Josh Clark (also know as Lexi Wade) talks his life in the adult film industry and as an escort, its consequences, finding faith, and how life has changed for him.
(THE WOODLANDS) If you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, some might say, “I want to be famous!” And growing up, I was certainly one of those kids.
Born in Athens, Greece and raised in The Woodlands, Texas, I had a pretty normal childhood. You could always find me out at the barn or spending late nights at a rodeo; but wherever I was, I was with daddy or Pawpaw. Yet, when I was five, my Pawpaw lost his battle with cancer. Though it took some time, life eventually got back to normal, but in 2001, my family and I moved, which resulted in a change of schools during my freshman year of high school. All through high school, I carried my Pawpaw with me and continued his love for agriculture. I was an active member of the local 4-H and served as an officer of the Oak Ridge FFA chapter all four years of high school, becoming vice president during my senior year.
In 2007, just before my 18th birthday, I came out to my friends and family as gay. By this time, I had already managed to obtain a fake ID and was beginning to experience a life in Montrose for the first time ever. I was immediately consumed with everything the “gayborhood” had to offer. Here I was at 17-years-old, sneaking cocktails and flirting with every guy I met. But it was not until December of 2009 that I discovered that I wanted to become a transsexual. Of course, now having experienced the nightlife and all that went on throughout the night, I quickly found myself identifying as a crossdresser. I worked during the day; but at night I was living a double life that was beginning to become hard to hide.
By 19, I was introduced to the popular escorting website, Backpage.com. I was shown the proper etiquette and how to meet “clients” without “breaking the law” and was becoming popular across the state. In the Spring of 2010, after relocating to Jacksonville, Florida, I was contacted by a producer for the largest transsexual adult film company in the country, located in Los Angeles.with the opportunity to model for their award-winning website. On August 17, 2010, “Lexi Wade” made her debut, and I had no idea what my life was soon to become.
Just a few short months after inaugurating into the adult film industry, producers at NBC
Universal in Stamford, Connecticut reached out and invited me to appear as a special guest on The Jerry Springer Show as a part of their “Freaky Sex Fetishes” episode, which aired days before my 21st birthday. By that age, I was travelling, filming, and making appearances in Hollywood at various events, nightclubs and, of course, a few hotels here and there. In 2012, I was named a nominee for the 2012 XBIZ “Transsexual Performer of the Year” award. This had become my fifth award nomination and
I was at the peak of my career. During my visit for the 2012 XBIZ Awards, after an appearance on XM/Sirius Satellite “Playboy Radio,” I had scheduled to meet a client that was also in town on business and was staying at a familiar five star hotel. It wasn’t until it was already too late that I realized I had found myself under arrest for solicitation. Because I had become “famous” and had been parading myself all over the internet, I’d landed myself in the custody of LAPD.
Once I returned home to Houston, I continued living life just as I had been: meeting with clients, traveling, filming, and maintaining a relationship. It wasn’t until my very public lifestyle became too chaotic that the relationship began to struggle. Our relationship started off just like any normal relationship, and he was completely aware and at first accepting of my career and lifestyle when we first began dating. It wasn’t until after I received the 2012 XBIZ Award nomination and the release of an article that our relationship began to crumble. The article falsely stated that I was at that time HIV-positive, and triggered a great deal of social media aggression and backlash.
Soon after the release of this slander, and after many sleepless nights, enough had been enough; and I announced my retirement from the adult film industry.
Two weeks later, our relationship ended.
I have not seen nor heard from him since the day he walked out of the door. Today, I realize that being “famous” certainly is not all that it’s always cracked up to be. It comes with a price.
My career. My love. All gone in the blink of an eye.
Having lost all that I had worked so hard for in the matter of days, I found myself spiraling out of control. I turned to sex, money, and drugs as a solution to what I had created and destroyed. It was not until August 8th, 2017 that I decided to seek help from the damage and abuse I had caused myself; willingly and lost, I checked myself into a life recovery ministry, House of Hope in Madisonville, Texas. On the morning of August 8th, I contacted the church and expressed my interest in their ministry program and of course, at the end of the conversation, I mentioned that I had identified as a transsexual female for the past decade, but was absolutely willing to be open-minded.
Just after noon, I checked myself into the House of Hope and it being an all men’s Christian discipleship program, with an enrollment of 65+ men, I was in complete lifestyle shock the next morning.
Days after settling in, I was selected to be on the “hay crew” one afternoon. I thought I was going to literally die after learning what the “hay crew” was really about. Loading 500 hay bales into an eighteen wheeler, in a barn in the middle of the East Texas summer heat. Let’s just say that today, after many nights in the hayfield this past summer, I am a seasoned pro in the hay field and can’t wait to go back this spring. Days after checking in, I was saved and accepted the Lord as my Christ and Savior. Then, on August 29th, 2017, I received the most life-changing news any one person could receive:
I was diagnosed HIV-positive.
How I allowed myself to become so lost is a result of how easily we as humans can become so quickly consumed in lifestyle habits that are toxic, illegal, dangerous, and unhealthy. According to HumanTraffickingHotline.org, “Sex trafficking may be distinguished from other forms of commercial sex by applying the Action + Means + Purpose Model. Human trafficking occurs when a trafficker takes any one of the enumerated actions, and then employs the means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of compelling the victim to provide commercial sex acts. At a minimum, one element from each column must be present to establish a potential situation of sex trafficking. The presence of force, fraud, or coercion indicates that the victim has not consented of his or her own free will. In addition, minors under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex are considered victims of human trafficking regardless of the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
It hurts my heart to know that I became a victim of this horrible crime, to the extent that I now have to wake with a daily reminder of all the terrifying moments that lead me here. And it hurts my heart to witness younger generations who have too become victims of this widely disgusting epidemic. But today, I am no longer a victim. I am no longer a slave to fear. I’ve recently moved back to The Woodlands after my time at the House of Hope, and since rededicating my life to the Lord, my entire life has evolved. Today, I am the designer at Rustic Romance Custom Floral and Design and we recently celebrated the grand opening of our new showroom and boutique in Old Town Spring. My family and I have grown closer than ever since changing my life. Just as I was involved in agriculture, I have now passed this tradition on to my little brother; Saturday is his first official 4-H event. I know Pawpaw would be proud. I am also now beginning to prepare for an upcoming mission trip to Belize in the summer.
A special thank you to my family, friends and many fans who have been so continuously supportive. I thank God a million times a day for his mercy and grace for truly saving my life. Also, huge thank you to House of Hope in Madisonville, Texas—Mr. Brad Brock, Ms. Webber, Jennifer, Lauren, Crystal and the entire leadership team. Words cannot express the amount of love and gratitude I have for the unconditional love I have received from you all.
Today, I am a voice to be heard. A life that matters. A son. A brother. A friend. A designer. Gay. HIV-positive. Inspired.
Just as I was inspired to share my story, I hope this will pay it forward; and I pray that anyone who ever feels like nobody’s listening knows that their voices can be heard.
“God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”
-1 Peter 4:10
If you believe you have information about a potential trafficking situation:
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888: Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Interpreters are available.
Submit a tip online through the anonymous online reporting form below. For immediate assistance or to speak directly with a Hotline Advocate, please contact us 24/7 at 1-888-373-7888.
Photography Credit: Enigma Fotos, Jonathan Irvin