In today’s world, artists and performers in all media seem caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, sharing, accessibility, and authentically being open and present is integral to the creative process – as well as a big part of what today’s fans and consumers expect. On the other hand, maintaining a measure of distance is necessary to think, be, and – ultimately – remain safe.

The tension between these often-oppositional needs is something every public person must deal with on some level. One long-standing tactic to help manage this balance is the use of a pseudonym – especially for adult performers.

A pseudonym can facilitate any number of margins and boundaries, from business benefits to simply maintaining a degree of space between one’s work and one’s personal life. For various reasons, pseudonyms are very effective – and the proof is in the behavior patterns. Most porn performers opt to use a pseudonym. Most, the vast majority even, but not all.

Some performers opt for an amalgamation, a legal first name followed by a flashy bit of flair in the form of a last name pseudonym. Others, however, opt to go all in, choosing to let their legal names stand alone, with no pseudonym whatsoever.

I spoke to Julia Ann, Sydney Leathers, Christian XXX, and Angela White – four performers who, for various reasons, use their “real” names in porn.

You can read the piece in full in the October issue of AVN magazine (see page 68). You can also check out the screen grabs below.

“Is that your ‘real’ name?”

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