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PornCrush Year in Review: Best Unsung Starlets of 2023

Chloe Temple, Macy Meadows, Armani Black headline list of performers worthy of top-level shoots

By Austin King / Editor

Dec 20, 2023

*Note: This is the first in a series of lists that will reflect on another banner year in the adult industry. Be sure to check out PornCrush each day for a new installment.

Dec. 18: Best Comeback Performers

Dec. 19: Best New Faces

Dec. 20: Unsung Starlets

Dec. 21: Breakthrough Performers

Dec. 22: Best on Social Media

Dec. 26: Scenes of the Year (four critics pick their favorites)

Dec. 27: Best Porn Ambassadors

Dec. 28: Top 10 Stories of 2023

Dec. 29: Best and Worst of 2023


There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little help. And even when you don’t inquire, sometimes people are willing to provide it.

For free.

After all, this is the season of giving.

And PornCrush is feeling generous.

Which is why—less than a week before Christmas—we’ve packaged together for studios the names of 14 performers who deserve your attention; 14 performers who operate at an elite level on and off camera but don’t always have the bookings to show for it.

Directors and producers take note. Save this list and thank PornCrush later after one of these vixens makes your company look like a genius for giving them an opportunity.

Here are PornCrush’s “Best Unsung Starlets” of 2023.


The 20-year-old Valencia is making AVN look good for nominating her for Best New Starlet in 2023. She’s become a favorite among directors at two of the industry’s biggest studios, Vixen and Adult Time. Valencia’s 2022 scene for Slayed with contract girl Vanna Bardot was absolute fire, setting the stage for bigger things to come. Unlike many newcomers in porn, Valencia has been drama free since joining the industry just weeks after her 18th birthday. She shows up on time, doesn’t cancel shoots, maintains a friendly, upbeat persona and connects with almost every colleague. Valencia shot approximately 70 scenes in 2023 and was at her absolute best in “Wrong Door, Right,” a BDSM-themed shoot for Adult Time with trans star Kasey Kei. Valencia, who dates male performer Elias Cash, is a refreshing, textbook example of doing things the right way.


Simply put, Black checks all the boxes. Stunning body with a gorgeous face; still relatively new and, thus, eager to shoot; high-level actor and willing to work in almost any genre, including anal and DP; No. 108 ranking on PornHub. Seriously, what’s not to like? Black was nominated for AVN’s Best New Starlet award in 2023 and is up for MILF Performer of the Year in 2024. She has nearly 60 scene credits on IAFD over the past 12 months but needs to be working more with the industry’s biggest studios. Here’s hoping Vixen brings her back soon, as she’s already produced a scorching anal scene with Mick Blue for Tushy. Black is also a natural for Kayden Kross’ new MILFY banner. Evil Angel, Jules Jordan and Adult Time should also take note.


“Who is that girl in the blue?” I can’t count how many times I was asked that question during the 2023 red carpet procession at the 2023 AVN Awards, and also as people lingered in the concourse before the ceremony. Boasting one of the prettiest faces (and smiles) in the business, McKenna catapulted onto people’s radars in January and she’s been on a steady climb ever since. As stunning as she is physically, McKenna is equally as impressive as a performer, flourishing like few others in anal-themed shoots. Mike Adriano lists McKenna among his favorites and plenty of others are jumping on board. McKenna’s 2023 tango with Valerica Steele and Mr. Lucky is a top contender for Best POV Scene at this year’s awards show. Expect McKenna’s workload to increase when she relocates from Philadelphia to Las Vegas in 2024.


I love watching Sins take control of a scene. She’s an alpha female, if you will. Not so much in a dominating way, but just with her overall confidence and presence. If there’s a group of people on your screen, Sins is the one you’re going to watch. Sins may be classified as a “performer,” but when you watch Sins have sex, nothing seems like an act. She’s passionate and sensual but also not afraid to smile and let loose. Whether it’s an anal scene, an orgy with trans performers, or just a simple boy-girl tryst, Sins always thrives. Check out her backdoor romp with Robby Echo in “Grinders” and her group scene in Adult Time’s “The Physical: Nurses Retreat.” It’s some of her best work. Also an elite actor, the 5-foot-9 Sins has the respect of producers and directors, having worked for nearly every major studio in porn. But she was snubbed of a Best New Starlet nomination after a standout rookie year (that had to just be a simple oversight, right?) and has yet to win a major industry award. That needs to change. Soon.


She’s averaged nearly 70 scenes a year since her debut in 2018, but for the most part, Temple gets overlooked by the industry’s biggest studios. It makes no sense. Yes, Temple has a tight torso and a bangin’ booty. But she’s also a high-level talent who’s a lock to turn in an A-list performance. Temple excels in all genres, whether it be an intense, squirt-filled gonzo shoot or a slow, passionate scene with lots of eye contact and build up. Some of Temple’s best content has come for Nubiles and Team Skeet. She works well with girls and has few limits, even taking an occasional DVP. Temple rarely shoots anal scenes, which makes it even hotter when she decides to open her backdoor. Her 2021 tryst for “Tushy” with Oliver Flynn—entitled “Rebellious”—was one of the top anal scenes this writer has seen in the past five years. Temple is incredibly popular with fans, as illustrated by her No. 116 ranking on PornHub. It’s time for mainstream studios to give Temple the push she deserves.


A former powerlifter from Kansas, King approaches her job without any fear or trepidation. Whether it’s a sloppy, 17-man blowbang filled with spit, tears and drool or a rough scene for Hookup Hotshot, King doesn’t back down from a challenge. King made huge strides in 2023, working for studios such as Evil Angel, Cherry Pimps, Team Skeet and Nubiles. Her “under the radar” status is rapidly changing, with 2024 shaping up to be King’s best year yet.


Marie is one of the adult industry’s true grinders. She entered the industry in 2017 and has yet to take a significant break. That’s a testament to her professionalism and dependability because if Hime (pronounced HE-may) weren’t on top of her game, the bookings would eventually decrease. Marie is as versatile as they come, working in all genres, including anal. One of her most memorable shoots in recent years was a double-penetration scene with Mick Blue and Zac Wild for Jules Jordan, which earned an AVN nomination. Marie, who is also one of the industry’s top cam girls, isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. If anything, she’s only getting stronger.


She’s developed a fondness for whips, ropes and ball gags, but there was a time—not too long ago—when Kush described her sex life as “vanilla.” Kush’s preferred position was missionary, she refused to do anal and viewed blowjobs as “exhausting.” At the end of one of her first porn scenes in 2019, after a taking a money shot to the mouth, Kush rose from her knees and scurried off set to spit out the cum, joking that she “hated that taste.” Nearly four years since her debut, Kush’s former insecurities are now her biggest strengths—or should we say, kinks. A former ballerina, Kush rides dick while in the splits. She loves being roughed up and dotes on her oral skills, hardly hesitating to swallow every last drop. Because of her versatility, Kush doesn’t seem to have trouble finding work. She shot more than 60 scenes in 2023.


Boasting one of the best butts in the biz, Kapri has been an absolute workhorse since joining the industry in 2017. She’s shot nearly 700 career scenes—including hundreds that are anal in nature. Somehow, Kapri has garnered only five AVN nominations and only one from XBIZ. And while she’s done a handful of shoots in recent years for Brazzers and Adult Time, the industry’s biggest studios aren’t booking her nearly enough, especially considering her menu (among other things) is wide open.


If there’s any performer that elite studios are “sleeping on,” it’s Macy Meadows. She’s currently the 49th-ranked model on PornHub—but despite her soaring popularity, Meadows’ resume lacks high-level shoots. Here’s hoping that changes in 2023. With captivating green eyes, Meadows is a master at POV. Few performers pull off the innocent school girl, stepsister-type role better than the South Carolina native, who once turned her van into her home. With Adriana Chechik now retired, Meadows is now the industry’s reigning squirt queen, soaking up mattresses and leather couches from coast to coast.


With gorgeous auburn hair and a spunky personality, Collins brings good vibes to every set. She’s highly respected for her acting ability, as evidenced by her recurring bookings in dialogue-driven roles for Pure Taboo, MissaX, and others. A versatile performer, Collins started shooting anal scenes in 2023, which should lead to even more opportunities for the 4-foot-10, 95-pounder. She’s also a delight on social media, frequently engaging with her 240,000 followers on X. One of the top redheads in the business, Collins is extremely hard-working and dedicated to her craft.


Now in her third year in the industry, Woods’ popularity is sky-rocketing as of late. And rightfully so. With coal-black hair and a beautiful tan complexion, the Texas Latina boasts the looks of a fashion model. But in the bedroom she’s as uninhibited as they come. Woods is quickly becoming one of the better anal performers in the business. Her rear-end romp with Apollo Banks for Tushy was absolute fire. Mick Blue, Mike Adriano and Jay Romero also entered Woods’ backdoor in 2023. With shoots for Brazzers, Cherry Pimps, Evil Angel, Team Skeet and others, Woods is no longer a secret and probably won’t be on this list a year from now.


Emerson is a head-turner, and not just because she’s 6-foot-3 and heavily tattooed. The San Diego is a natural beauty who would look elegant in photos without wearing any makeup. Emerson has been in the industry since 2017 but only has 203 scenes listed in the IAFD database. That number is far too low, as she's a high-level sexual performer who also flourishes in dialogue-driven roles, as evidenced by her work with studios such as Pure Taboo. Emerson’s height and body art shouldn’t cause her to be shunned. If anything, they’re a reason she could be embraced. Her presence and stature make her unique to any other performer, and that’s a good thing.


Ryder has shot nearly 250 scenes and garnered six AVN nominations—including one for Best New Starlet—since her 2020 debut. She’s known for her sloppy blowjobs and has produced some of her best content with Mike Adriano, with whom she’s worked 13 times. Ryder also starred alongside close friend Kylie Rocket in the highly-praised Deeper series “Goddess and the Seed.” Partially because of medical issues, Ryder’s workload decreased a tad in 2023, but the 5-foot-1, 95-pounder should enter 2024 with newfound momentum signing with Hussie Models.

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.