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Women in Focus

Mom Used To Be A Porn Star: Aurora Snow Shares Her Story

Carla Cain Walther
by Carla Cain Walther Published on September 20, 2014

Aurora Snow hasn't had sex on camera for money in three years. In 2011, she traded the debauched world of porn in Los Angeles for a quiet, rural life in Macon, Missouri with her fiancé. Her son was born last year, tangling up her past as an extreme porn star with her present as a caring and proud mother. We spoke to her to find out how she made that transition.

One day, several years from now when Aurora Snow's son is just sprouting peach fuzz on his chin and realizing deodorant is truly a pre-teen's best friend, the other boys in his class might start to snicker at him in plain view. At recess, those same boys might ask in that annoying, puffed up way 12-year-old adolescents are known for, "HEY! How's your MOM'S BUTT?" and then erupt in laughter at his confusion.

Ok...maybe, hopefully, Aurora's son will find out that his mom was once a famous adult film actress in a kinder way than the one just described. Famous because she went there - humiliation scenes and gaping anal sex - the kind of stuff that would make the most casual porn watchers shut down their Firefox in a hurry.

However the news gets to her son, Aurora knows it's going to be very difficult to explain how her 10-year porn career led to her future as a mother.

"I was definitely an introvert. I wasn't really social," Aurora tells me when I ask her to describe herself as a young girl. She preferred books over playing with other kids at school - a tendency that struck her teachers as alarmingly antisocial. They'd once warned Aurora's mom that "all [Aurora] does is sit and read; she doesn't want to go out. She doesn't want to play." Annoyed, her mom retorted, "Well, aren't you supposed to be encouraging that behavior?"

Snow was a straight-A student. After begging the owner of a pizza place in town, she got her first "real job" manning the cashier when she was thirteen and was promoted to manager when she was only fifteen. Her childhood home is nestled in the beautiful coasts in central California but her family struggled.

She was the oldest of three siblings, raised by a single mom, and Snow knew she had to focus on success more than other kids her age. "I always had a really strong work ethic even though I was a book worm," she says, proudly. ​That work ethic helped her ace honor and AP classes before enrolling at UC-Irvine at seventeen.

​Aurora struggled to pay for college. Like so many students who suddenly go from being care- and debt-free teens to stressed out adults working shitty part-time jobs to pay down college loans, Aurora had to figure out how to fund her education. Yet, unlike other college kids who don't live in the mecca of porn-making, Aurora turned to the sex industry. First, she did nude modeling. It was good money - certainly more than she'd make working the Information Desk at one of UC's libraries - but she was told that she "could reach her [financial] goals faster through video."

"When I got into [porn] in the beginning, I didn't intend to stay in it and I didn't intend to like it," Aurora says. She swore she'd only remain in the biz for a year, save money, and then quickly leave. When she showed up on set she'd "sit, read books, and not really talk to anybody until the moment [she'd] do the scene." Then, she reasons, when she "became more comfortable with the environment" she found a sense of confidence and started to genuinely enjoy the controversial work she was doing. "Performing in such an intimate way" forced her to "open up" to her costars, be social, and ​emerge from her shell.

Around 2002, she was considered 'barely legal' when she completed her first sex scene at eighteen, several months into her freshman year. Aurora did ask herself if getting into porn would have not-so-great effects on her future, but she foresaw an independent life that wouldn't follow the traditional markers of adulthood. "I knew in my heart that I never wanted to have children; that was not the life for me." Marriage was also a no-go. Unfortunately, the promises we make to ourselves at eighteen don't always hold up ten or twenty years down the line. Aurora would learn that lesson the hard way.

​Her seventy-year-old grandmother was the first to find out there was a porn star in the family when she discovered one of Aurora's box covers in her friend's DVD collection. Devastated, she called Aurora's mother and she promptly called her daughter (who was on a location set in Big Sur getting ready to film) and asked, "Did you need money that bad?" Aurora immediately knew the cat was out of the bag. "I could hear the pain and the hurt in my mom's voice, " Aurora remembers. "And I think in that moment she felt like she had done a bad job."

Aurora was relieved to learn her family wouldn't disown her as she had feared. They weren't happy, of course. Her mother worried about diseases, but they stuck by her by simply not talking about it directly. Sometimes her religious younger brother would preach to her and fret about the state (or lack thereof) of her immorality. Her other brother traded her autographs for money.

Aurora continued to make porn. "I had $100,000 years. Not every year, but it was very lucrative." Her fame, she argues, "just happened" because she was willing to try "extreme acts." She won awards that catapulted her further into the spotlight. She hosted her own show on Playboy TV and her fans showed their support at porn conventions. Her personal life was rocky. She purposefully "dated men she'd never marry," including one manager who attempted to control her image and cash flow while living off of her paychecks.

Then one day she got a panicked call from her mother. Aurora yanked some clothes from her closet, asked her friends to take care of pets, and drove the two hours home in a hurry.

​"His head was the size of a football," she says as she describes the moment she saw her brother in the hospital. He had gotten into a horrific motorcycle accident that day. He was unresponsive and in a vegetative state that gave his doctors little hope. They asked Aurora and her family to say their goodbyes and prepare funeral arrangements.

Despite the doctors' grave predictions, her brother lived. He will remain wheelchair bound for the rest of his life, but he's alive. The accident would also change Aurora's life forever. Her two nephews moved in with her while their father recovered. Aurora recalls staring at them during one their first family meals and not knowing how to interact with the young boys. Her maternal instincts eventually kicked in.

​While she still had to make porn for money the reward was deeper now. She was providing for children who relied on her and loved her unconditionally. After a long drive home from visiting her brother, Aurora's youngest nephew "wrapped his arms around her neck and cuddled into her with a complete sense of trust and security." Suddenly what she wanted out of life and what she needed to do to achieve it abruptly came into focus. She wanted to be her a mother and she wanted a loving partner.

Aurora found her dream in a guy from the midwest. Her friend had played matchmaker, and Aurora emailed with him for a few months before meeting in person. ​Her nephews moved back home, giving her the freedom to make big changes to her life. She'd leave the porn industry. It'd take two years for that to actually happen but, one weekend, when she was scheduled to do a scene, she decided, "OK! I"m going to move to Missouri!"

​She'd needed to put distance between the temptation of porn and her new set of dreams, so she "packed about six bags of clothing," called the casting agent for the movie she was supposed to be in and told him they needed to find another girl, and flew to Macon, MO.

As a retired porn star, Aurora is up against a lot. She had to learn how to to budget money and deal with rejection from potential employers who are wary of her porn past. The biggest concern, however, is her son who she wrote an open letter to last year on The Daily Beast. "I know one day he's going to have a lot of questions...and I hope my son will understand my choices." Her logic is that her son might Google her porn name and instead of clicking on videos of his mom doing things no child should see, he'll find her letter.

Yes, if you check out one of Aurora's videos you'll find her in positions you didn't think were anatomically possible. But her son won't see her that way growing up.

​Based on our interview, he will only know her as a beautiful woman who is confident, can laugh at herself, has a wealth of patience, and will teach him the joy of a great book. Something tells us it'll take a bit more than a porn career to make her son turn his back against her.

Aurora is a contributor at The Daily Beast. If you liked this story, tweet us @wewomenUSA!

by Carla Cain Walther

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