“You’ve slept with fewer than seven women,” Taylor says, telling me as opposed to asking.
Trying not to blush, I fill in the second letter of my last name beneath the incomplete image of a hanging stickman. For a moment I have a flash of fear that Vixen can read my thoughts—as though it would take a clairvoyant to guess what my Google search history was before our interview.
Vixen sized me up before I even recognized her in the dark, neon glow of the strip club. By way of introduction she told me what size shoes I wear. Admittedly, Vixen has a shoe fetish and one of her pet peeves is when guys don't notice such details as footwear. Still, she is far better at reading me than I am at guessing about her past. Instead of finding things that separate us—the differences that put her face on magazine covers and my byline attached to stories about her—we reminisce about our shared experiences tubing down the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers in Texas with a flotilla of light beer and college friends.
“I used to go to Rudy’s BBQ every time after floating the river,” Vixen says. “I would be so fucked up, I would just walk in and hand them my wet cash.”
“Then everyone would make elaborate plans to go out on 6th Street in Austin that night,” I add. “But we’d always ended up too exhausted to do anything but order pizza.”
“That could have been me,” I say. “Except I didn’t dare go to clubs and make out with women for way too long until I was 21. I was too afraid of being caught underage."
“I was the same way.”
“No you weren’t”
“Yes I was,” Vixen says. “I never had a fake ID because I didn’t believe in them. I would just go to bars where I knew guys who would let me in. That way if I got caught it was their fault.”
Her salad arrives along with a round of drinks. I reach to pause the recorder but she tells me to keep it going, that I will miss something if I turn it off.
“So you worked—”
“I know what you’re going to say,” Vixen says. “Bone Daddy’s.”
“My boyfriend took me to Bone Daddy’s when I was 17. He was like, ‘I think you’re hot. You should work here.’ Typical 17-year-old-boyfriend. So I went there to eat and they offered me a job. I worked there for three years all through school. Honestly though I would have to say I was always a closet prude. I don’t know how I ended up doing what I am doing. I started [modeling] when I was 25. I never took any clothes off before that. I would never even flash my boobs.”
“Even to get free drinks after you ran out of beer on the river?”
“So I have these two friends: Devon and Destiny. I call them Double Ds because they have big fake tits. We would always get wasted and I would say, ‘We need Jell-O shots. Go show someone your tits.’ And they would. But I just wasn’t like that.”
“In an effort to figure out what kind of person you are,” I say. “I checked out your Amazon wish list? Why do you want a $52 beach chair?”
“I probably need to take that lovely beach chair off my wish list because I just bought one at CVS. In LA I am an avid beachgoer. I have all this beach gear: a big tent, big beach towels, and an iHome that projects music twenty feet. My friends and I have these volleyball days where I’ll soak pineapple in pineapple vodka and we’ll go out from nine AM to seven at night. It's all day so I have to be comfortable.”
So far it seems all I’ve really learned about Vixen’s personal life is that a good day for her involves lounging in the sun with friends and drinks—or maybe I’m just projecting my interests through my questions. I shift to asking about the professional side of Taylor Vixen.
“So you are not just holding out for a contract or more money?
“Never. Before I even became Pet of the Year, I was offered four contracts to do boy-girl. I was offered a lot and I turned it all down.”
As we talk the DJ announces Vixen’s impending performance, listing all the magazines she has been on the cover of and describing her as the top rated girl-girl porn star. Vixen hardly notices as she saws through her steak.
“Do you get more nervous before going on stage or before a sex scene?”
“Going on stage, because I don’t like wearing heels. In my normal life, I don’t wear makeup. I’m very plain Jane. I hate heels. I think they are stupid. I get nervous about falling or not knowing the stage. Before a scene I’m fine because I know all the girls, I know the companies I shoot for and I know the people are amazing.”
“What’s the difference between shooting for a woman like your roommate, renowned photographer Holly Randall, and shooting for a guy?”
“No difference. Holly is really cool, but so are guys. These guys have been in the industry a long time. They see at least three to four girls a day. When you see that many and you shoot them intimately, you are robotic in a sense and you become very respectful. There is nothing different.”
Arriving at one of the last questions on my list, I make a considerable effort not to glance at Vixen’s chest.
“On set when I’m doing photos before a scene, it’s a standard question. Immediately when I pull my boobs out, they are like, ‘Oh my god, those are great. Are they real?’ I get this every time I shoot. I also get it a lot about my hair. They assume I have extensions. But no one randomly asks to touch my boobs. I work for a lot of the same companies. If you know me, you know not to ask me that. That’s not a question. Honestly, I would probably leave the set if that happened.”
“But what about when you go on a radio show with a shock jock like Bubba the Love Sponge or Howard Stern?“
“That is totally different. I have a mindset for Howard because I have no idea what the fuck he is going to ask. On radio they can ask whatever they want. They can do whatever they want. I love that. Being on set is a different story.”
The club’s manager tells Vixen she is on in ten minutes. Vixen just nods and continues working through her steak. If this is an example of her being nervous, I can’t imagine what she looks like when relaxed. I skip to my final question.
“Who do you try to channel when you are preparing for a sex scene or going onstage? Are there any sex symbols you try to embody?”
“Taylor Vixen,” she says with a grin. “I don’t try to be like anyone else.”
I glance at our unfinished game of Hangman, at the missing letters of her real first name.
“Then what’s the difference between Taylor Vixen and the woman behind the stage name?”
“I don’t know,” she says, running a napkin over her mouth. “I actually am me. If you know the real me, it’s ten times more awesome.” She chuckles and stands. “That’s the truth. I have references. All my ex-boyfriends are like, ‘Why did I let her slip away? She was the most amazing girl in my life?’”
In this hands-on age of erotica, where adult performers must increasingly incubate personal connections with fans through webcam shows and feature appearances that can’t be pirated, what makes for an alluring porn star is evolving. With the rise of peep culture—of Facebook and Twitter and sexting and Skype and status up-dates and Wikipedia—we are accustomed to getting what we want instantly. After a few clicks we can find out virtually everything we want to know, or see, of a porn star, from every angle. In this on-demand age, perhaps the sexiest commodity a modern skin artist can possess is a touch of self-restraint, the ability to only offer glimpses of herself from behind a coy smirk. Or maybe I am just trying to rationalize raw sex appeal.
Also, checkout ThePentHouseClubTampa.com for up and coming feature performers.