Loss is always an unwelcome guest. It’s a reminder of what couldn’t be, of unfulfilled dreams and abandoned destinies. The pain and suffering grow multifold when one loses a loved one. Adult entertainment star Danielle Gray a.k.a. AJ Applegate went through the motions of intense pain and suffering when she lost her “boyfriend of 5 years due to a tragic accident.” And it was in the time of such irrevocable loss that she found strength in her attitude, her heart, and especially her independent self. This is her story of overcoming the loss of her soul mate and succeeding as an Instagram star.
30-year old AJ Applegate had always dreamt of breaking the limitations of her conventional domestic setting. She was born in Long Island and longed for the skies. She had devoted her life to becoming an entertainer and tried her hand at dancing for professional sports teams. She says, “I ended up becoming a stripper part-time before finally entering the adult industry in 2012.” After a tough start, she found herself making headlines for her ‘hourglass figure.’ Not only that, but she was also nominated for ‘Best New Starlet’ as well as the ‘Performer of the Year’ for the next four years.
Her professional life had exceeded her expectations, but her personal life had just been jolted out of a dream. Her boyfriend of five years had succumbed to his injuries in a tragic accident in Mexico City. This trauma wounded her beyond repair, at least for a while. She says, “I didn’t think I would ever be able to overcome that. It has made me a stronger person today.” She also considers it as the “biggest obstacle I’ve overcome so far.”
As she bandaged her broken heart, her pain pushed her to achieve her goal. Life, she realized, “is short, unpredictable, and too precious to be left completely to chance.” She was also tired of “being successful for so many other people.” She says, “I realized I could do that on my own and feel so much more accomplished at the end of the day.” This realization, made concrete with a zest to overcome her pain, made her join forces with “someone that has their own clothing company. He felt that I could have a very successful clothing line as well. We turned it into a merchandise line called AJ’s Merch. The first day I launched, almost everything sold out within the first 48 hours.”
Today she has over 1.6 million fans on Instagram and is firmly established as an entrepreneur. She’s also a mother and has proven that she can do whatever she sets her mind to.