Karter, who will turn 23 in March, celebrated her first porn anniversary in October, started out as a dancer, and she brings a dancer’s hustle to her work ethic.
“I shot my first scene for Naughty America in October, 2008,” Karter said, “but I had done my homework before. I looked on the web to see who the major players in porn were; I even sat down with Joone from Digital Playground before I even started shooting, and decided that a contract was not for me at that point.”
Karter seemed to know she was attractive at an early age, and she felt the only question was how she would capitalize on it.
“I started dancing in Missouri,” she said. “I decided I didn’t want to go to college. It just wasn’t for me and I knew it. But I did want to perform – somewhere. I moved to California and started taking acting classes and got jobs dancing here.”
Karter danced all over Los Angeles at places like the 7th Veil and Deja Vu Showgirls. In fact, as Ivory, she won the Deja Vu Showgirl of the Year competition in 2007.
“You can still see my ‘Ivory’ poster at the Deja Vu in North Hollywood,” Karter said.
Karter seems comfortable in her own skin, which she doesn’t mind showing off. “I always have felt that I’m beautiful,” she said. “I suppose everybody has issues with their body sometimes, but I never got too obsessive about it.”
Now and then I have to ask difficult questions, so I did.
“This is my second set of boobs,” Karter said. “They’re doing their job.”
Karter grew up in Texas and Missouri but considers L.A. her home. This, again, is because of its access to work. But L.A. can be an anonymous place.
Karter is close to her mother, is reconnecting with her incarcerated father, credits her stepfather with teaching her that she needed to be happy in whatever she did, and has a live-in boyfriend who dotes on her and who she. in turn, adores. But she wants to protect him from industry gossip because he’s “just kind.”
“We met while she was dancing,” he said, “our birthdays are the same. We’re both quiet people most of the time, and we just clicked on a very basic level.”
Karter isn’t extravagant. Her porn paychecks haven’t gone to expensive leases and electronics. She rents a modest apartent close to the major companies in Porn Valley where even her luxuries – two stripper poles – perform a work function.
“I go out running, then I work out on the poles,” Karter said. “I’m sure the guys doing construction across the street get a pretty good show now and then.”
Karter at 22 seems to have her act together in a way that many of her peers don’t. Perhaps because she has a singularity of purpose.
“I want to be the next Jenna Jameson,” Karter said. “She really paved the way. But it really takes a lot of work to reach a level like that.”
Karter, whose real first name is Kagney, considered several alliterative choices before she chose her nom de porn.
“There was Kross at one point, then Carter with a C, and Kennedy – which I liked – but ‘Karter’ had a ring to it.”
It’s also the next initials down the alphabet from Jenna Jameson.
Karter says that going the extra mile pays off, but admits to being a little frustrated when people who don’t work as hard give her profession a bad name.
“I quit going for mainstream acting because it wasn’t working for me,” she said. “I don’t regret it. I didn’t ‘give up a dream.’ Dancing worked, and porn worked. When I was dancing, people started saying ‘You should really look into porn,’ I hadn’t thought of it before. But I started doing some research and thought, ‘There really is a place for me here.’ So I resolved to be the best that I could at it.
“But basically I show up. A lot of girls won’t do things for free – like this interview – because they don’t see the value in it. I realize the need to get out there.”
Karter doesn’t mention names but frets that some porn performers do “distasteful things” that harm the industry’s credibility.
“I don’t want fans to get the wrong idea about how things are really done here,” she said.
Karter, who is one of several nominees for AVN’s Best New Starlet award, recently filmed a gratis spot for January’s AVN awards ceremony.
“I always try to give a little extra,” she said. “I work every day. I work very hard. I have a business plan. I don’t spend my money, and I definitely don’t flaunt it.”
Our interview lasted two hours. During that time Karter’s boyfriend worked upstairs and also went to the store for snacks.
“Can you bring some cigarettes, juice, hot fries, and maybe something cheesy?” she said.
“You got it,” he said. “Be right back.” (And he was.)
It was a cold (for Los Angeles) December day, and it was gray outside. It wasn’t a California mood. Neither did Karter surround herself with porny excess, either by way of an entourage or conspicuous consumption.
“My circle is pretty small,” she said. “I hang out wih my boyfriend and a few friends from school that are out here, people I’ve known through dancing, and a few porn friends. Not too many. I feel like I’m focused on the career and I need to keep that in mind at all times.”
Karter mentioned the mother/daughter photographers Suze and Holly Randall as particular friends and mentors, and also Alexis Texas. All, she said, were discret and could talk about other things than porn. (“But you have to be careful what you say to makeup artists,” Karter said. “Because they talk.”)
In general, though, Karter admits that “friendship is a hard thing.”
But having a one-track mind dedicated to drive and determination does not make Karter stern and humorless.
“I didn’t know anything about squirting,” she said. “I didn’t know girls did i, or could do it. So when I found out it was popular I came home to my boyfriend and said, ‘Babe, we’ve gotta figure this out.’”
From upstairs her boyfriend said, “We really worked on that.”
“A little love goes a long way,” Karter added.
Tera Patrick, in her autobiography “Sinner Takes All: A Memoir of Love and Porn,” wrote that she decided to leave porn after ten years, when she was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame. (“I’m done,” Patrick said. “What more can I achieve here?”)
I asked Karter what she would do when she hit her goal in porn.
“I’ll sit back for a minute, relax, and start aiming at something else,” she said.
Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Making money at the 2009 XBiz Summer Forum; KLK is up on the roof; What we talk about when we talk about Kagney Linn Karter
See also: Kagney Linn Karter, The KLK on Twitter