After being fired from a school board job she held for nearly a decade, a Quebec office assistant who moonlighted as a porn actress has wholly embraced the industry that got her into hot water in the first place.
The woman — who prefers to go by her porn moniker Samantha Ardente — set tongues wagging in the spring when her off-hour escapades came to light after a student recognized her in an adult film.
Months after she sparked widely varying opinions on her activities, Ardente started a production house for adult films and starred in the company's debut flick.
"I feel positive about everything that happened," Ardente said through a translator. "It was a life experience but I came out a bigger and better person."
Founding her own adult film company was a step Ardente took only after gaining the approval of her 12-year-old daughter, who had previously been unaware her mother did porn on the side.
"I didn't have the time to tell my family what happened, they got to know it through the media," she said, adding that it was hard to deal with the impact her uninvited fame had on her loved ones.
"The name of my family was involved in a scandal."
Ardente was suspended from her job at a Quebec City-area high school in March after a student spotted her in a porn video on the Internet.
While she didn't deal with students in her job, the spicy contents of her videos turned her into quite the celebrity among them.
School board officials fired Ardente after they were unable to reach agreement on her transfer to another job. They acknowledged Ardente hadn't done anything illegal but said her cinematic activities don't correspond with the values being taught at the school.
Ardente had initially offered to put an end to her pornography career but said the board also wanted to impose working conditions that she felt would be too restrictive. After filing a grievance she eventually reached an out-of-court settlement with her employer.
After a rollercoaster ride encompassing both negative and positive reactions to her previously hidden life, Ardente said her supporters inspired her to push ahead with the very actions that touched off the controversy in the first place.
"I just continued with my life," she said.
Ardente said the production company she launched in August currently only makes tasteful "soft core" movies with couples. In her own film, she stars alongside her boyfriend and business associate Derek Tyler, but says she also has other projects with prominent porn stars in the works.
Ardente is already featured in a calendar that can be found in select Quebec stores and has plans to launch a lingerie line in the future.
"My life has changed in the sense that people who didn't know me before recognize me in the street as Samantha," she said.
"They say that they're happy to see I kept my head up and that I kept going forward instead of looking back."