In the late afternoon of an unseasonably hot and flat Florida spring, a small-boned girl made her way across the baking parking lot of a sports bar chain with her chin tucked and her hands shoved deep in her pockets. She’d just turned eighteen, and—standing four foot ten and weighing only ninety pounds clothed—she was used to being questioned about her age. Even so, a middle aged man waited for her by the door, and when he opened it with a familiar nod she cast him a smile in greeting and ducked into the AC that blasted out. No one stopped them.
A year prior the girl had been lying about her age even to the man who sat with her now in a booth as the sun streamed lazily through the window. Back then they’d been less familiar. She was new to the low-ceilinged town of Hollywood, Florida, having followed a boyfriend down with the dream of landing on billboards and being photographed for print. The boyfriend left and the girl stayed. She had a pretty face. The man in front of her was an agent. At the hotel reception desk where she’d landed a job, he leaned in cautiously. I can rep you, he said, but only if you’re eighteen. Without missing a beat she leaned in too. Sure I am, she said, and slipped him her number.
She might as well have been eighteen. By then she’d been living on her own, an early graduate of high school, a middle child from a single wide trailer in Lafayette whose blonde and blue-eyed mother had come from a family that hadn’t left the town since the 1800’s and whose father was some mix of Guyanese and Ecuadorian descent. Either way he was gone before anyone really nailed it down.
The man at the booth seemed to consider this as he looked the girl’s hair and her skin tone. He sucked soda through a straw until the ice clinked. Finally, he said, Haze doesn’t say much. Holly Haze. I don’t like it. We can do better than this. The girl watched the ice rustle and considered it too. By then she was going by Holly, a nickname bestowed on her by an old boyfriend in the seventh grade on account of the fact that she wore Hollisters. The school was a performing arts school. Holly had been shy, adept, ingratiated with the teachers. She played the guitar and wrote daily in a journal. Up until the week she decided to run to Florida with a she just met she’d kept the same boyfriend for all of those years.
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The agent pushed the glass away and checked his phone, then continued with his thought. Choose a Spanish name—there’s more work there.
In the background the song changed as the playlist worked through a Rolodex of rock songs classic enough to fit with the sports theme. Holly listened absently and considered the things she liked other than pot. She liked music—specifically rock. She liked guitars and books and writing. In time she’d learn she likes girls. She didn’t want to be perceived as a black girl feigning Latin roots. But who she was—or rather, who she would be—the two at the table that afternoon were definitely in agreement on the fact that this was still up in the air. Holly could be anyone. She just needed the name.
After they’d met at the reception desk, Holly had dragged the phone calls with this agent out for a year while she waited to turn eighteen. I don’t drive, she said, and hid her license. She killed off months pretending to wait on her birth certificate to ship from Georgia. The man was well versed enough in the field to check IDs. Then on the day of her eighteenth birthday she called him up, IDs in hand, and asked him to confirm that he’d received the copies. Happy birthday, he said. Tomorrow you’re booked for a scene.
The scene was with a man named Bruno. It was BDSM-themed and hardcore even by hardcore standards. I got my ass beat, she’ll tell you frankly. By then she was one day past eighteen. Bruno would have been the third person she’d slept with, the first being her high school boyfriend and the second being the man she followed to Hollywood. He’d been in porn too, which gave her the idea in the first place. She’d found him on Facebook while attending college, living with college roommates and generally high on the newfound freedom of a girl freshly on her own and freshly out of a relationship. She shrugs, remembering.
He had a big dick. I messaged him, and then he drove eight hours to see me.
When he returned to Florida, she came too. A series of minimum wage jobs and shifty modeling offers followed as she watched him cash regular checks from his porn bookings. By the time the agent leaned in to offer work in the adult industry, Holly was ready. She just needed the legal standing.
That meal in the diner celebrated the completion of her first scene. Covered in bruises and with a paycheck in hand, Holly had arrived straight off of set to meet the man performing officially in the role of her agent. Rather than feel scared off by the intensity of the experience, she was invigorated by the options ahead of her. Now she sipped at a soda as she listened to her agent ramble on the ways she could make it. She didn’t know what make it really meant, but she had some ideas. She wanted to win some awards, buy a car, a house, and go back to school. Before Florida she’d been taking classes in pre-pharm.
By 2017 she’ll have done all of those things, but of course on that day at the diner she didn’t know that. She didn’t believe she’d make it out of Florida, much less take home the AVN award for Best New Starlet and Most Outrageous Sex Scene alongside wins at XBIZ and XRCO in year one of the awards season. Her biggest preoccupation that day was with finding a name that wasn’t hers. Asked what is unique about her, Holly shrugs and tries to think of something. I don’t know, she says. I can lick my elbow. She licks it.
Nevermind that her first anal scene was done on camera, a category she went on to dominate with scenes that featured two and three male performers to an orifice. Through it all she would continue to write daily in her journal—writing that would land her a book deal following her win.
She shrugs again. It was kind of personal.
She canceled the book deal.
But who can say whether she would have canceled it on that day in the diner, much less fathomed it. Of course she wouldn’t have imagined that she’d travel the world before she was legal to drink in the very bar she sat in that day. Then again, she’d never stuck a finger in her butt and her yet-unrealized name was about to become synonymous with scenes notably extreme and anal. She still believed her first scene was normal for the job, but would find in time that it was the hardest scene she’d do in her career.
Holly hadn’t considered anything about herself notable. As far as she was concerned, she was just a mixed girl from a singlewide trailer up in Georgia. But then another song clicked on at the sports bar. Jimmy Hendrix! she said with a surge of adrenaline. What’s better than Hendrix?
Her agent smiled, finally seeing her.
Nothing, Holly. Nothing’s better than Hendrix.
Holly Hendrix stars in TRENCHCOATx.com's newest release, "Trashy Love Story."