on camera,” Gold explains. “My modelling career adapted into more artistic nudes and implied nudity as my appreciation for the female body grew. From this, I tumbled down the rabbit hole that led to erotic nudes. It was also apparent that the erotic nudes and fetish shoots were definitely better at paying the bills.”

Photos by Marcos Rivera

Photos by Marcos Rivera

As her shoots became more erotic and she eventually transitioned to porn, Gold realized she had a passion for having sex on camera and was seduced by the power that came with it. “I found the experience of having someone behind the lens watching you with amazement more than liberating,” Gold says. “It felt… intoxicating.”

If it wasn’t for Gold’s genuine love for having sex on camera she would have ended her career years ago, as her profession has taken a toll. Like many porn performers, Gold has struggled with her mental health, and in late 2018, she attempted to take her own life. Hitting rock bottom made her realize that she needed to put her mental health before everything else, especially when it came to the demands of her industry. “My mental health has been a bit of a spiral throughout my career,” Gold shares. “Forcing myself to do scenes instead of just paying the kill fee has definitely brought me down to a low level several times and that’s why I advise so strongly against going through with it if you’re not feeling up to it.”

Photos by Marcos Rivera

Photos by Marcos Rivera

For decades, performers within the industry have fought to dismantle the most common misconception about pornography—that porn stars are constantly having a fun and sexy time.  In reality, being a porn star takes a ton of hard work and the mental strain it can have on a star is not something everyone is cut out for. It is essential for people to understand the toll this career can take on your health, both mental and physical, before starting a career. When she started out, Gold had no idea what troubles lay ahead. “In light of the pandemic, I think a lot more girls need to take a step back and think about whether they’re ready to commit to this,” Gold explains. “Right now I’ve seen an increase in girls who are camming, uploading videos to Pornhub and OnlyFans, and don’t get me wrong, I think it’s amazing to see people embrace their sexuality and build a fanbase. But it’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’re not truly committed to what you’re doing now, perhaps out of desperation, it may just come back and haunt you. Contemplate whether you’re willing to stick to it, because you should only do it if you love it.”

Gold’s career has taken her to some pretty dark places, but she’s also had numerous positive experiences in front of the camera that keep her coming back to set. She’s had the opportunity to shoot with some of the best known and most respected performers in the industry, and was even picked to star in a scene directed by rapper Young M.A. Yet, when it comes to her most memorable co-star, that role was filled by a “man” who’s only 14 inches tall. “I’ve had a ton of memorable experiences on set, but one of the most memorable had to be when I shot a puppet porn scene with Tommy Pistol,” Gold laughs. “It’s hard to forget being told out of nowhere that I need to suck a puppet’s dick.”

Photos by Marcos Rivera

Photos by Marcos Rivera