Movies & TV / Columns

Actress Maitland Ward on Her Upcoming Memoir and New TV Show The Big Time

July 1, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Maitland Ward

From The Bold and the Beautiful and Boy Meets World to cosplaying and adult film, Maitland Ward has taken control of her own story.  Luckily, for her millions of fans, she’s about to share that story in an upcoming book. 

Atria Books announced that it has acquired a memoir from Ward, to be published in 2022. Ward’s debut, titled, “My Escape From Hollywood: Why I Left to Become a Porn Star” is described as a steamy, no-holds-barred memoir chronicling everything from her days on the classic soap opera to her stint on the popular ABC/Disney sitcom Boy Meets World, to her impressive rise to adult film stardom, and why she decided to kiss mainstream Hollywood goodbye.

“Maitland’s witty, incisive voice drew all of us in from the first page,” says senior editor, Michelle Herrera Mulligan. “Her rare perspective on the sexism she experienced first-hand in Hollywood, and the liberation she’s found in women-produced adult entertainment, will inspire, shock, and inform a generation eager to learn her story.”
 
Known for her roles as Rachel on Boy Meets World and Brittany in White Chicks, Maitland has had a long career in front of the camera. Not wanting to be typecast as a sweet and innocent girl, she broke into the cosplay world and found a passion for role-play. Maitland entered the adult industry in 2019 and in her first year won Best Supporting Actress at the 2020 AVN Awards. Maitland won two additional AVN Awards in 2021, including Best Leading Actress for the film “Muse.”
 

While continuously on the move with a number of projects, Ward was kind enough to take a few minutes to talk to 411mania.com. 

Steve Gustafson: Hi Maitland! Thank you for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for 411mania.com. You’re at an intriguing point in your life, career. From soap operas to television sitcoms, cosplay, adult films…you really took charge of your own narrative. In many instances you hear a “mainstream” actress doing an adult film because A, they’ve had a sex tape leak, or it’s someone who feels they don’t have any options. I won’t mention names but we’ve seen actresses, athletes, and reality stars pass through the industry and usually it’s because they felt they had to. Yet you’ve been able to make the transition and not only do it with empowerment but on your own terms, finding huge success and awards. Did you come in with a plan at the beginning or was it a “learn as I go” type of experience?

Maitland Ward: Oh, everything was learn as I go, and it was all a journey for me as a performer and also just in my own sexuality and things that I wanted to explore, and also really, it’s because of my fan base. Before I did anything professionally, I started getting a following for my cosplay and sexy photos and wearing bikinis and stuff like that on social media, but then I wanted to do more with that, I wanted to do more Playboy-esque things, and I just found myself being more and more interested in sexually exploring myself and performing, and I found that I really loved it, but I started doing it at first for my content audience.

On a whim, I created a Patreon account to do some sexy nudes and cosplay that was sexy and stuff like that, because I kept getting kicked off of social media platforms. Like the pictures I would put up on Snapchat, when they were really coming down hard on people for showing anything, like a nipple shadow, it was crazy. Even things that were implied like a hand bra on, it was a big deal.

Basically I started saying, “Okay, maybe some people do wanna see it, whatever”, I didn’t think anything of it, but then overnight, literally overnight, it went to 2800 members immediately that were paying anywhere between $15 and $750 a month for certain things, that’s when I really felt the ground swell of my fan base that I had been growing for years on my social media.  And they were seeing my authentic self, things that Hollywood was telling me not to do continually. I was told by a publicist, by managers, agents, everybody told me I was doing the wrong thing. That I was being too sexy. That I was too old to be sexy, nobody’s gonna hire anybody over 30 or 35 to be a sex symbol, and I was like, I wanna do this, and my fans are responding to it, so it was them, my fans, that kept me going.  And honestly, the press has been so wonderful to me, all along, that they are the reason that people would notice me because they become interested, so fans got interested. So I always have such an appreciation for, of course, my fans and also the press for just believing in something that other people in Hollywood would not believe in and refused to see me in.

But I didn’t have any plan, except along the way, I wanted to do certain things, and so I quickly did them. I just loved how the content was looking and I had reached a point where I really wanted to do some more professional stuff that I would be able to do myself in a way that a studio would be able to do it. and I always had the dream of marrying the two worlds of sex and really great filmmaking. I did my first thing for Blacked and it was huge, it just went crazy and everybody loved it, and I really loved it.

When my first Blacked scene came out and it was doing bonkers numbers, and at the same time, Kayden Kross, who had just just started Deeper with Vixen,    had just launched, I think several months before, but she has been doing so much good stuff for a long time with her brand. They were doing this huge film, Drive, and she lost the co-main lead for it. And they said, “Well, Maitland is an actress, why don’t you talk to her?” And she was like, “Maitland?” She didn’t know so we met at a Starbucks two days later, and it actually turned out that she had watched Boy Meets World when she was young. but she  couldn’t place my name but it was funny, we laugh about that now. But yeah, the rest was history. I was like, “This is such a great script, and this is a real movie, and this is exactly what I wanna do,” so it really just all fell into place and then I kept evolving from there.

Steve Gustafson: A question just popped into my head! Have you ever felt like you’ve been robbed of not being able to pick your own “porn name”? 

Maitland Ward:  (Laughs) That is so funny! One time a person, not anyone in Vixen, but another performer was like, “Wow. You just get to use your real name,” and they were amazed by this. Can you imagine if I had tried to use a fake name? People would be, “Oh my god, she’s so ashamed. She’s in there and trying to hide! Look at her!” I couldn’t ever do that but you know what? I have thought of some great ones, and I always laugh because some are just so good. But I think I would get the giggles every time. But it would be fun. I love it!

Steve Gustafson:  Whenever I see someone younger announce they’re releasing a book about their life, I’ll admit that I’m skeptical at first. But looking back at your career, you probably have enough for two books. I’ll take a guess that when you started writing about your life you had an idea of the highlights but looking at it, what surprised you most about writing about yourself?  

Maitland Ward:  It’s interesting because I’m still in the throes of writing and editing and everything. It’s so cool and bizarre to go back to when you’re like 16 and I started on soap opera and to remember how you were at that time and when you were starting out in Hollywood. Just how things just shaped you and it’s been very cathartic in that way. I’ve been going and looking back on my Boy Meets World experience and oh my god, I have so many funny stories that I think fans are just gonna love.  It’s not me trying to write a scandal book or anything like that. I want it to be a very fun read, something very relatable, especially when I get into the porn stuff, because I have some very funny chapters on that. One of them is on how you prepare for anal sex and it’s all these things people told me but I feel it can be very relatable, especially to women. This is really normalizing porn because it’s normal. It can be fun and has fun people and it’s not the scary place everyone thinks it is so I hope that it really comes across that way.  it can be fun and fun people

But, yeah, it’s wild to look back at all the portions of my life and just things that happen and that I’ve been really fortunate to be part of like great shows and things that could be called cult classics. Boy Meets World of course, Bold and the Beautiful, is one of the top shows in the world, more than here, and then White Chicks is a classic movie too, so I have all of those stories from people I’ve known and all of that, and then we get “Hey! I’m a porn star now,” so we get that. (Laughs) That’s the twist!

Steve Gustafson: In an interview you said, “I always hate it when productions about porn focus on the most dire and dismal elements of it. It’s always about someone being taken advantage of and drugs and someone taking a downward spiral into it.” What’s the biggest misconception the public has about adult film?  

Maitland Ward: People tend to think of this stereotypical set from the 70s and there’s a greasy old guy there with drugs and drug fueled orgies going on off the set or something. Like it’s just a very scary place and I wanna say, “It’s not.” It’s not when I got to the set to Vixen or Deeper, they were just like film sets, maybe with a smaller crew. Everybody is there to work and be professional and try to get a great product across. 

And then there’s always an element of every industry, just like there is mainstream that are going to be untrustworthy and I think people just focus on that aspect. My thing has been to really be positive about it because it has been an amazingly positive experience for me. I wouldn’t be doing anything if it wasn’t and that I’m out being in the porn industry and sharing what that has done for me, and they’ve given me my acting career back, I would not have had it, and I especially wouldn’t have had it in the way that I want it, and it allows that. I love that it allows me to do that on my own terms, and like you said, I’m so humbled by that and can really write my own narrative of what I want my life to be, that’s a very liberating thing. There are many misconceptions but it’s not a scary place.

  

Steve Gustafson:  You embraced cosplay and made appearances at conventions, attracting plenty of attention from fans. When comparing cosplay fans versus adult film fans, what would you say is the biggest difference? Is one fandom more passionate than the other?

Maitland Ward:  It’s interesting because I think there are a lot of cosplay fans who are porn fans. I get a lot of people who really love both, and so I think they’re passionate in different ways. Cosplay fans are amazing because they are just so passionate, they just get so excited about Comic cons and  stuff, just to see the costumes and they know all about everything. They’re always teaching me stuff and I just think they’re really, really cool. 

I would say, when I went to AVN, it felt very similar and I think it’s so cool that porn fans are so outright in their love of sex and watching sex, and have no shame in it, which is really cool. I mean, everybody watches it, but a lot of people hide that so to see fans that are out there supporting the performers, wanting to get their autographs and take pictures, it’s just really cool. But also I think that soap opera and porn fans are so similar in that they are a tight knit community that’s overlooked by Hollywood and judged in some way. Their personalities are very similar and everyone knows each other. It’s interesting but I really feel my career was not that different, except people are having sex on screen. It’s a whole thing that even like the Soap Opera Awards felt very much like going to the XBiz Awards (Laughs).

Steve Gustafson:  You played Jessica Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful when you were just 16. I know filming a soap opera is about speed with new scripts to learn daily, but I imagine it must be quite a training, especially for a young actress. What would you say was the biggest thing you learned from your time on a daytime soap?

Maitland Ward:  Oh, I learned so much. It was just such an amazing…I won’t just say training ground because I don’t want to disrespect the actors because it is such a real and important job that people get, it’s hard work, and it’s amazing actors and people that create on these shows. But as far as a training standpoint, to a very young person who had never done anything else, it was my second audition that I got this. I had no experience except theater, community theaters and workshops but nothing on camera. 

They took me under their wing and really helped me out and I use that in memorizing lines so much. Like Kayden will give me a page and a half monologue the day before and they ask, “How do you do it? How do you memorize it?” I always say, “The soap!” It trained me, it sticks with you, it’s like riding a bike. You just have these methods of remembering the stuff and just the fact you have to be so on your feet everyday and giving in the moment performances. I learned not to overthink and go with the emotion that you’re feeling in the moment. Trust your instincts was the big thing for me. It just opened up a whole new world for me, because it was so big in Europe and I was able to travel over there a bunch. It was just a really cool experience, especially as it was my very first experience.

Steve Gustafson:  Where are we at with “The Big Time”? Was this an idea you’ve had for a while or something more recent?

Maitland Ward:  We just finished filming in New York for the pilot and literally just got back not very long ago. It was actually brought to me last summer and the production company came to me and I was in line from the director and stuff and the original writer of the script wanted, me to star in it, and I was very skeptical at first because I thought it was going to be that stereotypical thing that everybody writes about porn but I was delighted and I was so impressed that it was such a fun, feel good show. It was very much in the vein of like Glow or something like that. It’s just fun. There’s a very close knit element of it that just feels like a family in this porn set and the script was very different in the beginning but I said I want to sign on to star in it and they also brought me on as a producer so I was able to bring an authenticity to it that it was missing because they didn’t know or had worked on a set.

So it was cool being able to bring that authenticity and be able to say this is what it’s really like, or just what the people are like, this is the set up. So basically the plot is that I’m a star at this adult film company that is going under because the old regime just isn’t working anymore/ Things aren’t selling the way they used to because they’re just doing “dick and hole” films that aren’t selling anymore and I’m somebody who has a dream of doing bigger things, kind of like how I am. I end up getting  a comic book from this very nerdy comic book writer, and I’m like, “This is it! Comic book porn! This is what I’m going to do!’

The thing is, he’s not into porn, his friend gives it to me, so we call him up and I say, “I need you to write my script. I want you to write this huge film, this huge comic book movie for me.” That’s his dream. He wants to write this huge movie, become a Marvel director or writer and then he finds out, “Oh, it’s porn.” That’s the whole thing about it. He has to write, he needs the job because he’s a down and out struggling artist and writer. I teach him and he teaches me and it’s a heartwarming script that’s funny too.

Steve Gustafson: I like that. It’s an idea that’s never been explored before and sounds like it has a lot of heart in it. Can’t wait to see it. For this last question you can answer yes, no, or “read the book”. After you made the transition to adult film, did any actor, or actress contact you on the downlow?

Maitland Ward:  (Laughs) Yeah, oh yes, but I will say read the book on that, because I do have a few of those. They definitely hit up my DMs on Twitter. There are a couple of instances that I will definitely be talking about! That will be the big scandal! (Laughs)

Steve Gustafson: Maitland, thank you again for your time and all the best! 

Maitland Ward: Thank you so much!