Billy Santoro is a powerhouse. In this exclusive interview, he opens up about porn, social media, his new blog and much more.
Welcome to the third instalment of Behind The Porn. This is a series of articles where I interview the biggest names in the world of gay porn. The goal? To showcase a different side to your favourite entertainers.
People are complex creatures. And while we may love these guys for their amazing bodies and sexual prowess, there’s obviously more to them than just that. I love getting to know people at a slightly deeper level, and this series aims to do just that.
Billy Santoro isn’t exactly an overnight sensation, but he’s pretty close. His first scene came about in 2013 and it was a huge and immediate hit. Since then, he’s gone on to become one of the most well known gay porn stars in the business. He’s worked with major studios and been in scenes that will be remembered for a long time to come.
In a lot of ways, it’ easy to see why. Billy’s obviously a very good looking guy. But a few other things stand out about him as well.
Firstly, he’s smart. It’s so great to see how porn, and gay porn in particular, has become de-stigmatised. My personal opinion is that this is in large part due to social media, and being able to have a connection to our favourite performers in a way that just wasn’t possible before. Porn stars aren’t hidden away and shunned in a corner somewhere, they’re right there in front of us on our social media channels.
Billy has built up a huge following on social media and that’s a smart move. It means he has access to his fans directly, and is able to control his brand and image a lot more. Being able to leverage a large social media following gives him more options as to what he’d like to do career-wise. And as you’ll read in the interview, that’s exactly what’s he’s done.
Secondly, he’s honest. Billy has been open and publicly shared his struggles with issues such as alcoholism and suicide. That takes balls and a fuckload of courage. And it’s not something that he had to do. In fact, from a PR perspective, you can imagine it would be the worst thing he could do.
Porn stars are meant to be these projections of fantasy for us to enjoy and escape to. Learning that a performer has real-life issues could be seen as a bit of a letdown. But it’s not, and it certainly hasn’t hurt Billy’s career. If anything, I think it’s helped it. It seems that we’re at a point now where we’re over polished, perfect projections of people. No one buys that anymore because we know it’s not true. Seeing someone be real and authentic actually endears us to them more than an overly carefully crafted image of them does.
I always feel like I’m walking a tight rope when I interview people. On the one hand, I want to ask them some personal, deeper questions to get to know them better. Yet on the other hand, I still want to respect their privacy and not be too invasive or rude. As you’ll see in the interview below, Billy doesn’t hold back. He’s refreshingly honest and candid.
Finally, Billy is the epitome of sex positivity. This might not be too surprising given the line of work that he’s in, but again, it’s not something that he has to do. A lot of performers are in the business, but you get the feeling they may have some issues or hangups about it (and fair enough if they do).
Not Billy though. He really owns it. He’s a great role model for positive sex representation in large part due to the two points above – he’s smart and honest. Therefore when he speaks a message of sex positivity, we believe it because it feels like it’s coming from a genuine and honest place.
It was a great pleasure interviewing Billy. I really appreciate that he took time out of his busy schedule to have a really thoughtful and insightful conversation. I hope you guys enjoy reading it!
Billy Santoro: The Interview
Little Gay Blog – Thanks for your time Billy. How are you and where in the world are you at the moment?
Billy – I am fantastic. I am living in Washington DC, in the United States
You got into the industry at the age of 38. What were you doing work and life-wise prior, and what made you decide to take the leap into the industry
I actually got into the industry at age 37. I was the operations director for Whole Foods. I had zero intention to leave a six figure career. I wanted to do just one scene to check that box saying that, “Yeah, I did porn once.”
I did the scene and was amazed how much acting is involved for me. I had zero true chemistry with my scene partner and was legitimately the least turned-on I had ever been without my clothes on. I thought this was not for me.
When my scene was finally released, I received so much attention from that! Attention is like a drug for a lot of us in the industry. If they say it isn’t, they are liars. I wanted that feeling again. So, I did another scene…and another…ultimately signing a contract for Men.com. The rest is history.
You have a huge following on social media. How important is social media for you as a way to connect with your fans?
I want to lie to you and say it’s amazing to be in touch with all the fans, but that is not the main reason I am all over social media. I do love my fans who have truly become my friends on some level.
I do understand that I have reached a sort of “gaylebrity”, so to speak, but I do not see myself as that.
Social media is nothing more than another way to do brand marketing. Billy Santoro is a porn brand at this level in the game. I use social media as a platform for my products. I use my true voice to market those.
People can be nasty on social media and online in general. How do you deal with negativity and what advice do you have for others (especially younger people in our community) about dealing with online hate?
A wise person once told me, “Haters are your biggest fans. They pay attention to you more than anyone else.” I am now 41. It truly rolls off my back at this point. Billy Santoro is one facet of my life.
I used to lash back at negativity, but it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life. It really doesn’t. I usually have no idea who is even dishing the hate.
My advice is, if someone is giving you hate through a social media platform:
- Block without response.
- Do more of what they are hating you for – it’s working.
What’s been one of the most memorable fan interactions you’ve had in real life?
I have at least 5-10 fan interactions daily.
I think the most memorable was in a bathroom in Newark Airport. I was taking a piss and a young twink kept staring at me at the urinal. I thought to myself, “Does he even remember when gays had to cruise bathrooms for sex?”
I shrugged and as I turned to wash my hands, he asked for a selfie and told me he’s my biggest fan. I did what I usually do when a cute twink approaches me – grab his butt and smile.
What’s one surprising thing that people don’t know about you?
I have a huge passion for specialty coffee, both, the product and the business. Eventually, I will open an espresso bar when I’m ready to slow some of my life down and commit to it.
When you look back on it in 5 years, how do you think you will remember 2017?
The year of many ups and downs unrelated to the industry. But also the year where I’ve made the most money IN the industry.
You’ve launched your own company ‘Leaked and Loaded’. What inspired you to move in that direction, and what’s one thing you’ve learnt in the process?
Well, I do have my MBA and I have a passion for taking market niches I feel are in a vacuum and building it.
While doing research on this particular niche, I was finding that most fans of porn would rather watch their favourite star have real, gritty sex rather than produced, overly lit staged sex. I sought out a method to bring this to the market.
The business model is hugely successful and has inspired other models such as OnlyFans.com/BillySantoroxxx. I am currently brainstorming on the next trend in pornography.
In addition to Leaked and Loaded (and everything else you do), you’ve now become a blogger too. How did this come about and what are your goals for the blog?
I read porn blogs all the time and one thing is consistent, the authors have never been in the industry as a performer/director etc. They write from a fan’s point of view, which is fine, but doesn’t offer the fans anything unique.
By creating a blog where performers and producers are creating the content, the content is unique, real, and explosive. We have the ability to break down that fourth wall and really get to the nitty gritty.
We have the ability to pick up a phone and call each other to verify facts faster than a fan does. We communicate daily whereas other blogs need ‘tips’ to pursue happenings.
Plus, and this is the main reason we created this outlet. We are tired of the bullying in the industry and will call people out on it.
And finally, a few quick questions:
Favourite movie of all time?
Last song you listened to?
The World [Brad Paisley]
Favourite all-time queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race?
Bianca Del Rio – because she gets it from a business perspective.
I cheat on my diet daily. Vodka/Sprite.
If you won’t remember this in 10 years, it’s not worth stressing over it now.
You can also check out Billy’s blog Billy Leaked It here.