Thomas swears she's the exception, that her grandparents back east still think she's a real estate agent. For that reason, she says, she doesn't want her real name on record.

But Thomas' secrecy applies only to extended family. Her immediate family is very aware of her career, to the point where her dad — a U.S. Postal Service employee for the past 25 years — sells signed pictures of her to co-workers, and her younger brother Vince — a part-time porn actor and aspiring Marine — makes deposits for her company when she's out of town.

Not that everyone in the Thomas clan is thrilled about Taryn's occupation. Thomas says she and her younger sister don't speak very often. Her mother, Anna, says she keeps her daughter's career a secret, and only a few of her closest friends know the real story.

"I was shocked when I really found out about it," Anna says. "And, of course, it's a risky business."

Anna says she also wasn't happy when Taryn paid Vince to perform in a couple of adult movies. "Now she's dragging him into it," their mom says. "Well, I can't say she's dragging him into it, but it's just that I have one, and then another one — what's my family going to say?"

Vince, 22, says he plans to enlist in the Marines and just wants to be able to brag to the guys that he's had sex with a couple of porn stars.

The family must get the same inquiries over and over, because they answer some questions before they're asked. No, neither of her parents has seen one of her films. "I don't really watch porn, and I don't watch Taryn," her father, Henry, says. "I told her, 'I know you've been fucking since you were 13, but I don't need to see it.'"

And, no, Taryn was never in the room when Vince was performing. "I just think that would be a little weird," Vince says.

Thomas' career may be profane, but her childhood was G-rated. She was born into a large Italian family in New Jersey, the oldest of four children. She was raised Roman Catholic and went through communion and confirmation. By all accounts, she was athletic, playing softball and basketball and winning a Presidential Fitness Award in sixth grade. Her dad says she was shy. Her mom says she was a good kid.

The family moved to Phoenix when Thomas was 12. By the time she was a teenager, she was frequenting desert parties and drinking with classmates from Desert Mountain High School. She cut classes a lot.

Her parents were at odds over how to handle her. Her mother says she was the stricter parent: "[Taryn] went wild. Her father let her do anything she wanted to do."

Henry admits he let his kids "go out and explore life on their own and stuff.

"I basically told them, 'Go out and try everything you want, everything you can,'" Henry says. "So we had a clash of personalities, me and [Anna]."

Her parents divorced when she was 15, an event that left Thomas feeling "torn apart." She went to live with her father — most of the time. "She ran away a lot," Henry says. "She ran away about five or six times. But the father of one of the girls she ran away with was a U.S. Marshal, so they never got far."

When she was 15, Thomas stole a Cadillac from an acquaintance and drove across the U.S. border with some friends. She didn't get farther than a motel room in Nogales before one of her companions called her dad to check in. They were tracked down by Nogales police and detained in the local jail until their parents retrieved them.

By the time she was 16, she was doing a variety of drugs recreationally, including Xanax and cocaine. When she was 17, her parents sent her to live with an aunt in Georgia. The two months she spent there, Thomas says, were like rehab. Very disciplined. "I didn't have sex at all," she says. "I wasn't even really allowed to go out of the house."

Ultimately, Thomas returned to Phoenix but never finished high school. She says she stayed clean when she got back from Georgia, but it wouldn't be the last time she would take off to escape her "demons."

She got into the adult industry as soon as she turned 18, in May 2001. Her father says it was a longtime goal:

"She'd been trying to do that since she was 16. She worked at Hooters when she was 16, as a hostess. I think the first thing I can remember was her and these two other girls, they went some place in Scottsdale to pose topless. I told her, 'Make the guy sign a contract to make sure he pays you, or he's gonna rip you off.'"

And that's exactly what happened.

It wouldn't be the last (or the worst) time Thomas got ripped off.

Her first paying gig was a sorority girl-themed photo shoot for Glendale-based Lightspeed Media Corporation, which operates several Internet sites featuring soft-core porn.

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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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