It’s hard to believe that Mike Dreyden has only been making XXX movies for less than two years. He’s already one of the most recognized faces and bodies in the biz, conveying an image that’s both unmistakably masculine yet youthfully playful (He’s been affectionately called a “porn pup”.)… and full of sexual enthusiasm. Dreyden was the envied poster boy for The New York Gay Erotic Expo 2008. His films “Bad Conduct” (Titan) and “Rear Delivery”(Raging Stallion) have been big sellers. Dreyden has just finished shooting “Jock Park” with Raymond Dragon and Joe Gage. In addition to making movies, Dreyden is also committed to spreading the word about safe sex, appearing in person at the New York City sex clubs to encourage guys to get tested for STD’s and HIV. Despite his being an object of desire for so many men, Dreyden confesses to me that he will still get a schoolboy-type crush on a cute guy at the gym, or even on some of his peers in the adult film biz. He reveals that his personal preference is for big, hairy, masculine men… and he expresses interest in working with actors as diverse as Buck Angel and Brad McGuire (Although Dreyden says that McGuire is off limits, ’cause Brad only does bareback porn…). But his biggest confession is that he’s a “big comic book geek”– and Dreyden outs his XXX peers Diesel Washington and Logan McCree as comic book collectors as well. Dreyden and I meet in the West Village, where the is just leaving his gym (Natch…). At lunch, he orders a grilled chicken sandwich but carbo-phobically discards most of the bun. “I shouldn’t be having onion rings,” he tells me. “But I’ve been wanting onion rings for days!” I promise not to tell anyone… Oops, too late!
JR: What’s the hardest part about being an adult film star in 2009?
MD: Well, I can only base my experience on the last year and a half that I have been doing movies. I would think that the hardest thing for the industry these days is competing with the Internet. I have seen a lot of blogs and a lot of news articles about that. The studios are competing with them and trying to make their sites more user-friendly and more along the lines of something like an X-Tube, or where you can download movies directly from the site and stuff like that. I know that Titan’s been doing that. Raging Stallion does that with their HairyBoyz.com site. So, I think that that would be the hardest part. As a performer, I think the hardest part for me– living in New York– is getting work that’s based on the West Coast. It’s expensive to get us out there, supply us with what we need to be on the set– whether it’s cleaning supplies, makeup, whatever. Sometimes, depending on the project and who’s doing it, I’ll foot the bill to get there and back. I feel the more you work with the studio and make it a collaborative effort on that end, they’re really easy-going they are about it.
JR: What would surprise most people to know about the biz? I’m sure a lot of guys think it must be the best job in the world: You’re getting paid for sex, and sex is fun, and so you’re getting paid to have fun!
MD: Well, the final edit– what you see– is just a portion of what’s gone on throughout the day, whether that was a four or five or eight hour shoot. Sometimes it can go longer, depending on different problems like lighting issues, performance issues, or any number of things. And it’s just like a regular gig, I’d say. I come from a theater and film background to begin with. I have the familiarity of working on a set. I already go into it with a knowledge of what could happen, what might happen, what shouldn’t happen– so, I sort of have that preparation behind me.
JR: A lot of guys may think “Any guy can do this”!
MD: No! It takes a very strong work ethic. You have to have a huge…
MD: A huge sense of exhibitionism! (Laughs) And a huge sense of professionalism, and wanting to have a good time. But a lot of guys, from what I heard, don’t have a good experience: whether it’s that their co-star wasn’t very nice and just went there for a paycheck and that’s it; or the director or producer wasn’t very patient with them because it was their first time, or stuff like that. I think ultimately that anyone going into the business has to realize that this is something that will travel around with you for a long time… and, you have to be wiling to be open and work with the situation– go with the flow. ‘Cause anything can happen. It can change, it can end at the last second, anything…
JR: Right! A lot of time the chemistry may not be right between the two guys. I would guess that you’d have to remember that you’re an actor playing a part to make the scene look good. Because people are investing their time, their money… and in cases like yours, you’re name and reputation is at stake too.
MD: If a guy can go into it looking at it that way, then that’s all the better. Because you are playing a character, you’re playing a role in a scene, you’re creating this fantasy world for the viewer. So, a lot of guys can do it. Everyone I have worked with and partnered up with, it’s been a great experience. We’ve connected on different levels: We’ve stayed friends to this very day, we’ve exchanged ideas, and played around with different positions… It becomes collaborative. So, again: going into it, you have to be open and willing to go with the flow and see what happens. Kent Taylor at Raging Stallion, when I did my first film with them, was just very giving in that we sat down and we talked about how the day was going to progress. He was clear: “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do or something that makes you uncomfortable. Let us know. Or, if there’s something you want to, let us know. It’s about you and your partner and a larger project… and you are a part of it.” That made me feel incredible. So, when I got to do the scene, I was doubly excited because Logan McCree was my scene partner and I felt like I wasn’t just the bottom for Logan McCree. It was Mike Dreyden and Logan McCree creating this fantasy… and it was great. And they let me play with some of my own acting skill, whether it was fantasizing about the poster that comes to life, or how the scene would open, and positions, and stuff like that…
JR: In a lot of your scenes, you have a lot of real sexual enthusiasm!
MD: In my own personal sex life, I get horny, I wanna get off, I wanna fuck. Me and my partner have a great time doing that. When I’m on a set and I’m being Mike Dreyden in a scene, my senses are really heightened. Generally, a guy is instructed not to have an orgasm at least two or three days before a shoot, which intensifies the orgasm and the cumshot. In that moment, once you get there, and the connection is great and you have this chemistry, you’re sexuality and that instinct in you comes to life. I enjoy being watched, and want to put on a really good performance. I totally close out what’s going on around me, which is called the fourth wall… I forget what’s going on outside of me and the guy I’m doing the scene with. So, the enthusiasm is completely genuine. Aside from being completely horny and into the guy, I really am thinking about my performance as well. What would I like to see happen when I’m watching porn? Because, I’ve always loved watching porn. What don’t I like? And what do the fans like? On my blog, I’m always asking, “What do you want to see? Who would you like to see me do it with?” I’m always getting all kinds of requests and everything. So, I think about it. Some guys really like piss. I like watersports. I try to get as much of that into a scene as possible. Or spitting. Or really roughhousing. Or…
MD: Smoking? Yeah! With Smokinghunks.com. I do a lot of work with them. And that’s a tough shoot to do. Because, we’re smoking cigars and cigarettes on the set for hours! When getting into character, my enthusiasm intensifies, because I know that I’m there to do this scene for the viewer and and for the person who identifies as my fan– what they like to see. There are a lot of guys who want to see me get fisted, but that’s truly just not my thing. I don’t understand the psychology, where the actor who is doing it is… whether they’re topping or bottoming. I understand the sensation of being filled and opened. For me, it’s not about length. It’s about girth. And, if I can feel it that way, that really gets me off. Length, not so much… ’cause I’m very cavernous! (Laughs) So, I can understand that aspect of it. As far as fisting, I wouldn’t mind really sitting down with someone who does it and try to understand it with them, but that’s about it.
JR: Gotcha! So, what’s your secret to staying in such great shape?
MD: I tell ya, am VERY strict on my diet. .
JR: Are onion rings your vice?
MD: That’s by biggest vice. Onion rings. Preferably, Burger King onion rings. Haagen Daaz frozen yogurt with the granola in it. I could eat a pint of that in, like, 10 minutes! But I’ve been good so far. I have a whole new fitness goal that I set for myself. Me and the guy from the gym started this competition to see who could tighten up the most, lose the most weight. But I’m trying to put on at least ten more pounds of muscle weight. I’ve been 150 pounds for the past two years; I haven’t been able to break that mark. It’s a little bit harder for me than for someone who’s 20…
JR: (Laughs) I guess. Is knowing that you’re going to be seen on print, or on the screen, or in public appearances, enough to motivate you to want to look good?
MD: Yeah! It’s always a part of the industry, whether it’s the mainstream or the adult industry. You always wanna look your best, you always wanna put on a good show or performance. So, looking your best is absolutely part of it. My friend Lucky Daniels— we only met recently– he’s young and beautiful and in incredible shape. When I was his age I didn’t look anything like that. I am inspired to be as toned as he is. That’s a tall order for me! However, I try to just be true to myself and listen to my body and what it’s saying, how I look and what I want to look like. We can all fantasize and wish to look like the guy next to us, but I know what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are. I try to eat as well as I can, because when I was younger I used to eat everything under the sun and I just didn’t care. Now I realize it does matter… especially when I’m in a G-string on a box dancing in public and all the lights are on me! And, it’s true when they say that the camera adds ten pounds when you’re filming. Oh my God! I know what looks good and what doesn’t, and I know how I look… and I try to be the best that I can.
JR: Do people have a hard time distinguishing Mike Dreyden the porn star from Mike Dreyden the person?
MD: I don’t begrudge anyone doing what they do, but the response I got since I started doing film is that right away, a lot of men think that I’m an escort or that they can hire me to do whatever. That’s not what I do. A lot of times, when I’m out, or hanging out with friends, or having dinner, or at a club or whatever, they think, “Oh that’s Mike Dreyden. He does porn, maybe I’ll have a chance with him.” Or they’ll come on to me or be very aggressive. If I don’t invite that, I don’t expect you to invade my space that way… because I am a human being after all. Would you do that to Angeline Jolie if you were dying to go down on her?
JR: (Laughs) How true! So, what do your think your best work is?
MD: Hmmm… Each one is very different in what they offer. My second film, “House of Leather”… yeah, you definitely want to see that one. I got a GayVN Nomination for “Best Cumshot” for that one. That’s a huge deal because of (1) being new to the industry, and (2) being my second movie. Not many people get that. It was a big deal for me. So, if you want to see an Award-nominated, incredible cumshot, see that!
JR: I will! You’ve also used your role as a sex star to promote safer sex too… encouraging guys to get tested for HIV and STD’s at the New York City gay sex clubs.
MD: That was a great experience, I gotta tell ya… My friend Demetre Daskalakis is a physician. He started this program in cooperation with the City and the bathhouses to offer HIV and STD testing for free at the bathhouses. Every year at the Gay Erotic Expo, I looked around to see what, if anything, is giving back to the community– and they receive the “Mike Dreyden Outstanding Community Service Award”. There’s no real award, but I blog about it and put it on my MySpace and Facebook pages. I give them a lot of publicity and get their info out there. So, this past year, The Men’s Sexual Health Project was at The Expo. They had a really well-done booth and when you came in it, was one of the first things you saw. I thought, “This is new. This is interesting.” What really moved me was that they offer this service in a place where a good percentage of the time, guys will become infected or hook up with someone who doesn’t know their status. They don’t know what else they have or could contract or what have you. Being there, they can get a referral for service, or they can just go if they want to get tested without having to fill out paperwork or sitting and talking with a counselor. All of that can come later. But you can sit down one-on-one and talk with the guys that administer the test. They make you feel very comfortable. They listen to you and talk to you about whatever issues you have. They don’t look at you as a number or by what your test results are; they talk to you on a very one-on-one, personal basis. And when I saw them there, I was blown away. To offer testing is one thing. To do it in a place where people end up contracting some sort of STD or HIV or whatever, was phenomenal to me. So, I gave them a shout-out on the stage, I put them on my blog. Then they contacted me to figure something out on how we could collaborate on something. I said, “The best thing I can offer you is… me. I can be at an event or sign autographs, or they can get a free DVD of my movie ‘Return to Fire Island’ from Lucas Entertainment“. I did a raffle, and a few guys won the deluxe edition of the movie. A lot of guys were like, “Oh my God, I’ve never seen a porn star at a bathhouse before!” I was in a towel, carried on, took pictures… It made the day for a lot of guys. A lot of guys who had never been to the East Side or West Side Clubs before came not only to or see me, or meet me, or get an autograph, but to get tested. I mad it a point that if you come down to the bathhouse and get tested, I will give you something. A photo, a movie, or whatever. To me, aside from knowing your status and practicing safer sex, testing is very, very important. I know how I am about it. When I was 17, I got my first STD, and it freaked me out. Whenever I got tested after that, I always had that panic. I start thinking about all the people I had been with, and everything I did, and what was safe, and what was not so safe, and what was pushing the line… and it freaked me out about that. I know it’s like that for a lot of guys, and a lot of guys will not go get tested because of that. Steve Cruz, another friend in the industry is a huge advocate for safer sex and started his own safer sex campaign, and I think it’s phenomenal what he’s doing. What’s never really talked about is the testing process: Where to go to get tested, what you can expect, what kinds of things to test for or look for…you know, those kinds of things. You can go to the Board of Health, where some rude woman from somewhere making minimum wage who doesn’t give a shit about you says, “Here, fill this out, piss in a cup, give us your blood, goodbye.” On the other hand, with Men’s Sexual Health Project, you sit down and they’re with you throughout the whole process. And, say you do have an STD or you test positive for HIV, they will sit there with you until you go through whatever you need to go through, or they will find the services that you need so that you can go forward. At the West Side Club and East Side Club, there’s a separate area for testing. You don’t have to buy a membership or pay a fee to enter. You can just say you’re there for the services.
JR: Yeah, the atmosphere that people get tested in can make a big difference. While we’re on the subject of safer sex, how do you feel about the rise in bareback porn?
MD: There are many in the industry who shun bareback porn. I understand their philosophy and I understand why they think the way they do. My personal view is this: For someone who is 17 or 18 or 22, they do not know what it was like for guys our age when all of this hit our lives. I mean, the very first cases that started hitting the news in 1983 or ’84; I was, I think, 14 or 15. By the time 1987 came out, it was just out of control. Friends that I saw the week before were physically changed, drastically, one week later… and then the next week they were gone. These were close friends who died in a matter of months, before there were any medications or anything. I saw what the disease has done to the community, and then when it started affecting the straight community and mostly people of color, it really frightened a lot of us. Now, I do not begrudge or judge anyone for what they do. However, I think that the bareback industry needs to be aware that someone who’s 20 years old is going to see this. A lot of guys who you see in these movies are adults in their late 30’s or 40’s… so we all know where we come from and what this means for us. I’m sure 99% of them are HIV positive, and it’s not talked about. I just think that the industry needs to be very mindful of young people who have no clue as to what’s going on in that moment… and it will affect their judgment as far as, “Well, they’re doing it. They look fine. I’ll be OK.” And these guys have their medications, they have their medically-given steroid regimens, but they have all made a decision– since they are in a certain stage in their lives– to do these kinds of films. (Sarcastically) Which is great. I honestly live vicariously through them. I like to watch. I fantasize about it. My partner and I have our own way of having sex and we click. It’s our way. We’re both negative. To me, it’s just basic algebra. Two negatives can’t make a positive. A positive and a negative will become a positive. I’ve tested that theory, I’ve lived that theory, and I’m still HIV negative all these years. I’ve had close calls: One too many drinks, too many party drugs, and I was like “What the fuck did I do?” And I just will not do that outside of a committed relationship where we have gone through the testing process and we’re ready for that. I don’t think that they (the bareback industry) should be shunned so much for what they do. It’s a very slippery slope as far as: If they’re being very mindful about the effects it has on the young generation, it would be great to hear that from them, because I don’t ever see anything in the films except for that disclaimer at the very beginning. It could be a little bit more. But, as far as the industry as a whole, they are good quality films in how they’re produced and how they’re done, and the fantasy of a gang bang or whether two guys meet at a restaurant or what not. They’re fun quality. But in this day and age, they just have a very powerful influence. I’m sure they know that, but I would just like to see more of that in their advertising or in their presence. I personally will never, ever, ever ever ever do a bareback film. They can never pay me enough. However, if they wrote me a check for $50 million and it cleared the next week or so, I would consider it! (Both laugh) But right now, never. They couldn’t pay me enough.
(I mention about how at Folsom Street East a few months before, Chi Chi LaRue— who states that condoms should always be used in porn– was MC’ing on stage; At the other end of the event was a booth for Treasure Island Media, who make bareback porn.)
MD: I’ve sat down and talked with Chi Chi one time at last years Grabby’s/IML Weekend in Chicago, and I asked her, “Aside from the obvious, why do you feel about bareback porn the way you do?” She said, “It’s wrong.” She just does not think it’s the right thing. A lot of Chi Chi’s projects involve little twentysomethings. A lot of these guys don’t understand. In that aspect, she’s trying to encourage them to explore their sexuality in a safe, responsible manner. I think that’s the reason why I like her a lot. There really isn’t a guidance as far as that. She’ll be the first one to say, “You want to do THAT? Then this is what’s gonna happen to you for the rest of your life. You want to do it THIS way, not only will you have some fun now, but you’ll be around for the next 50 years and you won’t be strung out on medications.”
JR: Yeah! So, what would surprise most people to learn about Mike Dreyden? And please don’t tell me that it’s that you’re a nice guy, cause every celebrity says that!
MD: But it really is that I’m a nice guy! (Laughs) Whenever I’m dancing, and someone puts a dollar in my jock or whatever I’m wearing, I’ll say thank you and I’ll bend down and kiss them on the forehead, and dance with them a little bit and make them feel special. Or, when I’m walking down the street and they recognize me and ask me for my autograph… you know, to this day that still bugs me the fuck out. Why are they stopping me? Why do they want my autograph? People generally like me, and I’ll stop and chat with them and take a photo with them, sign something for them, whatever it is. ‘Cause, it’s gonna make their day. A the end of the day, your fans are everything, whether it’s the mainstream film industry, or modeling industry, or adult film industry. If you have people who like you, it just comes back to you. Another surprising thing to know about me: I’m not ultra-Orthodox, but I am part Jewish and I wear my yarmulke like I’m wearing right now. Although I have not worn it in any of my films, I’ve been asked a few times to wear it in a scene. But I do not want to fetishize my religion. I grew up in a very eclectic family. We were raised Catholic with Jewish tendencies. My mom made sure I that we were very aware of who we were and where we came from, and what makes us unique. I identify with my Judaism. I identify with my Catholicism. Especially in this day and age, I feel like I owe it to myself and the world to really make that statement. I never wore my yarmulke outside of the house for Shabbat or the holidays, but when my grandmother passed, I started feeling all these things about who I am and how I identify with the world, and I started wearing it. But I think the first time I wore it out in public, people didn’t really know. They asked me, “Did you convert?” I said, “No, I always was.” It blew a lot of people away at the Grabbys this year. I wanted to wear it to the GayVN’s, but I was just nervous. I didn’t know how people would react to me. I was up for a Nomination. I wanted it to be about the Award, and not about me being Jewish. But at The Grabbys, because of the reaction of everyone at the GayVN’s, I felt comfortable. I’m like, “I can wear my yarmulke around these people. They will know and understand that this is who I am.” And so Sister Roma, when she interviewed me on the red carpet, said, “I never met a Jewish porn star.” I said, “You probably have!” I’m sure there are a lot of them. I’ve made a lot of new friends– writers, directors, producers, models, who were like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re wearing it. Mazel tov. Thank you for doing that!” I didn’t think it would be that kind of reaction. I presented for the first time at the Grabbys and wanted it to be a special moment for me… and it was that. So much so that so many times I got stopped, I got hit on, I got asked out… and even Jason Ridge who I’ve known for a long time– we flirted on line– singled me out when he was presenting. And he’s Jewish! (Laughs) So yes, most people do not know that that’s part of me. I am Jewish, I identify with that. But I don’t speak Hebrew at all. Spanish, Greek, Italian, but not Hebrew!
Whatever language you speak, you can see Mike Dreyden live at the following fun events:
MIKE DREYDEN’S CASTING CALL
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8PM-3AM
250 West 26th St. at 8th Ave
AN OPEN CASTING CALL FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN BREAKING INTO THE ADULT ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY!
Hosted by Grab Ass
Join us when Grab Ass hosts Mike Dreyden’s search for the next top porn star. It could be you!
MIKE DREYDEN’S BOOTY COOL
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 8PM-3AM
250 West 26th St. at 8th Ave.
Hosted by Grab Ass