The name “Siri” means “Beautiful victory” in Old Norse, and if you want proof, look no further than the goddess who goes by that name in adult films. The award-winning performer recently nabbed TLA Raw’s title of “Greatest Porn Star of All Time” and has built a massive fanbase by engaging in social media and sharing her passions for pop culture.
But there’s more motive behind her career moves than simple self-promotion. The Minnesota native has striven in both her personal and professional accounts to humanize the industry she loves and speak out against shaming, bullying, and digital pirating. Since we think brains and character are sexier than a hot body, we talked to her about all three.
[The links below aren’t safe for work. But you’re a smart guy; you knew that, right? ]
Man Cave Daily: Congratulations on being named TLA RAW’s greatest porn star. What do you feel was the essential component to your victory?
Siri: Thanks! I’m very thrilled to have won TLA RAW’s Battle of The Superstars, right on the heels of being voted Female Performer of The Year for the TLA RAW awards. Both contests were fan-voted, so I believe that my amazing and loyal fan base is the essential component there. I couldn’t have won without my fans, which I call my “Legion of Sirians.”
MCD: Has winning opened up any new opportunities for you?
S: Yes, it has. I have some really great and exciting projects in the works as a result of the awards — that’s all I can say for now!
MCD: How about any new pressures? Is there anything you feel you have to do now?
S: I have never felt that I have to do anything in my career. In fact, if I felt that I “had to” perform a certain act on camera or make a certain career move, it would take some of the enjoyment out of my job. That’s why I’m expanding my career slowly, because I want to be sure that when I take my next step it’s always on my own terms and something I’m incredibly excited about.
MCD: You have a number of performer awards, titles, and nominations, plus legions (about 25, if we’re going by classic Roman formation) of Twitter fans. Is there anything else you feel would complete your legend as a performer?
S: I’d like more feature-length porn films and parody credits under my belt. I’d like to continue being nominated for the industry awards shows and I’d love to eventually win an AVN or XBIZ award.
MCD: What’s the allure of a parody? Is it a more light-hearted set, for example? Or because it’s a chance to step into a pop culture character’s skin for the day?
S: For me, it would definitely be the latter. As much as I would like to, I haven’t actually been cast to perform in any popular adult parodies. The opportunities for parodies are fewer and farther between than other adult shoots. The closest thing to a parody I’ve done was Digital Playground’s Swans of LA, which was loosely based on the television show Entourage. But parodies are still feature-length, so I’m sure the on-set experience is similar: you are on set for long hours with the same group of co-stars, memorizing lines together, so you get to know each other pretty well. It feels a little bit like summer camp and everyone is sad when it’s over. I love that.
MCD: You were the #1 adult Vine account back before they tightened up their policies — has your following been affected since? Because in my opinion, your fun and funny vines are more addictive than your risque ones.
S: No, I still have the same amount of followers. I don’t post on Vine much since they banned porn and nudity, so while I haven’t lost many, I haven’t really grown in followers either. All the fun stuff I used to post on Vine is now the type of thing I post for my Snapgirlz followers.
MCD: On that point, Hipster Iris from Minnesota is wonderful. Will we be seeing more of her on your Vine? What are the odds of her showing up for longer than six seconds?
S: Iris definitely needs to make a comeback… I’ll have to get to work on that. I promise you will see more of her!
MCD: You’ve suffered some reactionary bans from YouTube and Instagram, and had a bit of a flap on your Reddit AMA for suggesting people should support the films they want to watch. Is social media more challenging as an adult entertainer? It seems like it should enjoy an advantage but instead you’re getting crunched by two different sides of human nature: censorship the majority never asked for and antipathetic behavior from fans.
Social media can be very challenging at times. I have over 100k Twitter followers and a generous estimate would be that 10% of them have ever paid once to watch any work I’ve done. I’ve made it pretty clear on all social media that I won’t hesitate to block anyone who promotes watching my porn on tube sites, or they say they torrent my scenes. I tell them that if you admittedly don’t ever pay for my work, you’re not a real fan and you don’t deserve to see my posts on social media or interact with me directly on any level. But social media definitely has more pros than cons; my membership site grows along with my social media following. And when I tweet about fan-voted contests, my fans really do spread the word and get out the vote.
MCD: You’ve tried to put a human face on your industry, since there is a tendency for objectification. Do you think with newer companies like X-Art that break from traditional tropes there’s an overall movement towards this humanization?
S: I actually think it’s misleading to assume that the softer “glamour-core” porn is somehow less objectifying toward female performers. Pretty porn that presents women as angelic and delicate is no “better” in my opinion than, for example, hardcore g**g b**g porn. In many ways I actually think it’s more objectifying than some of the super hardcore stuff. When I’m filming a scene, I don’t want to cut every two minutes because a hair moved or I’m sweating my makeup off — I don’t care! I want to !*(%! It’s not supposed to be pretty the whole time. Porn that humanizes performers isn’t afraid to get a little dirty if it keeps the sex as real as possible. One of my favorite shoots was for kink.com’s Public Disgrace […] That scene was very real and raw and I was way into it and felt very satisfied, which to me was humanizing. There was great attention to detail on set, my preferences and boundaries were respected, and I was well cared-for. Plus Kink did before-and-after interviews about my experience shooting the scene — what could possibly be more humanizing to performers than a post-scene interview about their feelings and emotions during the sex scene?
In mainstream porn, I think that the movement toward less objectification of performers is in work being done by female directors/writers like Mason, Dana Vespoli, Jacky St. James, and Nica Noelle. They’re working to create stories and sex scenes that display female performers” true desires in a realistic, very human way.
MCD: You make an excellent point there, and I think it cuts to the heart of many debates over porn — general criticisms of it can be difficult to apply to specific works since everyone has their own tastes. It seems to me that the agency of the performers often gets disregarded in the debate over objectification. What’s your metric to differentiate between subjectification and objectification, and do you feel there’s ever an overlap? An objectification with permission?
I don’t think there is any surefire metric for objectification vs. humanization of porn performers. The only really trustworthy measurement is what an individual adult performer says about her own experiences. I would argue that even consensual “objectification,” like for instance the type of scenario played out on kink.com’s Public Disgrace, is still not objectification in the true sense, because the mere act of considering the performer’s sexual desires and boundaries constitutes the humanization of that person. When I think of objectification of porn performers, the first thing that comes to mind is the tacky, often disturbing GIF banner ads that fill the margins of tube sites. If you stare at those ads for two minutes, they just make you feel gross about humanity in general. But most of those ads aren’t even created by the porn studios they’re driving traffic toward — they’re compiled by ad & traffic companies that purposely use the most shocking and base images to appeal to tube site viewers. All they care about is getting you to click on that ad, and they’ll use any image, any language to get you to do that. And that is objectification.
MCD: You’ve praised Dana Vespoli for hiring performers who deviate from the image most people have of busty blondes, while not using race or body type as selling points, which certainly is more humanizing. What would your ideal state of the industry look like in 10 years?
The industry today looks vastly different than it did just five years ago. Knowing how much things can shift dramatically in the span of a few years, I couldn’t possibly predict what the industry will look like ten years from now. Five years seems more realistic for me. So in the next five years, I hope my industry continues to find common ground with the sex-positive and body acceptance communities, and that those values in turn continue to influence porn producers. I hope we to see even more female producers and directors lending their visions and voices to the industry. And I really hope that we find better, more sustainable ways to combat piracy, so that our industry can thrive, instead of just survive.
MCD: Is there any difference between the porn you like to watch and the kind of porn you’d prefer to make?
I like to watch pretty hardcore stuff. I love bondage and g**g b**g porn. I love queer porn. The kind of porn I’d make would involve those elements as well as some of my own personal sex fantasies and a healthy amount of experimentation.
MCD: You’re an unabashed geek, and bless you for that — as a cosplayer, are there any characters you’re dying to play in the porn parody?
Power Girl is my ultimate, but I’d also jump at the chance to play Black Widow in a porn parody.
MCD: You’re definitely known for your Power Girl cosplay. Is she a favorite character, or simply one you felt you resembled physically? If the former, what makes her one of your favorites?
S: A bit of both. Initially I started cosplaying her because of our physical resemblance, it just made so much sense. But the better I got to know her character the more I loved her, and now she’s definitely my favorite!
MCD: The character has drawn a lot of charged critique, often as a rorschach blot for those who support or frown on her depiction. Some claim her as an example of a strong feminist character, others as a male fantasy (and still others feel it’s not binary). Is that something you relate to as a porn star and and someone who feels the word “slut” is more a descriptive term than a value-charged one?
S: Let’s be honest, there are very few comic book super heroines who don’t have ridiculously big t**s, so that shouldn’t signify anything about a heroine’s depth of character or importance. Power Girl’s boobs just happen to be hanging out a bit more than Wonder Woman’s, Catwoman’s, or Elektra’s. That doesn’t make her a weak character. One could argue that all female super heroines are simply projections of male sexual fantasies. Most of them certainly started that way. But I like that writers make jokes about PG throwing off villains by distracting them with her boobs — with a costume like that, you can’t ignore the obvious let-me-show-off-my-huge-t**s “boob window.”
And I will say, as a feminist, that I dislike the versions of her costume without the boob window. I find them dishonest to her character’s history. It is possible to be a strong person, with big boobs, and show off those big boobs unabashedly (I do that every day!). Anyone who thinks that Power Girl is a walking pair of boobs is really missing the point. Power Girl dares others to objectify her for her costume choice and her body type — and those who do objectify her, end up regretting it and learning a lesson. There’s nothing weak or anti-feminist about that.
MCD: Power Girl has made similar arguments within the comics, effectively: “My body, my clothes, your problem, not mine.” Have you ever argued similar with anyone identifying themselves as feminist, and did either of you change the other’s outlook in any way?
S: Nope. I’ll politely state my own opinions in an open forum (like this interview), but I refuse to debate with anyone, feminist or not, who discriminates or makes moral judgments about others based on their clothing choices, sexual behavior/orientation/identity, etc. People like that are asshats, and I don’t make time for nor give attention to asshats.
MCD: Speaking of Rorschach…who’s the sexiest Watchmen character?
S: Dr. Manhattan!! I’d like him [ …] Just him and his 10 clone selves. Hahaha.
MCD: Apart from Power Girl and Harry Potter, what are some of your other pop culture tastes? Is there a theme in the kinds of stories and characters that appeal to you?
S: I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones now. Who isn’t? I am definitely drawn toward fantasy/sci-fi stuff with a historical background. I like complicated characters that aren’t pure good nor pure evil, like Cersei Lannister and Littlefinger in GoT. To me those characters mirror human nature best, and they’re the most interesting.
MCD: I’d concur. As for complex characters, you’ve started to do movies with more plot and even some low-budget genre film work. Is that something that interests you, or are you looking towards non-adult acting as something you’d eventually like to do as a career path, a la Kirsty Hill or Sasha Grey?
S: It definitely interests me, but I don’t intend to use adult films as a stepping stone to doing only mainstream films, or cross over completely. I do love acting, so I’m always excited about any film opportunities such as my role in the B-movie Ooga Booga and my upcoming role in the horror flick Werewolves in Heat. (Check out http://imdb.me/Siri for more info about them.) I have two more offers for films that are in development and I want to pursue as many mainstream opportunities as possible. I’m featured in an upcoming music video which I can’t say more about just yet.
MCD: You are also involved in The UnSlut Project’s Slut: A Documentary Film, which seeks to inform audiences about the often woeful state of sexual identity and education in America today. Do you see yourself doing more non-entertainment, sex-positive or pro-self-image projects?
S: Yes, absolutely! I’m so proud to be a part of The UnSlut Project and Slut: A Documentary Film. I am continually amazed by the simple power of sharing personal stories of slut-shaming and its extremely negative effects as a way of bringing awareness to the issue. I’m excited for the film to hit the festival circuit next year, and I will continue to be an outspoken voice against slut-shaming. I also look forward to September, when I am speaking on a panel about slut-shaming at CatalystCon West here in LA.
MCD: Many actors retire from porn at a fairly young age. As someone who knew at 19 this would be your career path, do you want to keep acting in it for life, a la Nina Hartley? Or do you see yourself trying other pursuits?
I’ll perform in front of the camera as long as it continues to be fun and satisfying and as long as I have a loyal, active, paying fan base. I hope that means I’ll be performing for several years to come!
Brendan McGinley is editor round these parts when not writing comics or Cracked columns. You can say a neighborly hello to him on Twitter @BrendanMcGinley. You’d probably enjoy his supervillain comic Heist, if you’re a fan of tarnished souls and brutal retribution.