Home / National News / From porn star to pastor, how this NY woman turned her life around

 

(FULTON, N.Y.) — Crystal Bassette, a 33-year-old mother of three, and her husband, David, are the pastors at the New Beginnings Christian Life church in upstate New York.

It’s a relatively new role for Bassette. Until three years ago, she was a porn star.

Her screen name was Nadia Hilton and she starred in over 100 adult films. Looking back on it now, she said that she was “shocked” that her mind and body “got to that point where it just became this
normal thing.”

Bassette said she was making up to $30,000 a month doing adult films.

“I used to go to the Playboy mansion all the time,” she said. “That was, like, the star struck thing, meeting Hugh Hefner, and everybody. I mean, it was glamorous at times.”

Growing up in upstate New York, Bassette said she never would have predicted the twist and turns of her life.

“I was an honor roll student in high school,” she said. “I was a varsity cheerleader.”

But she got pregnant with her son Justin when she was just 16 years old. She started stripping to make money and moved to California to give her son a better life.

“We grew up poor, very poor,” she said. “I wanted to give him all the things. I didn’t have a snowmobile. I didn’t have four-wheelers. I didn’t have any of that stuff as a kid.”

Bassette said an agent discovered her and convinced her to try pornography.

“The first shoot was horrible,” she said. “I was scared. I remember talking to a guy, and he’s, like, ‘You don’t look like you really want to do this,’ and I was, like, ‘I don’t know.’ I was so
nervous.

“And after the shoot, I sat in a shower, and I was bawling my eyes out crying for, like, two hours,” she continued. “I just felt so gross and just dirty. [But] I went back for money.”

And soon, Bassette became a star.

“People recognize you all over the place,” she said. “It was just weird. You know, because you just think about it. They’re recognizing me because of something that is not talent.”

But she said the money was rolling in.

“I would spend $3,000 or $4,000 a week at the mall buying dumb stuff — clothes, shoes,” she said.

Before she turned 30, she had a house in Malibu and a Ferrari, even her own nightclub.

“I quickly got sucked into it,” she said. “You’re making more and more money, and you’re spending more money.”

But Bassette said despite all the money she made, she wasn’t happy.

“I started taking pain killers, and hydrocodone, and drinking alcohol to get through the scene,” she said. “I was numbing myself.”

She said she was also coming to grips with the sexual abuse she said she suffered as a child.

“I had a bad abusive childhood.” She said. “I was sexually abused by two different people as a child. That, I think, is a huge impact on why I got into the adult industry. I was constantly seeking
for male attention I didn’t get when I was a kid.”

Then in 2014, Bassette said she drove home drunk one night, hit a guardrail and totaled her Escalade.

“I end up getting into a car crash, broke my nose, had stitches down the side of my face,” she said.

Bassette said it was a wake-up call. She started going to church with her sister and she decided to leave the porn industry for good. The final scenes she shot were especially difficult.

“I actually started reading the Bible when I was on the set,” she said, adding that by the end of her porn career, “I hated [doing porn] because I wasn’t taking pain medicine or anything like that.
It was like it was everything was sinking in. It was horrible.”

Then she met Pastor David Bassette.

“The day I first noticed her … she was wearing these high heels that were, like, crazy big,” he said. “And I looked at her and thought, ‘Man, she’s got it going on.’ And I’m, like, ‘Too tall. Not
interested.’ I’m a short guy.”

He was worried she might be too tall for him but he wasn’t concerned about she did for work, so the two started dating.

“I like the fact that she was independent, and very strong, and unfortunately, probably hard to control,” he said. “And I liked that. So I was up for a challenge, I guess.”

Crystal Bassette got a degree, and with David by her side, she said she slowly rebuilt her life.

“It took me a little while to find a job because your past keeps coming up,” she said. “People were like, ‘Oh, she’s a porn star.’ I got turned away by so many different jobs because of that.”

She eventually landed a job as a legal assistant. She and David got married and their son Carter came along soon after. But Crystal’s past continued to haunt her. David said the negative attention
they received forced him to leave his church, so they decided to form their own.

“He’s called to preach,” Crystal Bassette said. “I didn’t see that as my calling right away. I mean, I see it now. But I feel like I can help abused women … people who are in the adult industry.

“Preaching and being able to reach out to people that are broken and lost, it’s a calling,” she added.

She said that past she has tried so hard to shake has helped her connect with people of all backgrounds.

“With us … there was no judgment on people,” she said. “People felt free. It didn’t matter if you came through the doors with full body piercings and tattoos and stuff. We didn’t judge them.
Everybody’s got a past.”

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