April 15, 2014
When I first saw strikingly gorgeous Evie Eliot of Seattle, Washington on Twitter , I just knew she had to be a professional model. I then wondered why I didn’t know of her already. Then it occurred to me that when I see a beautiful transsexual nude or semi-nude, I have a bad habit of developing the first impression that they’re already working in the adult industry. I hope I’ll be forgiven for making that assumption, even though I’m just revealing it to you and to Evie now. What struck me next was that her photos were highly artistic with a deliciously dark sensibility. When I discovered that Evie worked in fashion, as I’d done for most of my adult life, I just knew I had to ask her to do an interview with me. As I write this introduction, Evie and I are absolute strangers, but I know I’m going to love doing this interview with her. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too. This interview begins before Evie entered adult entertainment. As you scroll down while reading, the photos will inform you about Evie’s current work in her new career.
Caramel: Thank you for doing this interview with me, Evie. A big difference between your dressing and mine is that for me, it’s for trend and perhaps tradition on some level. For you, it’s more of a lifestyle. Upon learning about you as a fashion designer, I learned a bit about Steampunk, which is described as a grafting of Victorian aesthetic and punk rock attitude. You don’t just wear clothes. Steampunk is a lifestyle. When did you move to Seattle and from where (Wales?), and how long did it take before you became fully immersed in it?
Evie: Steampunk kind of found me, I’d been designing things I wanted to wear, and when some of those designers went into production, the Steampunk community quickly adopted them so we, the company I was working with at the time, followed the market. I still have a lot of friends in the steampunk community, although my personal style has drifted away somewhat since then. Before steampunk I had a huge love affair with Cyberpunk and I want to take my designs back in that direction but with more focus on club and kink wear than I’ve previously had. While I’m not a full time steampunk anymore, fashion and clothing have always been a huge part of how I expressed myself. For the longest time it was a substitute for transition although I almost never dressed en femme. To play a male role I needed a persona and that required a costume, I used to dress in a very esoteric but masculine way. It was like I had to convince myself, before I could go out and try to convince everyone else that I was a guy. I still have my personae, I’m the sort of person who, if I have three different things scheduled that day will change my outfit three times. Maybe one day, once I’ve shaken off the after effects of so many years spent living with testosterone, I’ll play some more gender queer roles, I still LOVE well tailored menswear!
Caramel: Caramel: I’ve sold my own art, but I’ve only sold clothing created by others. What does it feel like to see someone wearing designs you created?
Evie: It’s always a thrill, I especially love it when I see someone who’s taken something I designed and matched with something I never thought of putting it with. When you can see that someone has taken one of your designs and really owned it, that’s the best feeling. I love seeing people feel good about themselves. Clothing and style, when done right can really bring a persons inner beauty and strength out. Clothing always made me feel safer in who I wanted the world to see me as, I want everyone to create their own style and then wear it like armour.
Caramel: Is your stage name a reference to the character of Evangeline from the House of Eliott ( a British television series produced and broadcast by the BBC in three series between 1991 and 1994)?
Evie: Yes, and wow, I didn’t think anyone would ever get that! Watching that show as a kid I simply adored Evangeline’s character, and with my background being in the fashion industry it felt appropriate, it actually feels very personal to me. I also adore the 1920’s and especially the work of Erté (who may have been trans) When I have the time I want to recreate some of his designs 🙂
Caramel: I’d love to see that work and I now might have another reason to admire Erté. Moving on to another medium, I love the sound of the electric bass guitar and I understand you know your way around one. I mess around with it a bit, but a lot of people don’t understand why one would choose bass over lead guitar. What is it that you like about this foundation instrument?
Evie: It’s the only instrument that feels totally natural to me, I just love the sound of it. I think it was kind of a fantasy to be that hot chick with a base guitar when I was 15. It took me a while, but I got there. One of these days I’ll get a Blue Rickenbacker and a Yellow Vespa and all my dreams will come true! To the instrument itself, I guess I’m out in front in so many areas of my life that it’s nice to have a hobby where I don’t have to do that. I’m not super good and the bass is pretty forgiving for being able to jam with friends and feel like you add something even when you’re just starting out.
Caramel: Is it true that you like to cook a lot?
Evie: I love cooking! It always makes me super happy. Feeding people is a total joy of mine, and cooking is also a nice creative outlet for me. I’m really into plating arrangements and the aesthetics of food, I love making something beautiful, but so short lived, that becomes a part of you. I think it speaks to my feelings about what we lose and what we get to keep in life. I’d love to have a cooking show called “Food Porn” where all my guests would be from the adult industry 🙂
Caramel: I’d never feel the need to watch The Food Network again! Perhaps it could air internationally because you speak more than one language. How many languages do you speak, Evie?
Evie: Two, English and Welsh. I can fake a little Russian, German and Japanese, but I get lost pretty quickly.
Caramel: You coined a term once I was unfamiliar with. What is militant agnosticism?
Evie: Hahaha, that was a joke about the idea of becoming attached to the unknowable. I think that faith, as an act, requires that you be always willing to surrender what you think you know in the service of truth. Alan Watts talks about this in regards to the prohibition against idolatry and worshiping graven images in the Judeo-Christian tradition. It’s easy for people to understand that they shouldn’t mistake a statue or a painting for God, but we fail to recognize that our own mental image, all our beliefs about the divine, are nothing more than false Idols too. As soon as we allow ourselves to become attached to what we think we know, our practice becomes dogma. True faith lies in a constant act of surrender to the unknowable coupled with a determination to never give up our search for its expression in what we do.
Caramel: Finish this sentence that might stay with me forever, “Transitioning is like going on the trip of a lifetime, and only realizing after you’ve set sail….”
Evie….That not everyone you love has made it on board. I think that’s about what I said. I was musing on the fact that while early on in my transition everyone had been supportive, in the end there was too much of a change and some people left my life. Or I left theirs. There wasn’t any animosity, just a little sadness in that drifting apart. Like watching the shoreline recede from view.
Caramel: What’s your sexual orientation (I’m pansexual, Evie and people often describe me as someone attracted to anyone who walks upright)?
Evie: I generally tell people I’m Bi, or Sapiosexual. I’m attracted to smart intelligent people whatever their orientation/presentation. My sense of my own sexuality changed a great deal since I started transitioning. It’s expanded greatly. Having other people see me as I see myself has allowed me to be so much more open to people and that in turn has completely changed what I find attractive in others. Or maybe it’s just allowed me to see past my own insecurities. People who are confident and comfortable with themselves and with me are the sexiest people 🙂
Caramel: You’re also well-traveled. How was your recent trip to Germany?
Evie: I LOVED it, I really want to go back. Maybe to film porn! Anyone? Half my family are originally from Germany (the other half are all English so as you can tell I don’t know where I fit in any part of my life!), so it was really nice to finally get to see the country. I’d like to live there one day. I miss Europe, I feel more connected to my roots there and to my sense of history and place. At the same time I love the West coast and how anything feels possible out here. I’m hoping that I can take porn in a direction that will allow me to travel more often 🙂
Caramel: You can run a few miles in a clip. It’s that your main method of staying so fit?
Evie: In the summer I run quite a bit, but the winter here in Seattle is too wet for me to feel like it so I try to make up by dancing a lot. I used to be an avid rock climber but as it doesn’t play well with acrylic nails (which I’m currently obsessed with) I haven’t been in ages. I’m planning to take up aerials and tumbling as a replacement. I also study historical rapier and Kenjutsu.
Caramel: These are some exciting activities. I’m a huge fan of Dave Naz and I love his Trans: A Photo & Video Project. I also love your interview in Part 3. I hope that the project will help change some negative perceptions. Do you think it might?
Evie: I hope so. When I did that interview back in December of 2013, I hadn’t yet made up my mind to get into porn, and I remember thinking that it was interesting that while the call for models that Dave put out was to trans women in general, the response had mostly come from people in the adult industry. I think at that time my friend Jenny and I were the only two girls who shot with Dave who weren’t in porn. I almost feel bad now for having become one more adult performer in that series of interviews! It makes me wonder at the division between those of us who make porn, and the rest of the trans community. The funny thing is, part of why I’m doing porn is because, for me, it IS my activism. I honestly don’t want to be a trans rights activist, I’d much rather focus on sex worker rights if I have to be an activist at all. In the end though, I think it’s still really good to be given a platform to talk about who we are outside of porn.
Caramel: As an adult entertainer, you’re supposed to be ashamed of what you do, according to a large segment of mainstream society. But you say that exploring porn has been the most liberating experience of your life. How do you explain this to people who disapprove of porn because they find it degrading?
Evie: I don’t know, I haven’t met any! So far everyone has been very supportive actually, but to be serious, this is about me, It’s not about them. I’m not asking anyone’s permission to do this, so if people disapprove, that’s their business, not mine. For me, this is about refusing the burden of shame that society puts upon trans people and upon sex workers. We grow up, spend our whole lives learning to feel ashamed just for being ourselves, and this is my way of saying to hell with that. I won’t do it anymore.
I’ve looked at who I am, and I like me. Not 100%, not every day, but when I’m in my clear, calm, centered mind and I look at myself, I like what I see. I don’t owe anyone an explanation for that. Now, part of this process of self acceptance is in the performance for me, so I put myself out there to be seen because in doing so I’m making a commitment to myself to own my actions. I’m taking things that most people are afraid to put out there because of shame, because as Brene Brown says, shame is really the fear that you are unworthy of connection, of love, so I put those fears out there. In making myself vulnerable to attack and ridicule, it unmasks others intentions towards me and for good or ill I get to see who they are. I feel like I missed out on so much of my life, I’m not willing to waste another second on people who would wish me ill.
Evie: It was great, I feel like I got super lucky working with him for my first shoot, he’s a very laid back guy, and made me feel super comfortable. That was my first ever shoot, so I was pretty nervous to say the least, but he was really patient and gave me good direction. I was feeling much more relaxed by the second day when we shot the hardcore scene. As I’m writing this I still haven’t seen the videos yet and have no idea when they’ll be released but apparently the footage is good 🙂
Caramel: Your male co-star Krys Noir is very attractive. Would you be willing to work with other transsexuals and genetically born females also? Do you ever worry that a studio might want you to work with someone you didn’t find particularly attractive?
Evie: I consider myself to be 100% right down the middle bisexual, so I’ll work with anyone so long as they take the work seriously. Honestly while I do have certain type as far as looks go, that’s so much less important than personality. I want to work with people who are excited to do the scene, who want to make the best possible video that day, whatever style it might be in. A good attitude and enthusiasm are a big turn on for me.
Caramel: Do friends, business associates and family know about your new line of work?
Evie: I’m currently self employed so I don’t really have any business associates to speak of, but if I find myself looking for more conventional work I won’t be advertising that I make porn. As to my friends and family, they’ve been very supportive. My immediate family knows what I do, and while I don’t talk about specifics with them, they’re aware of my long term goals and they support them.
So many of my friends are in the poly and kink communities, I was never very concerned that I’d get a negative response from them. Mind you there are still a fair few people who don’t know I’m doing porn yet, it’s not as though I made a public announcement about it. It will be interesting to see what happens the first time someone who knows me but I haven’t told I’m doing porn sees my work and how that will play out!
Caramel: This may sound a bit weird but, has your relationship with your penis changed at all since you entered adult entertainment?
Evie: You know, that would have seemed like a strange question before I started, but now, not so much! I had been very much set on SRS before I started doing porn but now I think I’m content to wait a while. I’m pretty sure it’s still something I’ll do, but it’s not the pressing concern it once was. Seeing how many people like my body as it is now actually lessened my sense of dysphoria quite a bit. Now that my penis is paying rent, I figure it can stick around for a while 😉
Caramel: Now that you’re no longer on the outside of the adult entertainment industry looking in, have any of your original perceptions changed?
Evie: So far it’s been pretty much exactly what I expected. People are people and business is business, adding sex into the mix doesn’t change that. As much as possible I’m just trying not to get ahead of myself. I know I’m going to make mistakes being so new to this and I’m okay with that. I want this enough to be willing to fall here and there and it’s going to happen. My goal is to be a professional artist in this medium, and that’s exactly how I’m approaching it. Cross t’s, dot i’s and fuck as well as I know how.
Caramel: I know that you do a lot of your own photo processing. Would you consider launching a website of your own and to eventually work as a producer and director?
Evie: I just directed my first shoot actually! The quality of the footage is great, I’m really proud of the team I had for it, I can’t wait to get it edited. Currently a website is not in the offing, they take too much work so I’m planning to direct and produce material, and then distribute it through someone else. It’s early days right now and I want to keep things simple.
Caramel: What advice would you give to someone new who wants to get into the business?
Evie: Goodness, I really don’t feel qualified to give any advice to anyone! I can’t rationalize my own decision to do this to be honest. I’d be making way more money if I’d stuck to working in the fashion industry. Choosing to do porn really only limits your future options and I can’t come up with any sensible argument in favor of it. I’m doing this because I love it, because it scares the hell out of me, because I honestly feel like I can’t not do it, because when I wake up in the morning this is who I want to be.
Caramel: Male adult performers don’t have to worry about hormone therapy affecting their performances the way transwomen do. How do you balance your regime doing adult work? Or perhaps I should ask if the therapy must stop completely before your performance.
Evie: Before my shoot for Grooby I went off T blockers for about three weeks and ate what was a frankly absurd amount of celery in the week before shooting to get that all important cumshot. I’ve remained off T blockers for the month since then and honestly, for me, it sucks. One of the most dramatic changes for me after i began hormone therapy was that a lifetime of chronic pain and digestive disorders disappeared. In the last six weeks what I’ve learned as I watch all those symptoms starting to return is that is wasn’t the addition of estrogen, so much as the removal of testosterone that finally cured me of my chronic pain. So now I find myself wondering, is this a trade off I have to make? If I want a career in porn will I have to deal with chronic pain to get work? To be honest I already know the answer, I’m not willing to live with the pain again for the sake of shooting scenes that aren’t even about how I actually like to fuck. It’s unfortunate because It means I’m probably going to have to find a day job to support myself while I make my own porn. It’s kind of ironic that because mainstream porn treats cumshots as the only acceptable proof of orgasm, and because most trans women in porn have penises, there is this requirement for a cumshot, but for me, orgasm looks nothing like that! That ejaculatory orgasm is like, the lowest order of about three levels or orgasm that I have. It’s the least satisfying, least intense and most boring sort of orgasm for me, but in the pursuit of a “real” onscreen orgasm, I have to put in a ridiculous amount of prep work. Basically, what I’m saying is if you see me ejaculate? that’s like the least real orgasm I do! I’m hoping I can find more work doing hardcore scenes where the cumshot can be left up to someone who actually want’s testosterone in their system. I love getting fucked, and I’m actually kind of into facials so if people want to see cum in my scenes I’m all for it, just so long as it doesn’t have to be mine! The other thing that makes me sad is that I actually love topping people, but again, mechanically that’s problematic if I have to use my cock, but if I can use a strap on? You better believe it’s game on! I’d love to do more hardcore BDSM work in either a sub or domme roll, more hardcore scenes in general and I’d better get to do at least one Bukkake scene in my career. As for my own productions you can expect to see some delightful queer porn, some really weird art porn and we just filmed what I believe is the world’s first Wes Anderson Tribute Cumshot!
Caramel: I can’t wait to see that!