—interview by Bianca Betancourt (@bybiancabee)
Women watch porn. If you're a woman yourself, you know this, whether it's something you share with those around you or not. And if you don't believe it? Let this in depth Marie Claire survey conducted last year prove to you otherwise—for you numbers people.
As the stigma around talking openly about sex and porn viewing gradually wears off, those who are creating and participating in the new era of adult cinema (like director Erika Lust) are speaking out about what goes into their daily lives as members of the sex entertainment industry.
One of the community's leading ladies is Argentine actress (and activist!) Maria Riot. The raven haired beauty not only stuns on the screen (via laptop, iPhone or old fashioned television) but also works simultaneously to erase the shame of sex work and fight for the other cause she believes in—the protection and preservation of nature's animals.
We talked with her about all of this, below:
What was your first introduction to/ experience with adult cinema? What part of it made you want to make it your career?
MR: I started being a webcammer. I was looking for a job and I didn't know that you could earn money having online sex. I was doing that for free! So I found a girl that was doing it, I talked with her and I started too. Then I become more interested about sex work and I investigated about it. During the webcam shows, there were people asking to see me and pay me in real life, and I had been fantasizing about being a sex worker for some years so it was finally the moment to do it for real. I started having clients and I saved money to travel to Spain, looking for a better life than the one I had in Buenos Aires. When I moved to Madrid, I was really motivated about all the activism I found on the Internet about sex work and all the community that was surrounded it. That moment was when I started getting ideas about having my own porn company with a friend. We were looking for inspiration and I was in love with the videos I saw—I discovered CrashPad Series, Erika Lust, QueerPornTv, Four Chambers, Courtney Trouble. I found that another way to do and work in porn existed and I wanted to be part of it, so I contacted some of them and that's how I started.
I found it very exciting to express myself and change things that I don't like in the world, and society having taboos and prejudices about sex and the individual decisions that anyone can do with their own body, is one of them.
MR: Have you always been comfortable with your sexuality? If not, how did you become so? If you have, what instilled within you that confidence?
I always have been very curious about it. I was very interested about bodies and sexuality and reading a lot about it, so when I started having my first experiences, I took it very naturally. But the thing that changed everything to me was finding pro-sex tumblrs with body positive writing, sex and amazing photos and gifs of porn videos. I was a teenager and seeing a lot of people talking about it, telling their experiences and giving advices, was really liberating for me.
But it was not until I got involved in sex work and porn that I started to feel really comfortable with my sexuality. Thanks to working with sex, I had learned a lot of things, meeting a lot of new ways of living our sexuality and how to enjoy it. I am still learning and there are a lot of things I never tried. Sex can be amazing and it's really interesting and exciting to discover it.
How do you think the stigma of adult cinema has changed over the years?
MR: The reason why I talk about it openly is to fight the stigma that sex and working with it has. We need more space in media and trying to make our voices heard. Now there are more actresses and actors talking about their work and my favorite thing about ethical porn is that directors talk about their work too! We are not only body parts, we have a discourse and we want to be heard.
What are people's responses when you tell them what you do for a living?
MR: Some people don't believe me, because they have in their mind a stereotype about how sex workers and porn actress are and they say I don't look like one. That is good for me because then I can tell them that anyone can be a sex worker or a porn performer and there is no body type, clothes or attitudes that define how sex workers or porn performers are.
Other people get really curious and they want to know everything about it and others ask me how to be a sex worker too! I found it very interesting to see the reactions of people because I get to know a lot more about them just listening to what they think about sex work or porn.
You have a big social media following—what are the interactions with your fans like?
MR: I don't think I have a big social media following but I really appreaciate when people say nice things to me or support my work or my interviews. Sometimes I get a lot of messages and sadly I can't answer all of them, but I read all the things that people send to me.
It feels weird to think that I have fans. Some people recognize me and asked for photos and sometimes I don't know what to do. I get really speechless when someone sends me things saying that they admire me or they love me without knowing me for real. I think I am just a normal person trying to reach her goals, working hard and just living a sometimes normal life and sometimes a crazy one but also just being a girl that wanted some things and that worked really hard to do them.
The best part of it is receiving messages of people telling that I have helped them to understand themselves, to having less prejudices in general, to start accepting themselves or to follow their dreams. That is really motivating. (And I love when some anonymous admirers send me books too!)
Tell us more about your involvement with animal activism and your veganism. How long have you been involved in both?
MR: I became vegan four years ago when I found a starving kitty in the streets. That made me starting to have more compassion towards animals—taking care of her and knowing that my cat was not different to the animals I was eating everyday. I found videos where I saw how animals suffered in the slaughter-house and other places, and I didn't want to be part of that anymore. That was the first day I knew that I wanted to be an activist too. I think we don't have to be passive in our lives If we want something to change.
Being an animal rights activist, I am the social media manager at the Organization Animal Libre Argentina. When I am in Argentina I participate in street activism as well. Animal Libre is an Organization that started in Chile 5 years ago and we opened another one year ago in Argentina. We want to educate society about the sad truth about animals and their lives and make people start to think about changing their habits.
What are your plans for the near future? We know you're attending school in NYC later this year. What more do you want to accomplish in your lifetime?
MR: Now I am doing my Visa application to go to USA in August until December. I am going to study biotechnology (and communication related to it) at Cornell University for 12 weeks. My background is design, art and music but they were looking for activists and people with experience in communication too, so I applied and now I am an Argentine representative for a fellowship. I did it without thinking at all that I would be selected, and now I am very happy because being it will be a totally unexpected experience for me and I am going to learn a lot of things that I can apply to the other things I do in my life too.
I really don't have a plan for my life because I like challenges and just doing things that make me happy. But for now, I am a sex worker and a porn performer and I want to do it until I get bored of it. I want to keep on travelling and in the future, maybe study cinema and start directing my own porn videos. I don't know if I want to have a company but I totally want to produce my own material. I want to start it in Argentina and to do some Porn Film Festival there too. That would be amazing, because back home there is no industry or community and I think that someone has to start it and built it.