Porn star Kayden Kross has opened up about the reasons she got into the adult industry.
Aged 18, Kayden was earning just £5.77 an hour as a waitress as she tried to pay her way through university.
She took on an extra job as a stripper in a bid to raise enough money to save a pony from a slaughterhouse.
And now, aged 35, she’s a porn director worth £3.2million – and is one of the most successful stars in the industry.
Last year, Kayden became only the second woman ever to win the AVN Award for Director of the Year. This is the adult entertainment equivalent of an Oscar.
She's also one half of "porn's golden couple" as she directs alongside her adult entertainer fiancé, Manuel Ferrara, 45.
Talking about entering the adult industry, Kayden said she was studying psychology at university in Sacramento, California, back in 2003, where she was trying to earn extra cash.
She tried various jobs on minimum wage, such as waitressing and as a trail guide round the local lakes.
Talking to The Sun, Kayden said: "There was one particular horse I was drawn to.
"They had me training him, because he was so little none of the men could ride him, and the kids couldn’t use him because it was too dangerous. So he became my little buddy."
However, she said that one day, one of “the big cowboys” at the ranch jumped on the horse and fractured his pastern – a part of the pony’s leg – so the ranch managers decided they’d send him to be slaughtered for meat money “as it was cheaper than paying to repair it”.
Kayden admitted she "freaked out" and decided she wanted to buy the pony, but didn't have the money. A guy mate then suggested she worked at the local strip club.
She tried it out and after counting her cash at the end of the night, Kayden realised it was the career for her.
"I made all the money to buy [the horse] in one day, and thought, 'Wow that's a month's worth of income for me normally',’" she explained.
"And I just kept going back, it was just so easy and it was much better treatment."
Kayden also admitted she found it "demoralising" working for £5.77 as a waitress, saying she just had to "take whatever the managers or the fellow serving staff and customers would throw at you".
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However, when she started stripping, she felt like she had "power".
"If you're an asset, everyone just bows at your feet," she explains.
Kayden said she was one of the top dancers at the club, and the owners would do whatever it took to keep her there.
This meant she picked her schedule and she would make more money per night in the club than she'd make a month at the restaurant.
After working at the club for around two years, Kayden was spotted by John Stevens from porn star agency, Matrix Models, aged 20.
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After he watched her dance, he asked if she wanted to be in men's mag, Penthouse.
She went for it and was named their cover girl – or Pet of the Month – in September 2008.
After this, Kayden went on to posing nude for porn magazine, Hustler, however it was whole year before she filmed her first actual sex scene, as she admitted she spent a lot of time "considering it," and "going back and forth".
Her family told her she would "ruin her life", however the money enticed her in.
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The star's first porn movies included Kayden's First Time, Hard Time and Be Here Now.
However, in 2010, her career really took off as movie The Smiths, topped sales charts immediately and has continued to be a best seller.
She then won two Best Actress Awards for her role in film Body Heat at the AVN Awards.
Kayden then met her now-fiancé, Manuel Ferrara, nine years ago, on a shoot, with the pair sharing a seven-year-old daughter and a monogamous relationship off-screen.
But, despite meeting on a porn set, Kayden now directs rather than performs "at his request," with the pair frequently coming as a director and performer package deal.
However, Kayden admits she'd found a passion for it and that female directors are the way forward.
"The men are receding, and we’re ahead of the curve," she states.
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