The Radical Adult Performer With a Very Regular Dating Life

Culture

This story is part of GQ’s Modern Lovers issue. 


Online dating is tricky enough when you’re not famous and often naked on the internet. But having potential suitors mistake your real dating profile for a catfish is just one of the many occupational hazards that the adult performer, activist, and—coincidentally—my new Brooklyn neighbor Janice Griffith is forced to navigate on the daily. “When I was on Bumble, my account got reported for being fake,” she tells me. “And I was like, ‘You deleted me!’ ”

Griffith, 25, is one of the most outspoken and in-demand porn actors on the planet—someone who cares deeply about normalizing sex work. She and I have been online acquaintances for a few years now, and when she said she was down to talk all about her dating life as someone who works in the industry, it seemed like a perfect reason to finally connect IRL. Her challenges, I’d learn, aren’t so different from any other millennial’s, though she does have some wisdom we can glean. “Porn years,” she explains, expedite maturity very swiftly.

When I arrive at her door on a cold afternoon in December, I can hear her pleading with her 50-pound pit bull mix, Opal, from the other side to refrain from accosting me. (One of the reasons she settled on this new multi-bedroom duplex is it has a backyard for Opal to run around in.) Griffith is wearing an elegantly flowy satin pajama set befitting a wealthy eccentric auntie, and she immediately apologizes for the state of things: There are pantry deliveries that need to be put away, as well as a few boxes still awaiting unpacking. A DVD sleeve of Lesbian Anal Virgins, starring my host, rests on top of one. As we settle onto her sofa, she fixes us tea using one of her vintage tea sets and rolls a joint. Opal hops up and melts into my lap.

Originally from New York, Griffith flew to Los Angeles when she was 18 to shoot “just one scene” and then subsequently continued to work for nearly every adult production company under the sun. She tells me she fell in love for the first time not too long before that, at 15, and it was a “perfect intense puppy love and it taught me I can be absolutely bananas in love,” she says. The guy was “kind of stupid” and showed her how to drive (even though she still doesn’t have a license), but things ended abruptly and she wound up with a broken heart. At one point Griffith pulls out her phone to look for the guy on Instagram, but nothing comes up and she shrugs it off. “Heartbreak is fun, though,” she says. “It’s fun to want to be the best version of yourself after. When you get revenge hot.”

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