Boomer Banks is, in a word, intimidating. Six feet tall with bulging muscles, numerous tattoos and his trademark scowl, there’s nothing soft or sensitive about him on the surface. And then there’s the cock. Often labelled as the biggest dick in porn, his gargantuan tool is positively terrifying. Watch him pound Rey Luis in Roommate Wanted or Shawn Wolfe in Into Darkness; their anguished expressions are genuine pain, rather than typical over-acting.
But while chatting with Banks in his Chelsea flat, as he sports hipster glasses and knocks back a protein shake, it’s clear there’s more to gay porn’s current it-boy than his onscreen shtick reveals. A goofy West Coast dude with a penchant for drag queens and sewing, he’s a perfect example of why books should rarely be judged by their covers.
“I’m as big of a pig as anyone else,” he says, laughing. “But I also try to live an honest, open, willing life, coupled with complete and utter vulnerability, so I can maintain my authenticity.”
Born in Mexico, Banks came to the US with his mother when he was one. They floated around Southern California, living off her work as a seamstress, until she abruptly passed away when he was 14. He moved in with family, but was left to live on his own again four years later. He’d been dabbling in drugs during this time, and by 24, he’d hit rock bottom. Deserted by everyone around him, he entered a 12-step program, began piecing things together and set out in search of a new life.
Porn wasn’t originally part of the plan — fashion was where he wanted to be. Building on skills he’d learned from his mom, he studied at LA Trade Technical College (made famous as the site of Kayne West’s 2014 community service stint).
He assisted LA fashionistas John Sakalis and Catherine Malandrino, but he gradually grew weary of California and set his sights on the Big Apple. He’d hoped for a design job, but ended up in the highly unsatisfying world of retail. At the same time, he was go-go dancing at a weekly party called Westgay, and underwear-clad photos of him were circulated online. He was approached by a rep from the Falcon Group to do a scene in the hairy-man feature Timberwolves. Shortly after shooting, he inked an exclusive contract.
The typical narrative of entering the sex business often begins with the desperate need for money and the ramifications of it perpetually coming back to haunt you. But to hear Banks tell it, the decision was easy to make.
“I enjoy meeting people and being social, so I thought why not try it on my terms,” he says. “I set my boundaries and I’ve stuck to them. In movies, you see the stereotype of escorts scrubbing themselves to death in the shower after they’ve met a client because they’re ashamed of what they’ve done. But I’ve never felt ashamed of anything I’ve done in the business and I’ve never had any intention of doing it while living in the shadows.”
Though he’s only been at it for two years, he’s already planning his exit strategy — not because he’s bored with porn, but so he can make clothes full-time. While the sex business has paid his rent, he considers it primarily an issue of branding. Following on the heels of Francois Sagat, he’s hoping a background in porn will give his fashion career the bump it needs.
“I have a lot to learn, but I’m maintaining myself as a teachable individual and trying to work for other designers,” he says. “I don’t think I’m to the point where I can branch off on my own, but I am starting to get noticed, which is awesome. At the end of the day if I don’t get hired by a fashion company because of doing porn, it’s probably not the company for me. And in terms of the places I’d actually like to work, if anything, I think they’ll think it’s pretty awesome.”
For the moment though, he seems content to be exactly where he his. He’s up for three awards at the Hookies (the Oscars of gay porn), getting nods for best porn star, best dressed and best social media presence. He won for best cock and the coveted Mr International Escort prize at last year’s gala. He still has some projects in the works with Falcon, and continues to offer his time to select private clients. And though he’s dedicated his life to two professions where ambitions reign supreme, he’s managed to remain both humble and zen.
“If you maintain a combination of vulnerability and gratitude, anything is possible and you’ll only be placed in situations that you’re ready for,” he says “I have no doubt that the universe has a plan for me. I’m just walking through it, doing my part.”