TV

Former “Boy Meets World” Star Maitland Ward Is Proud of Her Pivot to Porn

"My story is a journey rather than a cautionary tale."

maitland ward porn
From "Boy Meets World" to the 2020 Adult Video News Awards, Maitland Ward has made an impressive career pivot.
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / July 28, 2020 7:00 am

We’ve all heard of mainstream celebrities who got their start in adult entertainment. Kim Kardashian infamously leveraged a leaked sex tape into the reality TV show that’s led to over a decade of largely unparalleled fame; stars like Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and Blac Chyna started as strippers; Mia Khalifa controversially fled a brief but noteworthy career in porn before getting into sports journalism and taking on mainstream TV roles.

Typically, these narratives paint the transition from porn to mainstream as a one-way, upward form of mobility: aspiring stars use their start in the sex industry to “level up” in Hollywood.

But former ABC star Maitland Ward is proving that the reverse is possible as well. Ward, who played leggy redhead Rachel on Boy Meets World in the early 2000s, launched a career in porn in 2019 when she appeared in her first hardcore flick, Drive. In a recent essay penned for The Daily Beast, Ward opens up about her transition to the porn industry, claiming that, contrary to the traditional narrative, porn actually saved her from Hollywood.

“Now, I’m playing roles that I want to play. I can be dark and twisted and sexual. I’m afforded the freedom to find my voice, and that isn’t something mainstream often allows you to do. I have porn to thank for that,” writes Ward. “That’s what makes this story different: my genuine love for adult performance and for colorful cinema. My story is a journey rather than a cautionary tale.”

Amid the ongoing Mia Khalifa drama, Ward’s vocal support for the industry she’s fallen in love with comes as a welcome and necessary reminder that — while it’s important to respect that different sex workers will all have different experiences and different relationships to their work — the porn industry isn’t just a first stop on the way to Hollywood, nor is it an inherently exploitative environment women are desperate to escape.

“People will ask me if I fear that the adult industry has ruined me for mainstream. It’s quite the opposite,” writes Ward. “Mainstream ruined me for mainstream.”

Meanwhile, Ward isn’t the only former Disney star to pivot to adult entertainment. Last year, actress Bella Thorne, who once starred on the Disney series Shake It Up, won a Pornhub award for directing the adult film Him & Her.

Ultimately, Ward calls for the dissolution of the often stratified division between adult and mainstream entertainment. “It’s time for the walls to come down,” she writes. “It’s time for porn to be mainstream and mainstream to accept porn.”


Related: 

Mia Khalifa, OnlyFans and the Politics of Ethical Porn

Pornhub Is Streaming Indie Film Festivals Now

Who Gets to Call Themselves a Sex Worker?


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