People are insanely multifaceted. We behave differently depending on context. You probably use different language with your grandmother than you do with your peers. You probably dress differently for an important work related meeting than you would for a night out at a bar. Does that mean there’s a real you, being hidden or reserved?
Over the years, I’ve run into people (ok, mostly press and boys that I’ve dated) who think that I as a person must be separate from my persona. They insist that Stoya is a construct, a role that I put on and take off. They have this idea that seeing me in flat shoes and being told to call me by my real name means that they know “the real me.” I beg to differ. See, when I’m at a circus training facility with an inch and a half of roots and two weeks worth of armpit hair, failing and sweating and failing again until I get a trick right or hurt myself, I’m the real me. When I’m groomed to within an inch of my life, wearing ten pounds of makeup and trying to be on my best behavior for AVN, I’m the real me. When I’m sitting on my front stoop in a silk robe at 2pm asking the landlord for advice on keeping roaches out, I’m the real me. When I’ve been on set for almost seventeen hours and am delivering a great anal scene like a champ, or am at my Dad and Stepmom’s house for a family holiday… I think you get the point.
My decision early in my career to just be myself on camera and during interviews, combined with my extensive use of blogging and social networking means that there really isn’t a separation between Stoya and the rest of me. I’m a weirdo, I’m not a fan of pants, I love having sex with near-strangers on camera. I also like having sex with people outside of standard cisgender monogamy off camera. Sometimes I say really hilarious or insightful things, and sometimes I make absolutely no sense. This happens in private social conversation and on twitter/tumblr/etc. I’m just as likely to show up at a signing in a hoodie as I am to forget to wear panties to my stepsister’s engagement party. Somehow I’ve managed to make indulging my quirks into a viable career, and I am so thankful for that.
For years I was dead set against being called anything but Stoya when in a professional environment. This meant Digital Playground sets, public appearances like conventions, photo shoots, and any kind of social setting where I might be meeting people who know my work or might be in a position to hire me. At one point, I wrote a blog about it. It was mostly a branding thing, and then it became a bit of a respecting boundaries thing.
Sometimes an opinion changes. It’s part of growing up. Sometimes I realize that I was wrong about something. In this case, a way of thinking has run its course and needs to be re-evaluated. Maybe it’s just that I’m almost 26 now and there might be something to that theory that the part of your brain that processes shades of grey (no, not the crappy twilight rip-off) is one of the last to mature. A man at Miami Exxxotica last month used my legal name and I choked him a bit harder than necessary. Possibly a lot harder than necessary. It could definitely be called overreacting. It’s time for me to re-examine why I’m so uptight about public knowledge and use of the name on my birth certificate.
I’ve shared extremely intimate sexual acts with the world. Anyone with internet access can easily pull up HD video of the interior of my rectum. I’ve also shared really gross things like what happens when an ovarian cyst bursts. I’ve been in NYC for two years, and my social group here uses both of my names interchangeably. The circus community knows me by my legal name, but a good portion of them are aware of my career in adult. The community of pornographers and burlesque performers know both names and usually err on the side of using my stage name but are free to use either. Something that has always been nebulous has continued to blur. If I’m sleep-deprived enough I’ll endorse a check with Stoya and sign a poster with Jessica, or at least a capital-J-smudge.
I am both and both are the real me.
All the stuff about google real estate and branding still applies though.
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