"Are you on the cover of a magazine?"

During a trip to the bookstore, my mom wandered into the gay section -- and saw my face

By As told to Salon by Samuel Colt

Published March 20, 2012 3:59AM (EDT)

       (Unzipped.net)
(Unzipped.net)

This article is the second in a new series of oral histories by former and current sex workers, in which they describe the moment they told their family what they do.

I've lived in San Francisco for 18 years, and I've always been around porn. For a long time, I worked behind the scenes, at a couple of companies' websites and stuff like that, but I had never wanted to do porn because I wasn't secure with the way I looked or I had a boyfriend who was against it. Around 2009, those weren't problems anymore. I got approached to do some nude photo shoots, and one of them ended up being picked up by Men Magazine, which at that time was kind of a big thing. At the same time, a friend of mine was directing a video that he wanted me to be in. At first I just wanted to be an extra, and then he was like, "Why not just have sex in it?" And so I did. Then another director found out about me, and then another, and then I was scheduled in four videos in pretty much the same time.

I liked doing porn. Though I never wanted to be in a situation where I was doing it to pay my rent, I wanted to do it to enrich my life, so I could do things I wanted to do or so I could go on a vacation I wanted to go on. I was making good money, and all that kind of stuff. I filmed my first films in the beginning of 2009, and things started to come out in August 2009. I got tons of press and everything, but I didn't tell my mom -- not because I was skittish about it. My mother was a free love hippie-type person, and she's always been very sex positive. But it was not something I needed to tell her. My parents divorced when I was really young, but I don't talk to my dad. I came out to him when I was 17 or 18, but he is very anti-gay, so I haven't spoken with him in 17 years.

Then in February of 2010 I got a phone call from my mom. My mom never calls me. Never. It's like pulling teeth to get her to talk on the phone, but she called me and she was like, "Are you on the cover of a magazine?"  I had been voted Man of the Year in Unzipped Magazine that month, so I said, "Yeah … how do you know that?" And so she told me this story: It was a Saturday night, and she had had a date with a guy and he had stood her up. She wanted to entertain herself so she went to the adult bookstore to buy a dildo, and she decided to browse the gay magazines because she said that's where the hottest guys always were. And there I was on the cove...

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As told to Salon by Samuel Colt

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