"Queen of Clown Porn" Hollie Stevens, 30, dies of breast cancer

Image: Hollie Stevens, via Flickr.

The alt-adult performer known as Hollie Stevens (Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Wikipedia, MySpace) has died of breast cancer.

In addition to her work in indie pornography (including "clown porn", NSFW link), she was also a model for, and contributor to, the weirdo horror-rotica zine Girls and Corpses.

From an early account of Hollie's story by Vanessa Pinto at SF Weekly, it sounds like the lack of access to affordable health care (and health insurance) was a significant factor in the case of Hollie, a freelance creative based in San Francisco:

She was no different than a lot of us when we were young who believe we're invincible. So when this very young healthy woman noticed a lump on her breast, she let it go at first.

"I noticed it and paid attention to it, but going to the doctor is hard when you don't have insurance," says Stevens.

The lump didn't go away.

More from Vanessa Pinto, this time writing Hollie's obituary one year later:

Debuting in 2000 as feature dancer, "Holly Wood," she traveled across the U.S. performing to packed houses. She was nominated for an AVN in 2004 for Best Group Sex Scene, (The Bachleor) and won the AVN award in 2004 for Best All-Girl Scene (The Violation of Jessica Darlin). Hollie performed in over 170 titles as well as being featured on kink.com, DungeonCorp.com, hogtied.com, chantasbitches.com, The Howard Stern Show, performing at the Lusty Lady, and more.

An accomplished painter with works hanging in the Hyena Gallery in Burbank, Hollie was also a long-time writer and model for Girls and Corpses magazine, a DJ, live visual manipulator, performance artist, kickboxing champion, and an extraordinary wife and friend.

This woman was diagnosed at age 29 with stage 3 metastatic breast cancer just over a year ago. Now she is gone. Fuck you, cancer.

From the blog for Solace SF, an organization in San Francisco that helps provide health care resources to people who work in the adult industry:

in one of our last conversations, i asked her what she wanted to be known and remembered as. the following was her answer:

“I hope people know I’m always myself. I take pride in what others think may be weird about me! [she laughed for about 10 seconds and then said:] I’d also want people to know what I love most, what what makes me happy, is being a friend and a wife. That’s what I would want them to know and remember.” i love you, Hollie. and we will always remember.

Farewell, fellow happy mutant.

(thanks, @gillyarcht)

Image: Cover of an edition of "Girls and Corpses," featuring Hollie Stevens.

"Lady Diabla," 11"x15" unframed watercolor on paper, Hollie Stevens. Via hyaenagallery.com.

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  1. Such sad news! And the health insurance connection makes it so much worse.

    Maybe she would have wanted it this way, or maybe she would have prefered a more respectful photo for this post, like the one with Wile E Coyote?

  2. Billion dollar industry and no healthcare.  How will the new healthcare law help a person such as this?  She goes to “an exchange” and purchases “affordable” health insurance?  And if she doesn’t she pays a tax?  How is this a good thing?

    1. How is this a good thing?

      Because she can’t be refused due to a pre-existing condition.

        1. These are all good things. But she still has to access the market and pay for it. It still is going to be expensive and people are not going to access the market. Back to square one.

          1.  Square two, perhaps.
            Obviously, there are better health care systems in the world than the one the new law sets up, but the new one is far better than what we have now.

          2. No one knows how much it’s going to cost, but it’s said to be affordable who couldn’t get it before.  I’m one of those people.  Self employed in a new business who pays taxes and works 11 hours a day 6 days a week, and can’t afford insurance.  
            Now, until we find out actually how much it will be, please stop help spreading RUMORS that it’s going to be expensive.  You dont’ know for sure, now do you?

          3. No, square one is when they charge you a lot more because you have cancer and then don’t pay to fix it. This is different, perhaps you should try reading the comment you just replied to filebunch, I think they covered it.

          4. That’s about as brilliant an observation as “not everyone will get health care because some people refuse to go to the doctor.” 

        1. the guidelines make a lot more people eligible for medicaid, which covers way more services than regular health insurance (though, at the loss of quality of providers)

    2. It also requires that any business employing more than a certain number of people (I believe it’s 150) provide some sort of healthcare plan.

      1.  unfortunately, she would not be an employee on the head count as she would be classed as a self employed contractor. Which is how I see a lot of cheapskate companies getting around this law’s requirements for providing a healthcare plan. Just run the permies down and take on contractors.

        1. That’s actually what is happening NOW.  Employers give 35hr a week schedules, but offer benefits at 40hrs.  
          Walmart and the like.. you know.. your cheapskate companies.

    3. I don’t believe it is a billion dollar industry anymore.  While the demand has never been higher, people have come to expect their pr0n for free.  With the availability of the free stuff on the internet and lots of amateur video, it is quite easy to satisfy the the enormous demand.

    4. Because the insurance companies will be forced to compete with each other AND forced to participate, insurance costs will drop considerably.  Health insurance is long overdue for some downsizing.  When 40% of your insurance payment is going to administrators, and the administrators are making more money than the Drs, (an I’m not talking just about the Chairmans and CEOs, middle managment in a company like United Healthcare make six figures minimum) somehting is wrong with your system.

    5. It would help her because she can not be denied health care coverage because of the cancer. Think about it…

  3. universal health care like in my home country, Canada, is way past overdue for the rest of the world

    1.  most of the industrialized world has universal health care, i think the US is just about the only one that doesn’t. not sure what the general state is in emerging or developing economies, but i know a lot of them at least try to have a general offer, as far as they can.
      on a sidenote, i would think that the porn industry has every interest in insuring their performers. the “regular” movie industry are insured every which way, and i assume a lot of the same expenses caused by delays, flu, injuries etc applies to the adult movie industry.

      1.  I read a great quote (which I wish I could attribute but can’t) “Canada has a healthcare SYSTEM, the US has a healthcare INDUSTRY”. I think that sums it up, our system up here in Canada might not be perfect but it ensures the average Canadian can get health care when required. Case in point: My late mother died of cancer, while treating her was not successful in the end, the total cost to her estate for all of the cancer treatment she received over about a year was $50.
        I have never heard of this woman but its a real shame that anyone should die simply because they cannot afford health care. The system down in the US seems more focused on generating money than on helping people with their medical problems to me, and while the care received is no doubt the best in the world, it leaves millions with no protection at all. That is not an effective system by any stretch of the imagination.
        As for her employers: most employers I have encountered so far seem concerned only with making profits, and any corners that can be cut to ensure management looks good are being made, regardless of the consequences to their employees. I expect any employer that can wiggle out of paying a dime towards their employees well being will do so.

        1.  I can relate, in that both my parents are fighting cancer at the moment. And neither of them have any form of health insurance, apart from what they have paid in taxes. But they still receive the best available treatment, free of charge (or at most a negligible fee), leaving them to focus on the disease instead of worrying about paying for it.
          Add to that a social system that allow them to take time off from work without having to worry about losing their jobs.
          Sure, it’s not a system that makes a profit, but I still think we’re better off.
          I’m not saying the health sector shouldn’t be able to make money, but as you pointed, there’s a difference between service and industry. I couldn’t agree more.

      2.  The USA’s various systems are designed to maximize wealth for the few while the HUGE majority are indoctrinated to believe that all is as it should be.

        There IS class war in the USA but too few people realize that fact.

        There has been class warfare going on,” Buffett, 81, said in a Sept. 30 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS. It’s just that my class is winning. And my class isn’t just winning, I mean we’re killing them.”

  4. Mom had tax payer provided health care from Dad’s job though he had been dead for many years.

    The doctors performed constant unneeded test to maximize their income.

    As we learned later one of her expensive surgeries was not needed and actually harmed her!!!!!!!!!!!!

    8 years of many treatment types and the drug costs ran to several million dollars for chemotherapy (chemo) alone. A multi-thousand dollar shot after every chemo treatment (3 to 4 times weekly.

    Sure, some of the care was needed but the doctors obviously saw her as a “cash cow”.

    The insurance paid all bills as they were sent in.

    Mom finally tired of the treatments ans was MAD because she knew that the doctors were ripping off the tax payers and with no cure possible she quit the chemo and other drugs.

    Be aware that doctors will have a monetary interest in the clinics, labs, etc where they send patients for various tests, etc.

    The USA medical and health insurance systems are designed to maximize the wealth of those involved with thos systems.

    Obama’s attempt to alter the system left alone the too large share of medical costs skimmed off the top by greedy scum who become wealthy from others pain and agony.

    1. I’m sorry about your Mother, but that was just one case.  You can’t blanket  all the doctors and healthcare facilities into your story.   They aren’t all crooks and quacks.  Perhaps by changing our current system, more people who seek the medical trade will do so again out of calling to serve and help their fellow man instead of chasing the all mighty dollar.    
      I recall when all of this change started, and those I know in medical fields were hopeful that this would end the money grubbing, and turn back to actually caring for people’s health.
      Until the Health Insurance Industry cares about our health, we are doomed.

  5. Devil’s advocate here – and ambivalent in many ways about both sides of the issue.  I happen to be lucky, because my husband was hired on as permanent only a few months before learning I had cancer.  The insurance covers all but $3000/year of costs (which is bad enough) – but the actual billed costs are now up into the $200,000 range – which is killer savings.  If the timing had been off a few months in the other direction, it would truly have been killer, since we were running without insurance because we had to drop our private insurance due to costs – even with a $7,000 deductible.  Came down to food, housing and utilities came before insurance and it had to go (no permanent job at the time and no money to pay for it).  Yes, we could go for the state program, but even that cost more than we could afford.  If there’s no money in the checking account, the bank is NOT understanding of “can we waive the NSF charges because we’re paying for mandatory insurance”.  On the other hand, as a cancer patient, I have been a first-hand recipient of innovative recent treatment regimens and I expect to be a statistic in the rapidly rising rate of survival of this type of cancer due to that fact.  Yes, health care is unGodly expensive here – but they do seem to be using the profits to IMPROVE health care and not JUST to line their pockets.  The survival rates of my type and stage of cancer is higher than almost anywhere else in the world – I’ve looked up the statistics.  So — good, bad or ugly?  The entire health care/insurance mess in the US appears to be a strange mix of all three!

  6. In all the news coverage of health care reform, why is it we learn of so few people like Hollie?
    There have to be dozens of the doomed and dying at every hospital in America every day.
    Then I watch the endless TV commercials and I see where the networks’ bread is buttered.

  7. 30 years old and dead. One more death due to the greed of people in the so-called healthcare industry. Universal healthcare. Eradicate private insurers. Private insurers suck more resources out of the system than any other entity.

    RIP.

  8. This is exactly what I’m afraid of. I cry some days because I cannot afford health care. I just can’t, I can hardly afford food.

    I’m 30. I’m female. I’m at high-risk for breast cancer.

    If I discovered a lump today I would be utterly fucked. I would literally be left to die and that is terrifying.

  9. This is a bummer.  30, way too early.  Gonna rub one out tonight in tribute.  (not joking)

  10. I didn’t know Hollie Stevens. The last photo uploaded to Flickr had a pretty grotty effect on me.

    Brings back so much, that final two or three weeks where you are with a loved one. Good grief.

    Cancer, what a crock.

    I think I’ll go for a walk and buy some ice cream.

    Condolences to her family.

  11. We can spend billions invading other countries for specious reasons (and creating thousands of new consumers of healthcare in the returning veterans), yet we can’t offer decent healthcare to our citizens?

     We can give huge tax breaks to the rich and corporations who claim they’re “job creators”, but they’re not, and we can’t provide the other 99% of tax payers national healthcare?

    We can go to the moon, but we can’t find a cure for cancer? Or at least a maintenance regimen like we have for HIV? 

    1.  “…We can spend billions invading other countries”

      Much truth in your post.

      I must be brief for  obvious reasons.

      In GENERAL, after decades of study, reading, living life and being observant of things other than 24/7 entertainment I came to a conclusion;

      In GENERAL… the USA systems; political, economic, etc. are purposefully designed and operated to allow the maximum amount of wealth to flow ever-upward to the apex of the pyramid-shaped socio-economic hierarchy.

    2. Cancer isn’t a single disease and we ARE curing it. Look around, cancer is something that can happen to almost any of over 100,000,000,000 cells in your body (that is one hundred trillion if you don’t like to count zeros.) In the last few decades we have found ways of CURING hundreds and maybe even thousands of different types of cancer. We are winning this war right now before your eyes. We will never be able to treat everyone with 100% success, but we are still winning. Anyone who has looked at the score can tell you that.

      It can be easy to get confused by the fact that cancer is increasing as a cause of death. 100% of people die, and we are learning how not to die in car crashes, from smoking and many of the other major killers. This means that people are now living long enough for one of their cells to make a defective copy of itself during mitosis (cell division) which can sometimes begin to make more defective copies forming a non-functional piece of the body that we often refer to as a tumor. The longer we live, the more likely we are to die from falling down. Does this mean that falling down is on the rise? No, but it could seem that way. After all: “there are lies, dirty lies, and statistics.” Do not be confused by the fact that more people are dying of cancer, we are curing it every day.

  12. live in the UK had cancer and beat it 3 times also had 2x heartattacks caused by chemo and radiation all treatment free and 1st class

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