March 13, 2007 -- As a girl, Sunny Lane wanted to be a professional ice skater.
Her mother, Shelby, decorated her glittery competition costumes, and her dad, Mike, cheered for his only child from the sidelines.
Years later, they're still at it -- only now they're helping their daughter chase her dreams of becoming a porn star.
"I like to be in front of the camera," Sunny said. "I like to show my talent. I have many, many talents in a lot of different areas, and I want to show them."
But it's more than just showing off the physical assets and the innocent pouts that have earned her the nickname the "Shirley Temple of Porn," because she looks much younger than she is. Sunny will only say that she's in her 20s.
"It would totally mess the fantasy up for my fans," she said about her reluctance to reveal her age. "I look very young, which I'm very grateful [for]."
Sunny sees more than the opportunity to show off her talents; she also sees dollar signs in an industry that made almost $13 billion last year, and she demands hands-on control of her career.
"I'm a businesswoman," she said. "I have an empire, and I have a massive team backing me."
Lawyers, a publicist and image consultants are on call for Sunny, but the foundation for her team is still in the Lane apartment, where Sunny lives with her parents.
Sunny Lane is her stage name, and her parents also go by the same last name. For the last year and a half, life in the apartment has revolved around the business of selling Sunny, whom they market as "The Girl Next Door Turned Hard Core."
On a recent afternoon, Shelby answered the phone while Mike sat nearby in the living room. Upstairs, Sunny packed a suitcase for an evening full of appearances and outfit changes. Shelby helped, filling small plastic bags with costumes, makeup and music.
Once Sunny has worn an outfit, Shelby puts it -- unwashed, of course -- back in a small plastic bags to one day auction off on their Web site. Sunny's underwear can bring in a lot of cash.
"They'll pay $50 to $100 for panties," her mother said.
'Dreams Do Come True'
"We're not kinky parents," Mike said.
Married for 29 years, he and Shelby say that their own secret to staying monogamous was watching porn movies. For them, Sunny's co-stars are her "dates," and they say they'd rather her have sex on a porn set than with a "civilian" who might eventually break her heart.
"She does her thing, safely, in a good environment, and I don't worry about that. When she comes back home, I just ask her how her date was," Mike said.
Mike and Shelby are proud of Sunny's success. Mike said that when he first saw Sunny on the Playboy channel, his reaction was, "Well, dreams do come true, I guess."
"To me, it's all entertainment. I see it all as entertainment," said Shelby.
Mike and Shelby say they fast-forward through the sex scenes in their daughter's movies, despite having made a cameo appearance in one of her early films. If she has a good scene, Mike relies on her fans to let him know whether it was good or bad.
"And if it's good, that means the movie's going to be good, her scene's going to be good, and everybody's going to make a lot of money hopefully," he said.
To keep making all that money, Sunny promotes herself relentlessly -- giggling, bouncing and blowing kisses at red carpet events and private parties.
"I'm a product," she said, "And I know that, and I'm a dang good product."
Promoting the Product
At the adult video convention in Las Vegas in January, Sunny was there to market herself, and her parents were right there beside her. But Shelby and Mike seem to have taken their support to a whole new level. While at the conference, they looked into getting life-size, anatomically correct sex dolls molded of their daughter.
"I do want to have a doll that looks exactly like me," said Sunny. "[My parents] support anything that I have to do with my business, and it's my decision. And if I want a doll, I want a doll."
But what does the industry think of her parents? Mike says he and Shelby are involved in Sunny's career to look after those people who want to use her. He sees himself as the porn equivalent of Jessica and Ashlee Simpson's father, Joe.
"Some of the industry has accepted us very, very well, and some of the industry don't understand any of it," Mike said.
But Sunny is adamant that her parents are only there for support.
"They do not make money off of me. If anything, I pay them. I pay them in return for everything that they have loved and supported me after all these years."
'Why Am I Doing This?'
A few miles away in the San Fernando Valley, another young woman who achieved early success as a porn star made the difficult decision to leave this industry.
Unlike Sunny, Sophia Lynn entered her career in pornography alone, with no family support. After only being in the business for a few months, she already seemed to be an experienced pro. The blonde glamour girl says she comes from a devout Christian family and only got into porn to make some extra money. She had gone through a divorce and had a young child to help support.
"When you have bill collectors calling you every five minutes, you start to feel hopeless," she said.
She started out modeling and was encouraged to give porn a try.
"I kept thinking, 'Why am I doing this?' But then I reminded [myself] [that] my car payment was due."
These days, many girls look up to porn stars like Jenna Jameson, who's had a best-selling autobiography and recently sold her own adult entertainment company, Club Jenna, to Playboy for millions.
A Contract Girl
Today, there are more girls clamoring to enter the business than 10 years ago. Like any business, more product means less profit, so girls are often asked to do more degrading acts for fewer dollars than they used to.
"Would I want to be a young woman getting into the adult [business] right now? Perfectly honestly, no," said porn legend Taylor Wane.
When she got into the business in 1989, Wane said it was more about women exploring their sexuality. Nowadays, she said, it's about pushing the envelope to extremes.
Newcomer Lynn was lucky to escape that path. Within a few weeks of leaving her child with her ex and arriving in Los Angeles, Lynn was on the path toward becoming a new Jenna Jameson. She signed on as a contract girl with Adam & Eve, something only a tiny fraction of girls in the business get offered.
As a contract girl, she had the potential to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, but only needed to film a few days each month. She was able to make more female-friendly and couple-friendly films, rather than the gonzo videos that try to outgross each other.
For the first time in Lynn's life, she was making real money. She was being told every day that she was beautiful, meeting celebrities, boosting her confidence. Still, she missed her daughter, and she chain-smoked and drank sugary drinks to deal with nerves.
"You have a million people tell you you're beautiful every single day, a million -- and not one of them really give a s--t about you," she said.
'I Let a Lot of My Morals Go'
Between her own red carpet appearances, movie sets and how-to sex books, Lynn appeared to be going through the motions. She was distracted, tired and often disoriented.
"I made a very, very large risk in coming out here," she said, "by being away from my child so much. I've gone through some pretty good times and pretty bad times here. The hardest point is when I realized that I let a lot of my morals that I thought I had go."
While Lynn ultimately decided to leave the industry, she said there was no guarantee she could stay out.
"There's never, ever any certainties in life. … I don't know exactly what my future holds," she said.