When I first saw a clip of Stoya in action, I was awestruck. She was the only female porn performer I’d ever seen who genuinely seemed to be enjoying it—smiling, even laughing a little, and simply radiating happiness. With her pale cheeks flushed pink and her dark hair slapping up and down around her face, she made little pleased noises instead of letting out a forced litany of “dirty talk” while some male performer (can’t remember a thing about him) went to town. I’m not an expert on her body of work, which has earned her AVN’s 2009 Best New Starlet award, but I do know that both those in the industry and casual fans alike all seem to regard her as intelligent, multitalented, and sincere. You can confirm this for yourself by checking out her twitter feed or her tumblr.
She graciously agreed to answer the following questions over email.
When you were growing up, did you think of yourself as a hot chick?
Hah. When I was a kid I had to have corrective lenses for my vision, heavy orthodontic work, and was in a back brace to treat scoliosis. Also, my parents raised me to be much more focused on intellectual ability and skills as opposed to something like physical attractiveness. The gist of it was that good looks are a genetic fluke and will fade long before I’m done living, so time and energy is better put towards things that I’ll still have when I’m 70.
Who’s your favorite lingerie designer/retailer?
Agent Provocateur. I love their style and there really aren’t many companies that make nice lingerie for people with small breasts. Also, they consistently have the most helpful (and adorable) staff of any lingerie boutique I’ve ever dealt with.
I know you’re a bookworm—have you read anything good recently? Do you have a favorite book by/about a sex worker?
Chad Kultgen’s Men Women & Children. I may be partial to it because I’m mentioned in it, but Chad’s work always feels like this amazing subtle parody of American attitudes towards sex and relationships. Annie Sprinkle’s Post Porn Modernist and Carol Queen’s writings influenced me heavily during the part of my life where I was taking control of my own sexuality, as did Shannon Bell and pretty much everyone who contributed a piece to Jane Sexes It Up although not all of those women were sex workers.
Have there been any articles written on you or any interviews you agreed to that you really hated? Any journalists who got you completely wrong?
There have been, and it really bums me out when that happens. Every single time it has involved a journalist who came into the piece with their story already written and didn’t know what to do when I didn’t fit their pre-conceptions. I try to understand their position and try to focus on the really good experiences. I have noticed that I’m getting more combative with press I don’t know and should probably continue to work on evaluating each person based on my interaction with them as opposed to being wary just because they’re a journalist. It’s counterproductive and unfair to them.
Do you watch porn for your own personal arousal? Is there any particular film that’s a favorite of yours?
I don’t watch porn for my own arousal. The combination of professional curiosity and behind the scenes knowledge makes it too difficult for me to suspend my disbelief. Before I agreed to do my very first scene (Jack The Zipper’s Razordolls) I did rent a couple of movies to see what I was getting myself into. One of them was John Stagliano’s Fashionistas. It was so amazing, I still have the discs and when people are curious about fetish or porn that blurs the line between art and adult material I make them watch it.
Are you critical of yourself when you watch one of your films? Do you think things like “oh, that was a weird face”?
I watched Jack’s POV 9 when it was released and was so self conscious about it that I almost quit. Now I don’t really watch my films (although I do try to give them a quick view on fast forward so that I can answer questions about the content of the movie accurately) but I do run into GIFs on the internet that people have made. I’ve seen so many girls at work that have these beautiful orgasms that are all graceful and coordinated… and I spazz out and kind of flop around and collapse on the floor. I think the faces I make are absolutely bizarre, but the number one thing that people compliment me on or say they appreciate most in my films is my crazy faces, so I guess it works.
Based on previous interviews, it sounds like you really like being rough with guys. Is that something you’d like to do more on camera?
I like being rough with guys when the guy likes it rough. Any sexual activity aside from masturbation requires at least two people, and for me the most beautiful thing about sex is two people playing human tetris with their bodies and sexual preferences until it all clicks together. There’s that moment where everyone involved is all wound up and you find the perfect way to move against each other and it turns into magic. As long as we’re headed towards or in that moment, I will have fun giving it rough, taking it rough, or staring into someone’s eyes and slowly fucking like a romance novel.
I know you’ve weighed in on the condoms in straight porn debate in the past—what’s your current take on the topic? Do you think it’s true that viewers overwhelmingly don’t want to see them on performers? Are many (or any) performers you know resistant to using them in their scenes?
I firmly believe that we should continue to minimize the risk in the adult industry as much as possible while remaining cognizant of the fact that is an industry. I think the ways we protect ourselves should be governed by personal choice, in the same way that I believe every consensual sex act should be. I choose to require that the people I’m working with be tested as close to two days before the scene as possible, which means that any STI they may have been exposed to three or more weeks prior to our scene would be detected, as opposed to the current industry standard which requires a test taken within the past four weeks – lengthening that window of possible undetected infection to somewhere between three and seven weeks. It isn’t safe, it is safer. I can’t speak for other performers, but I can link you to Kayden Kross’s take on the matter: http://www.xbiz.com/blogs/130296 and an article on Jezebel.com quoting and discussing Nina Hartley’s take on condom use: http://jezebel.com/#!5586957/legendary-porn-star-defends-bareback-sex-and-shaved-vulvas Regarding the preferences of the public, I don’t know. We have plenty of anecdotal evidence but that isn’t reliable data.
We are kind-of obsessed with cats here. Do you still have yours? If so, does s/he act out when you travel?
Tina Sparkle is very clingy for a cat and he was so sad when I would travel. I would have someone he knew come over and spend time with him after they’d taken care of the fresh water/food stuff, and I’d come home to reports that he’d just sit and stare at the front door waiting for me and refuse to eat. Who would have thought I’d end up with a cat who has separation anxiety? Tina really liked my mom and her cat died a couple of years ago so now he lives with her and they keep each other company. They both seem happy with the arrangement and I get to see him fairly regularly.