“A Week In The Life” is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.
The subject of today’s “A Week In The Life” is Juliet Simone, and she’s a pornstar. Juliet tells us about some of the stereotypes she faces in her line of work, managing her family’s expectations with her job, and how powerful she feels when she’s in front of a camera.
I’m awake every day between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. I stand up from my bed by 6:30 am today, and the first thing I do is check my phone to see if there are any messages I missed while asleep. Then I start my morning ritual — I drink Seaman ogogoro to clear my eyes, do some squats to keep my body fit [because I don’t want to have a fat stomach], and look for something to eat. I’m done with my routine by 11 a.m. After that, I make content for my paying subscribers — I have a WhatsApp group where people pay ₦5,000 per month to see my nudes, watch me masturbate, rant or just dance. It would have been easier to manage the subscribers if I could go live on Instagram or Twitter, but I’ve been banned on both apps. I’m grateful that at least I still have my Snapchat account where I can post even though I don’t fully understand how to use that app.
I don’t have time to be worried about Snapchat because there’s work to be done, and my major “headache” now is entertaining my subscribers on WhatsApp. I’ll video call my over 20 subscribers in batches of seven. The signs are clear that I have a long day ahead of me.
I don’t shoot porn videos every day because I don’t own a personal camera. Instead, I have to shoot once or twice in a week depending on the schedule of the actors, video crew and location. There’s a lot of planning that goes into making these videos. We travel outside Lagos, sometimes as far as Badagry, to make them. You can’t just say you want to act porn in your room or a hotel in Lagos. From the screams and moans alone, oversabi people will call police to arrest you for trying to murder someone’s daughter. There’s also the part of choosing the men I’m acting with because I have a preference — neat, honest, and willing to show face on camera — that must be followed. After making my choice, I invite the person for lunch to gauge them before we go for routine [HIV, Hepatitis, etc] tests. Then we can now shoot a video.
During video shoots, I tell my men that it’s acting we’re acting so they shouldn’t get carried away thinking it’s their girlfriend they’re fucking. I also make it clear that they must not cum in me — they can cum on my laps, face, tummy but not inside me — because the viewers want to see the sperm.
Anytime I’m stressed, I remind myself that it’s my channel that these videos are being uploaded to and that makes me happy. I’m excited anytime I look at my money counting and see that it’s dollars. I can’t wait till it’s plenty so I can cash out.
People ask me if I’m shy to have sex in front of a camera. Me, Juliet, shy for what? For why? I even think I’m addicted to the camera. I’ve been acting for a while, so I’ve gained confidence. Although I started acting porn three years ago, my dream was to always get into Nollywood, so I grew up participating in dramas, teen plays and being a drama queen. I wasn’t shy when I used to act for people, why will I be shy now that it’s my channel?
Anytime I’m in front of the camera, I feel like I’m Wizkid, Davido or even Burna Boy, and all these people are coming to look at me. I won’t lie, the first time I acted in a porn video, I didn’t know it’d go far. It wasn’t until my brother in Dubai called to say: “Juliet, you don dey act porn?” I was “Shoo, this thing is international now? This is my chance to shine.” In fact, during lockdown, I became famous again because one of my videos did like two million views. I noticed that anytime I passed my street, boys would be looking at me. It was one of my male friends that now gave me the gist that someone downloaded my video and people started sending it to themselves. Sometimes, too much of the attention in real life makes me shy, so I stay indoors. Other times when I want to do my werey, I wear my shades and don’t give them face. Is it pussy they’ve not seen before? Is it dick they’ve not seen before? — it’s everywhere. And if anybody comes to challenge me that why am I acting porn, I’ll also challenge them that why are they watching porn. Wetin carry their eyes go there? Are they also pornstars?
I’ll say this anywhere: I’m not addicted to sex. It’s just that I can’t see dick and run. I know that pata pata na you go tire because I don’t see sex as stress. I also don’t pay attention to that thing they call body count — how does it affect me? I can’t count how many guys I’ve fucked. I also know that I’ll stop acting one day. I’ll move into “pure” acting and make money from my old videos. By then I’d have settled down with the man of my choice that loves me. I’m not worried because I’ve swimmed into the world and seen what’s there.
For the moment I’m making my money and facing my business. I’ll advise people to do the same and leave judgement between me and God. I am at peace with my God.
I have a few secrets. My mum thinks I’m an actress in Nollywood, and although my siblings know what I do for a living, they didn’t cast me. My dad is dead, so he doesn’t need to know. Sometimes, people whisper to my mum but I encourage her to ignore them. As far as I didn’t kill anyone, I didn’t rob or collect anyone’s money illegally, my life doesn’t concern anybody. If my siblings could go from an initial violent reaction when they found out I was acting porn to a cordial one, people’s opinion don’t matter much to me.
Another secret is that I enjoy slow fucking and not knacking-knacking like you’ll see in porn videos. I think that’s even a major reason why it’s difficult to enjoy sex while acting. If I like the guy and we’re done shooting, I’ll ask him to come and have the slow sex that I like.
My last secret is that I don’t make friends with people outside the porn industry because they won’t understand me. And insult can even enter. But if you’re in my industry, how can you abuse me when we’re partners in crime? Even if you abuse me, it’ll be work-related — you’ll say I didn’t cash out last month or my video quality is poor — and I know you’re correcting me. Let me tell you a secret: The people insulting me about pornography will grab this opportunity I have if they see it. Them go too rush am.
I can’t help but think about the pornography industry here in Nigeria because there’s potential that we’re not tapping into. There’s a lack of trust amongst us, so we don’t collaborate. You’ll watch Oyinbo porn and you’ll see crossovers and collaborations making people money. But Nigerian slogan is “Everyone be on your shoe oh because na only you know as your shoe dey pain you.” I know there’s the opportunity to make money. When I was still upcoming and working for people, I’ve made around ₦300,000 and above per month before. As long as we don’t combine resources, we can’t regulate and grow the industry.
I’m always looking for people to collaborate and work together because I want to blow to the extent where I can establish a business for my mum and myself. Once I remove black tax and set up a passive source of income from my old videos, then I’ll stop acting porn. Maybe then I’ll finally be free to pursue my childhood dream of acting in Nollywood.
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