Nikki Hearts, a Columbus native who now resides in Los Angeles, has built quite a reputation for herself in the adult film industry. Covered in tattoos and rocking edgy hairstyles, Hearts stands out from your average porn star. Her unique, alternative style and her niche genre, make her one of a kind in her field.

Nikki Hearts, a Columbus native who now resides in Los Angeles, has built quite a reputation for herself in the adult film industry. Covered in tattoos and rocking edgy hairstyles, Hearts stands out from your average porn star. Her unique, alternative style and her niche genre, make her one of a kind in her field.

"I started looking to make feminist porn, which is porn made by women with an ethical background," Hearts said. "I started seeing that kind of stuff pop up, and I wanted to be a part of that more than the mainstream porn that you see all of the time."

Nikki Hearts is a pseudonym she chose on the spot during her first casting call in honor of her idol, Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crüe, and after an ex-lover, Lindsay Hearts, a Los Angeles fashion designer and stylist.

For Hearts, getting involved in the porn industry was not about becoming rich or famous. "Having intentions that are beyond that in the porn industry will get you the farthest. Having goals beyond money and fame gives you a lot more uniqueness," she said.

Hearts' reasons for getting involved in the industry were more politically driven. She wanted to be the face for an underrepresented group in a large, mainstream industry.

"There isn't another person like me that exists in this industry," Hearts said. "There is nobody representing a person that identifies the way that I do, that looks like me or really has sex like me: an androgynous, queer female. I want to represent that. I want to give that a voice in the sex industry."

The queer porn industry has done a lot for the queer community in terms of exposure, and it has helped break barriers that restrict sexual identity.

"Queer is an all-inclusive, all-encompassing term," Hearts said. "That whole industry is not so much focusing on what gender the people are. It's more about people making films that are showing people enjoying themselves. It's very real [and] it's very raw and it usually has some sort of message like 'These people have hot sex, too,' and, 'These people need to be seen as well.'"

Hearts grew up in the Columbus punk scene, a community she refers to as "queer-friendly." Her first passion was punk music. Hearts would attend regular house shows that featured porn screenings. These screenings are what sparked Hearts' interest in the porn industry.

"We would watch films from the Crash Pad porn series and stuff like that. That was when I first started getting into all of it," she said

Hearts was then introduced to Columbus porn performer Jet Blue, who connected her to porn companies in San Francisco. Hearts, then living in Columbus, began making trips to San Francisco to create films in the queer porn industry, which she described as "a very sex-positive community."

Eventually, Hearts branched out to the Los Angeles porn scene and began making routine trips to Los Angeles to shoot. Just last year, Hearts decided to pack her bags and make the permanent move to the City of Angels, where she continues to make porn for big companies.

"I think at this point I have created a bit of a unique name," Hearts said. "I don't really get mixed in with one specific group or type. I'm kinda my own little thing … which is pretty cool to me."