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HKFP Interview: Porn stars Dana DeArmond and London Keyes on the new links with HK fashion

As pornography becomes increasingly mainstream, fashion brands are less afraid of linking up with the industry. One of the first brands in the world to do so is Hong Kong-based streetwear company Memory Lane

Dana DeArmond and London Keyes

London Keyes and Dana DeArmond. Photo: HKFP.

HKFP met up with industry A-listers Dana DeArmond and London Keyes to discuss the future of the business, online harassment and how new regulations and piracy threaten production.

HKFP: What brings you to Hong Kong and is the city how you imagined?

Dana: I’ve been here all week and my body will not get used to reverse time… everything starts really late here. I kinda thought it’d be grimey? There are some interesting smells that I’ve smelled… I think the construction is really interesting here, and how it looks like a jungle in some places – it’s crazy…

[Memory Lane] contacted our agent. It’s a lifestyle brand – they were interested in shooting us in our own environment and collaborating. They’ve been making these hats with pictures of me on them. Companies in LA – American Apparel – they’ll have porn stars model for them, but they won’t acknowledge they’re porn stars. Hustler is a porn brand – they will – but this is the first time that a fashion company acknowledged they’re using porn stars in their thing.

London Keyes porn star

HKFP: So is this intersection between fashion and porn a new phenomenon? Isn’t porn mostly defined by the absence of clothes?

Dana: I wear so many clothes – what are you talking about? One of the best perks of being a porn star is that people send you clothes – ‘you must be cold – here!’ Brands want to be seen on social media… Because so many porn stars are so prevalent on social media, they want them to tweet or instagram or snapchat. It’s sort of an endorsement. A lot of girls will have their weed delivered – they’ll smoke weed on instagram and say ‘thanks LA Speed Weed!’ or ‘Thanks Father’s Farms!’.

Dana DeArmond

Dana DeArmond. Photo: HKFP.

HKFP: So it seems performers are diversifying. Are free streaming sites hitting the industry hard? Where are things headed?

London: It’s really definitely hard, and that’s where you just have to get into the loyalty of your fans. Realising the fact that, if you keep stealing, you’re running us out of a job… I’ll write it on public forums, on Twitter, on social media. People write this-and-that but, really, would you do your job for free? How do you control pirating?

Dana: There’s a lot of misconceptions – if you can find something for free and you can get it for free, it’s still piracy… Sometimes you can reason with [the free streaming sites] and say ‘I’ll give you a trailer, or a three-minute clip if you promise not to [publish]’ – it’s gotten to the point where people are doing deals with them.

To make sure that porn is made ethically and that people who appear in the movies are being treated well, you should probably consider maybe paying for porn instead of stealing it. It’s just getting worse – now I’m like ‘I have to become a t-shirt model’ and ‘I have to make more personal appearances’ and things like that.

HKFP: With these financial pressures, are there greater rewards and  is there a greater push to do ever-harder scenes?

London: I do see that, for performers coming in, if you don’t do anal, you’re not on the map. If you don’t do extreme stuff, you don’t really make it in this industry. I’m good where I am, but it’s not like how it used to be. I’m just fortunate enough in that I do these things in my personal life.

Dana: I really think trends in porn ebb-and-flow a little bit, but basically you have the same shit. The one-day wonder – a movie that has no story line, the straight meat-and-potatoes wall-to-wall sex movie. Then you have someone who’ll make a big effort at making a feature length film with costumes. Then you have parodies and stuff in-between – taboo stuff, fetish stuff, but – y’know – no-one’s reinventing the wheel here.

HKFP: How have the Measure B regulations requiring condom use affected the industry? Have companies been driven out of LA?

Dana: Porn’s never gonna leave the valley – it’s never gonna leave LA. The condom rule has done nothing but drive money away from California. Some companies have moved to Nevada but they still shoot in LA – Nevada sucks, no-one wants to live there… It’s such a ridiculous bill they’re trying to enforce. They claim we’re employees who have unsafe working conditions, which is completely absurd.

London Keyes porn star

London Keyes. Photo: HKFP.

London: The industry is small. It’s easy to look at us and judge us because, as a group, we have sex on camera with multiple partners. It’s easy to point fingers… We’re actually quarantined – it’s the few here-and-there… We work with more established performers. When civilians look at our industry and say ‘you had an HIV industry’ – do they know that she didn’t get it in the industry – she actually go it outside, with the rest of y’all.

It wasn’t transmitted in the industry, you’re all dirty as fuck. That’s why I get really upset about it because do you think we have a lab and are creating gonorrhoea? In reality, we’re all quarantined! You have the strays – same like in the rest of the world.

Dana: The whole litigation process has been pretty off-the-wall. It’s like someone chose to have a moral crusade against porn. There’s a lot of money in that – just follow the money trail to Michael Weinstein and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is spearheading the Measure B initiative… They’re not really servicing the public or helping people with HIV/AIDS, they’re just harassing people who do porn, who don’t have HIV or AIDS, obviously.

They’re trying to drum-up business and attention for themselves and cause a problem where there is no problem, which is kinda ridiculous… Porn performers have all gotten on a bus [to protest] and said ‘hey, we’re here and we don’t need a law to protect us – there’s nothing wrong here!’ It makes it difficult for companies to stay open because they have to go through such shit.

Mia Matsumiya sexual harassment

Mia Matsumiya. Photo: Wikicommons.

HKFP: A violinist, Mia Matsumiya, took a stand against online sexual harassment posting up hundreds of threatening messages she received from men. Do you get such messages? How do you react? Are they just part of the job?

London: Yeah I get them. You get them throughout your posts and pictures – they come out of the woodwork. Honestly, I just ignore them. I never get threatening ones, like ‘I’m gonna kill you’

Dana: I feel like we’re all desensitised to it too much in the adult industry as people say the craziest shit to us all the time… I know [Mia] personally – she’s really easy to threaten because she’s so tiny. People don’t really come at me that way. I’ve sort-of established myself as a badass dominatrix – I don’t take shit from everybody. I’ll drive my car and, if a homeless guy says ‘hey I wanna fuck you’, I’ll say ‘take a number, who doesn’t, bitch?’ I’m kind-of an asshole to people.

HKFP: Do you identify as a feminist?

Dana: Absolutely. Being a feminist just means you believe men and women should be treated equally. I don’t care what you’re going to nit-pick about as a feminist – that’s your wasted time in your day. If you want to categorise or rank other people, that’s fine – fun hobby for you, if that’s the kind of feminist you want to be.

HKFP: Have you seen the new Hot Girls Wanted Sundance documentary and is it an accurate portrayal of newcomers trying to break into the industry?

London: I heard about it. I’ve not come across an agent like that… It’s a shock-and-awe kind of thing – that’s what sells.

Dana: The Rashida Jones Netflix documentary? It’s basically profiling girls who are looking for some kind of a gig on Craigslist. I feel like it’s only one side of the industry. It only shows the Miami amateur scene – only one instance of it. It’s like a sweatshop operation… They shoot for the amateur sites in southern Florida and then [the girls] get out – it’s not a career-building place to start in the industry… They’re all obviously going to be failures unless they learn to step up their game and be a functioning adult. It just deals with people who are 18-years-old.

HKFP: Finally, Playboy banning nudity – bullshit?

London: I didn’t even know! What?! Are you sure? That is really shocking, oh my god.

Dana: No, I think it’s fine. I mean, they basically don’t show anything anyway. If you’re going to go for the mystique-factor, you might as well just start putting clothes on… Maybe they want to be classy or whatever.

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Follow Dana and London on Twitter (explicit content).

HKFP Interview: Porn stars Dana DeArmond and London Keyes on the new links with HK fashion