It could be her, standing in the low light of a trendy South Philadelphia coffee shop. There are maybe 10 people — drinking tea and working on laptops — most of whom are cute, pale-faced women with dark hair and a look.
One arrived promptly at 4 p.m. and happened to be currently the biggest young thing in the entirety of mainstream adult film.
She was introduced as South Philly’s Stoya by CityPaper last November, but with more than six years of this city behind her and the heart of a profitable and exhausting porn career ahead of her, Stoya is leaving Philadelphia.
And she’s taking her Twitter account, T-Mobile G1 phone and MacBook Air with her. But the “Goth Girl Next Door,” who has catapulted to among the top names at porn powerhouse Digital Playground, says she isn’t a nerd — she was just raised one.
THE NERD IN HER
“I was three when I was using DOS,” Stoya says, “My mom taught me how to read, and my dad taught me how to navigate DOS.”
She speaks effortlessly about the porn industry’s Internet development, dropping references to BBS. She has two phones and says the “interface is such a pain” on her company-issued BlackBerry. She has reviewed video game accessories. Other performers, Stoya boasts, say she is so connected to technology that she must have a power button on the back of her head.
This is the same 22-year-old who has taken porn by storm enough that, of her roles, four are of the 10 best-selling DVD titles from Digital Playground. She also has a starring role in three of the studio’s four biggest features to date. She capped her first year in porn by being named the top newcomer at the Adult Movie Awards and also won adult film blog Fleshbot’s Extreme Pornstar Showdow. And yes, Stoya interrupts, looking up as if reciting lines, she reads science fiction, but please don’t ask her about it.
“I am so freakin’ tired of talking about books,” she says.” I don’t want to discuss Terry Pratchett or Anne McCaffery or any of those things ever again because then I get 400 e-mails in one day saying, ‘Oh my God, you like that author, have you read Asimov?’ Yes, I’ve read Asimov. Of course I’ve read Asimov. Do you really think you’re the first person to ask me that?”
She has, however, written about what she reads, like William Gibson‘s 2007 tech-centric, science fiction novel Spook Country.
That’s the question, how one of the fastest rising stars in porn can be as much of a geek as perhaps her most devoted fans.
“I’m not,” she says, interjecting before the sentence is all the way out of my mouth. “I’m not even that nerdy. I was just raised that nerdy. My dad worked in IT, I had everything early.”
Stoya says she had everything from a large, early-model PDA to a DOS edition of the Berenstain Bears Learning Essentials.
That side of her has likely fueled her precipitous rise in porn. Her saying a video game nerd just might be her type of guy has to push merchandise.
She just won’t be doing it from Philadelphia anymore.
Below, hear Peter Nowak, author of a forthcoming book called Bombs, Boobs and Burgers, interview Stoya on technology’s role in porn.
HOME SWEET PHILADELPHIA
Philadelphia seems like a fitting home for Stoya, who seems jarringly real. She is an aggressive and honest upstart, slinging out phrases like “anally penetrated” without apology while mild-mannered young professionals sip tea behind her. But it’s no show, and there is no glitz; she can be irrationally cold and angry.
She loves Nat Mechanics. (See Stoya at the popular Old City bar during a party held by PopPorn, the adult entertainment news site that’s also Philly-based.)
Near Independence Mall, she shot portions of a silent-film vignette with another adult film star of a different stripe. Earlier this month, as Geekadelphia reported, Tony Trov and Johnny Zito, the creators of online comic series Black Cherry Bombshells who we have interviewed, cast Stoya in their entrant to the 48 hour Film Festival.
North Carolina-born and Delaware-bred, she became a teenage transplant here for the ease of mass transit and is now Philadelphia’s adult film star. But one year into her reign, Stoya plans to move to Los Angeles this fall.
When she was first signed by California-based Digital Playground, there weren’t enough commitments to keep her busy there.
Now, she says she often spends more time on the road than at home and much of it is in Los Angeles — where law and culture have made a porn epicenter.
(It can be noted that, in addition to Stoya and Popporn, Philly is also home to its parent TLA Raw and major adult accessories distributor SexToys.com).
But there’s no convincing Stoya to stick around.
“If you squint your eyes, it all looks exactly the same,” she says. “The only difference is the people who are there.”
Watch Stoya speak on her first year at an adult entertainment expo in January. [tech]gHCbhalEOYg&feature=related[/tech]
STOYA ON THE INTERNET
Of course, the Web helps to bridge geography.
- “for the record: im so over people who dont know what metaphorical means. websters dictionary is a nifty tool” 8:29 PM May 21st from mobile web
- “But I really WANT to be a huge bitch and blast screechey death metal all afternoon.” 7:57 AM Mar 31st from TwitterBerry
- “the ups man may have seen my boobs in the frenzy of box grabbing while wrapped in a blanket” 7:20 AM Jan 2nd from web
To date, Stoya has more than 10,500 followers on Twitter and nearly 15,000 MySpace friends. She takes pride in handling those accounts on her own, though she says she has thought of handing over the workload to a publicist.
On Twitter, she gives lurid allusions to future videos, gets her fans in a tizzy, promotes what’s currently for sale and gives updates on her travel and her scene work.
“I was raised in the South and I have this obnoxious thing called manners,” Stoya says, on why she tries to address the hundreds of fan e-mails and messages she can get daily.
Still she maintains that her use of social media is more an outlet of her obsession with what is new and with a desire to stay connected with friends — who are scattered across the world — than it is a marketing blitz. That’s just a byproduct, she says.
Using social media does, she relents, help curate a community of supporters that can help her create a long-term career — just a handful of years if she’s lucky (and she says she doesn’t know what would come after). Many women who enter porn burn out in months, not years, she adds.
“[A lot of] my ‘colleagues,'” Stoya says, sneering at a question on how she relates to other performers, “are too busy trying to figure out what to do with their boyfriend who is in a band or where to get their next drug fix from.”
The women who are today creating careers in some segment of the adult industry, Stoya goes on, are those using social media.
“Girls like Sasha Grey and Bella Dona and Kimberly Kane, who, you know, are around for more than a year.” So Philadelphia will always be able to find Stoya online, which soon may be the only place you’ll ever find her in the region.
Late in our conversation, as she grew ready for the interview to end, Stoya seemed to broach a reason for leaving that might seem a bit more emotional than simple work-related pragmatism.
“I’m not really the kind of person you can have around small children, so the friends who are getting married and having kids are pretty much cut off anyway,” she says, hiding well any disappointment you might expect her to have. “I don’t need to be in Philadelphia anymore.”