Fifteen years ago, you'd be hard pressed to find more than a handful of heavily tattooed performers in the porn industry. However, today that's far from the case. Not only are tattooed performers visible to the mainstream, they're thriving. Just take Leigh Raven for example, who made history when she covered Penthouse Magazine in July of 2018. We sat down with the talented sex starlet to learn more about her unusual introduction into the adult industry and how she's found her niche in a the cutthroat market that is pornography.
When did you first develop an interest in becoming a porn star and how did that lead to you filming your first scene?
I’d been modeling nude since I was 18 and by the time I turned 24, it just seemed like the natural progression. It was a no-brainer when I met my wife in October of 2015 and she, being an adult industry veteran herself, was directing a XXX film in December of that year and asked if I wanted to perform in it.
How were you introduced to your wife and how did meeting her have an impact on your career today?
My wife and I actually met online, Instagram to be exact. I was living in NY at the time and she was living in LA, but after a week of chatting online, we met in Las Vegas for Halloween and I never went back to NY. I shot my first scene with my wife and she directed the two more I shot that same day — I was all-in at that point.
How does your relationship differ from other marriages and how do you communicate boundaries between each other?
Being a sex worker and being married blurs a lot of lines for some people. We’ve learned that the only way for a porn couple to succeed is proper, continuous, and honest communication. We are not monogamous, we’re not polyamorous, but we take things on a case-by-case basis.
How does lesbian sex differ on and-off screen?
We’re actors and performers. We’re providing a fantasy for viewers and some people don’t understand that. On camera, you need to be cautious of your surroundings vs. sex at home. Sex on camera can be great, it’s just very different than what I do behind closed doors.
How does being heavily tattooed impact how you are typecast in porn?
Being tattooed and in your mid-twenties makes it difficult to cast me in general. I’m not a teen or a MILF, which are big categories these days. I tend to be cast because of my outlandish scenes and anal skills.
Why are tattooed porn stars often pushed to do more hardcore scenes?
A lot of people assume that if you’re tattooed, you must be “hardcore” and kind of expect that from your performance. I don’t think tattooed performers should be influenced into performing acts that are beyond their limits because of their looks. Luckily for me, I love to give a hardcore performance.
What are the best and worst parts about your job?
Best parts of my job include creating my own schedule, the sexual freedom and the money doesn’t hurt. Worst? There are good and bad elements to every job, but the good outweigh the bad for now.
Why is consent important on a porn set?
We’re giving ourselves to each other and are very vulnerable on set, so having a consent yes-and-no list is very important. Consent should be communicated with everyone, so nobody crosses boundaries, even unintentionally. We’re professionals and should treat each other that way. You never know what can trigger a person or put them in an uncomfortable mindset.
What do you wish the mainstream public knew about sex work?
A lot of people think we are “dirty” or are at high-risk of STIs or HIV. Performers get tested every 14 days in the same testing facilities and are definitely safer than civilians or someone you pick up at a bar.