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She studied music at the University of Western Ontario and started exotic dancing at age 20; working in various cities throughout Southern Ontario, such as Windsor, to reduce the chance of being recognized by someone who knew her personally. She has also spent time dancing in England and Las Vegas.
She has stated she began toying with the idea of becoming more involved in the industry during her dancing days because she saw lucrative opportunities in creating her own websites, and producing and distributing her own adult materials. She saw California as a place with a favorable climate for her plans and moved there. Shortly after her arrival, she got in contact with World Modeling, an agency for nude and pornographic models and actors, where she was reputedly photographed by Ed Powers on the same day. Phoenix describes her motivation as, "I needed money. He was offering."