Follow enough porn stars on Twitter, and you’ll notice a few recurring characters. One of the lesser known (but most important) is Talent Testing, the national service that provides models with fast, efficient testing for STIs, among other things.
Founded in 2003 as an offshoot of research facility BioConnections Worldwide, Talent Testing began with a simple question: How to better use the company’s state-of-the-art instrumentation in other markets.
“We started with MMA fighters,” says Talent Testing President and CEO Sixto Pacheco. “And then I bumped into, here in Miami, one of the owners of Venetian Productions. We got to talking and he told me, ‘Hey, we do this testing for the adult industry. Our performers have to drive to Fort Lauderdale, but you’re not that far away from where we are…” So, it made sense.”
In addition to their Miami headquarters, there are Talent Testing labs in Las Vegas, Oakland, Tampa, Orlando, Northridge—and Budapest. In addition, there are 430 Associated Drawing Facilities across the country providing the same level of service. That includes civilians, as well, thanks to the I Know My Status program.
Testing Talent was singularly situated to deal with the sudden changes wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, as well. “Because we have our own IT department, all we have to do is adapt and overcome,” Pacheco says. “You go ahead and tailor based on what the market needs are, and then we sort of try to stay ahead of the game as well.”
They were certainly ahead of the game when it came to COVID-19 testing, now one of the routine tests they run on performers. “On the research side, we got an Emergency Use Authorization approved by the FDA in March,” Pacheco says. “And the FDA asked us to pivot to the retail market, which we did rather quickly. We started serving the local market, and for a month and a half we were doing free testing for the community, and then we implemented it in the talent testing model.”
While studio porn went on hiatus in the early days of the pandemic, performers were turning to their fan platforms for income, which still necessitated testing. The continued influx of performers to Talent Testing sites partially prompted their early adoption of COVID-19 testing.
And while performers typically get their results in 24 hours or less, even as well-oiled a machine as Talent Testing can’t control everything.
“We have redundancies built in if we have a failure in one of the points in the process,” Pacheco says. “But I can’t control FedEx and I can’t control the weather!” Instead, he and Talent Testing are putting performers firmly in control of their own health.