‘I was bullied all my life but now I’ve finally found acceptance as a sex star’
Ella Hughes was the first person in her family to go to university .
She was the pride of her family and was determined to set a good example for her siblings.
Ella was a model student, attending all her lectures, diligently handing in all her assignments on time and consistently getting outstanding marks.
But with finances tight and her struggling to find the time in between her studies to get a typical part-time job, she needed to find a way to make money.
Ella made the decision try some adult modelling and was soon working as a 'spanking model', a particular niche within the industry.
Her shots soon got attention from people working in the adult film industry and she was approached about starring in her own movie.
Ella said: "I said no at first but I remember watching them and thinking 'I want to do that'.
"It was the best 20 minutes of my life and it was then that I realised that's what I was going to do with my life."
Ella is one of a growing number of students who are turning to the sex industry to make ends meet during their time at university.
Channel 5 documentary, Student Sex Workers, looks at what really happens when undergraduates step into the adult entertainment industry.
While Ella may have enjoyed making the film, the reaction when it was available online wasn't so pleasant.
She said: "I hated it when it came out and people at university found out what I did.
"People called me names. I got a lot of heat because I was doing porn, even though they were the ones watching it."
It ws not the first time Ella had been a victim of bullying as she admitted she had been tormented through school and college.
But Ella was determined not to be put off doing the job she says she loves – even receiving a message booking her for her second adult film in a university lecture.
However, the bullying didn't stop and eventually she made the heartbreaking decision to quit her course.
Although Ella was determined to still get her degree and instead enrolled in the Open University and has now gained her law qualification.
And her work in the adult industry has also expanded since she quit her full-time studies.
As well as starring in films, Ella also makes custom videos for clients.
Like all porn stars, sexual health is key for Ella, who is tested every two weeks for STIs including HIV, gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia.
She said: "For all the people who think this is an easy job, it's not, it's one of the hardest things I've had to do."
It seems her hard work is paying off.
Ella has been nominated for an industry award – Best Female Performer Of The Year.
And she is utterly overwhelmed when she wins.
Ella says: "I've dreamed of having this award. It proves people enjoy my work enough to actually vote for me."
Although she admits she would not find it hard to get a regular job if she chose to leave the adult industry.
Ella said: "I know it would screw me over if I ever tried to have a normal career because I feel people would know who I am."
But for now, she has no plans to quit the industry that has made her famous and has big plans to go on the crack America.
- Student Sex Workers is on Channel 5 at 10pm tonight.
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