So You Want to be a Trans Adult Performer – 2019 Edition

Every couple of years I write about the difficulties of being a trans adult performer, the limited opportunities, how to maximise those opportunities and to share the view from a company owners perspective.   I do this, to help explain to the 100’s of models who want to work with us but are unable, and the 100’s more models who do work with us – but want more work,  why this isn’t available.

I also hope to share some insight into the industry – and I’m always open to questions (best asked on Twitter @groobysteven.

Everything here is from my view – but with 23 years in this area of the industry, and access to all the other studios, as well as the ear of almost every model, I believe I’ve a good temperature of what is going on.

I’m going to write this as a Q&A as an effort to get the points across more succinctly.

Q1 : Why won’t you hire me as a model – I’ve had many people tell me I’m good enough,  I can get men easily and I’ve loads of followers on social media?

This is a business and like any business we have a budget and need to make a profit to keep operational.  Out of the dozens of applicants we get a week, only about 20% are models we wish to work with, and from that amount only a fraction end up on the site.  We choose the models that we believe will recoup the budget we spent on their shoots, and hopefully some profit.   We can accomplish this by a) new members wish to join to see the model and/or b) the model will keep existing members happy, thus subscribing for longer.

If we’re not able to invite you to a shoot, it’s because in our opinion, we have models that are more likely going to return the budget and keep members happier.  It’s difficult for us to say ‘No’ and almost never say, ‘Never’ as a lot of girls early in their transition try again later and we do work with them – but not every trans girl should expect that just because they transitioned, that pay sites will want to put them in paid shoots.  While it’s hard not to take it personally,  then please be aware that we do put a lot of effort into the decisions and rejections are not made lightly.

While other people may think you can be a model for us, and you may have followers, the decision is ours to make based on our years of experience.  It’s not always the correct decision but our longevity and success mean it works most of the time and the buck really does stop with the companies owner (me!).

Q2 :  I want to be a trans performer as a career … how many shoots can I get a week?

Do not consider doing this as a full time job!  Unless you’re in the very top echelon of performers who can make a lot of money doing cams or clips sales, as well as working for the pay sites or DVD makers, then it’s not easy to do this full time, and far less financially rewarding then you may imagine.

Instead of the question, how many shoots can I get a week, you might want to ask how many can I get a year as many girls do less than one shoot a month.

If your sole and only purpose is to do this to make a living, then you’d do better elsewhere.  If you want to make some extra income, and enjoy the thought of making porn – and are excited about people seeing you on the screen, then you may be the right person!

Q3 : Why are there so few shoots?  Isn’t the trans niche big?

It’s not big.  It’s tiny.  Think of an upside down pyramid – with mainstream (cis) porn occupying the widest and largest area at the top.  Under that taking the next middle big chunk is gay porn.  Then various sub-niches (BDSM, Ethnic, etc.)  then right down near the bottom and just above a few niches, is trans.  This is in terms of revenue, and production – if there was more revenue in trans porn, there would be more production (why there isn’t more revenue is a question for a different post).

Some reality checks.

  • there are less than 10 production companies regularly shooting trans porn in the US.  I’d say only 5-6 produce more than a few scenes per month.
  • there are an estimated 86 paid scenes shot in US trans content a month.  Grooby shoots 56 of these, the others are shot by companies such as Transational Fantasies, Evil Angel, Transangels, Gamma, Gender X, Devil’s Film, etc.
  • apart from Transational Fantasies and Grooby, almost all the paid scenes are hardcore.  It’s rare for those companies to use new performers, or talent that haven’t proven to be hits already in hardcore scenes.
  • many of the companies use the same named talent for their scenes, meaning those 30 scenes can be taken by as few as 6-8 performers.
  • Grooby’s 56 paid scenes a month have to be shared over sites that incl. first timers (Femout), established models ( and then both new and returning models of which we literally have 100’s of girls wanting new shoots.  We have to choose the best models for those sites/slots that will get us the best return – while also testing new models.

Even if you’re in that 6-8 performers pool, you may still find it difficult to get enough regular work.

Q5: What other opportunities are there?

Everything above is just about getting paid work for the companies that run production.  With the easy access to video cameras, and the increased demand and platforms for promoting then many models of all types are turning to shooting their own content to either supplement or replace the lack of work available elsewhere.   Although lacking the instant payment and the massive exposure that bigger companies can bring,  the benefits of owning your own content, producing what you want and making sales on it, suit many.

There are smaller production houses,  doing work that may get less exposure but in sub-niches.  All I would suggest is,  make sure you are getting paid properly – and talk to other models who may have worked with them, before committing to anything, especially where travel is involved.

Those doing ‘trade content’ – in which one or more models split the costs of producing content together can also do well, but please be aware of the issues in trade content.  Make sure you have contracts signed, and know exactly what you and your partner can do with the content, otherwise it can get abusive (more on this in a future post).


I can’t speak for other companies but be assured at Grooby we take most model applications very seriously (although send in an application without a face pic – it’s going in the bin without a reply).    We work with models aged from 18-60+,  we work with all ethnicities, all shapes and sizes, and trans models at different stages of their transition.  We try to get as many models, as much work as we possibly can.   We run some sites at zero profit to enable us to introduce more girls to their internet (and hopefully develop them into models for our profitable sites).  We are also mindful of the models who’ve helped us build and grow, and try to get them reshoots.

There are however – a very limited number of shoots a month – and ultimately, many models wanting work are going to be rejected.   If we’re not able to work with you, you will get a reply from us – sometimes detailing why and we will be as frank and honest with you, without being patronising or meaning to cause upset.   Simply put, not every trans person should expect to become a trans performer for a production company, based solely on the fact that you transitioned – just as not every cis person is going to be hired in model roles.

If you are unable to get a modeling gig for an adult company, this shouldn’t be a defining moment for you.   Many of us find our talents are behind the camera, or behind the computer – or in a different field completely.  Rejection is never easy (and it’s difficult for us to do the rejecting) and it’s incorrect to say ‘don’t take it personally’, when of course it is personal – but don’t be disheartened and pivot yourself into either self-producing or finding something that is going to bring you more satisfaction and validation.


This post is intended to be my subjective opinion and an editorial.  Our company believes in transparency and I hope this goes someway to explain the reasoning and business behind what we do.

Grooby Model Applications and Pay Details are at: Grooby Model Application

We license self-produced content for

You can ask me questions on Twitter : @GroobySteven


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