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Maitland Ward went from sitcom star to adult movie star.
From 1998 to 2000, the actress played Rachel McGuire in the final two seasons of ABC’s “Boy Meets World.” After her stint on the show, Ward then broke into the adult film industry. She detailed her surprising career path in a memoir released Sept. 6 titled “Rated X: How Porn Liberated Me from Hollywood.”
“I think it’s an empowering story for women and for everyone,” Ward, 45, told Fox News Digital. “It’s about living your truth and not listening to what everyone tells you to do. For so long, Hollywood told me that I could only be a certain way. The industry wanted me keep in a box. I reached a point where I just wanted to do my own thing. I am now my authentic self. There will always be people who try to pigeonhole you, especially as a woman. For me, escaping has been so liberating. I think that’s true for anyone in any industry. My story happens to be a bit more outrageous.
The California native said that as a child she dreamed of becoming an actress. Her first role was as Jessica Forrester on ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ from 1994 to 1996. After the soap opera, she found herself on the set of ‘Boy Meets World’, a wholesome comedy about coming of age. adulthood created by Michael Jacobs. Ward joined a close-knit cast as a new girl.
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“I was very well received, they were very nice to me,” Ward explained. “It was a strange thing to walk into a set that had been such a well-oiled machine and where they had grown up on the show. Everyone was established and knew how to work with each other. I was coming for years academics, and I was nervous about it. But I got accepted…and I had a great time on the show.
In chapter six of her book, Ward alleged that she had been asked to try on lingerie for “mostly male” producers at the office “more than once” as her personal style developed. character evolved. Ward pointed out that she had never been sexually assaulted, but the overall experience made her “uncomfortable”.
“Yeah, it was uncomfortable and weird, and I didn’t know why I needed to do that,” she told Fox News Digital. “I thought it was my job to behave and be a professional. Or whatever I thought it was at the time. But it was very uncomfortable and I felt exposed and speechless. Even Michael commented that he was so embarrassed about it because I’m so like a girl to him [that it] felt weird. I never understood why we didn’t just take pictures of everything in the wardrobe and choose from there. Why did I have to put on a show?”
“My confidence was low with my body.” said Ward. “I was young, impressionable, and I thought that was what you were doing. It would never happen today because someone would be called on it. And let me just say, I’m into porn, and I never had to walk into a producer’s office or whatever and try on lingerie for a shoot.”
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An attorney for Jacobs did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Ward said she noticed her character, who lived with roommates Eric Matthews (Will Friedle) and Jack Hunter (Matthew Lawrence), became popular with male audiences.
“I remember one time some guys in the studio audience were hissing at me,” she recalls. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, they really see me as sexy.’ Because I didn’t think I was sexy. I thought I was pretending to be a little sexy for the show, you know, with my little dances. But I still had no confidence in my body. I remember those four guys were like, ‘Rachel, we love you. You’re so hot.” I just thought it was crazy for me.”
After “Boy Meets World”, she appeared in “White Chicks” in 2004. But she eventually found herself typecast.
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“I knew Hollywood wasn’t for me, but I kept wanting to hang on,” Ward said. “I kept trying to think of ways to reinvent myself. I’m not one to give up easily. But my self-esteem was on the decline. You’re hired to be a certain way, to have a certain appearance. But if you stay the same, you lose success. What makes you famous is what will keep you from being hired for anything else.
“Hollywood is a machine that builds you up but then tears you down,” she continued. “I think a lot of actors struggle with that, especially if you were on a popular prime-time show. It’s hard to break out of the stereotype. I had wanted to do so many things, act wisely. I wanted to do more drama. I just wanted to do something different. And yet, I wasn’t even allowed to audition for that. I wasn’t seen as something different. And it became disheartening.
Ward said she studied screenwriting at UCLA in hopes of forging a different career path. But then she started posting photos of herself in “cute bikinis” or cosplay on social media. His following immediately multiplied.
“My photos were sometimes deleted because they were too sexy,” Ward said. “Some fans reached out and said, ‘Why aren’t you selling content? I didn’t know exactly what that meant until I learned that you can sell your photos and do whatever you want with no restrictions. I started a Patreon and within a week I had thousands of subscribers…and I wanted to explore my sexuality.
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Ward started making adult films after marrying her husband, Terry Baxter, in 2006. She said her spouse has been “super supportive”.
Ward insisted she was unfazed by any criticism for her decision to sue the adult film industry.
“I have more fame, more money and more acting opportunities than ever before,” she said. “I can create roles. I have long, twisted dialogue. I can write scripts. I can do whatever I wanted to do. I even have more respect now for doing exactly what I want to do shamelessly How can you shame someone who isn’t ashamed?And women come up to me all the time saying that I made them feel more comfortable in their sexuality.
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As for her former “Boy Meets World” castmates, Ward said she hasn’t received any negative feedback.
“Wilfred [Friedle] was really sweet to me,” she said. “He called me and said he was proud of me. He said he would never watch anything I do, but he supports me. I was Trina’s best friend [McGee] for years, and she supports me. I just don’t see how anyone can blame me for being happy in life.”
Today, Ward said she has never felt so comfortable in her own skin.
“We are just people who make a living to support our lives and our families,” she insisted. “And of all places, Hollywood shouldn’t be judgmental.”
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