Most of my interviews don’t delve into debates about the erotic nature of naked men wearing lampshades over their faces. Then again, most of my interview subjects are not creative enough to search for meaning in the bizarre. Angela White is that exception.
We sit across from each other at a bar, tucked away in an oversized suite at the Hard Rock Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Angela’s award winning, 32GG chest rests on the bar between us, perpetually luring my focus away from our high-minded talk into the unfathomable depths of her cleavage. For the sake of this story I will pretend that we are in the suite alone, that Angela invited me up to the room so our interview could unfold over several cocktails, and unspool over various pieces of furniture. This is not the truth, but as with porn, I prefer the illusion of intimacy. Her beauty aside, Angela’s success in porn is largely a factor of her ability to foster these kinds of one-on-one connections, both in her scenes and with her millions of social media followers.
This is the point in a standard interview where I briefly summarize my subject’s biography. Angela’s bio is not brief, nor easily summarized. Her story spans extremes, from webcamming in high school to conducting graduate research on gender at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris. Angela is both raunchy and refined. She creates cinematically gritty gonzo scenes, and strives for realism in a medium often criticized for being disingenuous. To paraphrase Walt Whitman, she contains multitudes.
It’s no surprise then that in a conversation about porn, Angela doesn’t really want to talk about porn. Angela is neophilic. She seeks novelty in all things, including the few interviews she grants each year. So, if you want to read up on her biography and watch her sex scenes, check out her website, AngelaWhite.com, or a previous interview I did with her for Fleshbot.com. What follows is a search for authenticity through absurdity, and honesty through humor. If nothing else, this interview attempts to create a portrait of Angela White through a collage of questions that don’t start with, “How did you get into porn?”
What’s the weirdest thing you kept hidden in your closet as a kid?
Angela White: Gosh… I mean, my diaries.
Did you have so many crushes on boys that you had to start assigning them numbers, like “Boy 34”?
Angela White: There are people named like that in my diary: “Dude 1” and “Girl 2.”
You should have parts like that in your films: “ ‘Dude 1’ walks into Angela’s room brandishing a sporting boner.”
Angela White: Except I don’t do scripts for the movies I produce. It’s just straight fucking. There’s no room for a “Dude 1” or “Big Titted Extra 3.”
My goal is to be the first credited extra in one of your films. I can see it now: “Dude 1 walks into the kitchen past the orgy unfolding in the living room and pours himself a bowl of cereal.” I want to be “Dude 1.” I want to be the first random guy who doesn’t have sex with you in a porn scene.
Angela White: That reminds me of the first porno I saw. It had two guys wearing lampshades on their heads, covering their faces. I have no idea why but I kind of want to recreate it. It’s weirdly hot to me.
Did the anonymity of it turn you on?
Angela White: No. I think the lampshades eventually came off. I don’t know if they were trying to be artistic or if it had something to do with the story, which we fast-forwarded through.
Sounds like a good way to haze a new, male performer. Tell him, “You can fuck this beautiful woman, but you have to do it while wearing a lampshade.”
Angela White: And I wouldn’t want the lampshade flapping around so he’d need to keep his upper torso still while thrusting.
And obviously there would have to be a light shinning through the shade.
Angela White: That’s next level. Now you’re thinking.
I would love to make comedic porn like that, but no one would buy it.
Angela White: I don’t find lampshade sex funny. What is funny about lampshades? Nothing. I think that’s very serious. Seriously sexy.
It’s revolutionary. Women being pleasured by gigolo-androids who are half man, half lampshade.
Angela White: That’s the future of porn.
Do you think part of what turns you on about lampshade sex is the idea of “brown bagging” guys so you don’t have to see their faces?
Angela White: Ohhhh, I like that.
Or is it that you don’t want them to see you?
Angela White: That’s hot if they can’t see me. That’s a thing for me. As a performer there are moments when you feel like you are being objectified. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Humans are visual creatures. We like to look at pretty things: jewelry, architecture, a car’s lines. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with objectifying another human, but sometimes you want to connect on a different level. My least favorite way to connect with someone is just on the surface, just to see a pretty person. In fact, most really pretty people I have had sex with outside of porn have been no good. I don’t tend to go for someone based on their physicality. I am all about connecting on an emotional and intellectual level. I am sapiosexual. If someone can get to me on that level, and make me think, I just want to get in their pants.
Well then obviously I don’t do much for you, because I’m purely a visual feast. Do you think that because you work in porn, which is such a visual medium, that you search for more emotional, intellectual, or just strange connections in your personal life?
Angela White: I like everything. I want to experience everything. I like high culture and low culture. I like to get down and dirty on chili cheese fries, and I like restaurants that are $500 dollars a head. I’ll watch Jerry Springer and arthouse films. I have no shame about the fact that I want to experience as much as I possibly can in life. In porn I get to experience a lot of that anonymous sex, sex with strangers, sex with people I know on a physical level. In my personal life I don’t really need to have one-night-stands, or to fuck strangers. I get that in my job. So outside of porn, I definitely want to connect with someone on a more emotional and intellectual level.
Do you ever stalk your intellectual crushes online?
Angela White: Absolutely. I get fan girl for intellectuals, even the dead ones.
Does the fact that they’re dead, that they are that much more unattainable, make the fantasy stronger?
Angela White: Maybe, because I’ve met intellectual crushes and been let down. I don’t think you should ever meet your idols, which is funny because I go to these adult conventions hoping fans will come meet me. But, if you are in love with someone, don’t meet them. It ruins everything. There have been a few musicians who have inspired me, or who got me through tough times, and I got to meet them because…
Because of your Angela White-ness
Angela White: Haha. Yes. I use my status or whatever to meet them, and they turn out to be so boring or uninspiring. You create this ideal of who your heroes are, but often, they are not that person or it’s a brand. If you want to keep your heroes, or your fantasy girls, don’t ever meet them.
So, your fans should assume that you aren’t as sexy as your films suggest?
Angela White: …Well, they might have built me up to be such a horny girl that they think when they meet me I will just grab their dick and start jerking them off. This is clearly a fantasy that is not going to happen. These guys are jerking off to me. They are seeing me take dicks up my butthole. They have imagined all of these fantasies. I’m sure when most fans meet me they know I am not going to give them a handjob or go back to their room and fuck them… But maybe some guys think it’s within the realm of possibilities, because I’m human and I do have sex with people, so maybe there is a small chance that you would meet me and that I would have sex with you, but I meet thousands of people.
Who is someone you are a fan girl of?
Angela White: Judith Butler. She changed my life in university. When I met her in Paris, I was like, “Oh my God! It’s Judith Fucking Butler.”
There are a few writers like that for me. If I met them I’d probably just try to play it cool. Maybe shake their hands. I have this delusion that they would sense how interesting I am and want to be my friend.
Angela White: A lot of times I’ll see a celebrity when I’m out and they’ll look over and I’ll just look the other way.
I feel like a lot of celebrities would legitimately want to be your friend, at least the straight male ones.
Angela White: But I don’t necessarily want to be their friends. Many of the celebrities I’ve met are very self-entitled.
Do you think that narcissism, that air of self-importance, helps them reach high levels of success, or does their ego explode after they become successful?
Angela White: Chicken or the egg. It could be either or, and it can be both.
Do you think having an ego in porn can be useful? Is delusional self-confidence self-fulfilling?
Angela White: You need a certain level of confidence just to create art. It’s easy to be crippled by self-doubt. Some people are their own worst critics. They will just sit there and tell themselves how they are worthless, and how nothing they do means anything—this is where I go to my dark place. On the other hand, I think a certain amount of self-hatred and self-criticism can be positive. It’s all about balance.
In our culture, we dismiss beauty, saying beauty is only skin deep, while we pretend intelligence is supremely important. In reality, a person’s physical appearance matters a great deal. While both intelligence and beauty have biological roots, both can be modified. So why do you think our society is so dismissive of the importance of beauty?
Angela White: Beauty is powerful. We also like to tear people down when they are beautiful, I think because we assume that beauty is not earned. Genetics just play one part. That’s why really wealthy people are generally beautiful. They have the money to eat healthier, to have personal trainers, to go to the spa… If you have the money for facials, to get your nails done, for cosmetic surgery, you’re already ahead. The more money you make, in some ways, the easier life gets.
And then beauty too becomes a way of judging someone’s socio-economic status.
Angela White: Right. Think about teeth. Dental work is so expensive, especially in this country. The health of your teeth, and how your teeth look is directly associated with wealth.
On the other hand, you have people like me, who were born gorgeous, but not smart. I’ve struggled to gain what little intelligence I have. There is this misconception that intelligence is entirely a factor of how hard you work, when it’s largely biologically determined. There’s this idea that if you work hard, you can achieve anything.
Angela White: That’s a beautiful myth.
A myth written by those few who succeed. We never hear the stories of the hard-working failures.
Angela White: There are so many factors that play a role in success. Look at all the things people are discriminated against for: race, gender, sexuality. There is this myth that you can overcome everything. You do have to work hard to succeed, but working hard isn’t enough. You also have to be lucky.
Is this just another myth we tell our children, that they can achieve anything if they just work hard enough?
Angela White: We all need hope. Without the hope that you can improve your life, life would be incredibly depressing. You need a certain amount of belief to push yourself.
Let’s say you meet a performer who wants to be the next Angela White. She is determined, intelligent, and hard working, but she is also hideous. Do you encourage her, or do you tell her porn might not be the thing for her?
Angela White: I don’t think you have to be beautiful, or naturally beautiful, to be successful in this industry.
But it helps.
Angela White: Sure it helps, but I would ask her what she wants to achieve, and what she thinks makes her stand out. On some level beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Not everybody likes my body type. For some people, it’s voluptuous. It’s perfect. For others, it’s too much.
And some guys are just into guys.
Angela White: And I can’t do much for them in that department.
No matter how hard you work.
Angela White: Yes, I always fail in that regard… But I think passion is far more important in this industry than beauty. I’ve read online comments about me that say, “Her body is bigger than I normally like, but I love her passion.” You don’t have to be conventionally beautiful. You do have to be well kept. If I didn’t turn up with my makeup or hair done, I wouldn’t look like I do now. Also, I think the most successful people find their niche. A lot of women who are just doing clips4sale, are making good money because they have a dedicated fan base that loves what they do. Many fans prefer amateurs. They want someone who seems attainable. There is a place for everyone in pornography, you just have to find out what that place is.
And work hard.
Angela White: Yes, and have a good attitude. Word gets around. There are plenty of beautiful models who I won’t book because they have bad attitudes.
That’s the real reason I’m not a porn star.
Angela White: Yeah. You’re beautiful, but you just have this attitude. You walk in the room with this swagger, and you’re like, ‘I’m the best looking person here, now where’s my champagne?’
And then I’m like, ‘Where do you guys want me to unload this big old average dick?
Angela White: Don’t knock your average dick. You can do plenty of great things with an average dick.
I agree, like learn to write. I’m just glad mine works. Many don’t.
Angela White: There’s nothing more useless than a big, beautiful dick that doesn’t work.
I feel like audiences would love to watch a porno about a penis struggling to get hard for a scene. It would be an inspirational tale of the limp penis that could.
Angela White: Can I tell you something? One of my favorite things is to feel a limp cock get hard while it’s inside me. You kind of have to shoehorn it in, but I love to feel it slowly start to get harder and harder as it grows inside me.
Your vagina is like an easy bake oven for cocks… Getting off the subject of dicks–
Angela White: Why do we have to get off dicks? I love getting on dicks. Let’s get onto more dicks.
The rise of social media has trained younger girls that the sexier they are online, the more attention they will get in terms of likes and comments. Will we see a new generation of women who are more open to shooting porn, as sharing themselves online for praise has become an aspect of their sexuality?
Angela White: Yes, but it’s a fine line. Social media likes sexy, but not necessarily sexual. With Instagram, you can be as sexy as you want, but as soon as it gets sexual, you are going to get your account flagged and deleted. My Instagram is incredibly sexy–
That’s up for debate.
Angela White: Haha. That came out wrong.
You never post photos of books or art, so you aren’t doing much to appeal to your fellow sapeosexuals.
Angela White: Right. Please don’t take that out of context.
Oh shut up. You’re a porn star with one million Instagram followers. I think it’s fair to describe your account as sexy.
Angela White: Well, almost 1.3 million.
I stand corrected.
Angela White: But, I have had companies ask me to promote products, which is something I don’t do. But I also I know I wouldn’t get certain companies asking me to promote their products because my Instagram is too close to that border between sexy and sexual.
Is social media helping to legitimizing porn stars as more mainstream companies start to utilize the market power of porn stars’ social media capital?
Angela White: Well, it’s usually peripheral companies. Nike and Coca-Cola aren’t tapping porn stars to promote their products. While we have a lot of sexual shame in our culture, porn performers will always be slightly marginalized. Western culture has an issue with sex, especially when women take control of their sexuality and start making money off it. The patriarchal system definitely sees a problem in that. Traditionally women have been forced to subjugate their sexuality and repress their sexual emotions. Our culture wants women’s sexuality to be for men. That’s why there is that line between being sexy and being sexual. If I am being sexy, I’m being sexy for you. If I’m being sexual, my sexuality is my own. It is not for someone else. That’s the line where our society starts to feel very uncomfortable.