An Interview with Stoya
Stoya’s an interesting example of internet-age networking, exposure. Before going hardcore, she frequented arty softcore sites like deviantART, God’s Girls, Razordolls, and Trig. Creating a buzz in those venues, the 21-year-old ex-dancer and art school student was signed to an exclusive three-year contract with Digital Playground, a huge L.A.-based porn studio known for big budget flicks like Pirates and mainstream contract girls like Jesse Jane and Teagan Presley.
Like previous interview subject Sasha Grey, Stoya isn’t the typical porn starlet. She’s been described as "the goth girl next door," but seems more like a sci-fi geek/punk to me. At MySpace she says she “smoke(s) cigarettes a lot, sometimes even in the shower” and at God’s Girls calls herself an "android from the future," writing her sexual fantasy is "giving a chick permanent anal leakage with a sparx can."
The Fanzine: You grew up in North Carolina then relocated to Philadelphia. Can you tell me a bit more about your personal history?
Stoya: I was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, spent twelve years living all over the eastern half of the state and then moved to Delaware. I was home schooled, got my diploma three months before my sixteenth birthday, and then started moving to Philadelphia. It was the closest place with a good public transit system, and a drivers license wasn’t going to be possible until my 18th birthday. I have this sort of wanderlust thing, and ended up just living out of this giant suitcase for about two years when I was 19 to 21. Usually I had a room somewhere, but was hardly ever in the same city for long. About six months ago I moved back to southern California and have pretty much stayed put so far. My lease is up in October and I want to run away to Europe.
The Fanzine: Speaking of Europe, you’re Serbian, Scottish, and, well, Puerto Rican. Where’s your name come from?
Stoya: The Serbian part. My grandmother handled my art education — she used Stoya (a very shortened version of her last name) in art school for crits because the instructors didn’t want to deal with all six syllables of Slavic heritage. When I started selling pieces here and there, I used that as well, and my best friend/roommate/partner in crime and I share the same name and quite a few identifying characteristics. People started calling me Stoya to avoid confusion, it stuck, and when I needed a stage name for the nude alt-community websites it was the obvious choice.
Stoya: I was living with two DJs and dating another one when I was still a minor, and working for the venue in some capacity was the best way to get my severely underage self in to the clubs. As long as you don’t drink it’s legal. It was so much fun I kept dancing after the novelty of clubs wore off.
The Fanzine: I grew up around around Philadelphia. There’s an extremely tight-knit, almost small-town feel to that city. Do you miss it? Or the pretzels?
Stoya: There’s a very tight-knit feel to the city. Actually, last night one of my friends who’s lived there was over and we were trying to explain to another person how philly is like a small town covered in concrete. I miss parts of it, and a couple of people there. Not so much the pretzels, but ohmygod do I miss the Wawa macaroni and cheese.
The Fanzine: How’d you make the transition from dancing and nude photos on the alt sites to sex on film? What was your early film work like?
Stoya: I had done a bunch of music videos (mostly for bands no one will ever hear of, but work is work) and niche fetish videos when one of the alt sites I was on contacted me asking if I’d be willing to do a scene for the porn DVD they were putting out. I agreed to do the softest core girl girl scene ever, and kind of liked it. I wasn’t actively seeking adult video work, but did two more scenes for that company and a few more fetish clips before working with Digital.
The Fanzine: When did Digital Playground approach you?
Stoya: Celeste wanted me to do a strap-on scene with Sophia, which never happened, and makes me sad, so we scheduled an appointment in August for me to come into the office and meet Sam, Joone, and Robby. Robby asked if I would ever do boys; I told him I hadn’t given it much thought in a year or so and would have to seriously consider it for a week. He laughed and said that that meant no. I went home and thought about it, called back, and we set up another appointment. I like doing new things, and there’s only so much you can do in a softcore girl girl scene.
The Fanzine: You did your first boy/girl scene for Jack’s POV 9, right?
Stoya: Actually, the first scene I shot was for Stoya Video Nasty. Pov 9 was the second or third movie I shot for. POV was pretty cool — Robby sat me down beforehand and talked with me about the differences between that genre and others I’d shot. I was kind of nervous about how it would look because I hadn’t seen POV videos before shooting it.
The Fanzine: What was it like having b/g sex on camera? Did it feel different — psychologically — from your past film experiences?
Stoya: Every scene is different for me. There’s a certain mood for each setup, and each person has a different way of doing things and a different set of likes and dislikes. I’d had sex with girls on camera before, and sex with men in front of other people, so it was kind of like a combination of the two.
The Fanzine: What films are you doing next?
Stoya: I have no idea. Usually I find out what the title is when I get to set, or on the way there. For me the more exciting part is what kind of scene I’m doing next. The anal scene and nine girl orgy for Cheerleaders were pretty much the highlight of 2007 for me. There’s a couple of rumours about a double penetration scene sometime this year, and if they’re true, I’ll be really excited.
The Fanzine: The other day you mentioned your admiration for Sasha Grey. Who else do you respect in the adult film industry? Anyone in particular you’d want to work with?
Stoya: Sasha is so fucking hot. There’s a man in Australia who is sending me canned whiskey as soon as he figures out how to get it through customs, and I’m going to lure her over to my apartment with canned whiskey and cookie baking. If that fails, I’ll offer her candy if she helps me find my lost puppy… or kitten… or whatever furry animal seems like it will work best. Oooh. The "anyone you want to work with" question. I have a list. It gets bigger every week. Roxy DeVille, Marie Luv, Rico Strong, Mika Tan, Nautica Thorn, Sasha Grey, Kimberly Kane, Janine, Dana DeArmond, Charlotte Valentine (she’s Australian) Justine Joli, James Deen, Sinnamon Love, Cassidey (she’s under contract to SRNinnworx, so that may never happen), Adrianna Lynn, Princess Donna, Mr. Marcus, Charlotte Stokely. I could go on like this all day, actually, I’m going to go masturbate and then come back and move on to the next question.
The Fanzine: How’d you get started with your blog? You also have (or had) a presence on Gods Girls and other social networking sites. How important have these sorts of places been to your career?
Stoya: Social networking sites and blogging on the alt communities I modeled for probably helped my career alot. People I knew through those websites have sent me jobs, recommended me to photographers they knew, given me a heads up about pirating of my work, come out to see me gogo. They keep me company on AIM while I’m waiting for planes at airports or hanging around when a shoot is running late.
The Fanzine: You make a number of smart-ass, wry comments in your blog and those aforementioned sites, definitely putting forth a strong personality. Do you do any other writing?
Stoya: Do I? I’m missing that filter most people have between their brains and their mouths. I’m really like that in real life. No, I don’t do any other writing. I wouldn’t really be opposed to it, but there’s so much other stuff to do that I haven’t thought about it.
The Fanzine: Outside of your hardcore porn work, I read somewhere that you make clothing. True? If so, what kind of stuff?
Stoya: Yes! I got really into rubber last year, but I make all kinds of things. Before I started doing hardcore, I always needed new stuff to shoot in, and why go out and buy something that isn’t quite right when I can get fabric and make it exactly how I want. The next thing I really want to make is a corset, I have the fabric but haven’t found a local source for the spiral steel boning yet.
The Fanzine: Also, you went to art school? Where? And
what was your focus?
Stoya: I didn’t have a focus. That’s probably why I dropped out. I did a semester at DCAD, a summer program at UArts in Philly, was ready to do the fall semester there and realized I had no idea what I wanted to learn. I much prefer tracking down talented people and convincing them they really want to let me do all the bitch work in return for them teaching me a couple of techniques.
The Fanzine: As far as music, what’s this "bad cover of ‘Enter Sandman’" you’ve mentioned?
Stoya: Haha. When I was working with razordolls they used to have me interview bands. It wasn’t my favorite job, and there are videos somewhere of me slapping band dudes for acting like idiots. One time we missed an interview and had to sit through the show, and the opening band was soooo horrible, and their third song was the worst cover of "Enter Sandman" I had ever heard. "Stuff that isn’t a bad cover of Enter Sandman" has been my answer to the music question ever since.
I’m terrible at remembering band and song names, so I have the worst time answering that question. When I was dancing, the DJs would ask if I had any requests, and I’d be like "yes! that one track… from two weeks ago… there was this redhead dancing on the bar… a female singer… kind of dancy… it goes like ‘doo do doo thump thump’ yeah, nevermind."
The Fanzine: You told me you’re really into Sci-Fi. You also list Sid Meier somewhere as a hero. How’d you get into all this sorta "cyber punk" stuff. What are you reading right now?
Stoya: Civilization was my favorite computer game when I was 6. My dad taught me how to navigate DOS when my mom was teaching me how to read. Sid Meier was the coolest in 1992. I read a lot, and always have, so I’ve read pretty much every genre of book out there. I think cyber punk is like Jules Verne was in the turn of the century, and it’s awesome to see how the 1980s version of the future is accurate in certain ways and way off in others. I just finished The Difference Engine by Gibson and some other guy and Making Money by Terry Pratchett. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is great. He started writing it because he always wondered about the inner workings of the cities in fantasy novels. Like, who feeds the heroes? What do the heroes and magicians do when they aren’t out killing dragons and toppling gods? It’s so original and it’s all annotated with british humour. Now I’m reading Spangle by Gary Jennings. It’s historical fiction about the circus directly after the U.S. Civil War. Gary Jennings is super rad because he spent so much time doing research. I read somewhere that he traveled around Mexico
for twelve years while he was researching Aztec.
The Fanzine: Any New Years resolutions?
Stoya: Take over the world one vagina at a time? No, wait, that’s one of my hobbies. Can it be both?
Filmogrophy: Stoya’s had non-sex appearances in a couple Vivid Alt titles, Man’s Ruin and Debbie Loves Dallas. She recently did a boy/girl scene in Jack’s POV 9. Her first star vehicle, Stoya: Sexual Freak 7 is out later this month. Also, she was recently sainted.
Read her blog here for more info.
Images of Stoya™ are courtesy of DigitalPlayground.com