Before presenting a brief remembrance of the porn performer Haley Paige, who died a year ago today, I’ll share with you an anonymous comment I just received on a post about the late Anna Malle:
“hey anna is going to hell by the way..fornication is a big sin to God..she will suffer the blitz of hell fire..pray for other birls in porn also to change.”
I have become a heavy comment moderator recently, trashing your First Amendment freedoms, I know, but I choose to leave some hateful comments intact as a reminder of the dangerous regard some fans have for people they think they know.
Maryam Irene Haley was 25 when she died on August 21, 2007 in the Central California town of King City. Three weeks earlier, on August 2, she had married her boyfriend, porn director Inkyo Volt Hwang, in Las Vegas.
From my Fleshbot story last October:
People who see porn as a multi-billion-dollar cautionary tale need look no further than the sad story of husband and wife Inkyo Volt Hwang (aka Chico or Wanker Wang) and Maryam Irene Haley (aka Haley Paige). Hwang was a website owner and director of extreme porn videos, and Paige was a performer who appeared in the gamut of what porn has to offer, from gangbangs to “couples-friendly” films.
Hwang was arrested on suspicion of pistol-whipping Haley in June, they were married at the beginning of August in Las Vegas, she was dead at month’s end, and he was found dead in September.
Hwang, 38, had served time in prison before. For two years in the late 90’s Hwang was in Chico State Prison on two felony counts of sexual battery and assault with a deadly weapon, charges nearly identical to those that landed him in jail in June. When running a previous incarnation of the site lukeford.com, Hwang was at the forefront of “shocking” porn website content that mixed gallows humor with extreme sex, often forcing his overweight “minion” to sit on reluctant starlets.
Toxicology reports on both deaths have not been released, but Haley’s father said that Hwang was in the room with Haley during her overdose, which occurred on August 21. She had said in the months immediately prior to her death that she had left porn and was planning to go back to school. Hwang was found September 29 in a motel in Morgan Hill, CA, south of San Jose.
Many who knew Haley said she was too sweet and too vulnerable to be in porn. Born in Mexico, she claimed that she was molested by an uncle and raped by gang members before moving to San Diego with her family at 12. Seven years later, she was working at a Blockbuster when she answered a nude modeling ad. She later appeared in more than 300 scenes. She was 25 at her death.
On porn message board ADT, Hwang wrote this of Haley in March: “I think we’re attracted to each other simply because we have the exact opposite personalities. She’s sweet and quiet. I happen to be aggressive and loud. I guess opposites do attract.”
I met Paige a few times, and she was indeed very sweet, but also distant. I met Chico Wang (who adopted the name of his prison) a few times, too, and didn’t enjoy the experience. But he was distant, too. I have since met a number of friends of both Paige and Wang who say that the couple were very private people, despite the clinical nature of the work they did, and that Wang’s public persona masked vulnerability, low self esteem, and shame. And that those things got the better of him.
So many porn performers don’t want their families and hometowns to know what they do, and there is such a deep stigma to the job in such a benighted society that only a few people (Nina Hartley comes to mind) can really transcend it. But Hartley actively seeks transcendence in everything she does, and the majority of porn personnel prefer to keep large aspects of their lives under wraps for fear of what confused idiots like the person quoted at the beginning of this story might do.
But by virtue of there not being a continued thread in Porn, a legitimate archive or history that competent people who are proud of their accomplishments can carry on, departures like Paige’s get swallowed up in the face of 11,000 new porn titles a year that bring on anonymity far swifter than in Hollywood, and that is a shame.
People loved Maryam and people loved Haley, and I encourage those people who’ve talked to me privately to leave a positive message in the comments section.
Most of the images above are from I Love Haley Paige, a compilation disc released this year of scenes shot between 2003 and 2005. It does not have behind the scenes footage or anything extra that reveals Haley the person, which I think is a missed opportunity for her fans. But she sure was lovely.