Bree Solstad, formerly a top pornographic content creator, pictured in an undated photo receiving Communion during the Easter Vigil March 30, 2024, recently announced her conversion to Catholicism and her decision to walk away from her previous career. OSV News photo/courtesy Bree Solstad

How an adult film star fell in love with Jesus, quit her career and became Catholic

By  Gina Christian, OSV News
  • May 10, 2024

Bree Solstad, formerly a top pornographic content creator, recently announced her conversion to Catholicism and her decision to walk away from her previous career.

OSV News interviewed Solstad - who now designs religious jewelry - to trace her journey, and to explore her thoughts on embracing the Catholic faith.

This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

OSV News: What can you share about your background prior to entering the adult entertainment industry?

Solstad: I was born and raised in Alaska by a hardworking and loving single mother. ... I was an only child and I never knew my father. I was a latchkey kid. ... I was baptized as a Lutheran at 8 years old and was active in the church and the youth groups during my childhood.

Growing up I wanted to be a veterinarian. I was, and still am, interested in all kinds of plants and animals. … I never really had any plans for marriage or family as a young girl. I wonder if that is because of being raised in a single mother household and never knowing my father.

After leaving for college, I completely fell away from the faith into a lifestyle of drunkenness, recklessness and promiscuity. Despite all this, I guess I still considered myself nominally Christian because of my childhood, but didn't practice and had no faith life.

I dropped out of college, thanks largely to my heavy drinking and self-destructive behavior, and moved across the country. I became more and more promiscuous within my own private life. I was drinking more heavily and started a blog about my hedonistic behavior that kind of took off in that dark corner of the internet.

OSV News: Was that your entrance into the world of pornography?

Solstad: The blog caught the attention of a successful femdom (female domination) sex worker, who reached out to me and essentially recruited me. She told me that it could be really lucrative and she thought I would be really good at it. She showed me how to get set up, and introduced me to some important people in the industry who could help me make as much money as possible. I ended up traveling out to Oregon to film with her and she kind of pushed me to open up my own studios with my own content.

It honestly seemed like fun to me at the time; I no longer needed to have a boss and I could quit my job and do whatever I wanted to do. I had no moral compass and was all about myself anyway. As it turned out, I was very, very good at it, and became one of the top-selling creators of this content almost immediately. The attention, the power trip, the ego, the wealth, the vanity and the pride of it all was intoxicating. I could basically get men to do anything I wanted and my extravagant life was being completely funded by men I treated as slaves. Year after year, I would consistently top the charts of those producing this kind of content. I was constantly encouraged to go deeper into the lifestyle and become more extreme. I was paid to travel around the country and attend different adult content creator conferences, and things kind of spiraled from there.

For about a decade ... I must have produced and distributed more than 2,000 videos. My work also involved live webcam video sessions, custom videos and phone sex.

OSV News: How would you describe the people involved in that industry?

Solstad: It felt at the time like it was a weird sisterhood. ... In the beginning, it seemed like we were all just a happy dysfunctional family. I lived for these people's praise (and) ... to be on the top of the charts in my industry.

But as the years progressed, I kept more and more to myself. I started to realize that I didn't know who I could trust. There was a lot of backstabbing and what I would now call high-school drama. There were also people in the industry who were incredibly vindictive and would share personal information about others as a means to bully them. There were a lot of very unhealthy people in the whole business. And that's not me looking down on anyone, because I was also very unhealthy. ... It was all very dark. The whole scene became really ugly to me.

After a while, the industry becomes very isolating. But, despite the isolation and the unhealthiness, you almost feel trapped in the industry ... by the lucrative income and ... by the belief that I couldn't do anything else with my life now that I had been doing this for so long.

OSV News: What was your relationship like with your family and friends during this time?

Solstad: This is a tough question to answer because I don't have much family. The family I do have, I lied to about everything, so they never knew what I did for money anyway. I lost a lot of friends during the course of working in the adult industry. It's like the more money I made, the more isolated I became. I am trying to remedy that now through my church community.

My mom really just wanted me to be happy. She was actually fine with me being in porn as long as I was happy. And she is fine with me quitting porn as long as I am happy.

OSV News: At what point did you begin to seek a relationship with God and leave the industry?

Solstad: I suffered a horrible tragedy a few years ago. At the time, I prayed harder than I ever had in my life. I felt like Jesus did nothing. I felt like God had turned his back on me and so I did the same to him.

About a year ago, I had an opportunity to go to Italy. ... The majority of the places I wanted to visit were churches, because in Italy that is where all the great art is located. But once inside these beautiful old basilicas, cathedrals and churches, something changed in me and I began to appreciate the art and the churches themselves for the theology they expressed. It was like my heart was being pierced by beauty. ... The crucifix was always right there in your face in all these Catholic churches. His gift to us was always plain to see as soon as I entered a church. For reasons I still can'’t explain, I found myself getting down on one knee to cross myself when I entered and exited the churches.

In Sorrento and Rome, I remember seeing the Virgin Mary on street corners all over the place. ... It was a surreal experience, but I really felt like Mary was calling me. ... I felt compelled to seek her out. I wanted to greet her and ask her to help me with the effects of the tragedy that had previously occurred in my life. In Assisi ... I knelt by (St. Clare's) tomb and again asked for assistance.

OSV News: What did you do when you returned to the U.S.?

Solstad: When I came home, I quickly realized that I didn'’t like what my life was like. ... I felt disgusting and guilty for the work I had been doing for a decade. I couldn'’t stop thinking of all the things that I had done and all the lives I negatively affected through pornography. I felt grotesque.

At the same time, I started going to a beautiful old Catholic church near me somewhat regularly just to try to reconnect with those feelings I had in Italy. A little while later I set up an appointment and spoke to a priest at length.

That'’s when everything really changed for me. Among many other things, he told me that God loved me and wants me to be happy. When he said this, it was as if I was being embraced by a warm light, like the sun had come out for the first time in years. I felt like maybe I could be whole again. It felt like an other-worldly embrace, and that someone was telling me everything is going to be okay now. I started to cry and I really haven'’t stopped since.

I now know Jesus always answers prayers, just not in the way you want him to or expect him to. He answered my desperate prayers all those years ago in the midst of the greatest tragedy of my life by leading me to his church, getting me to finally see the truth about the rampant sins I was committing, pushing me to grow in virtue and to turn away from sin so that I could be with him and my lost loved one in heaven. I am now so grateful and my heart is constantly full.

OSV News: What message would you share with those who may seem far off from the Lord but who long to seek him?

Solstad: Just do it! Just seek him! ... People seem to not want to communicate with the Lord because they think they're not worthy. That's what I thought about myself, but I was wrong. It's kind of like going to the gym. You have to push yourself to do it at first, and then the results come.

Do it right now. Stop reading this article. Close your eyes and pray. ... The truth is he loves you more than anyone else ever could, and he wants a relationship with you.

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