Risqué Business: If Porn Star Taryn Thomas is Any Indication, the Valley of the Sun May Be the Next Porn Capital of the World

Taryn Thomas isn't shy about anything, which makes for an unnerving lunch. On a breezy Friday afternoon on the patio at Zipps Sports Grill in Scottsdale, she's chain-smoking between coughs and eating fried chicken strips with her fingers. She's talking loudly and enthusiastically about her sexual experiences, using lots of graphic detail and four-letter words. The people trying to eat on the patio around her have all fallen silent, conversing only through wrinkled brows and grimaces.

Restaurant management's been trying to drown out Thomas for the past 30 minutes — they've gradually turned up the music coming from the patio speakers until it's absolutely blaring. Every time they turn up the volume, Thomas talks louder. By the time she gets to the part about how she got into porn, people on the patio have to shout their orders at the waitress.

Thomas is oblivious until somebody in her party remarks on the loud volume. "Oh, is it because I'm talking about fucking?" she asks, wide-eyed. "I can't help it. I talk loud."

Jamie Peachey
A makeup artist prepares Taryn Thomas for a shoot in the kitchen of the  Scottsdale home that doubles as a porn studio.
Jamie Peachey
A makeup artist prepares Taryn Thomas for a shoot in the kitchen of the Scottsdale home that doubles as a porn studio.

At 26, Thomas is already a seasoned veteran of the adult industry. Four years ago, she was making bank as one of the most in-demand hardcore performers in the business — and business was booming. Then she drifted to the dark side, almost killing herself with drugs and rough sex and going broke in the process. She left porn three years ago and now is returning with her own production company, Taryn It Up Entertainment.

The adult business isn't what it used to be, especially in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles, the long-reigning capital of porn in America. But luckily for Thomas, her new company's based in a place considered the next big hotspot for pornography: metropolitan Phoenix.

Some of the most successful adult sites in cyberspace are grounded here. In fact, Taryn It Up Entertainment leads a pack of profitable, Phoenix-based adult-entertainment businesses that, like it or not, just might make the Valley of the Sun the next porn capital.

"It's kind of strange. Arizona's become like the small mecca, the little porn capital already," says Buzz Aziani, owner of Phoenix-based adult site Aziani.com. "The San Fernando Valley is definitely still the porn capital, but it feels like we're second, especially with Web companies. There's a ton of Web companies out here."

Before Jenna Jameson retired from the industry to have babies in California with mixed-martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz, she was Scottsdale's most famous resident porn star, and her Club Jenna (acquired by Playboy in 2006) was the best-known Arizona-based brand of adult entertainment. But those in the industry — both in L.A. and in Phoenix — say Thomas' company has the potential to enjoy even more long-term success. She's already filmed her first movie for Taryn It Up and procured distribution through the same company that handled Club Jenna. And she's building a Web presence that could bring in substantial income.

She's been able to lure big-name porn stars here to work with her company — including Ron Jeremy, Poppy Morgan, and Veronica Jett — but she's most interested in bringing in local talent to work in her videos. It hasn't been hard for her to find people willing to work in Scottsdale, either, since Thomas says her company pays more than many companies in the San Fernando Valley — about $2,000 for a boy-girl scene, whereas talent in L.A. might get half that in the current economy.

There have been a couple of business disputes, including a costly one with former frequent Howard Stern Show guest Lee "Crazy Cabbie" Mroszak over who has rights to hardcore footage from the Stern studio. But they haven't damaged her company.

Fortunately for her, she's not venturing into this territory alone. Thomas has the support of her family and friends, as well as some key people in the adult industry. And she has her fiancé and the co-owner of Taryn It Up — New Jersey porn businessman Brett T. — by her side to fend off bullies and handle the finances.

"We plan on being together forever," Thomas says. "Really, he's my soul mate."

Thomas talks with her hands a lot, so it doesn't take long to notice the words tattooed in black on the inside of her wrists: "Love" on the left, and "Lust" on the right. She says they're recent tattoos she'd wanted to get for a long time.

She considers the fresh tattoos a step toward burying her demons and reclaiming her place in an industry where women are easily replaced and quickly forgotten.

"I'd say 97 percent of porn stars are psycho," Thomas says. "Everybody wants to paint their life as the perfect fairy tale, and it's not. A lot of people don't like my honesty. And, honestly, I'm still getting my own head back to normal."


When a girl's thinking about getting into the porn business, every agent tells her the same thing: Your family will find out.

"It doesn't matter if you use a stage name and your parents don't have e-mail, or they don't even know how to use a computer," says Mark Spiegler of L.A.'s Spiegler Girls agency, which has represented many successful adult stars, including Belladonna and Taryn Thomas. "Somewhere, someday, somebody's brother's roommate's friend is going to see you, and that's it."

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18 comments
Guest
Guest

The porn industry today is in bad shape, and will likely become worse before it gets better. Porn has become a victim of its own success. When a product has been commoditized to the point it's nearly free, there's far fewer willing to pay for it.

http://www.latimes.com/busines...

Josh Reading
Josh Reading

The Phoenix adult industry has surely came along way in a short period of time. It is truly amazing to see it growing right before my eyes. I am really thrilled Taryn Thomas has started her own company and is making things happen for herself. Way to go Taryn!

Now on to other things. All of you bad mouthing Taryn is absolutely uncalled for. So stop being so childish, and saying things that are not facts.

John Philips
John Philips

I think this is a wonderful story. Taryn sure did a great job with taking control of her life. I have to give the girl credit. Congrats to Taryn and The New Times for such a great story.

Layal
Layal

At the risk of nerding up the drooling frenzy and the smack talking battles, I have a few observations and questions:1)Her dad creeps me out. 2)I wonder if the AIDS mess in the LA porn industry will follow them here, or if they are doing anything to prevent it. 3)What type of health care are they provided in conservative AZ? - Does Taryn require STD tests and provide them to her employees? - Are there organizations or clinics that cater to them here?

Now, back to your regularly scheduled flame war.

Someday, I'd like to read a story about a porn star without a troubled past. But then again, we all have trouble in our past.

sean
sean

Carly, think you made ya point with all ya posts??

Wanted to say that i wish Taryn the best.If anyone deserves a shot at this she does.

Good luck

Carly
Carly

Agree with John..

All you shit talkers need to get laid!

I Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve this girl!

So what if she put a bit of weight on.. its called "growing" for all you dumb assholes out there..

She looks fucking awesome now as she did back then. And if anyone knows anything about her then you'll know that her movies rock!I love the way she gets right into her movies..I watched porn for a few years now, and there is alot of dumb sluts that fuck good, but I havent seen anyone who really gets into it as much as Taryn.

fuck all ya'll!!

Carly
Carly

Agree with John..

All you shit talkers need to get laid!

I Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve this girl!

So what if she put a bit of weight on.. its called "growing" for all you dumb assholes out there..

She looks fucking awesome now as she did back then. And if anyone knows anything about her then you'll know that her movies rock!I love the way she gets right into her movies..I watched porn for a few years now, and there is alot of dumb sluts that fuck good, but I havent seen anyone who really gets into it as much as Taryn.

fuck all ya'll!!

Carly
Carly

Agree with John..

All you shit talkers need to get laid!

I Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve this girl!

So what if she put a bit of weight on.. its called "growing" for all you dumb assholes out there..

She looks fucking awesome now as she did back then. And if anyone knows anything about her then you'll know that her movies rock!I love the way she gets right into her movies..I watched porn for a few years now, and there is alot of dumb sluts that fuck good, but I havent seen anyone who really gets into it as much as Taryn.

fuck all ya'll!!

Johnathan
Johnathan

I read this article and smiled at all the shit talk all you lot have said about Taryn.

I've followed Taryn since the day she stepped foot in the industry and i am aware of all the shit talk that has been said about her too, but i guess that comes with any line of work people do in their lives.

I got a question for all you "none" Taryn fans out there, have you actaully seen any of her movies??

This girl is fucking AWESOME!!

"wannabe mobster"?? how old are you dude..?

AND you think if they was under federal investigation, Would Taryn of even done this article..? Would she still be the number one sort after pornstar in LA?Would there be such a fucking high demand to see her when she feature dances?

Mykal
Mykal

Tarny is a talentless angry drug addict.

Her "boyfriend" is a wanna be mobster who lies and is under federal investigation.

She is fat and her XXX scenes are very week, or phoney.

Her comeback is a joke.

Liar and thief is a they are.

Jon G
Jon G

I have to laugh at how other people have revered Arizona as "the next upcoming porn capital".... This comment was made before when Channel 5 did an expose 5 years ago and it's not any closer now than it was then. When in reality, more adult based businesses are in Florida or even New York. Does our proximity to Cali make us the next big thing?? It's a good article overall, it actually makes Taryn It Up Entertainment great PR too. But nothing is what it seems in this business; other than the fact that people make money in it. And Christian values continue to give free press to it and drive sales... ;0)~

Zac
Zac

I really liked this article. I enjoy this author's writing style and the way she handled the risque topic. The goal of the article was not to be accusatory or inflammatory, or to attack Ms Thomas, least of all with rumors. The author didn't hide Thomas' troubled past, and felt free to mention her problems and slight impropriety. I look forward to reading more of this kind of writing!

Will Donovan
Will Donovan

1. California is the only state where it is explicitly legal to produce pornography. See the case Miller v. California. In any other state, pornography can be considered a form of prostitution.

2. Taryn is not well liked in the XXX community. She burned a ton of bridges when she left, few people would have anything to do with distributing her DVDs. They derisively refer to her as "Chub-Chub) for her frequent weight gyrations.

3. Your writer failed to ask--or reveal--how Taryn got all the money to buy a house in Fountain Hills and start her own business--working on the East Coast for 3+ years as a prostitute.

4. She didn't start spreading her legs for money until 2004.

Will Novak
Will Novak

^Huh? Why would shooting porn be illegal in any state? Maybe its illegal in some backwards place like Utah, but not here we wouldn't do that.

Anyway, good to here the Valley is diversifying its economy, always glad to have an industry thats not tied to the housing industry :D

Steve Langord
Steve Langord

Excuse me but isn't it illegal to shoot porn in Arizona? I thought California was the only state in which porn can be legally shot on video.

 
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