Karsh 「An Interview With Eli Lewis: Fighting Against Stereotypes, Stigma & Shaming In The Sex Industry」

Posted on June 17, 2014

Eli Lewis is many things — a trained ballet and contemporary dancer, award-winning blogger, social media maven and porn performer. You may know him best as one of New York’s most outspoken escorts and the star of his new web series 「Deep Inside Eli」. Eli also has a monthly podcast at Gay Sex Cast titled 「The Porn Files」 which discusses current hot topics in the gay adult film industry. He’s everywhere!

I had a chance to speak to the wonderfully honest and insightful Eli Lewis about life as an escort, ethnic representation in porn and the best use for The Hunger Games’ three-finger salute.

- Karsh

Read what Eli had to say and see more pictures below:

Hello Eli! How’s your day going?

Hiya! The day’s off to a great start. My roommate and I just walked our dogs around the gayborhood, grabbed some coffee, and are now caffeinated and alert for the day.

Are you enjoying summer in the city so far? Any summer plans?

I love the summer in New York City; all the boys are out, scantily clad, and ready to play! I don’t have any definitive plans for the summer yet, but I do want to make it out to Fire Island every once in a while. I have my share over the 4th of July weekend, so I’m super excited for that!

Very nice! Any events connected with Rentboy?

Rentboy has their annual summer party during NYC pride week, so that’s coming up soon. Now that Folsom Street East has returned this year, there will also most likely be a booth there. I actually stepped down as the Social Media Director for Rentboy at the end of April this year to focus more on my side projects, porn and escorting escapades, but will continue working with them in future events.

Let’s talk about escorting! How did you get started?

Hah, well I first off blame the economy. I started escorting about two years ago when a series of ballet injuries left me on the sidelines and unable to work for a few months. A few friends suggested I take on a few clients to supplement my income, and I never really looked back.

Ballet! Points for flexibility and a grand jeté. It sounds like it was pretty easy to get started! I’d imagine that in NYC, escorts are a dime a dozen.

You should see my grand plié! Escorting can certainly be a fun and easy way to make money while exploring your own sexuality. There are currently over 400 men actively advertising on Rentboy in New York City, but the way I see it is that each of us fits a different niche and has something unique to offer.

How long have you been escorting now?

I’ve been escorting for almost two years now, and have built quite an amazing base of clients and friends in the industry. I never thought there’d be a community for it, but I’m always pleasantly surprised by the things I learn every day.

The Brotherhood of the Dropped Pants. I like that! In a Huffington Post article in March of this year, you talked about one of your long-standing clients whom you’ve never actually had sex with. Is it common to have clients who just want intimacy without sex?

Haha, I love that! It’s actually a lot more common than one would think, myself included when I first started. Escorting is about making and fulfilling that connection with another person on multiple levels from the physical, to mental, and even emotional. There are certainly clients who may just want the physical intimacy, but more often than not I find myself needing to be their friend and confidant.

I think that’s really important to emphasize. Seeking the services of an escort isn’t like ordering Domino’s Pizza — hot and ready in 30 minutes or less. Escorts are people too! What’s the strangest request you’ve ever received from a client?

I slowly found myself becoming more of an active voice to speak against the stigma and shaming around escorting, so that’s something I definitely like to remind those who would otherwise brush us off as simple three dollar hookers. I’m all about word re-appropriation, but a dollar will not make me holler nor will it make me love you long time.

That being said, I think the most outlandish request I received from a client was to be groomed by him. Let me paint the romantic picture: he was a mid-twenties massage therapy student who needed to make up the hours for his certificate, so he hired me for a few hours every week to massage, trim, wax, and shave me. My life is rough, I know. The struggle is real.

Talk about a fringe benefit — free grooming services. Hopefully he did a good job!

Oh, the massage was great! My least favorite part about those sessions was that I was left hairless and feeling like a toddler again. I’m fine with having a smooth, hairless ass, but I like my happy trail and chest hair!

In one of your blog posts, you talked about the three S’s of the sex industry — stereotypes, stigma and shaming. You’re an Asian man who does porn and also escorts, and is unabashedly open about both pursuits. Can you share with us what sort of backlash you’ve received from people about that?

I was shocked and annoyed to discover that a lot of the backlash I personally received came from within the sex industry. Not all escorts work in porn, and not all porn performers are escorts. These are occupations that may seem alluring, but are really not for everyone to try. You have to be willing to accept the potential consequences of the choices you make when going into either or both of these jobs.

Over the last year, certain performers in the adult film industry have voiced their opinions about the tragedy of escorting and have made their dislike and disapproval of it quite public. I know that haters are always going to hate, but I find it odd in situations like these when the pot calls the kettle black.

We all work within the sex industry whether we’re performing in front of a camera or are entertaining in person, so when we start slut shaming each other for things we do not understand, it upsets but inspires me to start a dialogue with that person to come together and share ideas and resolve issues.

That’s how I like to handle problems — like a sensible, intelligent,adult who doesn’t need to throw shade from behind a computer screen.

From within the industry? Really? I would’ve expected those kinds of things from anonymous Internet commenters, not from people whose taints we’ve seen splayed across screens worldwide.

Again, I’m always learning something new every day. It’s more annoying than anything else, really, to discover that those who should be your allies are actually working against you. On a lighter note, there aren’t very many of those people anyway.

That’s good to know. But speaking of escorting and porn, you’re also doing some scenes now for Peter Fever. Tell us about that.

Oh, how I love me some Peter Le! I’ve made some really close friends from my time filming with Peter Fever Productions, and always have a blast on and off camera with the cast and crew. I love Asian men and am all about sticky rice (Asian on Asian), so I’m like a kid in a candy store whenever I’m on set.

It’s also great to be able to feature sexy men of color, which we don’t see enough in the porn world. Side note: I really need Peter to be my next scene partner, because WOOF!

Seriously, is Peter gonna start doing hardcore scenes? He’s been teasing people with the goods for years now. The time has come!

The time has come for him to lip sync for his life… And I volunteer as tribute!

Between you and me, that three-finger salute is also great for opening up a bottom. Peter Fever is doing a great job of showing Asian men as sex symbols in porn. That representation is important!

I personally believe that foreplay is very important, and for mentioning that, I salute you with three fingers up my butt.

He’s doing a great job of doing that, and I would like to consider myself a frontrunner for continuing to help promote that – diversity is sexy! While I certainly love my all-American jock and blond-hair, blue-eyed beauties, the tall, tan, young, and handsome boy from Ipanema is equally gorgeous.

Very true. There are a lot of studios out there that cater to crowds across a number of interests (Asian, Black, bears, etc.). We should see all of that! Do you think you’ll work with any other studios?

I would definitely love to work with other studios, and now that I’m FUNemployed, I’m more easily able to adjust my schedule to fit in future shoots. I attended the 2014 Grabbys in Chicago last month and spoke to a few studios about upcoming work, so stay tuned for more of my sassy ass!

Looking forward to it! Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I definitely see myself still working within the sex industry at some capacity, whether it’s performing in front of the camera as a former twink turned panda muscle pup or behind the scenes in production. Give me five years; I can gain more muscle mass and hopefully facial hair that rivals that of Joe Manganiello.

And you can keep the 「Deep Inside Eli」 web series going! It’ll be good to see your progression.

I’m trying to brand that as much as possible! 「Deep Inside Eli」 will probably become the eventual name for my blog and website, but I’ll definitely need a lot of viewer participation to keep that going. I love interacting with people to really make a good product; it’s all about giving the audience what they want to see, right?

Absolutely. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience?

I’m currently accepting Friends with Benefits applications with advancement opportunities for tops and versatile tops in New York City. Attach clear and recent face, full body, and cock pics to your resume and send them over pending approval and interview.

Follow Eli Lewis on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and through his website Tales of a Rentboy.



commentaires

上 TOP