Over the past few weeks, I’ve mostly spoken with porn outsiders like TS Madison or A Bearded Boy whose work exists outside the established, mainstream porn studio structure. This week, I wanted to change things up and talk to someone in that world, so I reached out to Brazilian Randy Blue exclusive Diego Sans, whose scenes in the Welcome to LA series I’d worn out half a bottle of lube over.
Of course, one of the things I’m getting used to as a writer for The Sword is that when I start to talk to industry talent, they quickly bring up any negative coverage they’ve received on our famously opinionated site. It happened on the Joe Gage set with some of the models, and so it wasn’t much of a surprise when, as we sat down to talk in a private room on the ground floor of his mom’s fancy Tribeca high-rise, Sans immediately started explaining just what led to his insanely drunk interview with Sister Roma on the red carpet of the Cybersocket Awards in 2011, which is still his most popular post on the site. This set the tone for much of our discussion, and for the next 90 minutes, Diego proved to be more than forthright about his own substance abuse problems, tumultuous relationship dramas, and how the combination of both led to his arrest for domestic violence.
Diego: I had just gotten into an argument with my then-boyfriend before I went to the airport because he did not want me to go to Cybersocket. Then I just thought, “what can I do to relieve myself from this stress?” and the answer was, “Drink!” I started drinking at the airport, I boarded the plane, I got more drinks, and then I got to the hotel, got more drinks, and by the time I got to the Cybersocket awards, my body was there and my mind was somewhere else – another planet. Looking back, I am amazed by some of my choices back then. I think we all go through that Justin Bieber-Miley Cyrus-Britney Spears phase, whatever you like to call the rebellious phase, and I think that was my time.
Adam: So you were in a stressful situation and drinking was how you decided to deal with it.
Yes, that would have been the way I would have dealt with my problems back then, but I’ve recently joined AA. I haven’t drank and my party phase, drugs, alcohol – all that is behind me, thank god.
What prompted the decision to join AA?
I’ve been partying since the age of 16 back in Brazil, and it’s been 8 years of partying and circuit parties and traveling just to go to parties to listen to the same goddamn music, the same stupid drugs, and you’re in this illusion that these people are your family — these are your true friends, when in reality, they’re just people you know. Acquaintances. Your true friends are at home. And your true friends are the ones telling you don’t go to these parties and everything.
So when I moved back to the United States I thought this is a great opportunity for me to start fresh — but I fell right back into it. I never woke up from this nightmare of drugs and alcohol and parties until the day that my sister decided to move to New York City.
My sister’s my soul, my twin. So on the weekend before she left, June 24th, 2013 we decided to go all out. We thought, this is our last time in San Francisco together until god knows when. By the end of that weekend I was so dead and exhausted and, I don’t know if it was an epiphany, but I thought I’m done with this. June 26th was my sobriety. I literally went cold turkey. I said this has brought me nothing except debt and sad days, this stupid illusion that I thought was real life. From that moment I quit doing everything. When I got to New York in December, I spoke to a good friend of mine, and he said you know something I’m actually going to AA, would you like to join me? So I went.
I’d never had the addiction — as in like, the need to do the drug, I was able to just stop. But I thought it was a great thing for me to continue with and I met great people and they helped me certain times with my thoughts. We’re all human, sometimes you’re having a stressful day, and you think I could just really — I need something to release my stress — is it necessarily drugs or alcohol? No. I don’t need that, I might as well go to a movie or I can take a walk in the park, meet up with a friend, and that’s what AA’s helping me a lot with. I don’t need to go to a party. I’m finding alternatives, but it’s been good. I’m enjoying it.
Take me back to Brazil where this all started.
At the age of 16 I still had never made out with anyone, and I had never had sex. This good friend of mine took me to a club on Saturday. Sunday I found myself going back to the club alone and then the weekend after that and after that. Since the beginning I didn’t have a hard time finding the “in” people who worked at clubs and had the connections and everything. When I got in, I was in. Soon enough I began hanging with people that were in that crowd, then drugs came along and everything. Then I was slowly introduced little by little, and I find myself Sunday morning not going to church but to a pool party and then to the after hours, then the motel party, and so on and so on.
How did your parents react to all of that?
Their reaction to me being gay — perfect. My dad he told me he doesn’t care if I’m gay, bisexual, or a “fuckin’ tranny” as he worded it. He loves me no matter what. Which was awesome. My mom was the same way. When they found out I was going to clubs, they didn’t mind. When they found out about the drugs, that’s when shit got real. I was arrested back in Brazil — that my car was pulled over and this guy who was with me had a backpack filled with drugs and it was all over the news and it was terrible, and when they got the news —
That’s how they found out?
Literally me calling them to say, “Come bail me out.” So it wasn’t sugarcoated for them. It was like your kid was hanging out with this drug dealer and they were either selling it or doing it. It was terrible and I put my family through a lot and I can say I have the best support group at home. My mom, my dad, they all support me, no matter what I do as long as it doesn’t distract me from my main goals in life, which is go to college, get a degree, get a steady job. They’re behind me no matter what. Do they approve of porn or the lifestyle?
You’re asking my questions for me.
My mom is more like, she doesn’t mind. She’s not in favor.
She doesn’t watch it?
No. But it’s funny that you asked because my stepmom HAS watched it. I just was informed of that the other day with my sister, because I was like asking my sister, “Do you think they’ve seen my videos?” And she said your stepmom’s in the bedroom watching another porn of yours. What the fuck! Not to touch herself, but they’re curious. I did a Mark Henderson photo shoot for a coffee table book and I showed them my pictures — my dad and my stepmom and they’re interested because they want to be a part of my life. I’m like here I am with a huge boner and posing for the camera, and they’re like “Oh wow, that’s a pretty picture.” And you would think a parent would say “Oh my god, what are you doing? Why are you doing this?” and I think it’s amazing that they allow me to live as long as it doesn’t distract me from my main goals in life.
How did you first get into porn?
In 2009, I came back to the United States for a relationship and I wasn’t able to work because I didn’t have my green card yet, And when I finally got a green card and I could get a job, and the relationship ended, I honestly thought, “What do I want to do? And porn was on my bucket list. By the age of 14 I was watching Randy Blue and watching Reese Rideout and I would think these guys are not even real, they’re all animation. Because they were so perfect. So I thought, why not try for porn? That’s where my rebellious phase began because I thought, I have daddy back at home giving me an allowance, and I don’t have to pay rent here because my mom pays for my studies. It didn’t take long, and then two weeks later people were calling me down for a photo shoot and that’s where it all started.
Lets talk about your body. What do you like the best about your body? What needs improvement and what’s making you happy?
I am my biggest critic. I take it to the totally different level. I sometimes look at myself and think, oh my god you’re so skinny. Get yourself to somewhere — start eating something, god look at you. And people are like, ‘Dude you look okay. Relax.” I personally love my legs and my ass. That’s one thing that I will never skip at the gym. It can be Hurricane Sandy outside again, my ass will be at the gym working out my legs and ass. I’m not a fan of my arms, chest, and upper body. Lower body yes. And I always think, a guy has to have a lower body, otherwise, it’s an upside down triangle.
Do you study different types of porn bodies?
I’m studying to be a physical trainer and I’m in this class and the first day they asked us what is your inspiration in the physical fitness industry? And I said to be honest my inspiration when I started going to the gym was so that at the end of the day I could get in front of the camera and take a beautiful picture. I wanted to take more selfies. And then in 2009, I began training with my former trainer back in San Francisco, and he got me hooked on dieting and working out, but like working out for like — a goal — for you to feel stronger and eat healthier at the same time.
Sometimes when I look at porn stars, I always think the way they start out is perfect, and then they just keep adding muscles and more muscles and getting more and jacked and they lose what I liked about them in the first place…
I feel like that’s an indirect comment towards me.
No it’s not.
It is completely true though.
You’ve only been doing porn a couple years.
Four years. But throughout these years, I would inject myself with so much steroids. I look back and think, holy fuck you were insane. I would like to have a time machine so I could go back and slap myself across the face hoping that would bring me back to earth. Because I don’t know if you — you of course will notice, you’re in the industry, porn models are falling from left to right. There was recently one who died of a heart attack, and then another one. This is no coincidence. This is the use of steroids. Many people think it’s only gonna affect my muscles and then I can continue on. No buddy, all steroids are is crack. Once you get hooked on it, it’s very hard to come off.
It was harder for me to come off steroids than drugs. With steroids, people see you and they give you more attention and the more you have, like Spider-Man’s grandfather said, “With more power comes great responsibility.” You’re getting power, and attention, everybody wants to be with you, everybody wants to make out with you, everybody wants to take you home. In your head you’re thinking, I need more because the more I have the more people will want me. And with steroids, it’s not like, ‘oh I injected it, done, now I look pretty.’ I am still recovering from the damage that I’ve done to my body and I will recover for a while longer now.
When did you start using anabolic steroids?
Back in Brazil. I would look at go-go dancers and I would think these are such beautiful guys, and I would look at the muscle body and I would think that’s beautiful, nowadays with a different perspective, a healthy perspective, I think a healthier body is a beautiful body. A big body is just a juiced body. Many people say oh you’re not as big as you were. But I don’t inject myself with anything. My diet is what makes my body nowadays. If I want to get bigger I’ll switch from chicken to steak and pasta. I’ll work around this short cut of steroids. And many guys like you said will get bigger and bigger and bigger cause they think, I’m gonna get more scenes, I’m gonna get more attention, and it’s just an illusion. And I think that’s terrible, because you know. I — we’re not idols, I hope I’m not. I hope there’s no one at their house right now, thinking oh my god I hope I can be like Diego Sans one day. But unfortunately there is. I don’t want to be the one that put them in the wrong path of life.
It seems like you’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect on your life.
But that’s just recently. When my sister moved to New York, I had time to reflect on everything I had done. So then I started looking back and I felt embarrassed. I felt so much shame. I look back and I think, you were terrible. You were terrible. When the weekend comes and I see on Facebook everybody going out to clubs and everything, I think “Maybe I could go out to the club?” Then I think, “You’re really gonna spend 20 dollars to go out to a club? And get no sleep? When you could just stay home and save your money and then do something fun.”
For instance I went to Amsterdam in February, and I thought, now I’m gonna have fun, and now I’m gonna get shit-faced, cause I thought, it’s a different country, I’m out of the United States. This is not my safety zone. Let’s go wild. So I went out, I had a drink. I smoked pot with different people, I got to meet new friends. That felt good. Because I did something new. Instead of keeping it a routine.
So you’ve been in AA, but you decided to drink and smoke pot…?
Well, but I told you, I’m not actually an addict. First of all, I hate drinking. I hate the taste of alcohol. It burns my throat, I hate the taste, and it makes me dizzy. The next day I can’t function. But the only thing I drink nowadays is wine. Will I have a red wine if I’m eating a steak? Of course. Will I have white wine if I’m eating a salmon? That would go nice. Will I have red wine at home because I’m bored? No. Because I just don’t like the taste and that’s where peer pressure entered my life because I thought I have to do this drink, I have to do this shot, I have to do this bump, because I have to fit in.
Nowadays I have a voice, because I speak for myself. Before I thought it was embarrassing to say “I don’t drink,” but now I feel proud. Sometimes on Grindr people say, “Would you like to go out for a drink?” Before I would be like “Yeah totally, sure.” And then I’d get to the bar and be like “I have to drink.” I love coffee, though, and now I’m very upfront. Nowadays Diego Sans is like what you see is what you get. I’ll tell people I’ll go out for coffee or tea, and what I thought the reaction would be, “Ha ha, you don’t drink?” Turns out people are like, “That is so cool.”
Was your drug use related to sex? Were you doing that?
Oh yeah. My ex — my latest relationship, god I hate that guy. He and Justin Bieber would share the first spot on the Malaysian Airlines plane. They’re both the pilots. I want them gone now first. He made my life a living hell.
This is the Cybersocket guy?
So you have had a series of terrible relationships?
That is the reason I don’t date nowadays. He cheated on me, pocket dialed me on New Year’s while he was in the bathroom in Puerto Vallarta giving a blowjob to a couple from Detroit.
How did you find that out?
He left a voicemail when he pocket dialed. This was my big introduction to 2012. “Oh Oh Oh Oh OHHHH — Oh my god, I left a message. Click.” I played that message so many times praying to god it wasn’t what it was. And it was. I continued on with the relationship. I forgave him, and he cheated on me many other times. And it was in that relationship that I began doing a lot of G. Sex parties and all of that. And that’s a huge part — I will tell you this. The time that I was with him, like I told you, I reflect sometimes, I see pictures, and I see friends of mine that are going to clubs and everything. The biggest part of reflection that comes from this time is the time that I was with him. The time that I was going to circuit parties with him, doing all the other things with him while I was in that certain relationship. He liked sex with other guys, and I think it’s a Latin thing to be more monogamous. I think we’re more passionate.
You’re the most jealous and into monogamy! It is a thing for sure.
I go crazy. The Cybersocket guy I walked in on his roommate and him. That’s the night I was arrested for domestic violence. I don’t accept cheating. I don’t accept people who go on Grindr and say “I have a boyfriend” I don’t respect people like that. Who will tell a person I love you, but go out and have sex with another person. In Brazil if you have a boyfriend and he looks to the left, you better be saying that you were looking at that wallpaper, because if your boyfriend asks you if you’re looking at some other guy, you’re getting a beat down. This ex of mine, he had a lot of friends and they had friends with benefits, they would go out to a circuit party and then they would all go to a house and do more drugs and have sex and everything. Okay, I would say, I love you so I’m gonna tag, along. Whose fault is it? Mine. I should have said no. Do I blame him for all the things I did? No. I blame him for not caring. ‘Cause he saw the pain I was going though. He saw what he put me through. He saw that I was depressed. I was crying myself to sleep. Nowadays, I’m like “I can’t have a relationship.” It’s too much work. Especially gay relationships. I don’t believe much in them.
Let’s go back to the domestic violence arrest. What happened?
I saw my boyfriend riding his roommate and beat the crap out of him. I wasn’t working in porn and we had just adopted two beautiful puppies, Keyshia Cole and Emily Rose, and they needed their rabies shots and I got tight on money because I had given up porn, and my money saved was going, I didn’t have a job and then he finally got me a job at one of the companies he worked for. But the money I made I could barely get through, so I thought, let me take this go-go dance gig in San Francisco, so I could get the puppies their rabies shots.
But I said to him, the next day I have to work, so please don’t drink, because I have to rest. He got so drunk, and I was just so pissed, so on the way back home he and his roommate were so drunk and he is screaming at me at the freeway, he’s hitting my head in the car while I’m doing 70 on the 580 and I’m thinking “What the fuck are you doing with this kid?” And then I got to the house and I got my dogs, and I said, “You know something, I’m outta here.” I parked his car. I went up, got the dogs, and drove a while and stopped at this gas station, and I thought what the fuck am I doing here, it’s 3AM, I’m tired, where am I gonna go? I’ll just go home, I’ll sleep on the sofa, and in the morning I’ll leave.
I get back and all the lights are out. I go to the hallway and turn on the light. Until today the image burns in the back of my head of him riding his roommate like fucking Seabiscuit, and I’m like “Are you fucking kidding me? I’m gone not even for ten minutes.” I said fuck it, it’s 3AM I’m gonna leave right now.
I start packing my shit. He’s drunk so he starts screaming at me. He tries to hit me, poor thing. Little piano hands. Didn’t do much. Then I knocked him down with one punch. His roommate tried to hold me down; neighbors heard the screams and called the cops. Cops get there, see him bruised — white boy — what can I do? I’m tan. You punch a Latino, he doesn’t bruise that easily because we’re tan. A white boy turns into a peach.
So cops got there and saw him and saw me and they said “He’s the owner so we’re arresting you for domestic violence.” So I got arrested for domestic violence. That was devastating because I’m on a green card. The sad part is that every single time that I come back in the United States, because I have a green card, they look at me and say “Have you been arrested?” So every time I come back the image of my boyfriend comes back. And they have to question me and I have to wait before I can get my luggage. Do I regret it? I do regret it. I don’t think I should have used violence. I’m not a violent person at all. But until today I will say I just defended myself.
Even though you say he was smaller and tinier and couldn’t really hurt you?
He was like the male version of Ellen DeGeneres. If Ellen had a dick that would be him. Fat version of Ellen DeGeneres. And he wasn’t tiny, he was taller than me, chubby.
But there was some measure of anger that came out…
I was juicing back then. It was not the best time to push my buttons. He just pushed the wrong one at the wrong time. I was just fed up. I think I get it a lot from my dad’s side.
No. When money gets tight — I will lose it. Not my temper but I’m not as bubbly as I normally am. You’ll always see this with my dad, whenever my dad’s company has a dry spell, don’t get in his way. I had given up everything for this guy. I was just screaming this out as I packed my shit. Because he pointed out, “Oh you do porn.” But I said “No, I gave up porn for you. I don’t do porn anymore. I work in this crappy fucking job you got me.” So once again like I told you, I give, I give, I give. I’m not saying I’m the rock in this relationship, but I did everything and here you go you get fucked by your roommate and I get arrested. In the end, don’t date. It’s just not worth it. I think that I’ve been so hurt by my past two relationships that I don’t think I would have the courage to go into a relationship again.
You’ll probably meet Mr. Right tomorrow.
I will call you and say, “You fucking bitch.”
Adam Baran is a filmmaker, blogger, former online editor of Butt Magazine and co-curator of Queer/Art/Film. His short film JACKPOT, about a porn-hunting gay teen, won Best Short Film at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and was recently featured on The Huffington Post, Queerty, and Towleroad, among others. He is a features programmer at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival and NewFest in New York. In his spare time, he complains about things to his friends. “Fisting for Compliments”, his weekly musings about the intersection of sex, art, porn, and history, will appear every Monday on TheSword. You can contact him at Adam@TheSword.com and follow him on Twitter at @ABaran999.