On Wednesday, April 20 2016, Chyna was found dead in her apartment in Redondo Beach, CA. She was 45 years old. Many of you know Chyna from her career with the WWE. Maybe you read her autobiography If They Only Knew, which landed on the NY TimesBest Sellers list. But what you might not know is that a large part of Chyna’s career was also intertwined with the adult industry. Her foray into the world of adult entertainment arrived in 2004 with the release of 1 Night in China, which co-starred former WWF wrestler Sean Waltman – better known as X-Pac. 1 Night in China became the AVN Award winner for Best Selling Title of the Year in 2006. Chyna followed up that title with Another Night in China, which garnered the AVN Award winner for Best Celebrity Sex tape in 2012. In 2011, after a brief stint in TNA, she pursued a career in porn working in three films for Vivid Video.
I was hired to play the role of Stephanie McMahon in a three-way sex scene with Chyna, and a male porn star played her father Vince McMahon. The movie was called Chyna Is Queen of the Ring and the script revolved around her departure from the WWE. There was one specific detail you need to know about the design of this particular scene. Since the male performer and I were portraying Vince and Stephanie, he and I would not sexually interact. See, there are legal risks even porn companies try to avoid. So even though we would all be in the scene, there was only physical interaction with Chyna.
When Chyna and I met on set that day, I could see her light. She was captivating and a natural-born entertainer. She had an independent streak that added an incredible spark of life to her dynamic and dominant personality. But at the same time, she was soft, kind, and warm. She enjoyed to make conversation and she interacted with everyone on set. That said, after spending 30 minutes with her, I knew she didn’t belong on a porn set. I could sense her discomfort with it all and, no matter how good of an entertainer she was, I noticed something was off.
We had some dialogue to shoot before we would get to the fun stuff. Once we started to go over our lines, I was blown away by Chyna’s ability to memorize her part. It was then that I realized she was more of a star than anyone I had ever worked with. She got the camera, she knew what to do for it and she knew how to project her voice. I was in total awe over her ability in general. She was a pro.
Once the dialogue ended, however, I saw a completely different side of her. My assumptions were confirmed – Chyna was out of her element. This was something I had seen on set many times before. Once the clothes come off and the reality of having sex with a male performer, who in this case to her was pretty much a stranger, hits home, it becomes a struggle. Watching that dilemma unfold on set was always hard for me. It was something I would take home with me. I would lay in bed at night and go through a series of questions while tackling my own guilt for being a part of an experience someone really didn’t want to have.
As difficult as it was to get into the scene, things were about to get worse. The male performer she was working with started to bleed from a place where no one ever wants to see a man bleed. It was like something out of a horror movie – in all my years in the business I had never seen anything like this before. I remember looking down at the pool of blood on the floor and fighting off the urge to throw up. I heard a voice in my head telling me, “You’re the veteran here. Pull it together, this is harder for her than you!” I looked up at Chyna’s face and I could see her fear. I did what I could to talk the situation down and keep her as calm as possible. Talk about traumatic, especially for Chyna who had, up to this point, only shot some home videos with someone she was very familiar with. I was more concerned for her than me, because remember, I wasn’t having sex with the male star in the scene. My mind was racing, I was already in a dark place with the energy I was feeling from Chyna, and now I was afraid for her overall wellness during this horrific scenario.
We ended the scene and left for the day. I knew Chyna had more scenes to shoot for the movie over the next couple of days and I wondered how she was going to manage. We stayed in touch by text. I knew deep down she was doing what she needed to do, so there was no way for me to push any further. Eventually, I realized no one ever talked about that day again. This was a movie with the biggest star I had ever worked with, but I had no motivation to promote it. Any time it was brought up to me, I was taken back to that horrific moment and once again, I’d have to avoid getting sick. Just like right now, reliving that experience to tell you this gives me that same exact feeling.
I have met so many people in my travels that have interviewed and met Chyna. Everyone loved her, but there was a common tone of sadness surrounding her. Everyone knew she struggled with drugs. There were doubts for what the future would hold for her. In my brief time with Chyna, I felt her sadness.
When I heard the news about Chyna’s death, it had an impact on me that took me right back to the piece I wrote last week, “The Life Expectancy of a Porn Star.” Chyna may have had only a short career in porn, but that doesn’t distract from my theory that it may have propelled her life in a negative direction. Her struggle with addiction, coupled with her presence in porn, limited her choices and her options post-WWE.
As I pray that Chyna can finally rest in peace, I am glad that I met her. I can now look back at the list of accomplishments in her life and be at peace that her struggle is over and she is in a better place.
Photo Credit: WWE
This piece was published by The Stashed April 27, 2016