Snakes, Porn, And Compersion with Angela White

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I meet Angela White, one of the world’s most recognizable and cherished porn stars, outside a bowling alley in Woodland Hills, CA. We talk for two hours on a bench near the parking lot, and no one gives us a second glance, even when she starts talking about doing nude scenes with a python.

“They say you should never work with animals or babies,” she says of her hot tub scene with a 50-lb. reptile in “Angela White: Dark Side,” but “I’d really like to see Onyx again.”

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White, who just picked up 11 trophies at the 2020 AVN Awards in Las Vegas (including Best Female Performer, which seems regal and fitting, and Most Spectacular Boobs, which seems kinda on the nose) is known throughout the adult industry for being gracious. But I’m conscious of the extra time we’re spending outside in the cold because our original, awesome location fell through due to—wait for it—cow damage.

“I recognize the privileged position I have in this business,” White says. “I work with the people I want to work with, I have an agent (Mark Spiegler) who takes very good care of everyone, and I do the projects I want to do. I’m tremendously grateful.”

White grew up in Australia and attended university there. She came to adult biz prominence as a featured performer with the then-Melbourne-based studio AbbyWinters.com, which tended to feature naturally-lit lesbian encounters between not-necessarily-porny women, like the late-nite version of those old Dove ads. The Abby Winters Girls caused a sensation at the 2008 AVN Show, with their white t-shirts and bare feet. Angela White joined the group a year later.

“I don’t think Abby Winters ever had a snake period,” I observe.

“Yes, I think a lot—but not all—of the things I do on camera now might be a little too much for Abby Winters,” White says.

White’s work runs the gamut from playful lesbian romps with VH-1-worthy soundtracks, such as her “Angela Loves Women” series, to comparatively dialogue-heavy dramas like Bree Mills’ “Perspective” to “Dark Side,” a stylish and very hardcore vignette film that won “Best Star Showcase” this year.

“I put (director) Jules Jordan in the trunk of his own Rolls Royce, tied him up, and made him my bitch,” White says. The movie also features the aforementioned snake scene and a very sweaty outing filmed at an abandoned waterpark in the California desert on the way to Las Vegas.

“By 11:30 in the morning it felt like there was a river inside my little latex suit,” she says.

But while talking about White’s movies is fun—and White definitely brings a star quality that thwarts porn’s tendency toward interchangeability—I’m really interested in the pron crucible: How involvement in this business change people like White, or Belladonna, or Nina Hartley. Those stories are fascinating, I think.

“I definitely started out with the Princess heterosexual narrative,” White says. “I was brought up on Disney movies. But then I realized I also liked women. And realizing that brought difficulty.”

How so?

“Because the idea of sexual loyalty was very strong, is very strong in our culture,” she says. “And I didn’t want to feel like I was cheating or lying, but there’s very little room to have multiple partners and not be punished for being honest about it.”

We don’t really see polyamory playing out in Disney movies, even amongst Scar and all those hyena ladies.

“It wasn’t necessarily multiple partners I was after,” White says. “Instead, it was deep connections with multiple people I was seeking.”

Why not a magma-level connection with one person?

“I don’t know,” she says. “After a while it seemed like I had the capacity for lots of simultaneous connections like that.”

Several years ago I had a conversation with the adult performer Bobbi Starr, who in another career had been a concert oboeist and certainly not the type of person one would think might like to be fucked on a toilet by Rocco Siffredi as he tried to flush her head.

“Porn is a place where you can indulge your fantasy of getting gangbanged in an alley and feel safe about it,” Starr said.

For White, porn has been that, plus a workshop for relationships. Before she talks about what being an adult performer has taught her about relationships, though, I mention Bobbi Starr’s toilet/gangbang story, and ask if there’s something analogous in her career.

“Well, there was a blowbang,” she says (a blowbang is a north-of-the-equator gangbang). “I knew (the men) were going to ejaculate into this wine glass and it was my job to drink it afterward and look happy doing it. And I thought it would be gross. Objectively gross.”

Yes, I wouldn’t want to do that, I say. Either the deposit or the withdrawal.

“Exactly,” she says, “but it is interesting to investigate why something that’s disgusting would turn me on. In the end, swallowing it was easy.”

And porn is the place where you can investigate such things?

“…where the only cost is ‘she did an outrageous thing’ and the shame doesn’t ruin your life.”

I ask White to talk about shame and the role it plays in porn.

“Again, I’m speaking from a privileged place. I work with the people I want to. They’re tested and vetted. They’re friends or, if they’re not necessarily friends, at least they’re professionals. The darker side of porn is possible because the stigma of porn allows for that dark place to exist.”

What’s the end result of destigmatizing porn? I ask.

“I argue myself out of a job, is what happens,” White says. “If porn is a celebration of taboos, and you remove the taboos by taking the stigma away…”

—but surely there’s places where the taboos are there for a reason, I say—

“Yes, some obvious places where you don’t break the taboos, but in general, the taboo of being a ‘slut’ or being sexually available and empowered, if porn is a place where that taboo is celebrated but it slowly gets destigmatized, I’ll just have to find something else to do, won’t I?”

So do you think there’s a middle-ground to provide you some job security while the rest of the world gets on with the business of destigmatizing standard-issue slutty behavior?

“Probably a blowbang,” White says.

We return to the subject of relationships in porn. Is porn a workshop and laboratory for relationships of the future?

“There are strong relationships in porn,” she says, “but jealousy is there, always. I think what this business does for the best of people is that it forces them to be radically honest. People are forced to really look at their relationships, and forced to set boundaries, even if it’s No Boundaries.”

What does a borderless relationship look like?

“There isn’t one,” she says. “Any relationship is defined by its boundaries, but I think we’re learning that it’s not One Size Fits All. We tailor each relationship.”

I think most people would find that exhausting, I say. Isn’t there a kind of security and relief in traditional relationships?

“Sure, but jealousy and temptation and curiosity are in all of those relationships, too, don’t you think? I think the open relationships, where you are allowed to love multiple people deeply, still have their own pitfalls.”

White talks about compersion, which is a kind of jiu-jitsu people perform around jealousy.

“I don’t feel jealous anymore,” she says. “I say ‘anymore’ because I used to feel jealous. I felt jealous when I tried to fit myself into that mold where jealousy most often manifests itself. Through compersion you turn feelings that might lead to jealousy into simple happiness for the other person. You’re happy for them.”

So you concede that you don’t own a person, but enjoy the rental?

“Something like that.”

White now lives in the United States and we made plans to investigate how it might feel for her to go to Costco with me some day. Are you jealous? If so, try using compersion. Just be happy for us, in the same way that I have overcome my jealousy of Onyx.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Let’s Pretend that “Rabbit-Proof Fence” Is A Filthy Thing To Say And Apply It To This Interview with Australian Porn Star Angela White

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Gram Ponante is America's Beloved Porn Journalist

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