I graduated from high school in 1998. Recruited to play volleyball, I headed to Azusa Pacific University, a mere 26 miles away from my home town of Downey, California. Having always enjoyed the stories of long ago, I chose to major in history. To spice things up, I added a Political Science major and a minor in I forget to top it all off.
I graduated from college in 2002, worked as much as I could for a year, then quit my job, and then left everything I knew to explore the world with my friend Izzy. For months, we were walking where they greats had walked, standing where the greats had stood, and looking up at the same stars the explorers had gazed at.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
I was sitting at a computer in an internet cafe off Russian Street, emailing my parents from my AOL account, when I first discovered it…accidentally. Looking for the blue AOL icon, and paying by the minute to use the dial-up internet, I dismissed all the pictures of little girls, little boys and young women on the desktop. Half way through letting my parents know I was alive, I shrunk the dialog box and stared at their faces.
Little girls painted with colorful makeup were dressed like sexy twenty-somethings. Little boys, awkwardly positioned, stared hollowly into my soul. Teenage girls. Oh those precious young women.
Nobody ever said “Hey Em, when you’re in Cambodia, you’re going to see balding, fat American men paying $3-5 to have sex with four year old little girls and boys. Just thought you should know.”
Nope. No heads up. No warning. So there I was, looking these sweet victims in the face.
Somewhere between being paralyzed with disgust and not having the resources to do a dang thing to stop the human trafficking, I vowed to never forget them. It was all I could do at the time. I promised myself that when I return home, to Los Angeles, I would dedicate whatever years I had left to do something…anything…to raise awareness and/or stop sexual exploitation.
Lucky for me, after I had eventually made my way home, I made an ex-stripper friend who had recently started a “strip club outreach” at our church.
I joined the team and started going to all of the strip clubs, sex clubs and gentlemen’s clubs in Los Angeles.
For those of you out there that are like me, with no history of visiting these unique types of establishments, the responses you’ll receive from family members, friends, neighbors, former teachers, etc. might not exactly be 100% supportive. Because of what I refer to as the “ick factor,” the proverbial baby (me) was often times tossed out with the bathwater.
Back to strip club outreach…
For years, every third Friday of the month, I’d meet up with my eccentric group of fearless do-gooders and drive around Los Angeles, popping in at each club with pink gift back, tissue paper exploding out of the top, and loaded with lipgloss, makeup, jewelry, and a business card.
If I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me with I was Mary Kay, I’d be…
It went something like this:
Emily and friends, holding pink gift bags, walk up to the Spearmint Rhino door man.
Emily and friends say they have all of these gifts for the girls.
Door man asks if we’re with Mary Kay.
Emily and friends say no.
Door man, feeling like the girls’ big brother, hesitantly thinks “Hmm, the girls will really like a bunch of free stuff and if I let these strangely confident fake Mary Kay girls in, everybody working will be pleased with me.” Door man opens the door for us then escorts around inside the club, ensuring each stripper gets a present.
All strippers are happy and hug Emily and friends for the freebies.
Emily and friends find out door man’s name is Brian, tells Brian we’ll be back next month, and head out to the next club.
The next month, Emily and friends walk up to Brian and, when we’re still in the parking lot, Brian shouts “Hey Mary Kay! Everybody’s been waiting for you to come back! Come on it!”
Repeat. Month. After. Month.
Meeting Crissy Moran
One day, I was at the nonprofit’s headquarter’s in Sherman Oaks, California and this super quite girl comes in. As I was doing other things around the office, I kept noticing her, sitting on one of the couches, doing something on her computer. I don’t remember if she ever looked up at me that day.
We eventually made eye contact, got to chatting, and made plans to hike Runyon Canyon. I had the best time on our hike! Crissy was (and still is) my total opposite. I’d never met anybody like her. In return, she’d never met anybody like me. She would ask me what it was like growing up with two parents in the home, and I’d ask her questions about what it was like have sex for living.
We laughed so hard we skipped our ab workout that day. We’ve been laughing ever since.
You see, my friend “Crissy Moran” used to do porn for a living. Then, one day in 2006, she suddenly stopped and never went back.
Turns out, she was pretty well known and everybody was curious why she left. It’s 2017 now and people are still curious.
Married and living in Texas these days, Crissy Outlaw dedicates her life to exposing the harmful effects of pornography and helping other women transition out of the industry when they too are good and ready.
That first day in the office turned into lots of Runyon Canyon hikes, which turned into an endlessly comical friendship, which turned into me managing her career. When somebody wants to interview Crissy, they go through me. I call my management style “momma bear.” If there’s any funkiness, they don’t get to interview her, film her, shoot her, etc. She’s my friend first and foremost and I guard that with my life.
Since the day I sat at that Cambodian internet cafe, staring at kids for sale, the world has started talking about sexual exploitation.
Crissy recently worked with Andrew Douglas of White Shadow Films on a television mini-series called Ten Million Throwaways. Andrew Douglas is a wonderful guy and so momma bear was more than excited to have Crissy participate in the project. It’ll be coming out any time now and I obviously highly suggest you watch it, share it, learn from it and then carry the torch of awareness into your own spheres of influence.
I say all of this because I never set out to represent an ex porn star. I never even stopped to think about that as a career.
I was just living my life, seeing what there was to see in Cambodia, when suddenly, my life took an unexpected turn. A righteous anger rose up in my early-twenty year old self and, today, my mid-thirty year old self still recalls and honors the cold, visceral feeling of seeing kids being sold as sex slaves.
Sure, I may be the biggest failure to my history and political science professors, but I don’t regret a single one of my professional decisions.
Today I represent Crissy Outlaw (formerly known as Crissy Moran), produce music at Idle Tuesdays Recording Studio, write books, and do what I can to help make this world a better place.
It may not exactly be the career path your guidance counselor will encourage you to pursue, but whoever stood in line to sign up for boring and dull?
Click to read the press release: