I met with May for a drink in New Orleans, complete with a second line running by us, and random drunks stopping off to ask what we were doing (not to mention a puppy that made a beeline for May and wouldn't leave--that's just the effect May has on folks). It was a blast—I only wish I could post the audio!
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did conducting it.
Tell me a little about your upbringing—where were you born/where did you grow up? Did you have a happy childhood?
I was born in Atlanta, but I really grew up in rural Vermont. My grandma had land there, so I grew up in the woods, and spent a lot of time out of doors. I also grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family so my whole childhood was based around church. That was a big part of my life. It created a sense of community but also a lot of sexual repression. Any human natural desire was sinful. At that age, I was gay—I knew that—and I got prayed over.
So they knew you were gay?
I told someone in confidence, and she prayed over me for my desires for women. My grandmother—I talked to her about it, and she said she kinda knew. My grandma’s definitely on the end of more accepting.
Praying over you seems like a more generous response than many people would experience.
Definitely, but it still created this sense of shame, and I was experimenting a lot of people sexually at a very young age starting when I was 12 or so. I shit you not, I was dating the son of the Deacon and used to give him handjobs in Sunday School class. I didn’t realize I was such an exhibitionist until looking back and thinking, “Oh my god!” We would get caught making out in church and stuff. But there was this shame we had around our attraction to each other. I was a super good student, I never did any drugs, I never drank, but I felt like such a bad person because of my sexual desires. I started fooling around with girls, too, and the church just made me feel like a terrible person. I didn’t have a father figure, and the men of the church were really patronizing and commented on the way I dressed. I was really busty even at 12, and you either look like your grandma wearing a moo-moo or you look like a ho because everything you wear is not fitted for you. When I got caught with the Deacon’s son, we had to have a sit-down meeting, and they basically said it was the way I dressed—me being sinful and me inciting lust in them.
They connected your sinfulness to your body.
Absolutely. My friends in the church were all skinny and did ballet and so I was the outcast and got a lot of attention from men, even older men. So yes, I had a lot of shame around my body. My mom tried to teach me body positivity, which was very hard to do in this system that says, “Your body incites lust.” But a part of me always knew there couldn’t be something wrong with something so natural.
My mother did try to be body positive, though. And in fact, having divorced my father when I was two-years-old, my mother left the church while I was in college.
You identify as queer?
Yes, I really like women. When I came out to my mom, she was like, “Are you sure you don’t just really like women?” I was like no, mom, I really like having sex with women. On the Sperm Suckers site, they asked “Which do you prefer?” And I said, “Women,” but that’s not really true. I don’t have a preference. I enjoy sex with men and women—honestly the ideal is group sex with all sorts of people. But people want that answer—that you’re a lesbian. They want you to decide. But there isn’t just one way of being. I’m actually strongly attracted to androgynous and trans people. It’s because of Rocky Horror [laughs]. Also Fried Green Tomatoes!
What was your first introduction to sex work and/or the porn industry? What prompted you to go into this field?
That’s a good question—I’m trying to think of the beginning. I have been interested in sex work for a long time. I think when I was younger it was a fantasy. I had a strong sexual appetite and these were very dramatic fantasies of what a sex worker would be [laughs]. In my head, it would be like an escort or having a sugar daddy character. I thought about stripping for a while, because I did dance.
What kind of dance?
I did modern and ballet. I actually went to a ballet class recently and was like, “My butt is so big!” It was bouncing around. I lost a lot of weight in college and fit that thin, normative model for a while. It was both positive and negative. Positive in the sense of athleticism. It also made me more androgynous, which I liked.
So, I had these sex work fantasies, and then when I was coming out as poly and kinky I started looking into being a pro-dominatrix. I just had a really hard time finding clients, and actually there is a dominatrix in the city [New Orleans] who is very helpful. She was really helpful, and I have a personal submissive right now.
I moved up to Connecticut in 2015 to go back to school and finish my degree, and I was trying to contact escort agencies, and one woman did get back to me but she said I was too—how did she say it—too “thick.” I was too fat. So, escort agencies wouldn’t hire me, and I was too scared of doing it solo. I don’t feel like I know enough, and in Connecticut I was very isolated. So, after that, I was on fetlife one day, and an agency contacted me to do porn. I said yes, but I was so busy with school and work. So after finals, I sent some photos. I did some work through them, but it didn’t work out with that agency.
So Face Fucking was my first shoot. It was really fun. I actually did two scenes back to back—one for Face Fucking and one for Sperm Suckers.
What were your thoughts on porn before doing it? Did you watch porn?
I actually didn’t!
Did you research the Face Fucking/Sperm Sucking sites?
I did. Initially I didn’t think I wanted to do them. Even though I do pretty hardcore kink on my own, this is with people I have an established trust with. As well as, the girls didn’t look like they were having fun, and that bothered me. So, I wasn’t going to do it at first, but what tied me in was that it’s a well-known site, so if I do that site it will open up opportunities for other work, which it has. I can send that link to people, they can see I film well, that I look good. And I had a great time! They were all very respectful, I felt very listened to in regards to setting my limits, and they respected those limits. Also, I find that my partners won’t fuck me that rough, so for me the shoot was very arousing. I was very aroused on that shoot, so I think that helped. I had a full time dom at one point, and he would fuck that rough, but we haven’t been together for a long time. So yeah, for me, I had a really great time.
I have a very strong gag reflex, unfortunately, so most partners don’t like the throw up on them [laughs], and so for me the shoot was the first time I could just let it all out, and see how deep I could suck cock. It definitely took me a week to recover. My throat was really sore. Fun fact: I’m allergic to sperm. I didn’t know this when I first started having sex, and my vagina hurt so bad. I have to wash out immediately. So because on the shoot they came all over my face, my face broke out. The next day I didn’t want to go out of the house!
So the scene itself was fun. How do you feel about the rhetoric used in presenting the scene?
So, that was also a reason why I wasn’t going to do it. I was like, “this is derogatory! Oh my god!” But it’s an act, so I’m okay with that. It’s consensual degradation, and I do that in the bedroom. This was the first time I’d done it in such a public way. I think what bothered me about the site was that not all of the models seemed to be consenting to [the degradation]. But, for me, Bootleg called me fat, but afterward came up to me and said, “I don’t think you’re fat at all! I think you’re beautiful! I’m so sorry I had to say that!” It’s so over the top, it’s silly—it’s a performance. For me that was okay, and I also like being a submissive. When I’m in a scene like that, I don’t take it personally.
I also recognize my privilege—I work in the service industry. I have another job. I do sex work because it’s fun. It’s allowing me to explore my sexuality, and the money in sex work is good. I am white, I do have privilege, but I’m also poor, so I sort of bridge that gap. I do need this money, I do hustle. Some people—they have to hustle.
Fans seem to either want to believe these rough sites are all performance, or want to believe that the women are truly being abused. Do you worry that these sites contribute to misogyny? Do you feel in any way conflicted?
It’s a good question, and by that sigh, yes I am conflicted, definitely. But, the fact of the matter is the industry does not—to just do feminist or queer porn, I wouldn’t make money, unfortunately. If I reached the point where I had a name, I could just do work that was feminist or queer. But, maybe this is putting myself down, I’m no Jiz Lee, I don’t have this triathlon body. I have a niche, and I’m also very feminine. I can sell that. As long as I enjoy it—it’s a role, it’s a performance. I enjoy playing that. But, like you said, does this contribute to misogyny…for me, you’re right, some people want to believe it’s real. But at the same time, those people would delusional in that way anyways—I don’t think I am perpetuating a problem. It’s hard to say.
Right—I mean, is the site perpetuating a problem, or is it just a reflection of a broader societal neurosis or whatever else.
Right. Duke loves women. Pornographers make what will sell, not necessarily what they personally like.
It’s interesting you said working on the site opened doors for you. I have seen a few people who are not keen on the site suggest that working with them can harm a girl’s career.
Oh, interesting. That’s fine [laughs]. I understand that, but to me I’m not going to be a porn star.
Are you trying to create a brand?
No. I mean, it’s happening. I’m starting to gain some notoriety. People are interested in work I have coming up.
I think people assume that all women who go into porn are trying to become “porn stars.”
I don’t think I could do porn that regularly. Also, I have a strong desire to do social justice work. Sometimes I do wonder, because I’ve always been interested in performance, why don’t I just become a real actor, why am I doing this? But if I wanted to be an actor, I would have done it. I got out of it because it’s hard work. It’s long hours, it’s petty and competitive. Porn can also be petty and competitive but it’s also a fun way to perform my sexuality.
So, porn is a space for you to act out risky things in a safe, contracted way?
Right. It’s a controlled environment. And I like the fact that people like my work. It’s like doing exhibitionist stuff in a very acceptable way, whereas if I had sex in the street I might get arrested. People are at home masturbating to my work, but that’s okay. That’s fine. That’s great, and honestly it’s a bit exciting. That’s why I have fetlife and post photos of myself naked.
So you don’t worry at all about people seeing your work and it hurting your future job prospects.
You know, sometimes I do. I spoke to my career counselor, who is a bad ass, and she said, “Honestly, you’re working in niche markets, and in the end if someone finds it, like an employer, well they watched that.” It’s kind of this power thing—like, so you watch porn. You watch my work.
You jumped into anal, DP…you indicated you’re not going into this to become a brand. So, pacing your career has no meaning.
No. I love anal sex. Like, let’s do it. And I’m very good at it. I would never have done these things without having done them in my personal sex life. Knowing my body, I can do DP really well.
Are you planning on shooting with any feminist or queer sites in San Francisco?
I would love to. I just applied. I applied to Kink, too. I think they’re less likely to take me, because again I fit into the BBW category.
You would think that Kink would be more accepting considering their progressive approach.
But if you look at the Kink site, the performers are all…models, you know. That’s why I find performers like April Flores so inspiring. My agency, too, wanted me to a) grow my hair out and b) lose weight. I will never lose weight for a job. I have got work with this same exact body. I’m interested in my body being marketable. Because I think my body is beautiful. So, there’s this particular crowd I don’t care about arousing. I don’t give a shit.
I know there are fans on ADT that are constantly asking for exactly your body type, and are frustrated by the lack of diversity in body type, in mainstream porn movies.
You just shot for SCORE--how was that?
Working with SCORE was amazing. They were such a professional group to work with. I was so well taken care of: from housing to an amazing makeup artist. Also, I felt my questions were always listened to and I had a great time working with the male actors. The director was also really easy to work with and I felt so relaxed on all the sets. The sets themselves were awesome. My favorite was a set made to look like a film noir's detective's office and I was a harlot being interrogated. My first solo shoot was just released with them.
I will be having 5 more scenes released from them, plus a print spread. I am really excited about coming out in a bona fide nudie mag!
So, you’ve done Face Fucking, Sperm Suckers, and now Score—are there any sites or directors that you’re super eager to work with?
Definitely, there’s a couple. Well, obviously Crash Pad. I really love Burning Angel, I’m just not alt. I don’t have any tattoos or piercings.
You’re alt in other ways. That might be an interesting angle.
I have some questions from ADT members. Wcw didn’t ask this one, but I’m taking the liberty of asking for him—what are your thoughts on hypnosis and mind control fetish? Is that a type of scene you could imagine doing and/or getting into?
Yeah! I’ve never heard of it, though. But yeah, I find that interesting because when I do BDSM it is very much about mind control, but again it’s about consent.
But for the fantasy?
Oh yeah, that would be fun. I’ve always had this love of superheroes and fantasy books about supernatural powers, and I think mind control and hypnosis sort of plays on that. You can control peoples’ minds—I get it. It’s like puppetry. I would definitely be interested in the very dominating aspect of that.
How long were you in the BDSM scene before you went before the camera?
Good question. I’ve only been in the BDSM scene since 2013. I would say that I was kinky before that, I just didn’t know how to express it [laughs]. I had a master, but we broke up because he moved to Thailand. I miss having a dominant. I’m able to have that niche fed by having submissives, but I miss that growth of having a dominant, because they were always so experienced. I love BDSM. I’ve found queer people of all types. Right now, I have an auntie, she’s 70, she lives up in the woods. We’ve done spanking sessions together—I call her my wise elder. She guides me. She’s been in the BDSM community for twenty years. BDSM has been an important part of my queer identity. There’s the feeling I have a family.
Are you submissive or dominant?
I’m switch! I’m actually more dominant, and I thought I’m going to challenge this. I’m going to be a submissive. I would never do something to someone that I haven’t experienced myself because I want that amount of empathy, to know what it feels like.
Are there any male or female stars with whom you would like to do a scene?
Male performers, I don’t know well enough. Female performers, oh I have a ton of them. Jiz Lee, April Flores, Ariana, Brooklyn Franco. Mostly, it’s women who are genderqueer or trans-identified.
How would you feel about doing the mainstream TS movies?
Actually, I would enjoy that.
Tell us about the name, May West.
So, “May West” was merely a two minute conversation I had with my agent. One of my middle names is May—one of my great grandmothers’ names is May. So, Jiz Lee actually recommended I use a famous name, but will identify something about me. But there’s already a Mae West out there. I mean, they’re small, but I didn’t want to take their name.
pat362 queried the lack of blonde hair.
I’ve actually thought about going blonde. It would be kinda fun. I would like to wear a wig—I’m not going to dye my hair. I’m also into a natural look. But yes, I would totally wear a blonde wig and do a Mae West homage. She is a sex symbol, she’s very powerful.
I was going to go by Lars Von Queer, but my agency said that was too queer. I just thought it was funny.
What kind of music do you enjoy listening to in your spare time?
I actually used to train classically in music—I was a singer. So, my whole life I would sing, so I listen to a lot of different works. But I will say that in my personal time, I listen to adult alternative rock, and electronic pop. So, Purity Ring, Bjork, a lot of sound artists, and sometimes just pop. I like Rihanna. I used to sing jazz, so I love being in New Orleans. I should perform.
I’m nervous. Because I haven’t been in training, I would need to go back to doing that. It’s an investment.
How do you relax on the weekends?
I have a lot of sex.
How much sex?
I would say, two partners a day. I work a lot, so I would say I have sex about two to four times a day.
I also love my dog—I take my dog for walks.
What’s your favorite movie or TV show?
One of my favorite movies of all time is Lars and the Real Girl. I think it’s black humor, but it’s very funny. It’s an excellent commentary on how mental illness can be treated in a perfect society. It’s very accepting, saying “This is your truth.” They go head over heels to accept him and Bianca, and so I feel it’s very heartwarming.
TV shows, I really love Bob’s Burgers. I have a Louisa hat that I wear for my own pleasure. I also just finished House of Cards. I love political dramas.
Do you have any limits sexually, on or off camera?
So, actually my limits on camera are the same as off camera. I won’t do anything marking or scarring—scarification. That’s not an interest of mine. I’m also not interested in rape fantasies. I would be open to that with a partner, but it’s not something I necessarily want to open up. But I am very into people dominating me, so it’s this fine line. So, on camera, no. Maybe somewhere down the line.
What’s the most sexually adventurous thing you’ve done before going into porn?
[laughs] There’s so many things! Fuck. It’s so hard. I’m not trying to be full of myself, but…. [long pause] There’s so many things to choose from. I think for me it was asking someone to be in a threesome for the first time. For me, that moment, that was the leap into the deep end of the pool.
Do you plan to just do scenes, or would you like to do a feature?
I would love to do both.
Somebody suggested Gunsmoke XXX.
Oh yes, yes please!! I love old films. I would actually be interested in doing a silent film. That would be awesome.
You can follow May at @BigTittyMayWest