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Can a porn star have it all?

Early morning, on a US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Tampa, Taryn Stone cradles a bonsai tree and chats with a gray-haired man who just bought her two shots of Jameson whiskey.

"Where'd you get that tree, anyway?" he asks.

"On the side of the road in L.A.," she says, laughing. "It's for my husband."

"What were you doing there?"

"I work in the film industry."

"Doing what?"

The bubbly 23-year-old considers the vaguest possible response. Should she avoid the conversation that made her mother weep? This guy seems cool enough, she thinks. Or simply buzzed.

"I'm the talent."

"Like an actress?" he presses. "Where have I seen you?"

She pauses. All around people are snoring into travel pillows.

"Actually, I'm a porn star."

Taryn doesn't look like the women in the X-rated DVDs. She is willowy, comfortable in a cotton T-shirt and Forever 21 riding boots. Her face is scrubbed of yesterday's black eyeliner and purple lipstick. She just wrapped a 14-hour shoot for Penthouse, in which Sadie Holmes, her alter ego, played a rock star's gothic daughter. She bagged $2,000.

"Oh!" the man responds, giddy. "Well, what are you working on next?"

Babies, Taryn thinks.

What she desperately wants now is to start a family on a secluded New Hampshire farm. She envisions a little boy, with his father's blue eyes, who learns French or Mandarin, and how to skin a deer without flinching. For this, she'd trade whips and lingerie for spitup and a Diaper Genie.

"Just two more weeks of shoots in Florida," she says, "and then I'm moving up North."

//

 

Taryn's mom was a cleaning lady. Her dad was a mechanic for Busch Gardens. They took their only child to church, primped in frilly dresses.

They taught her early to smile and curtsy for the camera. She was, they gushed, a real beauty with big hazel eyes and chestnut hair. By 12, she modeled clothes for a Tampa agency.

At Wesley Chapel High School, Taryn swam competitively and anchored the morning news show. She was prom queen.

Still, she couldn't imagine pursuing a 9-to-5 career. She wanted to become a dolphin trainer until she visited the Florida Aquarium. They're all prisoners, she thought. Just like me.

Her parents, Taryn says, were too controlling. She dropped out after a semester at Hillsborough Community College and moved into her own apartment. She started waiting tables at Seminole Hard Rock Casino. There she met Nick Stone, the cute chef who flipped burgers while humming the Bananas in Pyjamas theme song.

But they felt trapped. They believed humans shouldn't work for money but forage in the wild like their scrappier ancestors.

"We saw ourselves in these dead-end jobs," Taryn recalled. "We wanted a way out."

They fell in love, married and, over many evenings sipping Red Stripe, hatched an escape plan. But they needed startup capital. What could be more natural and profitable than sex?

In April 2012, Taryn and Nick shot their first video; they played teens fooling around on "daddy's" couch. They made $300. Almost anything, they learned, was someone's fantasy. People paid to watch Taryn lace up shoes, meow like a cat, even blow up balloons.

She became Sadie, Tampa's raunchy girl next door.

Soon the couple stashed enough money to quit the casino and rent half of a green, two-story home on Minnehaha Avenue in Seminole Heights. They slept in, went on weeklong hog-hunting trips, bought pounds of fresh produce to juice and chug.

"Sadie Holmes XXX" amassed thousands of Twitter followers. People recognized her at Ybor City bars. The easy money, the fledgling fame gave Taryn a rush. She wanted to push it further. One day she asked Nick: "How about the hard-core stuff?"

By summer, Taryn was filming sex acts around Tampa Bay for up to $400 an hour. She landed an agent and gigs in Los Angeles. Nick wasn't jealous; he liked to show off his lover.

But her parents, she says, disowned her.

"I told them everything," she says, "and we never had to talk about it again. We could just talk about the past and the future. But they couldn't handle that."

She hasn't talked to her mom in a year. Her dad texts on holidays.

This spring, Taryn and Nick were ready to buy land in his home state, New Hampshire. The couple prepared to sell everything, buy a truck, drive through the night. Porn would be an emergency switch to pull if cash got low. She'd just fly to L.A. and shoot a couple of scenes.

It all seemed so laughably easy.

Until she wanted the baby.

//

 

Taryn slips into a spandex knockoff Superwoman dress, knee-high boots and a glossy yellow cape. She stands beneath a cardboard spaceship that dangles from the rafters of the Pinellas Park warehouse. The low-budget moonscape glows red.

"Pow!" she says, punching the air. "Pow! Pow!"

Three men with a camcorder discuss the best way to attack the hero with a dozen plastic Wal-Mart "robot arms."

"Okay, Sadie. We're just going to poke you over and over again," one producer says, "and you fight us off. Slap us away."

This is one of four gigs in the two weeks between Los Angeles and New Hampshire. Taryn's payday — $300 — will go straight into the gas tank for the trip north.

She squeals, grunts and thrashes. Narrows her eyes. But her mind wanders home, where Nick is watching the Red Sox and packing their DVDs. She'd rather be on the couch, cuddling her dogs, Constable and Argos. She has felt bloated and cranky all week. No period for two months. Could it be?

"Be a little louder," one producer says.

She nods briskly.

"Let's shoot this scene again."

//

 

Taryn sells her old clothes and furniture. Sweeps the house. Hires a bug man to kill those pesky fruit flies. Stuffs her necessities (a juicer, the sex swing, her wedding dress) into a U-Haul. Kisses her grandma, the only relative she speaks to, goodbye.

And she imagines life as a mother.

She and Nick will homeschool their son and teach him to handle a hunting rifle. They will read him the Bible, Torah and Koran so he can form his own ideology. They'll encourage him to pick berries and get dirty and play little league football.

She is far less certain about what she will say to the producer who offers $2,000 an hour to shoot porn with a big belly. It's a niche market, she knows, with high demand and low supply.

For the first time, she grapples with an ethical dilemma.

"My child can't agree to participate in those videos," she says. "It's like I'm making that decision for them. And later on down the road, they could find the videos, watch them and say, 'That's me inside her.' "

//

 

During her garage sale, Taryn finds the memory box. It's old and torn and wicker. She laughs at her baby teeth and a cow rattle — a long-ago gift from her dad.

She flips through her 2007 yearbook. Her mom had purchased a half-page ad: "Changing the world with a touch that's golden/There is no one like Taryn Oden."

She mails the rattle to her parents. Maybe it's a peace offering. It's certainly not an apology.

//

 

The bags are mostly packed. The electricity will go off shortly.

"It's been a weird few days," Taryn says. "I'm craving whole heads of lettuce."

Her friend, a fetish colleague, suggests one last pregnancy test. She tested repeatedly in L.A. At McDonald's for breakfast, Taryn does a test in the restroom.

"No way," she whispers. "No way."

She runs home to show Nick.

//

 

Tampa to Laconia, N.H., is 1,420 miles and 22 hours in the new truck, squashed between a bonsai tree and two excited dogs.

Along the way, Taryn talks to her stomach: "You're going to be so smart and so strong."

She's proud of the porn, and the pain. It's life experience, she says. When a producer makes an offer, she'll trust her gut. And if her belly appears on the cover of a DVD, she won't hide it from her child.

//

 

A week after the move, Sadie Holmes tweets to her fans:

Im 9 weeks :) Im thinking of doing pregnancy fetish ... what do u think?

Danielle Paquette can be reached at dpaquette@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4224.

Can a porn star have it all? 06/01/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 3:01pm]

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