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Poppin' Off: Scarlett Alexis bursts into 2024 high on momentum despite flurry of alarming health scares

"Nothing is going to stop me from doing what I want to do"

By Austin King / Editor

Jan 1, 2024

Scarlett Alexis clutched the handle of the black leather flogger in her right hand and told the 30-something man to lean forward.

“You’ve been naughty,” the adult star purred. “Veeeerrrryyy naughty.”

Cameras rolled.

The room was silent.

And onlookers watched with anticipation as the raven-haired Alexis—the nipples of her natural 32DDD boobs poking at her red dress—cocked her arm and punished her sub with a single, swift swat to the buttocks.


Alexis, though, wasn’t on a porn set. Her partner wasn’t a male talent, and her audience wasn’t comprised of crew members.

Instead, Alexis was at the Hustler store in Maui. The company commemorated its grand opening last week by flying in the surging star as a celebrity guest. Hustler promoted Alexis’ appearance for nearly two weeks before her arrival, distributing pamphlets throughout town featuring Alexis in a bikini.

“You’re the most famous person in Maui right now,” a driver told Alexis on the way to the event. “Your flyers are all over the island.”

Known as much for her warmth and kindness as her looks and physique, Alexis spent two hours posing for photos with locals and signing copies of the September 2022 issue of Hustler that featured her on the cover. She also had extended conversations with fans—including the one she spanked on the backside.

Playfully, of course.

“The turnout was incredible,” TC Crewse, the store’s owner, told PornCrush. “Scarlett was kind, she was polite, she was accommodating. There was no arrogance there.

“She’s so perfect that we were actually kinda shocked.”

More and more these days, Alexis is triggering the same sense of astonishment in the adult community. After working with her on just a handful of projects, AVN Hall of Fame director James Avalon is convinced Alexis could be one of the all-time greats.

“There’s really no limit to how far Scarlett could go,” Avalon says. “I’m not sure she has a single flaw.”

A-list director Jacky St. James agrees, calling Alexis “a rare gem” with “a unique blend of professionalism, light-heartedness and sensuality.”

Just two years into her career, Alexis has already graced countless magazine and DVD covers. Photos from a recent Hustler ad campaign will be featured in the company’s stores across America.

Alexis is considered to be a strong candidate for AVN’s Best New Starlet award, which will be presented later this month in Las Vegas. She’s represented by the top agent in porn, Mark Spiegler, and her career has taken her everywhere from Miami to New York to Texas to Prague.

Her most memorable opportunity to date, however, was arguably last week’s trip to Maui. Hustler executives paid for Alexis to stay on the island an extra day so she could go sightseeing and absorb the Hawaiian culture.

Alexis took full advantage. She hiked five miles—reaching an elevation of 1,500 feet—to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking waterfalls at the top of the Waihe Trail. She did a nighttime photo shoot on the beach and then jumped into the ocean. She ate pad thai from a food truck and accompanied locals to a karaoke bar, where Alexis’ rendition of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” was so powerful that patrons demanded an encore.

During a candid Instagram post from her hotel room late that night, Alexis reflected on all she’d just experienced.

“What an amazing day,” she said at the end. “I’m so grateful for my life.”

Few people can grasp the sincerity behind that statement. Only Alexis’ closest confidants are privy to her whole story, the one that ping-pongs from mansions to mobile homes, from health clubs to hospital beds, from uplifting faith—to crippling fear.

Alexis speaks softly.

“I don’t tell a lot of people about my problems,” she says. “But deep down, I know that any day, I could die.”

Idling at a stoplight in mid-November, Scarlett Alexis winced in pain.

Her head felt like it had been bashed with a sledgehammer. Her ears and nose were popping, and her taste and smell were off.

“I felt like I was 20 feet underwater,” Alexis said.

When she called out to her Lyft driver from the backseat, Alexis noticed her speech was slurred.

“Unlock the doooorrrrr,” she pleaded.

Alexis threw up on the West Hollywood pavement and then made her way to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she underwent a CAT scan to reveal what she already knew. Alexis had suffered a mini-stroke—a jarring reminder of what she’d experienced four years earlier.

The day before her 20th birthday, in April of 2019, Alexis was diagnosed with a rare brain disease called Moyamoya. She’d experienced sporadic mini-strokes since she was six years old, and by her early teens, the episodes sometimes came in the form of seizures that caused her to pass out.

Still, Alexis didn’t seek medical help until she was 19, when her boyfriend insisted she visit a doctor following a violent seizure. EKGs and CAT scans revealed that one of the main arteries on the left side of Alexis’ brain was collapsed.

“There was a whole section—almost half my brain—that wasn’t receiving blood flow,” Alexis says. “Because of that, all of these smaller blood vessels were trying to compensate for it. In the pictures it looked like a cloud. Moyamoya is a Japanese word that means ‘cloudy smoke.’”

There is no cure for Moyamoya, a chronic disease that proves fatal for about 10 percent of its victims. Still, Alexis was told that bypass surgery would relieve strain on her blood vessels and lessen the potential for seizures, aneurysms and hemorrhaging.

Alexis waited four months to have the procedure—partially because her deeply religious parents wanted the chance to “pray away” the disease. But by August, Alexis had sunken into depression. With the mental strain becoming an overwhelming burden, Alexis agreed to the surgery.

“Waiting for that surgery every single day, I felt like I could die at any moment because that’s what the doctors were telling me,” Alexis says. “I felt like any day, my brain could go against me.”

The procedure was a harrowing ordeal. The pain was excruciating, and recovery seemed to occur at a glacial pace. Even worse was that, with little familial support, Alexis basically went through the process alone.

By that point in her life, Alexis was used to fending for herself.

Alexis was born in France but moved to a small town in northern Arizona when she was 6. With wealthy parents, Alexis lived in multiple five-bedroom mansions throughout her childhood. Pools and jacuzzis, floor-to-ceiling windows, marble counters, expensive art decor and mountain-top views. Alexis was exposed to the most lavish of lifestyles.

But she was far from happy.

Alexis, the child of religious zealots, was homeschooled. Her parents forbade her from having a normal social life, often over-vetting her friends and discouraging her from getting a job.

Pre-marital sex was viewed as shameful, as her parents were virgins until their wedding day. When 16-year-old Alexis began dating a 19-year-old, her phone was confiscated and she was grounded indefinitely.

Alexis responded by removing the screen from her bedroom window—hiding it in her closet—so she could routinely sneak out in the middle of the night and take a taxi to see her beau. Other times, she told her parents she was going to meet with her church youth group, when in reality, she was at her boyfriend’s house.

“When things are indefinite and you don’t see an end, it’s hard to comply,” Alexis says. “It backfired on them. I was sneaking out all the time.

“It was just a strange childhood overall. They were very controlling and I always had a very independent spirit, which caused a lot of conflict.”

A month after her 18th birthday, Alexis moved out of her parents' mansion and into a mobile home 30 minutes away. Once accustomed to sushi and salmon, Alexis’ meals now consisted of ramen noodles and turkey sandwiches. Within two months, her hot water stopped working. Alexis didn’t care.

“Cold showers are good for your hair,” she laughs.

Before she moved away from home, Alexis had landed a receptionist job at a high-end hair salon. But by the time she was 18, Alexis was managing the place, taking bookings, writing rent and utility checks, formulating expense spreadsheets, and ordering products. Her job gave her a sense of family she’d rarely felt at home.

As she neared her 20th birthday, Alexis was as happy as she’d ever been.

But then came the seizure.

And the surgery.

And, worst of all, the recovery.

For weeks after the procedure, Alexis could hardly walk. She spoke in whispers and her boyfriend had to help her shower. The worst part, Alexis says, is that other than over-the-counter Tylenol, she wasn’t allowed to take pain medication.

“I had to learn to sleep when it felt like my head was being smashed with a baseball bat,” Alexis says. “It became a skill set. I really hope I don’t have to have another brain surgery within my lifetime, but that is a possibility.”

Indeed, while the procedure significantly reduced Alexis’ chances of having strokes, doctors instructed her to have regular brain scans to monitor her condition. She takes baby aspirin daily to thin her blood, but otherwise, the main ways to pacify her incurable condition are leading a healthy lifestyle and minimizing stress.

Alexis, who works out regularly, says her experience with Moyamoya helped shape the attitude that draws her so much praise.

“It changed me,” Alexis says. “I have a much more positive perspective on life. I value it more. I care deeply about my relationships and the people that are meaningful to me.

“Instead of holding me back, it drives me.”

As she drove west on Interstate 10 from Arizona to Los Angeles, Scarlett Alexis gave herself a pep talk.

It was November of 2022, and she’d decided to pursue a full-time career in the adult industry. Alexis had no agent. No bookings. No connections.

And no fear.

“If I was going to make it,” Alexis says, “it was going to be entirely up to me. I didn’t panic. I just said to myself, ‘Failure is not an option. You’re going to figure this out. You’re going to make it happen.’”

Alexis wasn’t a stranger to porn.

Burned out with her job at the hair salon and fully recovered from surgery, she took the suggestion of an industry friend and shot four scenes—including an anal and a DP—for Arizona-based Exploited College Girls in December of 2021.

She liked the job enough to pursue it further and ended up with approximately 40 credits in 2022.

“I’ve always been very open with my sexuality,” Alexis says. “I feel like I have the right disposition for porn. It just doesn’t scare me. I feel very comfortable with myself in those settings.

“I thought, ‘This is a great opportunity for me to be in a very lucrative industry and express myself sexually in an environment where it’s not a shameful thing.”

Unable to fly because of the atmospheric pressure on her brain, Alexis spent her first year in porn, driving eight hours back and forth to LA for shoots. She was also dissatisfied with her agency, Zen Models. Relocating to Porn Valley and transitioning to independent booking sent a message that she was serious about elevating her career to an elite level.

The day after she arrived in LA, Alexis was invited to join at group of models for Thanksgiving dinner at the home of Mark Spiegler, who would eventually become one of her biggest supporters. The following month she purchased her own ticket to the AVN Expo in Las Vegas and spent four days attending parties, hobnobbing with directors and talent and exchanging numbers.

The networking paid off, as Alexis experienced a post-AVN surge that few performers in 2023 could match. Vixen, Brazzers, Evil Angel, Team Skeet, Nubiles, Elegant Angel …  Alexis appeared in more than 150 scenes in through the first 11 months of the year, an average of more than three shoots per week.

“I wasn’t expecting such a rapid uptick,” she says.

The initial hype about Alexis revolved around her beauty. Standing 5-foot-5 with silky dark hair and no tattoos, Alexis—a favorite among still photographers—has the physique of a high-end fashion model. And her 32DDD natural breasts are the most buzzed about in the business. Alexis says her boobs have grown a full size in the past year.

“I don’t wear bras,” she says. ‘Your boobs will actually stay perkier if you don’t wear a bra because your boob muscles are active. Bras make my boobs feel like they are being strangled.”

As her scene count increased in 2023, so did the quality of Alexis’ performances. Alexis says she only slept with a handful of men before entering the industry—although she had experimented with anal and DP—and continues to learn more about herself sexually.

Her colleagues have been impressed. A-list male talent Codey Steele says he gets excited when he sees Alexis’ name on the call sheet.

“A lot of people, when they’re new, they get way too in their head,” Steele says. “Do I have to do this? Do I have to do that? What am I not doing? A lot of times, if they would just take a step back and be honest and genuine with their performance, things would go so much better.

“Scarlett is great at balancing performing for a camera, while also having those moments where it’s genuine, where it’s just between the two of you and there’s a real connection and you totally forget the camera is there. It’s rare you find someone that does that so well, especially someone so early in their career.”

At the same time, they were watching her develop as a performer; directors and talent were becoming smitten with Alexis as a person.

Despite being just 24, Alexis is an old soul, with interests that extend far beyond porn.

Alexis is an accomplished pianist and skilled painter who has a passion for drawing. Along with two cats, she has a pet tarantula and an albino gopher snake. She’s a workout enthusiast who does Pilates and is invigorated by modeling.

Perhaps more than anything, Alexis has a passion for music. Multiple times per week—sometimes even after a shoot—Alexis goes to an elite sound studio in Hollywood to record songs she’s written. Just as she has lofty ambitions in porn, Alexis is thinking big when it comes to music.

“I’m everywhere all at once,” she laughs. “I’m omnipresent. Porn can be great, but you also need other outlets and avenues. Otherwise, I don’t think it’s the best for your mental health if porn is your whole world. Life is short, so you might as well explore every possible avenue.

“Most people say you can’t give 100 percent in two industries, but I’m doing it.”

More than anything, Alexis has earned respect for her kindness. She’s the type who brings a housewarming gift to a party, the girl who texts directors thank-you messages after shoots, the friend who checks in on someone who is struggling.

When Alexis was out of town earlier this year, performer Avery Black stopped by her apartment and assembled some furniture Alexis had ordered online. When Alexis returned, she prepared a gourmet meal for Black that included a rack of lamb and roasted vegetables she’d purchased at a farmer’s market.

“Then we drank wine and watched Sex in the City,” Black said. “There’s something about Scarlett that cuts deep into your heart the second you meet her. She values relationships. She’s very real and caring and sweet, but there’s also no bullshit about her. She’s impossible not to love.”

That’s why it was heart-wrenching for Black—and the rest of the adult industry—to see Alexis so downtrodden this fall, when alarming health issues surfaced once again.

Alexis had noticed lumps in her breasts since she was 17, but thermal imaging exams and ultrasounds performed over the next few years didn’t indicate any signs of cancer. Still, one of the lumps in her right breast continued to grow rapidly. And over the past year it became painful.

Doctors at Cedars Sinai performed another ultrasound on Alexis and discovered seven masses in her right breast and five in her left. Nine of them were classified as fibrocystic tissue, which is non-cancerous and not a cause for concern. But the other three lumps—which were much larger—were deemed to be tumors.

“They said when a tumor gets to be three centimeters or larger, they get very concerned and want to remove it,” Alexis said. “The big one is eight-and-a-half centimeters. The other two are four or five.”

Alexis said the lumps were diagnosed as Phyllodes tumors.

“That’s a very rare condition,” Alexis said. “Less than one percent of tumors are Phyllodes. They don’t form where breast cancer usually forms. Instead of the ducts, they form in the tissue. They don’t respond to normal cancer treatment, like chemo.”

The average lifespan once you get diagnosed with Phyllodes tumors is five years. Even if they were removed, told Alexis there was a risk they could come back, which could cause her body to get cancer. But that risk would be much lower if they were gone.

Surgery was scheduled for Nov. 18. Black launched a GoFundMe campaign for Alexis that raised nearly $11,000.

“It was hard to process at first,” Alexis says. “I’m 24 and I have these two conditions that are lifelong. I tried to bury my stress, but it freaked me out.”

It was that anxiety—coupled with a concussion sustained in a car wreck—that likely triggered Alexis’ mini-stroke in the Lyft, which occurred about two weeks before her surgery. There was even a fear that her brain wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of going under anesthesia to have the lumps removed.

“It was crazy,” Black says. “How can the nicest person have such bad luck?”

But after performing the CAT scan that afternoon, doctors cleared her for the operation, and the procedure was deemed a success.

After a month of recovery, Alexis shot one scene for Nubiles in late December, with the directors filming her at angles that hid her scars. She expects to return to work full-time in January.

“It changed me,” Alexis says of her most recent surgery. “When you’re young, you feel invincible. You feel like you can do whatever because you’ve got enough time to worry about it later. Now I pay much more attention to my health and living responsibly. And I prioritize reducing stress in my life.

“If there’s a person who is causing me a lot of anxiety or not treating me right, they’re gone. I have a much shorter fuse for that now. I’ve learned to put myself first.”

With her health in check, her porn and music careers thriving and a community that’s embraced her, Alexis is entering 2024 with more momentum than ever before. She has long-term goals and ambitions, to be sure. But if her past has taught her anything, it’s not just to eye the destination, but to enjoy the ride.

“I’m cherishing every day, every scene, every friend, every moment,” Alexis says. “I’m going to make the most of my life.”

She pauses.

“Nothing is going to stop me from doing what I want to do.”

Austin King / Editor

Austin King spent nearly 20 years as a mainstream journalist before pivoting to coverage of the adult industry in 2020. He specializes in breaking news and in-depth features, with some of his best work to date coming for AVN Magazine in profiles of Gina Valentina, Casey Kisses, Anna-Claire Clouds, Kayden Kross, Chanel Camryn, Kenzie Anne, Lilly Bell and others. Austin resides in Texas but makes frequent trips to Porn Valley.