Saunders: Some things in this Duke porn story don't quite add up

bsaunders@newsobserver.comMarch 3, 2014 

The lip-pursers, the tut-tut-tutters and the tongue-cluckers were, quite predictably, pursing, tutting and clucking for all they were worth when word got out about that young woman who says she’s financing her education at Duke University by appearing in porn movies.

Most of the pursers, tutters and cluckers with whom I spoke, though, were offended not that a young woman would rent out her body for filming for filthy lucre – their term, not mine. Our capacity for being shocked by such things seems to have dissipated.

They found it more obscene that an education at Duke or any other university could cost $60,000. A year. While one online commenter to The N&O said he was trying to “wrap his head around” the idea that a college education could cost that much, I’m trying to wrap mine around the fact that a porn actress is actually enrolled in school.

Like a purple unicorn

Strippers or porn actresses who actually go to school are, in the real world, akin to purple unicorns: You’ve heard of ’em, you just don’t expect to see one of those mythic creatures.

By a show of hands, how many of you have ever met a stripper who wasn’t – wink, wink – working her way through college, or at least trying to buy a hospital wing for a sick mother?

OK, if you’re at work, don’t raise your hands: just blink twice.

I’m just about the most trusting person you’d ever want to meet, and one aspect of Lauren’s story – that’s her fake name for the story; her fake nom de porn is “Aurora” – rang believable.

As a journalist, I’ve talked with several ladies whose business was providing others pleasure, and more than I can count have said something similar to what Lauren told her interviewer at Duke’s student newspaper: She would do just about anything besides being a waitress.

Lauren said she had worked as a waitress during high school.

“To be perfectly honest,” she told her interviewer, “I felt more degraded in a minimum wage, blue-collar, low paying, service job than I ever did doing porn.”

Straining credulity

That sounds authentic, but before you parents start snatching your kids out of Duke lest they rub shoulders with a genuine porn actress – or decide to become one – there are things about her story that strain credulity.

First, the alleged porn actress seems surprised and perturbed that fellow Dukies recognized her from her body of work. Gee, who would have thought that college kids watch porn?

Second, she said that she divulged her secret to a fellow freshman on the condition that he not tell anyone. What woman thinks a freshman male could keep secret that he actually spoke to a porn actress – heck, that he spoke to a girl?

The third thing that makes the story seem fishy is that Lauren said her agent flies her to Los Angeles “during breaks” to shoot movies.

What, did L.A. run out of lovely or sexy women? That’s unlikely: The last time I was there, even my IHOP waitress was gorgeous. A less evolved person than I would say she was a 10, but that would be objectifying women – something Lauren spoke out against in her interview – and that would be wrong.

Unless Lauren/Aurora has a specialty that makes her in demand – reciting “Desiderata” backward during filming, perhaps – it doesn’t seem cost-effective to fly her cross-country for a weekend shoot.

Once, while at my computer searching for a favorite Bible verse, I stumbled across what looked like a porn site for which one didn’t even have to pay. That makes one wonder how Aurora’s agent is able to fly her back and forth “during breaks.”

Saunders: 919-836-2811 or

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