Pornstar and FAU alumna Mary Carey on how her humble South Florida beginning influenced her career

Mary Carey has had quite the career, and it all began right here in Boca Raton


Photo courtesy of Mary Carey

Johan Sebastian, Contributing Writer

Known throughout the naughty crevices of the internet and the back rooms of sketchy video shops, former Florida Atlantic student Mary Ellen Cook, better known as Mary Carey, has become a name known by rowdy teenage boys and their secretive dads.

Coming to FAU with the intention of getting a degree in theatre, Carey took a step into a stickier venture — the porn industry.

Born in Cleveland to a father with cerebral palsy and a mother with schizophrenia, at three months old Carey’s grandparents took her into their custody.

“My grandparents were my parents since my mom and dad are both disabled,” says Carey.

When she was seven years old, Carey, her mother, grandfather and her grandmother, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease — a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement and causes neurobehavioral problems — moved to Fort Lauderdale.

“[My grandparents] were amazing. They used all the money they saved to send me to Pine Crest Prep School in Fort Lauderdale. And they did everything possible to help me with my ballet dancing,” said Carey.

Photo courtesy of Mary Carey
Photo courtesy of Mary Carey

“Fall of ’98, I came to FAU,” she continued. “Originally I wanted to go to Florida State University. I even took classes there at first.”

But after her grandfather’s death from lung cancer, Carey had to take care of both her mother and grandmother in Fort Lauderdale. “It was hard even being in FSU, I would sometimes hear about my grandmother falling on the floor and my mom would be aware of that and she would call me,” explained Carey. “Losing my grandfather at 16 was losing my dad.”

So, she made the choice to look for a university closer to home. Although she had the responsibility of taking care of her family, she still had plenty of fun in college.

Being a trained ballet dancer since she was three, Carey joined the FAU dance team in 1999. “It was really fun, I was there for the inauguration of coach Schnellenberger,” she said, pausing after. “That’s how you say his name, right?”

She also had plenty of time to drink. “In FSU, my first class wasn’t until 12, so I would drink every night.”

“That’s where I started drinking,” A recovering alcoholic, Carey even appeared in the first season of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

But if being a pornstar lets you think she had plenty of practice, that’s where you’d be wrong. Carey’s sex life during her years at FAU was pretty run-of-the-mill. She nonchalantly mentioned, “Freshman year I had a boyfriend, sophomore, I was mostly going out with my girlfriends and I worked at a bagel shop to take care of my grandma. But, for the most part, I always had a boyfriend.”

Photo courtesy of Mary Carey
Photo courtesy of Mary Carey

Partying aside, Carey did enjoy school. And while she may not have be one to shy from a camera, she was apparently quite the modest student. Desmond Gallant, an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at FAU told the UP, “I spoke with our faculty who were at FAU at the time that Ms. Carey was a student here and no one remembers having her in class.”

Being a theatre major, she also enjoyed auditions and voice classes, which she thanked for helping her land auditions in her future endeavors in the adult industry.

Stretching her talents from theatre to porn, Carey is the envy of any college student — she got a job straight out of college.

At 21 years old and after three years at FAU, the theatre major left school to help better provide for her family, and ended up landing a job with Playboy TV starring in “Sexy Urban Legends,” where two friends discuss American urban legends that would eventually culminate in a sizzling display of adult fornication, and thus began her ascent into the sticky business of adult entertainment.

Her start was slow though.

Theresa Hennessey, a media relations representative from Playboy told the UP, “Mary appeared on Playboy TV, but was not an employee of the company.”

Now, Carey has an accolade of awards and achievements. She’s an Adult Video News hall of famer, starring in over 100 films and directing three.

She also ran for governor during the 2003 California recall election. Her gubernatorial platform included the legalization of gay marriage — which was outlawed at the time — the taxation of breast implants and making lap dances tax deductible.

She won Adult Video News’ Best Overall Marketing Campaign award in 2006 when she announced her bid for lieutenant governor of California and attended a Republican fundraiser that president George W. Bush attended. “I hope people look around the room and say, ‘Where is that porn star?'” Carey told CBS news .

When asked if FAU played a role in her life, “You know,” she sighed. “I think that it wasn’t necessarily FAU, but living in the South Florida area. There’s strip clubs all over the place. I wanted to do porn and get on camera and I got on Playboy TV show.”

While she may have eventually achieved fame in the adult business, Carey does have some regret for not finishing college, telling students, “The biggest thing for people in college is to focus on school and, I know its crazy from me, but I believe that.”

Carey does show interest in psychology, but has no plans to go back to school.

As for partying, “Maybe go out once or twice a week and figure out what you want to do. I know it sounds cheesy, but pick a major doing what you want.”

Carey still supports her mom who lives in Florida, but is retired from the steamy business of adult films. “I do not do porn, just radio shows,” Carey currently hosts “The Mary Carey Happy Hour” on SiriusXM791 every Tuesday at 3 p.m.
Some of her latest releases before her retirement in 2008 include “All Babe Network ” and “The Great Bikini Bowling Bash.” If you’re going to google those, make sure you’re not at work.