Job diary: I'm a 33-year-old porn star making five figures a month from home during the pandemic. My secret weapon is my gift of gab.

The porn industry isn't regulated, so there was no official shutdown when COVID-19 hit. Filming stopped here in California the third week in March but it was more like a polite suggestion — it's not like we're part of the Screen Actor's Guild or anything. Still, when businesses and restaurants are forced to close their doors, it's probably not the best time to shoot a gang bang. 

The average lifespan in the adult film industry for a woman is two to five years.

Anything beyond that and you're considered a veteran, like me. I was 25 when I started doing hardcore porn, which is considered old to first get started, and I'm 33 now.

When I was 19 years old I did some doing freelance nude modeling for a site called Model Mayhem. I loved modeling and dancing so much that I literally woke up one day and went to an audition at a nude club called 4Play in Los Angeles and became an exotic dancer. I credit my early strip club days with learning how important a conversation and setting a mood can be. Personally, I never sat on laps. I always sat next to someone and started a genuine conversation. Then if we wound up in the VIP room, boundaries and respect had long been established.  

I was still modeling and dancing when I got hit up to do skits and games for "The Playboy Morning Show," which led to being on the cam site Playboy Live when I was 23, which was so much fun. From there, I did work for Playboy TV, which was technically my first soft porn experience. I started doing solos for a couple of websites and shot a centerfold for Hustler magazine that was released in 2013. By then I was 25, and I contacted a well-known industry agency to start repping me. That's when I began working in adult film, and the rest is history.

I'm very vocal about what I will and won't do at my job.

Some of my nos include being suspended in air or allowing anyone to repeatedly slap me in the face. I also have a list of the only 20-30 guys I'm willing to work with. I'm known as a diva in the industry, but at the end of the day, I'm just protecting myself. The #MeToo movement and social media has given us the ability to say no more often and helped make the industry safer by outing people for their bad behavior.

Adult actress Romi Rain posing with her poster for Cam4, an adult website.
Rain posing with her poster modeling for Cam4, an adult website.
Romi Rain

I have no regrets getting into the business; it's led me to a better life than I ever expected. I hosted the 2019 AVN Awards, known as the "Oscars of Porn," I have products sold in stores (Fleshlight developed an encased sleeve male sex toy molded directly from my own lady bits, and I get monthly residuals from it), I feature-danced in Italy, and now I have the ability to talk and shake my boobs for profit from home.

Since porn isn't a forever career, content-creation is our safety net.

There's no residual revenue from films unless you've got a stake in the movie, and 95% of us don't. I have to say, cam girls were really ahead of the curve, because content truly is king.

More than anything, this pandemic has proved our worth as content-creators. I run my own 18+ website and I'm a brand ambassador for Cam4. I'm also on Pornhub, OnlyFans, MiniVids, Clips for Sale, and even play video games over live-stream on Twitch. I'm a one-woman show when it comes to content creation: I do my own filming, editing, and uploading. It's an amazing time to interact with people directly, and it's helped humanize us more as performers. My secret weapon as an adult entertainer is my gift of gab. I love chatting and long-winded dirty talk definitely takes a degree of skill and creativity. 

People are often surprised to learn that porn is a day job. It's pretty much 9-to-5 work.

Like any other job, what you put in is what you get out, and if you're enjoying yourself too much, you're probably not doing your job to the best of your ability.  

As actors, we are responsible to get and pay for a full panel of urine and blood tests every 14 days to ensure we're healthy. It costs $165 each time and insurance doesn't cover it. In most instances, we're also responsible to pay for our wardrobe. A guy can wear the exact same shirt in a dozen scenes, but women need head to toe new everything every scene, so we've got a lot more overhead expenses.

Romi Rain 1
Rain says that female performers have a lot more expenses than males — like nails, hair, makeup, and buying new outfits.
Romi Rain

Before COVID-19, an average workday involved waking up early to shower, shave, and groom. Upon arrival at the shoot house, there's paperwork to complete, then I usually get my makeup done. After, we do still shots known as 'pretty girls' and sex stills with other performers. The sex scenes themselves are highly technical and each position takes between two to five minutes. Afterward, there might be more photos, and then to sign out you hold up your ID verifying your age and legal name on camera, and give verbal consent that you performed at your own free will and were treated fairly. 

My longest shoot was eight days for a feature, and a few of those days went into double-digit hours. 

Performers are paid a flat rate per scene. Often, though, you're just hired for one scene at a time on a 9-to-5 schedule.

Women are paid a bit more per scene ($700 to $3,000 depending on what the scene requires) but men can work more because there are more females to choose from. It's a tough job physically for a man, but if he can show up on time and control his member, his career could last years longer than the average female, unless he develops a terrible reputation. 

I haven't shot any hard-core scene with another person in nearly six months and honestly don't know when I plan to be on someone else's set again. Plus, I've made more money in the past six months shooting content using OnlyFans and webcamming than I did my entire first year shooting set porn nearly five days straight a week. 

 These days, the hours of the week I work really depends on if I have a project or a financial goal in mind. I could work every day all day, or take several days off. Sometimes it's as easy as just taking a picture on my phone or turning on my webcam. More elaborate, detailed home shoots can take hours to set-up, break down, upload, and edit.

It's good and bad being able to work as much or as little as I want to because some days I feel like I could be doing more, but it's incredibly important to take breaks. 

My monthly income is five figures — how high those five figures go really depends on me. I feel like the pandemic makes customers even more eager for content at all hours of the day and night, because they're anxious and bored and want to get their mind off the state of the world.

I'm not sure when, but I have no doubt the porn industry will bounce back. I mean, nearly a quarter of mobile internet searches are for pornographic content. Millions of people consume our content daily, and despite us all being treated like 'she who shall not be named,' people know and like us, that's for sure. I wouldn't have a job otherwise.