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10 Innovative Porn Stars Who Could Be the Next Sasha Grey

10 Innovative Porn Stars Who Could Be the Next Sasha Grey
Twitter.com/AsaAkira/media

If you've ever wondered what your favorite porn star does in her spare time, glance at her Twitter feed, and you might find that her life is surprisingly normal.

Yet showing off that normal life is likely a key to her overall career strategy. More and more, porn stars are taking to social media to craft a personal brand that proves they've got more on the brain than just sex, a tactic that might even help them cross over into the mainstream.

A new crop of young porn stars aren't just freeze-frames on your video screens any more — they're animated Gifs on your Tumblr feed, alarmingly witty humorists on Twitter and ferocious bloggers who are just as willing to show you the pizza they ate for dinner as they are to show you their naked booty. These are porn stars who you're more likely to find parading around Comic-Con, speaking on panel discussions at universities and DJing at nightclubs than signing autographs at a porn convention, although they've been known to do that, too.

Taking into account their influence on platforms like Twitter and Tumblr, their willingness to interact on forums like Reddit, the scope of their projects outside of porn and, of course, their overall popularity as performers, we've ranked the 10 most innovative porn stars who could very well be the next Sasha Grey.

A photo from April's Instagram feed, which has more than 12,000 followers
A photo from April's Instagram feed, which has more than 12,000 followers
Instagram.com/heyitsaprilagain

10. April O'Neil

In the tradition of pop culture-obsessed porn stars like Andy San Dimas, who named herself after the SoCal city where Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure takes place, and Diana Prince, named for Wonder Woman's alter ego, April O'Neil takes her name from the foxy reporter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The 26-year-old from Phoenix is into all things geeky, from Dr. Who to Reddit to San Diego Comic-Con, during which she dressed as her namesake in 2011.

See also: 10 Porn Stars Who Could Be the Next Jenna Jameson

This past year, her 86,000+ Twitter followers — most of whom she actually replies to — helped her win the AVN fan award for Twitter Queen. While her famous name isn't the most SEO-friendly, she's still relatively easy to find on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Reddit, where she's answered questions about losing her virginity, penis size (she says the "motion of the ocean" is more important than size of the boat, metaphorically speaking), bisexuality (she became a porn star "for the pussy") and tattoos (the one on her shoulder is kanji for "I'm a dumbass who got a tattoo at 15," she says.)

April O'Neil
April O'Neil
Youtube screen grab from Real Girls of Porn Valley

In O'Neil's Instagram and Tumblr photos, her messy brown hair, gigantic eyeglasses and black beanie with the word "fuck" embroidered across it are more akin to the cartoon character Daria than the TNMT heroine she's named after. Yes, the same lady who wears ironic wolf sweatshirts and Wayne's World tank tops is also the actress responsible for more than 130 porn films, including This Ain't Saved by the Bell XXX, Hollywood's Nailin' Palin and Young Panty-Ho's. Like any young porn star looking to cross over into the mainstream, O'Neil also hits the turntables every once in a while, most notably at a gig at the Roxy in August.

 

April Flores performing at Gloryhole 2013
April Flores performing at Gloryhole 2013

9. April Flores

April Flores doesn't mind being typecast as the fat girl of porn. In fact, it's a name she's embraced for herself, on the Internet (her website and Twitter handle is "Fatty_D") as well as in more artful projects, like a new book of photographs titled Fat Girl. As she told The Rumpus in August, "Once I decided on that title, I decided the meaning of that word could change for me. Now it's completely opposite. It's just a descriptive word, like 'red hair' or 'yellow table' — it doesn't hurt my feelings. I'm trying to change the negative connotations that word has."

See also: April Flores, the Plus-Size Porn Star

Her book is a collaboration with her late husband, adult photographer and director Carlos Batts, who directed Flores in films like Voluptuous Biker Babes and April Flores World. When Batts passed away unexpectedly on October 22 at the age of 40, Flores recruited artist friends including Coop, Shepard Fairey, Olivia De Berardinis, Tera Patrick and Nina Hartley — the latter two of whom are porn stars in their own right — to exhibit their work at a silent auction fundraiser at Antebellum Gallery in Hollywood. The art show, aimed at relieving Flores of medical and funeral expenses, featured an erotic poetry reading with a topless performance by queer porn star Courtney Trouble. (And you thought poetry was boring?)

See also: Marilyn Monroe's Seven Never-Before-Seen Mostly Nude Photos

A 2013 inductee to BBW Fanfest's Hall of Fame, Flores was also a 2011 AVN Award nominee for Crossover Star of the Year and a 2010 winner of a Feminist Porn Award for Heartthrob of the Year. Not only does she have crossover appeal, but the woman Coop heralded as his muse has her own life-size inflatable doll, made from Cyberskin and billed as "the first realistic plus-size sex toy."

 

"In Bed With Colby Keller" by Manhunt
"In Bed With Colby Keller" by Manhunt
Youtube screen grab

8. Colby Keller

Colby Keller sees lots of penises — and not just in his professional life as a performer in Raging Stallion's X-rated Brokeback Mountain spin-off, Cowboys, or in the pilot episode of Naked Sword's gay porn web series, Dream Team. The phallic-obsessed Keller sees penis imagery in public art installations, maps of Siberia, fireworks, gaudy Russian furniture and Canadian hotel logos — all of which are documented in a segment called "I See Penises" on his blog, Big Shoe Diaries. (What they say about men with big shoes might be true after all...)

Clean shaven Keller resembles a clean-cut American Apparel model (the ones you'd take home to mom, not the ones who pose suggestively in skimpy rainbow-colored briefs, although he's been known to do the latter), while bearded Keller looks more like rugged folk singer Father John Misty. On his Twitter bio, the redheaded painter with an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art describes himself first and foremost as an artist and a blogger and third as a porn star.

See also: Top 10 Bars With the Hottest Women in L.A.

Big Shoe Diaries supports that assertion, with his reviews of contemporary art shows — including Omer Fast's porn-inspired exhibit in Paris — art puns like "Jizz for Judd," in which he masturbates with the aid of Donald Judd art works and our own personal favorite post series, "Boners for Books," in which he elevates the "dick pic" and "dick gif" to a literary level. Did we mention he's also the host of manhunt.net's In Bed With Colby Keller Youtube series? It's no wonder he has his own Facebook fan page, dubbed "Colby Keller is the Definition of Cuteness."

 

Veruca James at the 2013 AVN Awards
Veruca James at the 2013 AVN Awards
Photo: Nate "Igor" Smith

7. Veruca James

Veruca James likes to be naked in public. In a 2011 photo series aptly titled Naked in Public, the 24-year-old Chicago native posed topless on the New York subway, in the streets of Manhattan and even at an ATM. Now the accountant-turned-porn star is taking her nudity to an episodic level in her own Wood Rocket web series, also called Naked in Public. Almost every video is under ten minutes long, which is more than enough time for James to visit public places like campgrounds, beaches, amusement parks, fast food drive-thrus and shooting ranges, all without clothing on.

"People think that girls in porn were all molested and are drug addicts and it's like a last resort," James told L.A. Weekly earlier this year. "But there's lots of girls with college degrees and lots of girls with options."

A photo that Veruca James Tweeted to more than 26,000 followers
A photo that Veruca James Tweeted to more than 26,000 followers
Twitter.com/VerucaJames

James is one of those girls: she graduated with a double major in accounting and finance from DePaul University. Since leaving her C.P.A. gig behind, James has gone on to star in porn parodies like The Godfather XXX, Evil Head, Official Next Friday Parody and Rock & Roll in my Butthole 2 — and those are just the tamer of her thirty-something movie titles.

See also: Veruca James, Accountant Turned Porn Star: 'I'd Always Been Wild'

Last year she appeared in a Funny or Die skit that spoofed L.A. County's Proposition B, which requires all porn performers to wear condoms. In it, she dons a hard helmet, rubber gloves and a face mask while attempting to perform sex acts, in an effort to mock Prop B's unrealistic safety standards. When she's not acting in parodies, galavanting in the nude or guest starring on podcasts, James posts photos, gifs and memes of herself — yes, mostly in the nude — to the very NSFW Tumblr page she shares with her fiance, Damon James.

 

Kayden Kross
Kayden Kross
Flickr photo: planetc1

6. Kayden Kross

"You can draw all sorts of conclusions from the fact that they molded my girl bits," says Kayden Kross' Twitter bio. Of course, she's just baiting you to click on the link to buy her "fleshlight," a fleshy masturbation toy with a retail price of $79.95. Not only does it claim to give you the "most realistic vaginal intercourse sensation possible" — after all, it's molded after Kross' "girl bits" — but it also has a so-called "bookworm" texture, which is inspired by Kayden's passion for books. "The Bookworm's sudden plot twists and dramatic flashblacks will captivate you as your story reaches an explosive climax," the product description promises.

A photo from Kayden's popular Instagram feed
A photo from Kayden's popular Instagram feed
Instagram.com/clubkayden

If that sounds like a bizarre sexual metaphor, well, that's because it is. But it's also fitting for 28-year-old Kross, who's written columns for Complex magazine, XBiz magazine, and even Dave Eggers' prestigious literary journal, McSweeney's. When Kross tweeted about how much she enjoyed author Adam Levin's 900-page debut novel, The Instructions, McSweeney's editors introduced the two writers and later published their two-part conversation about Judaism, therapy, symbolic logic and short stories.

See also: Top 10 Strip Clubs in Los Angeles

In 2010, she served as a columnist for L.A. Weekly's now-defunct sex blog, After Dark, in which she advised readers on matters of pubic hair, first kisses, and lubrication. The Cal State University Sacramento alumna's short story "Plank" was published in the 2012 e-book, Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and according to her Reddit AMA last year, she's also working on an autobiography about her life in the porn industry. (One Redditer suggested she title it Coming Along.) The two-time AVN Award winner and host of Playboy Radio's Krossfire is now expecting an entirely new title: mother, along with porn star and father-to-be Manuel Ferrara.

 

10 Innovative Porn Stars Who Could Be the Next Sasha Grey
Twitter.com/jessieslife/media

5. Jessie Andrews

You've probably seen Jessie Andrews before, and not just in adult films like BJ's in PJ's, Don't Make Me Beg 4, Truth, Dare, or Bare and Portrait of A Call Girl, for which she won a slew of awards including the coveted AVN Award for Best Actress in 2012. You've seen her modeling lingerie, leotards, hosiery, and Halloween costumes in American Apparel billboards, in-store promos and print advertisements. Or perhaps you've seen her DJing around town at Lure Nightclub in Hollywood or Exchange in downtown L.A.

See also: Jessie Andrews: The Porn Star as a Brand

At 21 years old, the Miami-bred porn star turned model and DJ has pretty much done it all, including starting her own hand-crafted jewelry line called Bagatiba and launching her own brand of condoms and sex toys through manufacturer Doc Johnson. (Her artificial vagina is called the All American Pussy.) She obsessively documents her life in sounds and pictures on her Tumblr page, which lately is heavier on modeling photos and Bagatiba promos than naked selfies.

Andrews has shot nearly 200 porn films in the three years since her eighteenth birthday, and she's managed to garner nearly 160,000 loyal Twitter followers in even less time. As a DJ, she curates an online music compilation called The Girlfriend Mix, in which she and other female DJs join forces to create original sets. Available for free on Soundcloud, the house- and disco-heavy mixes have each been played upward of 30,000 times.

 

Joanna Angel at the Burning Angel Party in 2012
Joanna Angel at the Burning Angel Party in 2012

4. Joanna Angel

"I didn't know anything about porn. I didn't know anything about film. It was just me and my friends experimenting and doing what we wanted and seeing what happened," Joanna Angel told Hustler magazine in 2006.

For an experiment that Angel says was inspired by her punk rock ethos, the resulting alt porn website Burning Angel is ridiculously successful. The subscription-based site, which she started with her college roommate while still an English literature major at Rutgers University in 2002, now boasts 60,000 active members and about 30,000 unique hits per day. The website features photos and videos of nearly 300 Burning Angel girls — including Veruca James and Sasha Grey — and Business Insider estimates that the website rakes in roughly $300,000 in revenue every month, following a website redesign in July. It's more than just a hub for porn videos of tattooed ladies — it's also a brand that sells everything from rubber ankle cuffs to latex body paint to pubic hair conditioner.

Now 32 years old, the Brooklyn native who was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home is a bona fide porn mogul who writes, directs, performs, and produces her own adult films, including Kung Fu Pussy, Hot for Teacher and the James Deen-starring Rebel Girl, the title of which is a nod to the Bikini Kill song of the same name. Angel's performed in more than 130 adult films, and she's directed more than half that number. Her efforts haven't gone unnoticed: She was nominated for Best New Starlet and Best Actress at the AVN Awards in 2006 and landed the award for Most Outrageous Sex Scene for her gory zombie porn scenes in Re-Penetrator that same year.

See also: 10 Bars Most Likely to Get You Laid in L.A.

Since then, she's collected the AVN Award for Best Porn Website twice, penned a sex advice column for Spin magazine, baked cookies while naked for the Vice web series Skinema and, after breaking up with James Deen, her boyfriend of six years, she even tried speed dating and let New York magazine write about it in 2012.

 

A photo Asa sent to more than 400,000 Twitter followers
A photo Asa sent to more than 400,000 Twitter followers
Twitter.com/AsaAkira/media

3. Asa Akira

Asa Akira has an award-winning asshole, says her Twitter bio, and the claim is actually somewhat true: She won the AVN Award for Best Anal Sex Scene two years in a row, in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, she became only the second Asian performer ever to earn the AVN Award for Female Performer of the Year. But even with all those awards under her (garter) belt, 27-year-old Akira's best asset is still her sense of humor, which often involves jokes about — you guessed it — her ass.

Her Twitter feed is a medley of sexually-explicit haikus and even meta haikus about Twitter itself: "Never should you trust / Girls who claim they do not know / Their follower count." Surely Akira knows her own follower count: more than 400,000. She delivers useful social media advice such as: "If you need to put a filter on a dick pic, you shouldn't be sending dick pics." Truer words have never been spoken.

10 Innovative Porn Stars Who Could Be the Next Sasha Grey
Twitter.com/AsaAkira/media

When she's not tweeting about lathering her award-winning ass with anti-wrinkle cream, Akira's been known to answer questions in Reddit AMAs. In the one she participated in last month, she advocated for the Oxford comma, heralded Tina Fey as her non-porn hero (Lisa Ann is her porn hero) and dispensed life advice such as, '"I don't want to' is a good enough reason."

See also: 10 Best L.A. Art Galleries For Partying

But there are still plenty of things she does want to do, like the bi-weekly podcast she co-hosts with artist David Choe, and the autobiographical book she's publishing next spring. She recently tweeted: "Reviewing the copyeditor's notes on my book while prepping my butt for tomorrow's scene." If that's not multi-tasking, then we don't know what is.

 

A photo from Stoya's Instagram feed, which has more than 47,000 followers
A photo from Stoya's Instagram feed, which has more than 47,000 followers
Instagram.com/Stoya

2. Stoya

Most porn production companies fill their performers' bio pages with physical stats and sexual feats, but Digital Playground's bio page for Stoya is filled with intellectual flourishes like "the only thing more erotic and intriguing than Stoya's appearance is her mind" and "Stoya loves to keep her mind sharp and often reads three books at once in order to quench her need for knowledge." In a Reddit AMA last year, she name-dropped authors Terry Pratchett, Warren Ellis and "heavy books about sexuality that make [her] brain hurt." Last year, she participated in artist Clayton Cubitt's Hysterical Literature, a video art project in which she read a passage from Necrophilia Variations while someone underneath the table brought her to climax.

See also: The Village Voice's cover story on Stoya, pop star of porn

Even if you've never seen her adult films like Stoya: Web Whore, Stoya: Scream or A Taste of Stoya, surely you've encountered her byline as a blogger for sites such as Vice, The Guardian and Esquire, where she blogs about the porn industry, safe sex and sex work, feminism, beauty standards, ovarian cysts, politics and the pitfalls of Measure B, which requires condom use in all adult entertainment filmed in L.A. County.

While her writing thoughtfully articulates the realities of the porn industry — everything from getting "screwed" on her first porn contract by not having a lawyer review it first to getting regularly vaccinated and tested for STIs — her Twitter and Instagram feeds are dominated by playful observations, makeup-free selfies and lots of adorable pussies. Kittens, that is. In the words of her boyfriend James Deen (maybe you've heard of him?), "Stoya is amazing and I am amazing and we are SUPER amazing together. This isn't even arrogance this is proven fact." There you have it: pure, hard facts.

 

James Deen, center, at the 2013 AVN Awards
James Deen, center, at the 2013 AVN Awards
Photo: Nate "Igor" Smith

1. James Deen

"I don't fancy myself a writer," James Deen cautioned in his first-person column in The Daily Beast, but that didn't stop the 27-year-old Pasadena native from befriending author Bret Easton Ellis on Twitter and later starring in Ellis' L.A. noir movie, The Canyons, alongside Lindsay Lohan. Though the film was known for Lohan's juicy behind-the-scenes antics, it was screened with discussions at the Hammer and other prestigious institutions around the country.

See also: James Deen Wants to Put His Burrito in Your Mouth

Despite having starred in more than 1,000 adult films since he turned 18 and shot Art School Sluts in 2004, Deen is just "a simple guy who likes to eat and sleep and watch TV," according to his Twitter bio. When he's not encouraging his nearly 150,000 followers to go make GIFs of his porn scenes and upload them to Tumblr, he's pondering life's most existential questions and revelations: "boobs are so cool...i still am not sure why, but they are SOOOOOOO cool!!!!!!!!!!!!" and "Yo assholes... TIGERS ARE AWESOME!!!!!! QUIT FUCKING KILLING THEM!!!!!!!" and "Do whales masturbate?"

See also: 10 Porn Stars Who Could Be the Next Jenna Jameson

Last year, Deen portrayed his more famous namesake, James Dean, in a video art collaboration with James Franco and artists Paul and Damon McCarthy for an exhibition organized by MOCA. He's since used Kickstarter to raise more than $100,000 to produce his own film, a so-called "steampunk adventure" starring Malcom McDowell, Walter Koenig and Richard Hatch. This summer, he filmed the world's first porno using Google Glass with co-star Andy San Dimas. With all these film and art projects filling up his already-extensive IMDB page, it's amazing that Deen still makes time to sit down and cook himself a decent, if not exorbitant, meal — which he videotapes for his web series, James Deen Loves Food.

Want to taste what Deen's cooking? Sign up to do a sex scene with Deen via this NSFW form.


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