On paper, gay porn and drag look like two diametrically opposed forms of entertainment: where drag queens celebrate femininity by wearing sparkly dresses, gay porn embraces masculinity by shunning clothing completely. They do, however, have one thing in common: both fuck with the accepted standard of sexuality. In a society where the media is allowed to depict sex only in a way that appeals to straight guys, gay porn sexualizes men, while drag queens stretch female beauty norms to cartoonish extremes. The common thread amongst gay art forms is subversion of heteronormacy, or in less douchey, pretentious terms, fuckin’ with da straights.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when it was discovered that Jade Jolie, a contestant on the new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, had a gay porn past, appearing under the name Tristan Everhard in such masterpieces as PZP Productions‘ Da Vinci Load 2: Electric Twinkaloo. And before you ask, yes, that is a real movie that exists.
Admittedly, Drag Race has never been a show that shies away from sex: it prominently features a pair of omnipresent go-go boys, every other line is a sexual innuendo, and Season 4 even featured a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo by gay pornstar Jesse Santana. Even so, porn is still considered the moped of entertainment: it’s fun and everyone has done it at some point or another, but no one really wants to talk about it.
For her part, Jade Jolie has been remarkably candid about her story. In an interview with Boy Culture, Jolie opened up about how her brief flirtation shaped who she is: “I’m never going to regret anything I had to do. I had to make life decisions when I was young – to get by, you know, to get where I am. Just don’t give up on yourself and don’t let anyone get you down.”
For a young kid who dresses like she was fired out of a cannon and into a Lisa Frank warehouse, Jolie has been surprisingly mature about her past. When people admit to their porn careers, they usually treat it like a shameful little secret, a dark pit that they were forced into via circumstances outside of their control. But Jolie has taken a more grown-up route, and she understands that porn – much like drag – is about entertainment. Hell, when the gay community needs to raise some money, who do they call in? The drag queens, the pornstars and the go-go boys. Like it or not, nothing makes the gay world go round like the whores and the queens.
There’s nothing worse than not being understood, or being seen as something that you’re not. As both a drag queen and a former porn actor, Jade Jolie could have very well ended up painting herself into a corner. But fact of the matter is, if you’re a likeable, talented person and you’re honest about who you are, people will eventually come around.
And if you dress like Hello Kitty, that doesn’t hurt either.