It's Sexpo time again! As well as all the stands and meet-and-greets with the likes of White, James Deen, Stoya and Phoenix Marie, entertainment includes Boylesque, Australia’s ‘naughtiest hypnotist’ Mark Anthony and Puppetry of the Penis, plus you can attend the Red Hot Pie workshops and sign up for the much-loved Amateur Strip Tease – for both sexes. For us, the most interesting person to talk to was Australian porn star Angela White, who runs her own production company, graduated with First Class Honours in Gender Studies from Melbourne Uni, and has run for the Australian Sex Party.
Angela, you’ve chosen not to have a ‘porn star name’. Why is that?
I use my birth name for political reasons. I’m proud of what I do and don’t want to hide behind an alias.
What’s your favourite kind of porn to make? And watch? Are you interested in breaking any records or achieving something completely new?
My favourite kind of porn to watch and to make is one in which the performers have a genuine connection and chemistry. I’m not really interested in breaking records; I’m more concerned about authenticity, pushing my personal sexual boundaries and growing as a person.
What side of the industry leaves you cold?
It’s the stigma I face outside of the industry that leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Sex workers in general have a hard time securing loans, maintaining custody of their children and gaining protection from the law. It’s hard knowing that the same person who rejected your rental application because of your profession will jerk off to your image the next day; the hypocrisy is frustrating on a personal and a political level. But I guess I can take solace in the fact that conservatives are some of my best customers.
What's your own motivation for performing in porn?
I was always denigrated for my sexuality in my younger years. My bisexuality was always seen as a problem. I was labelled a slut and a lesbian, the first slur criticising me for fucking men too much, and the second for not fucking them enough. When I discovered porn, I saw a space in which sexuality was celebrated, where having multiple partners of every gender was encouraged. I saw porn as a space where I could express and explore my sexuality in a safe environment with other open minded, sex-positive people. Plus, it gave me the opportunity to engage my exhibitionist streak.
Do you think part of the impetus for porn stars is to prove their athleticism and take pride in how much their bodies can take?
Performing in porn can be incredibly demanding on the body and does require a certain amount of athleticism. I’ve had my fair share of porno injuries from a subluxed jaw to a hip labral tear. Personally, it’s not so much about proving what my body can take. It’s about losing myself in the moment. And sometimes that means that I forget the limits of my body.
Have you had anything weird happen at an expo before?
No. I hate the word “weird”. I feel that it only promotes the myth that something “normal” exists when it comes to sexuality. There’s also a misconception about porn viewers: that they are unattractive, socially inadequate men who could never get a real date. In reality, everybody watches porn. Fans who come to meet me at an event like Sexpo are everyday women and men who generally like sex.
How much time do you spend filming in the States – is it possible to have a porn film career in Australia alone?
When I first started filming in 2003 it was impossible to have a career filming in Australia alone. Things are changing now. The Internet makes every industry global no matter where it’s based. There are also more Australian production companies than ever before. At this stage, I don’t know any models who are able to shoot solely in Australia without supplementing their income. But that could change. I still do all of my hardcore shooting overseas to avoid the legal headaches associated with shooting in Australia.
Do you play up or play down your Australian accent?
Neither. I just be myself. The Aussie accent is definitely a selling point for my US and Japanese fans. But since it’s there naturally I don’t need to do anything to reap the benefits.
What are the strangest requests you’ve had in webcam shows?
Nothing is strange to me. But I do get some interesting requests sometimes. They are often my favourite cam shows because I get to try new things and sometimes discover a new sexual fantasy for my own wank bank. Some interesting things I’ve done include smearing strawberry jam between my toes, giving myself CPR, singing the Lion King soundtrack and encouraging a guy to hit it testicles with a tennis racquet… he came everywhere!
How do you deal with the sleazier people in the business? Did you have to try a few tactics till you find one that works?
This is another misconception about the adult industry that I keep encountering. The adult industry is run like any other industry should be: in a professional and appropriate manner. Anyone who doesn’t conduct themselves with professionalism gets weeded out pretty quickly.
You’ve been in four episodes of Pizza… is mainstream acting something you’re still pursuing?
Sex is my passion and you don’t get to have much sex on mainstream sets. If an amazing mainstream offer was presented to me I’d consider it. But “crossing-over” isn’t my focus.
After studying at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris you ran as a political candidate for the Australian Sex Party in the 2010 Victorian state election, in which you campaigned for the rights of sex workers. How was that experience?
I loved representing the Australian Sex Party. They are the only party that truly care about the rights of sex workers. It was a great experience.
For your Honours thesis, you researched the experiences of female performers in the Australian pornography industry. What were your findings?
The most interesting finding was that performing in porn had transformative potential for a performer’s sexual identity. The intense and unpredictable nature of sexual pleasure and orgasm were capable of challenging their sense of self. For example, two women who entered the industry identifying as heterosexual and lesbian came out of the industry identifying as queer and bi respectively after experiencing sexual pleasures disinvested from their sexual identities. Obviously it’s difficult to discuss all of the complexities in a few sentences but I think this points to the radical potential of pornography. Due to the rigid limits we place on our sexual identities there is a chance that the performers may never have had the opportunity to explore those sexual pleasures outside of pornography.
What are the biggest preconceived notions about porn stars? Drugs, sexual abuse, coercion?
All of the above. People are always trying to theorise why porn stars would want to have sex for a living, as if the answer isn’t obvious … because sex is a fun way to pass the time and pay rent. I have a no drug policy on my set and all scenes are discussed and agreed upon before shooting. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is something that can happen to anyone regardless of whether they dream of becoming a cashier or an astronaut. I’ve worked in mainstream TV, sales and hospitality and haven’t seen a higher percentage of sexual abuse survivors in the adult industry.
There’s a lot of excitement about the crossover appeal of James Deen (who appears in Canyons with Lindsay Lohan)… how did you find working with him?
I’ve shot with James on many occasions. We have great chemistry so shooting with James is a lot of fun. It’s just an added bonus that he has such a lovely appendage that he uses to great effect.
What are you up to with your production company, AGW Entertainment B.V. – and why did you start it?
After shooting for other companies for almost a decade I decided to start my own production company. While I was lucky enough to work with some great companies who gave me quite a bit of free reign, in the end, there were always elements that were out of my control, for example, costuming, location and/or editing. Now I have complete control over every aspect of a shoot, which allows me to create a space where I can explore the depths of my fantasies on my own terms.
Angela White also appears at the Eros Shine Awards