Quoting a Story form the New York Times Today about X-Art model Belle
Belle is all over the news right now and she deserves it, she rocks!
The below is a story run by the New York Times and written by the amazing Stoya!
LOS ANGELES — I DIDN’T expect to become a porn star. People rarely do. I was 19 years old, and my photographer roommate had an offer from a website to buy some nude pictures. We did a shoot and then waited two weeks in case I woke up in a panic over the idea of releasing naked photos of myself into the world. But I didn’t, and so I turned to the required paperwork. One of the boxes to fill in read “Stage Name (if applicable).”
Stage names are common in the entertainment industry — whether in Hollywood, rap or pornography — and they’re used for all sorts of reasons. But at a time when people can be whoever they like on the Internet, when we are all negotiating who we are in which setting and for which audience, somehow the combination of a woman whose job is fantasy and her fantasy professional name can make people lose their minds.
Consider the recent hysteria over the Duke University student who moonlights as an adult film starlet. Although it didn’t take long after the news broke for her fellow students and strangers to gleefully post her legal name online, “the Duke porn star,” as she has been called by media outlets from Forbes to The Guardian, has tried to control what she is called where. She used the pseudonym Lauren when giving interviews, and the pseudonym Aurora for her stage name in those same interviews. Finally, this week, she acknowledged her actual stage name — Belle Knox.
The whole kerfuffle doesn’t need to be as dramatic as people seem to think. For me, choosing a stage name felt less like concealing my identity (especially since I’d just turned over my Social Security number to strangers) and more like deciding on a user name for any Internet service or website.
I chose Stoya because it was there. It was a diminutive of my grandmother’s maiden name, and my mother had considered it before naming me after Jessica Savitch, the news anchor. Spoken aloud, Stoya had a nice balance between femininity and strength. It felt rightfully mine because of the family history. An insurance agent owned the domain stoya.com, but I didn’t think I’d ever need a website of my own.
I wasn’t a voluptuous sex symbol or exotic glamazon. How big could the market be for pasty young women with wacky sartorial tastes and wiry limbs? I expected my orifices to be viewable in high definition by anyone with an Internet connection. I did not expect to have a career as a performer in hard-core videos, much less to see photos of myself on magazine covers or to be regularly recognized on the street. It would be ragingly narcissistic to assume that over 150,000 people would follow you on Twitter because of your work in pornography. But eight years later, that’s exactly what has happened.
Not everyone performing in adult films uses a stage name. Tera Patrick has said she legally changed her name to match her professional one. A few use their whole legal name; others keep their given name while taking a suggestive or unique surname. Still more take Love or Star, sometimes with creative spellings, and I’d support a 10-year ban on every iteration of both.
Along with desires to differentiate themselves from performers in similar fields, increase ease of spelling and pronunciation or convey a certain image, some performers do take a stage name for the purpose of making themselves more difficult to recognize. This might possibly have worked in the ’70s, but with easy access to enormous amounts of adult content on the Internet and the ease with which we can all find juicy tidbits of information about one another’s pasts online, I can’t see it having much effect anymore.
I am on the board of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, which offers peer-to-peer education and supports performers’ rights. In the introduction to its Porn 101 video, my colleagues explain: “There is a great likelihood that everyone you know will see these images, or at least find out,” and “You cannot expect your legal name to remain a secret, and a stage name will not fool people who recognize you.”
My stage name is less about withholding parts of myself or maintaining privacy than it is a symbol of the idea that I am more than just my job or any other isolated slice of my identity.
The strangers who call me Jessica at publicity appearances lean in far too close. They hiss it as if they have top-secret information. All they’re doing is letting me know that they had 30 seconds to spend on Google and no sense of propriety — which may sound funny coming from a woman who flagrantly disregards it herself. They’re often the same people who refer to my orifices as “that” instead of “your,” as though the body part in question is running around free-range instead of attached to a person with free will and autonomy.
Yes, there’s a paradox here in that I willingly engage in work that reduces me to a few sexual facets of myself but expect to be seen as a multifaceted person outside of that work. I participate in an illusion of easy physical access, and sometimes the products associated with that illusion — the video clips and silicone replicas of my sexual organs (seriously, and they’re popular enough to provide the bulk of my income) — do, in fact, exist without attachment to a person with free will or autonomy.
But this same lack of context is something any of us can experience. It’s what happens when any ill-advised tweet or embarrassing Facebook picture goes viral. Ten years ago, I would have judged people over the course of several conversations. Now I evaluate them based on a few snippets of their social media presence. Whether you portray yourself as a professional sex symbol or a morally upstanding member of the PTA, we all do this kind of self-branding now.
Maybe it would be easier to navigate the dissolving boundaries between public and private spaces if we all had a variety of names with which to signal the aspects of ourselves currently on display. And maybe we should remember that our first glimpse of a person is just one small piece of who they really are.”
…….Now this is from me: Pretty Cool Story right? How about a scene with Stoya, James and Belle together? Members what do you think? Love, Colette
P.S. And here is a link to the story in the New York Times, so check it out there too! These girls rock!