Review: "Hot Girls Wanted" a Devastating Look at the Amateur Porn Industry

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Jun 04, 2015 12:01 AM
Review: "Hot Girls Wanted" a Devastating Look at the Amateur Porn Industry

Hot Girls Wanted, a new documentary produced by Rashida Jones and directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, is a haunting and devastating look in the amateur porn industry and the young women seeking fame and fortune within. The film follows several girls living in a house in Miami over the course of a few months of their careers. The film debuted at Sundance and was picked up by Netflix for distribution on May 29.

More people visit porn sites than Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined. The number one searched-for term is “teen,” leading to a huge demand of young women for films. As the film aptly puts it, porn stars are no longer acting in a role of “girl-next-door”—rather, the films now star baby-faced, fresh-out-of high school actual girls next door. These newbies are referred to as “amateurs.”

“Ava, we’re going to be stars one day.”

The film opens with Riley, a 23-year-old talent agent and “male talent,” and Tressa, a 19-year-old relative newcomer to porn, picking up 18-year-old “Ava Taylor” from a bus station. Tressa, who performs under the name “Stella May,” hails from Texas, was the former captain of her high school’s cheerleading team, and had never been on a plane before answering a Craigslist ad looking for “Austin’s Hottest Females.” The ad promised a payment of $3,000.

Tressa jettisoned plans to attend Texas State, quit her waitressing job, and headed to Miami Beach, where she lives in a house with Riley and several other girls working in the adult film industry. Miami became a hotbed for amateur porn after California passed laws requiring that condoms be worn during production. In addition to filming sex scenes, Tressa also appears semi-nude on webcams, talking to men.

“We’re free, right now. The world is in our hands.”

At first, everything seems peachy in la maison pornography. Ava, whose real name is Rachel, has a similar story as Tressa in how she was seeking an escape from her hometown and turned to amateur pornography via a Craigslist ad. And to be frank, the lifestyle described by Rachel in her first week in Miami—riding in Lamborghinis, “chilling in Penthouses” and making nearly a thousand dollars for five hours of work— does seem rather appealing to a young adult. The naiveté, however, is evident, and one can’t help but cringe as Rachel describes how she’s done “so much sh*t” during her time in Miami.

While Tressa says she could see herself for “years” in the industry, the stark reality is that most of the girls have a shelf life of about six months, if that. The girls in the house market themselves via social media (mostly Twitter, which doesn’t censor pornography like Facebook and Instagram), hoping for their big break and trying to gain followers. Savvy self-promotion, as well as a willingness to engage in more “niche” films, helps to extend their careers.

“It’s extra degrading compared to the other stuff.”

The film’s mood quickly turns from sunshine and Lambos to darkness as the housemates’ time in the industry continues. Jade, one of the residents of the house, detailed her early work in “abuse porn,” where she filmed a scene of being forced to engage in oral sex until she vomited while being subjected to racial pejoratives by the cameraman. While this kind of pornography pays well, she described it as “extra degrading.” As Tressa’s shoot options begin drying up, she films two bondage scenes, much to the displeasure of her boyfriend. Toward the end of the film, Tressa quits the industry and moves back to Texas with her boyfriend.

During the filming of Hot Girls Wanted, the story of “Belle Knox,” a freshman at Duke who filmed pornography to pay tuition, went viral. A poignant scene in the film had the girls watching an interview of Knox on CNN with Riley, who then pulled up Knox’s scene on an abuse porn website, where she’s choked and punched on camera. The girls are rendered speechless, and admit that while Knox appears calm in her interview, she’s likely in way over her head.

This film was riveting yet deeply upsetting and heartbreaking. It’s hard to remember that even though these girls are technically legal adults and certainly look more mature than their ages suggest, they’re still so incredibly young and inexperienced in the world. They’re exploited by the amateur porn industry, to the point where Rachel admits she’s no longer sure when she can say no to certain scenes she’s uncomfortable with. Rachel, like Tressa, winds up leaving the industry as well.

The promises of money and a flashy lifestyle are incredibly appealing to girls who have no other real skills or education. Girls look to celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton, who became household names after the calculated releases of their sex tapes. The men in the industry, however, don’t care what happens to the girls once they are past their prime. The girls, ultimately, are objects for men to gratify themselves with, and are immediately replaceable with a fresh new crop of starry-eyed girls seeking fame and a way out of their hometowns.

Hot Girls Wanted is a film that should serve as a warning for anyone seeking instant “fame” and money via the adult film industry. While stars like Lisa Ann and Jenna Jameson have experienced “mainstream” fame, they’re the exception, not the rule. While the subject matter made the film difficult to watch, it’s one that needs to be seen.

Hot Girls Wanted is 82 minutes long and is not rated. It is available on Netflix.