Are you resistant to change? If so, you might want to dive under the safety of your covers and hold your breath until next Wednesday! Instead of poly advice columns today, I'm launching my monthly #PornStarsWhoPersist profile series by publishing an EXCLUSIVE interview with the legendary Mona Wales.
I've had the pleasure of knowing Mona since we worked in a domination house together back in 2013. Since then, she's skyrocketed to pornographic stardom in a time where the porn industry is struggling more than it ever has before. Don't let her flawless mainstream appearance fool you - she's as intellectual, as radical, and as queer as they come, and she's never been afraid to put her politics on full display through her work. Enjoy!
#PornStarsWhoPersist Volume I: Mona Wales
Let’s start off with something fun, Mona. It’s nearly impossible to maintain any semblance of privacy when you’re a high profile porn star. What are three things that most laypeople don’t know about you?
a) I love contra dancing!
b) I’m the queen of the San Francisco dog lady contingent. When I’m not shooting porn, I join a group of 4-5 older women in the area, and we walk the streets together swinging our dog carriers.
c) Instead of flying, I commute to Los Angeles in my 1978 “Queen Daddy” RV to shoot porn multiple times a month.
You always seem to have your hands in a number of different projects at any given time, but I was especially interested in the success of your DVD release, “Real Fucking Girls”, which featured explicit scenes between transgender women and cisgender women and won AVN, TEA, and XBIZ awards. What motivated you to produce that film, and what was so special about it?
Working in the adult industry, I kept hearing the same story again and again: ‘trans porn doesn’t authentically reflect everyone’s sexuality’, ‘the language utilized around it alienates and is discomforting to some trans people’, etc. I noticed that cisgender producers and directors have been doing most of the talking for other people - namely, queer and gender-variant communities - and putting our fantasies of what we’d like to see from transgender performers, our assumptions and preferences, on the screen.
Most porn is phallus-centric, and that script permeates trans porn, even when a performer has other language for their genitals, or when they don’t prefer to use their genitals in a stereotypically ‘phallic’ way during recreational sex. There’s typically a lot of pressure for transfeminine performers to perform in the same way that cis male performers are expected to perform on sets, namely getting and sustaining an erection. I remember one scene in particular that I was performing in where my costar was a trans woman. She was having trouble getting and staying hard, which was making penetrating me impossible, and the director kept telling me, “Mona, this is your job, make it work!”. I had hair bands on me, and I ended up wrapping and concealing them around her junk so that she had the appearance of an erection, then sticking four of my own fingers in my my asshole to stretch myself out so that she could more easily penetrate me. It was stressful for everyone involved - no one was having fun. And it would have been just as hot of a scene - if not hotter! - if we had just been allowed to do what we wanted with one another. Hand sex, double-ended dildos, etc. This happens all the time.
Plus, there’s a very limited amount of content featuring trans women fucking cis women coming out of mainstream studios. We wanted to create hot mainstream translesbian porn that featured more genuine and varied means of sexual expression. Grooby - the film’s producer - gave me full creative license, telling me literally to ‘do anything and cast anyone’. So I did!
. Did the outcome of November’s election affect your goals as a performer, producer, or artist in the adult industry in any way?
I did not get out of bed for two weeks post-Election. I was driving back home in Queen Daddy, listening to the news, and I got the news and punched my poor RV in the dashboard and made a huge dent. It affected me much more on a personal level than a professional It actually made me realize that porn is not that important in the grand scheme of things. What will is people working to actively persist together. Went to Womens March in DC instead of the AVNs. It’s about priorities.
4. You’ve said previously, “My theory of pornography is that it is neither good nor bad; that it is an amoral industry.” How do you operate inside that self-imposed vacuum?
I believe that pornography can be used by both sides to affect both positive and negative social change. Pornography is a mass medium with a very low barrier of entry. I do my best work when I ignore the social climate; at the same time, I try and ignore traditional ‘wisdom’ of old-school porn production standards. For example, that black and brown bodies are ‘less profitable’, or that shooting transgender folks will ‘ruin your career’. Instead, I try to make content that I enjoy curating and watching. I aim to create fantasy landscapes where people are happy, empowered, successful, and sexually fulfilled. Since pornography is essentially fantasy, I think that it only makes sense to have your sexual fantasies - in addition to your social and political fantasies - lived out on camera and accessible to you. Sometimes the most profound method of resistance is simply ignoring the ideas that conflict with those we don’t agree with, instead of internalizing the bad, the oppressive, the evil, and letting them taint our work and pollute our minds.
5. What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on pre-production for ‘Real Fucking Girls 2’, and my sophomore release for Grooby called “All My Mother’s Lovers”, which I co-directed with Arabelle Raphael. I’m also continuing to actively perform for both mainstream porn and fetish companies, as well as producing content for both MonaWalesXXX.com and LesPOV.com. So I’m pretty busy!
6. Donald Trump propositions you for a custom video. What’s the content, do you accept the gig, and how much do you charge him?
The answer is ‘no’. No way. After the election, I changed all of my online advertisements to make it clear that conservatives were not welcome. My sugar baby website literally says, ‘I do not fuck with conservatives”. It’s a privilege - to be able to be particular about what work I accept - but I’m exercising it.
7. Do you have any closing thoughts or remarks?
I think that porn producers and performers have the same ethical duty as every other person in the world in that we shouldn’t be held to higher standards, nor lower standards. We should do our best to stay informed, participate and engage, and work to change what we disagree with, as well as continue to support the people, movements and policies that are enacting positive change.