This quietly groundbreaking documentary, just released on Netflix, peels back the lusty veneer of online porn (you know you watch it) to reveal the rotten business of mass sexual consumption of teenage girls. Check out the Netflix trailer below the fold.
Just as “Blackfish” the film crippled attendance at Sea World by forcing vacationing tourists to confront the ugly realities of the whale captivity machine behind the water theme park, watching “Hot Girls Wanted” forces the porn consumer to stare at the predatory and degrading practices behind the cum-stained curtain, and the scared teenager kneeling next to it.
Directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus (“Sexy Baby”), “Hot Girls Wanted” presents a first-ever look at the realities of the professional “amateur” porn world and the steady stream of 18-to-19-year old girls who fill it.
“Every day, a new girl turns 18 …”
The filmmakers follow a group of new recruits to Hussie Models, a so-called “teenybopper” talent agency specializing in 18 to 21-year-olds, as run by Riley, a self-professed high-tech pimp from Miami.
The porn business has migrated to Florida, Riley explains, because California with its sex industry regulations has outlawed things like not using condoms.
Riley recruits girls via craigslist with the promise of a free plane ticket. A 23-year-old former Outback Steakhouse dishwasher and self-described former “loser,” Riley now makes “good money” recruiting girls, shuttling them to film shoots or the airport or taking them out for a wild night on the town and charging subscribers to watch the cheap, unscripted video.
He also lives with the women in a nondescript 5-bedroom tract house and charges them rent and complains when they spill jello shots on the white sofa.
“Every day, a new girl turns 18,” Riley says. “And every day, a new girl wants to do porn. I will never run out.”
Every day a new porno film also stars some innocent-looking girl pretending to have sex for the first time on camera.
But as the film makes clear, that’s not just a fantasy.
“I’m nervous,” says Karly, 19, a pink-cheeked teen from Washington state, before a shoot. “I don’t actually have sex other than when I do porn. So I haven’t done anything since I was here in October. So it will be the first time I’ll be intimate with a guy in, like, three months.”
Karly, whose porn name is Lucy Tyler, looks much younger and cultivates that by wearing candy-colored makeup and pigtails.
She reads serious literature like ‘Tis” by Frank McCourt when she’s not losing her virginity over and over on camera.”
She lost her actual virginity in a bad experience in middle school and considers the devaluing of sex in real life “so heartbreaking.”
Girls try to compartmentalize, having grown up in a real world where sex has always been for sale.
They see a chance for online stardom, maybe fame, but at the very least some cold, hard cash.
Are you kidding? I make $900 in five hours!
“Are you kidding me, I make $900 in five hours!” says new girl Rachel, 18, aka Ava Taylor, after a week. “I’m gonna go home and make $8.25 an hour? No.”
“I can see myself doing this in ten years,” Tressa says. Tressa had been cheerleading captain and a talented journalism student in high school just a few months earlier. Now she performs as Stella May.
The film follows her visiting home for Christmas where she talks about her new line of work with her worried mother, but can’t bring herself to tell her dad.
“My mom really wants me to come home,” Tressa says. “But I mean, this is what I love to do, so if she loves me she’ll let me do what makes me happy.”
Tressa’s mother quizzes her about how she keeps from getting sick or pregnant.
But mostly she wants to know Why?
“It was an easy escape for me to get out of here and that’s why I picked it, Tressa tells her, eyes welling with tears. “Easy, quick, done.”
But the pressures on Tressa grow when she finds a steady boyfriend.
“They all have the same story,” Riley observes. “ ‘My parents don’t know, I hope they never find out.’ Your parents are gonna know. It takes about a month and people from their hometown starts seeing it, because everyone watches porn.”
But that doesn’t mean the girls are getting rich.
“They don’t actually care who you are”
Any hopes of standing out or building a brand in the digital age become lost as they realize that there is no way to become a “star.”
“It’s all about the guy getting off,” observes Michelle, 19. “The girl’s just there to help. As long as you have boobs and a vagina and an ass, they don’t actually care who you are.”
The young women don’t own their videos. The film shows how “producers” hire them for a few hundred bucks to perform.
After just a few shoots producers recognize them and they are considered washed up.
The more work they try to do — if they can last — the seedier and more degrading it gets. Bondage and humiliation, being slapped on camera, insults hurled, choking, forced to vomit and drink it — seems there is no limit to what humiliations porn can dream up for its performers.
Sometimes “girls go to a shoot knowing it’s a blow job and then find out it’s a forced blow job,” says Tressa. “And then she gets there and it’s just one guy and a camera and she’s not even sure she can tell him no. Then I understand that’s how rape victims feel, feel bad about themselves. She starts beating herself up for it.”
The girls’ loved ones also begin seeing porn with different eyes. Or can’t watch porn at all anymore.
“It hurts now,” says Tressa’s boyfriend, Kendall, who at the beginning of the film is accepting of porn, and proud of Tressa for being driven and having goals.
He changes his mind as he sees the realities of what girls endure and how little they are compensated.
“Every time I see a porno, I think, that’s someone’s girlfriend, or that’s someone’s daughter.”
By film’s end, many of the women featured have abandoned the business.
And eight new girls are living in Riley’s house.
For aNewDomain, I’m Gina Smith.