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Article: “Anita Cannibal: Porn Star, Hooker, Law Student”

WWW- Maria De Cesare writes: I’ve just sat down to lunch with my friend, Traci, a 1L at a Southern California law school, and within minutes, we’ve launched into a typical law school bitchfest—she’s not loving her classmates, the schedule is getting to her, and she has a real douchebag of a torts professor who actually made her cry in class last semester. You know, the usual first-year drama. Pretty much anyone who went to law school can relate to Traci’s day-to-day. Well, except for one part: she’s also a licensed hooker.

And a porn star.

OK, so Traci Bryant, a.k.a. Anita Cannibal, isn’t exactly your typical law student. Her resume is stacked with the usual suspects for a 1L—torts and contracts classes, volunteer work at a community outreach clinic, legal research on labor and employment law issues—but it also includes recent stints at the Chicken Ranch brothel in Nevada, “sword swallowing” as a special skill, and starring roles in over 130 films, including Nurse Orgy 5 and Titty Titty Bang Bang.

And the differences don’t end there. Traci, 38, manages to do more in one week than the average law student does in a semester. A typical week includes a few property and con law classes at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, a girl-on-girl shoot for Wicked Pictures in a ranch house deep in the Valley, and a few editing sessions for the upcoming documentary she’s producing, Porn Star Goes to Law School.

Oh, and this past winter break, instead of zoning out in front of the TV for a month, or going to Cabo or Vegas like most law students, she squeezed in a few weeks at one of the Nevada brothels—and had her books shipped out so she could get a jump on next semester’s basics in between working “Two Girl Party” and “Reversed Half and Half” gigs.

****

I first met Traci in 2006 at a think tank held at U.C.L.A. for legislators, health officials and porn industry insiders that addressed the issue of worker health and safety in the adult film industry. I was there, fresh out of law school, to present an article I’d written on that very topic for the Southern California Law Review back when I was a 3L, and Traci was there to offer the inside perspective on the issue as a working porn actress. I’m not sure what made me more nervous that day—trying not to sound like an idiot in front of a bunch of legal types without even knowing if I’d passed the Bar Exam yet, or trying not to sound like a complete nerd in front of a bunch of porn types in my one and only “lawyer suit.”

To this day, I’m not sure if I pulled either part off, but at the lunch break, Traci made a beeline for my table, sat right down, announced, “You! You’re adorable! You’re like that little guy—you know, the cute little lawyer guy from the Larry Flynt movie?—all smart and fighting for rights and stuff. I want to talk to you!” I knew at that point this girl was someone worth staying in touch with. And we did.

Now, almost two years later, we’ve decided to meet for lunch in downtown L.A. Anyone familiar with downtown L.A. knows that it’s not exactly a go-to scene for sexy lunch spots, but we’re here because we have business to attend to down the block: Traci—or rather, Anita Cannibal—is due to make the rounds at Erotica L.A., a three-day “erotic expo” being held at the L.A. convention center, and I get to tag along.

We wind up down the block from the convention center at an Italian joint with a distinct hipster crack house vibe. We sit down and the wilted business types at the surrounding tables do a few triple takes. It could be because we’re the only ones in the place actually smiling. Or it could be the volleyball-sized boobs spilling out of Traci’s cropped tube top, blonde ponytail swinging past her waist, and blue eyes fringed with, well, porn-star-grade fake eyelashes. Our girl knows how to get noticed.

Our waiter comes over and Traci’s body language changes on a dime, becomes more feline. It’s as if she can’t help but flirting around a guy, any guy. “You’re so cute,” she purrs, before he even hands us the menus. “Are you Spanish?” He’s smiling back, trying to gauge her angle. She presses on. “Are you an actor? You have a great face.”

He disappears with our order and Traci clicks out of seduction mode and is down to business. She starts emptying out the contents of her giant purse—makeup kit, digital video camera, taser—and starts handing me papers, updates on her recent exploits. One is an article from the CSUN Daily Sun student newspaper profiling her when she was finishing up her undergrad degree at California State University–Northridge last Spring. Another is a glossy 8×10 promo shot of her wearing a red corset and swallowing a three-foot-long flaming dildo. (I wasn’t kidding about the sword swallowing on the resume, folks.)

She also hands me a stack of small white cards with printed stats about recent STD infection rates in the porn population, which she plans to hand out to other porn stars later at Erotica L.A. The stats are alarming. According to a recent study Traci cites, for example, the rates of Chlamydia infections alone among adult film actors are about fifty-seven times higher than what state officials consider epidemic proportions. And she can vouch for the problem firsthand. “I haven’t seen a dick with no bumps on it in a long time. It’s gross.”

Fighting for increased health and safety rights and other legal protections for adult film performers has been a major part of Traci’s life for the past few years, and is part of the reason she decided to go to law school in the first place. And in that time, she’s made more than a few frenemies within the industry—both from multimillion-dollar porn companies like Vivid (“the biggest perpetrator”) and surprisingly, among performers themselves.

The backlash against her crusade started when “Cannibalism,” a radio show she hosted on KSEX radio, began to spread the word about the epidemic-level STD infection rates among porn performers—and encouraged performers to fight for condom-only productions to curb the spread of more disease.

“What kills me is that, Steve Hirsh, the owner of Vivid, stood in front of us in 1998—they got all the performers together—and he said ‘Don’t worry, we’re condom only, we’ll protect you.’ And now they’ve gone, ‘Fuck the performers.’”

According to Traci, performers say that “unanimously, if they had a choice, they’d have condoms on the set. And these are some of the most hard-core crazy motherfuckers. That’s what really got me going on this issue—what the people’s voice was. But in public, they’ll say what the company wants them to say. It’s an unspoken rule.”

Traci dismisses the reasoning oft-cited by the porn companies that condom-only productions will kill their bottom line. “That argument falls short,” she counters. “Jenna Jameson got famous having condoms-only sex. And then her company? Non-condom. Thirty million dollars a year. I’m, like, are you fucking high? They don’t care about us. She doesn’t give a fuck. She failed us.”

So, why are the ladies and gents of the porn industry letting this happen? Why aren’t they lining up behind Traci to fight for their rights, too? “It’s like this,” she explains, in full law-student mode. “You have the companies telling everybody about safety. Implied warranty theory. Express warranty theory. It’s safe, everybody’s doing it. And it’s informed. So people are showing up assuming it’s safe and that their risks are significantly reduced.

And I say no, that’s not consent. It’s the same as if you’re a painter and you have a gas mask made of tissue paper. And you call the company and they say, no it’s fine. And then you get asbestos poisoning.”

And if the inroads Traci’s made within the porn industry to address this issue aren’t proving deep enough to effect change, well, that’s what her impending law degree is for. “I’m constantly trying to get in touch with any attorney out there that will allow me to have some sort of menial job researching this issue to address it through litigation. Because it doesn’t seem to be working through legislation.”

She leans over the table, over the jumbled mess of paper representing equal parts Anita Cannibal and Traci Bryant. “I’ve got that kind of shystie brain like that. Right? Use it for good. It’s thinking outside of the box in a positive way. Which is what I’ve gotta do.”

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on August 21, 2008 at 08:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (9)

CommentsUSC’s law school is sooooooo pricy… so I assume Traci is a full-timer? I wish I could too….

Posted by: kelvlam | Aug 21, 2008 11:11:00 AM

Great piece! Definitely a unique woman.

Posted by: Rob | Aug 21, 2008 11:22:02 AM

A porn star AND hooker?!? Just how is she going to pass her character and fitness exam and background check? Oh, I forgot – she’s in California.

Posted by: Wolfgang | Aug 21, 2008 4:20:32 PM

Hmmm. Not to be a prude, but the referenced article also says that the hooker-law student did time at the infamous “Chicken Ranch” in Texas, where, unlike Las Vegas, prostitution is illegal. Doesn’t this indict her fitness to practice law, even if we take the enlightened, modern view that hooking, as long as it is legal, doesn’t amount to “moral tupitude”?
I’m not sure every Bar association will look at Bryant’s activities so benignly. I sure don’t.

Posted by: Jack Marshall | Aug 22, 2008 8:34:10 AM

Lots of interesting pre-law histories out there . . . Here is a story about a CA lawyer with a background in gangbanging and prostitution:

http://westallen.typepad.com/idealawg/2006/05/gangbanging_clo.html

And one who grew up on the carnival circuit. He talks in his book about how to trick the customers, and is now doing some great work. His Web site:

http://www.kennykahn.com/about_kenny.asp

Posted by: Stephanie West Allen | Aug 22, 2008 9:49:37 AM

Her photos reveal a High Mileage Unit — Hope the guys at the bunny ranch got a big discount !

Posted by: lawnorder | Aug 22, 2008 10:26:33 AM

Maybe she can cop the moot court prize fopr best oralist!

Posted by: lawnorder | Aug 22, 2008 10:27:36 AM

Hope the evidence prof calls on her re excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule

Posted by: lawnorder | Aug 22, 2008 10:28:55 AM

Lets see –
Im sure she reports all of her income and pays all of her taxes
I’m sure shes never been involved in a porn shoot involving 1) a minor 2) controlled substances 3) rape, attepted rape or some form of nonconsesual sex 4) convicted felons / OC figures / other assorted people of poor character
I’m sure shes never sold sex in a jurisdiction where it is illegal.
Wow, makes me proud to be an attorney – you liberated women must be happy.
Also, I don’t buy any of that Ellen Brokovich crap about her trying to help people in the porn industry
PS Glad to know that the writers here think every law student goes to Cabo or takes a month off during breaks. Those of us who dont have rich parents or f-ck people for cash had to work during law school.

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