Lacey Starr was born in Cambridge, in the UK, and has lived in and around London for most of her life. She’s a sex therapist turned sex worker who started making adult movies in 2013 — at the age of 53.
Starr stands out from the conventional porn crowd, and not just because she’s a “mature” performer with very near a decade’s worth of experience in the industry.
We recently spoke to Starr, who shared many insights about growing her career in today’s business — and about challenging stereotypes and demanding to be seen, but not in spite of her unique demographic. Because of it.
YNOT Cam: What prompted you to begin your career in the industry?
Lacey Starr: I had been enjoying a swinging lifestyle and running adult parties for a few years when I had a chance meeting with peculiar and somewhat eccentric couple at one of my events. They persuaded me to try webcamming and signed me up for a profile on AdultWork.
The initial earnings were a real eye-opener. Although I was learning as I went, it turned out I had a natural talent for being a bit of a teasy old slut and my granny niche appeal was scoring high, so life seemed weirdly good and suddenly full of fun and potential.
Then, within a week or so of being a cam model, I received an email out of the blue offering me a paid adult shoot. It seemed a bit surreal, to be approaching my mid-fifties and having producers wanting to make mucky movies with me in. I’ve always been more of a player than a spectator though, so I figured Fuck it! …why not?
I went along on a sunny afternoon and was led through a house into a garden, introduced to my young “stud” co-star, who I then proceeded to have outdoors sex with, in several positions, whilst being filmed. The next day I decided to quit my teaching job and pursue a new career in adult entertainment.
— LaceyStarr UK Porn (@LaceyStarrxxxUK) December 26, 2017
What has your career been like since?
In the seven years that have passed since then, I’ve managed to achieve quite a lot and been lucky enough to travel to Europe and North America to meet and work with so many incredible people. I’ve received dozens of nominations for awards across Europe and the US and even managed to win seven awards for my work. I’ve established a solid brand and even formed a production company and built my own studio. I’ve also released 35 DVDs and produced six series for TelevisionX.
I must admit, I do sometimes wish I’d found adult earlier though. I often wonder that if I’d have started when I was 23 instead of 53, how long ago would I have been able to retire to my big house by the beach?
What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned during your time in adult entertainment?
When I first started making adult content, I was quite surprised to find out that there was a market for mature performers like myself. You kind of assume that porn is all about hot young chicks that look like they were built in porn factories, doing circus tricks on gym-fit hunks with flagpoles for cocks. But after my early scenes had received some really great feedback, I figured I’d best start really learning about this industry. I sat down and started watching porn, lots of porn. All of the porn.
I learned so much about so many things, but one thing did strike me about the mature stuff was that, considering how much there was of it, for some reason it didn’t have many stars.
There was an endless stream of generic “grannies” doing all sorts, often to each other – but they were all nameless and inconsequential. There was really only one or two mature performers that seemed to have their names mentioned on the clips they featured in, whereas the young hotties and the MILFs all had names and acknowledged identities. This immediately interested me.
I decided on a business plan to create a brand in which a granny could become a bona fide porn star.
— LaceyStarr UK Porn (@LaceyStarrxxxUK) June 7, 2019
How did you do that?
I ensured my DVD covers reflected the brand. The pitch of the artwork is always “Yes this is granny stuff, but not just any granny stuff. This is Lacey fuckin’ Starr stuff”-type thing.
To my surprise, it works. I mean it really works! It seems the porn purchasing public are very much in the market for an old bird doing nasty, squelchy things with hot young guys and ladies. What’s more, is they want to know more about her, where else they could see her and what else she’s been up to.
Suddenly, it was okay for guys of all ages to outwardly admit to being a fan of “GILF” porn, and the wave of interest in accessible models had started building momentum. Geeky, nerdy, plain girls-next-door started outselling the uber-hot glamour chicks that had owned porn for so long. Homemade, amateur clunkiness was replacing the slick, high-end production of the major studios, and niche was becoming the new mainstream.
I’d found myself riding this tsunami of new porn that I had maybe even played a small part in creating. Next thing you know, all the older MILFs are proudly declaring themselves GILFs, and it’s now a very recognizable, very commercial — albeit still niche — sub-genre.
And I know a thing or two about niche by now… I mean, until I had my belly cut off in Istanbul in 2016, I was also considered a BBW, so I’ve worked niche from several angles.
What are some of the most significant lessons you’ve learned during the course of your work?
What I discovered early on is that if you have the right attitude to the work and are prepared to put the hours in, you really can make as much money as you want. There’s just so many ways to make this work for you and so many potential income streams for you to choose from to follow to best suit your lifestyle.
But also, never be scared to “kill your darlings.” If you’re doing something that isn’t earning sufficiently to warrant the time you’re putting into it, kill it and move on, and try to never get disheartened. There’s always another route to market and always another way to make it pay, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Remember: This isn’t reinventing the wheel, it’s helping guys to cum — and that’s a beautiful thing. It not seasonal, and it’s never going out of fashion.
What income streams are you currently utilizing, and how do you balance them all?
As well as making and performing in the films, I do occasional camming and phone sex through my AdultWork profile. I also run my numerous clip site studios and obligatory social media profiles. I also finally launched my definitive “official” laceystarr.com site through the US company ARLCash last year.
It does get tough at times to balance all the different elements of the work I do, and I always kid myself that I can be systematic and work through a kind of mental checklist to ensure everything gets done, but this industry really isn’t like that. It doesn’t follow all the rules of a standard job. Sometimes, for no reason at all, you’ll have a fantastic day and do really well and think Okay cool, now I can go get those shoes or go take a day in the spa or just take a day off or even just have a lay-in.
But as we all know, that shit can bite ya right on the ass — and not in a nice way! — if you ain’t careful. Suddenly you’ve had a bad day or two and you now have bills you can’t pay!
I always try keep a steady flow of work going. I try to treat it like a 9-to-5, which it never is, but it helps to keep things in perspective if you can forgive yourself when you don’t quite manage it all.
I suppose that’s why I started working behind the camera. My experience on set had given me a handy insight as to how to run a shoot. With the knowledge of what it’s like to be a performer, I find I have a real understanding of the process from both sides and that’s proven invaluable. Plus, it gives my cunt an occasional much-needed rest.
Speaking of a tired cunt, are there any challenges that come with this work – physical, emotional or mental?
It’s true that working in the adult industry can be all-consuming, mentally and physically. I mean, it’s hard to switch off for an hour when you know how much you can earn in that time, right?
But knowing how much wear and tear you can go through mentally and physically too, it’s important to pace yourself and to take time to recharge and look after yourself. I try to treat myself regularly to something just for me, and I’m not talking hair, nails or outfits because that stuff’s all classed as work these days!
It can be anything from a long bath to a spa weekend, from a chocolate biscuit to a magazine subscription. You gotta look after you, you gotta remember to matter.
Where do you see your work going in five years?
I can’t see a time where I’ll want to stop, although as the saying goes “You don’t tell the time, the time tells you.” After all, starting a porn career at 53 is the very definition of a limited shelf life — but I’m not too worried about that because you learn a thing or two the older you get. So now, at 60, I get to be a pretty smart cookie! I get to impart occasional wisdom to the younger performers — and they’re all younger, for fuck’s sake! — and I reckon I still have a worthwhile thought or two to bring to the table now and again.
Erika is a sex positive people watcher (and writer). Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.