Adult Entertainment Expo 2016

The Dirty Dozen: Porn's biggest stars

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A changing of the guard might be underway in the porn world.

There's always an ebb and flow when it comes to the popularity of the stars in front of the camera, but it's starting to look like a new generation of porn stars is beginning to take charge of the industry - or at least command the attentions of fans and trade publications.

With the industry's annual expo in Las Vegas running from January 20-23, we've once again assembled a list of the most popular porn stars, as we do every year. This time, however, there are a number of newcomers to the list - and some performers who are long-time veterans of these rankings have dropped off.

Whether that's an aberration or a shift in star power likely won't be clear for another year or so, but it's a notable change all the same. Only half of the performers who made last year's list are back in 2016.

Our methodology for assembling the list incorporates not just the industry's opinion of the people in front of the camera, but the fans' as well. We began by determining who has earned the most nominations in the annual AVN and Xbiz awards (the industry's two highest-profile awards shows). From that list, we looked at a three-month average of the stars' Google Trends ranking, taking our 'dirty dozen' from the top scoring personalities.

Here's who came out on top, and when you're done with this list you can check out the Dozen from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011, too.

By Chris Morris
First published 19 Jan 2016

Carter Cruise

Source: Evil Angel

Two years ago, this 24-time nominee was a college student, but she knew the academic life wasn't for her. After taking a semester off to reassess life, she came up with the Carter Cruise brand - and launched it with a topless photo shoot.

When she realized she was comfortable with that, she decided to dive all the way into porn. Her popularity soon exploded. In addition to making our list, she also topped the ranking of 2015's most popular stars at porn site GameLink.

Riley Reid

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A six-year veteran of the adult entertainment industry, Reid is a master at social media, where she has cultivated her fan base by regularly tweeting pictures and Vine videos of herself - usually nude.

In 2014, she was named Performer of the Year by Xbiz, which gave her already fast-growing career a big boost. She's up for that same award from both Xbiz and AVN this year - along with 14 other nominations.

Aidra Fox


Fox started her career in porn as soon as she turned 18, becoming Penthouse's Pet of the Month less than a year later. Now 20, she was nominated for 13 awards this year. As her career progresses, she has mentioned she's interested in getting into directing. But for now, she's busy in front of the camera.

Annika Albrite

Chris Morris | CNBC

Currently in her fifth year as a performer, Albrite is coming off a huge year. In 2015, she swept performer of the year honors from AVN and Xbiz, which she has parlayed into some behind the scenes work as well.

Three years ago, LA Weekly said she was one of 10 porn stars who could be the next Jenna Jameson. It's too early to declare that as truth, but with 12 more nominations this year, she's certainly on her way.

Dana Vespoli

Source: Rising Star PR

Vespoli, who made the Dirty Dozen last year as well, is a curiosity of sorts. While she is a performer, most of her AVN and Xbiz nominations come from her work behind the camera as a director of films for adult film studio Evil Angel (something she has been doing for 10 years now).

But her willingness to jump into the action makes her higher profile than many women who oversee porn films, earning her a big fan base. She's up for 12 awards this year.

Skin Diamond

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A former model for Louis Vuitton and American Apparel, Diamond quickly became one of the top performers in the porn world when she made the switch. She's nominated for 11 awards this year. She also boasts one of the more distinctive looks in the industry, often sporting a haircut that has one side of her head shaved close.

Chanel Preston

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Preston has appeared on the Dirty Dozen since its inception - and has a substantial fan base within and outside of the industry. She is in constant demand as a performer, hosts an occasional Web series ("Naked with Chanel") that focuses on issues surrounding sexuality in America, directs films, is a board member of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, and has appeared more regularly on mainstream programs, such as Showtime's recent documentary on the adult industry.

Jillian Janson

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Janson's porn career started when she was in high school, a rarity even in this industry. She began appearing as a Webcam model on MyFreeCams, but was recruited by an agent and began shooting three months after her 18th birthday. She dropped out of school after word of her career choice spread and she was harassed.

But in the two years since she entered adult entertainment, she has found a niche, earning eight award nominations this year.

Vicki Chase

Albert L. Ortega | Getty Images

Perhaps the only performer to take her stage name from a major banking institution (where she was a teller before entering the porn world), Chase has had a fairly low profile for the past six years. Her star began to rise when she had a cameo on Sons of Anarchy in 2014 and this year she has seven nominations.

Romi Rain

Romi Rain
Gabe Ginsberg | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Adult entertainment is a family tradition for Rain. Her mother, while not a performer, posed in Hustler many years ago. Rain stuck with nude modeling at first as well, performing occasionally as a Webcam model. Curiosity about the industry led her to give it a try and this year she has accrued seven award nominations.

Keisha Grey

Chris Morris | CNBC

A two-year veteran of the industry, Grey amassed seven nominations this year. A music lover, she says she plays both the cello and bass guitar.

Mick Blue

Chris Morris | CNBC

Last year's AVN Male Performer of the Year, Blue has more than 30 nominations this year. Born in Austria, he has been part of the industry since 2000 and in 2014 married fellow performer Anikka Albrite.

Correction: This story was revised to correct the spelling of Jillian Janson's first name.