Instinct Magazine's friend iHeartRadio/HERETV's Alexander Rodriguez, On the Rocks Radio Show, recently sat down with Trenton Ducati. Here's what transpired. We did miss the event mentioned in the interview (occurred last weekend on March 1 – 3).
What started out as a standard interview turned into an hour-long conversation with adult film director, producer, and star Trenton Ducati – in a fascinating look behind the persona. Trenton has made a name for himself as a performer and, for over a decade, remains a fan favorite in a career that almost didn’t happen. During his time in film, he has become as instrumental in the adult industry behind the camera as in front, dedicated to producing quality content. His website TrentonDucati.com is the number one gay porn membership site with the most studios, the most updates, and the most watched gay porn movies online. He is producing a major event the first weekend in March in Palm Springs. Titled Porn Disco, he is attempting to make sex-themed parties low pressure with positive energy and focus on the sensual over the sexual – he wants to do away with sex themed events always being dark and secret. Studio 54, eat your heart (or whatever you want) out.
I wasn’t prepared for the conversation that covered his journey from rodeo competitions to addiction and eventually adult entertainment, his take on the porn industry at large, the work he is doing for primary and mental health in our community, his passion for photography, his crush on Zac Efron and more little-known facts about this gentle giant. His life could be a novel or an HBO series. For as many times as I’ve seen him naked, I’ve never experienced him in such a revealing way. This has to be one of my favorite interviews.
Alexander Rodriguez: How did you get into the adult film industry?
Trenton Ducati: That's a great question. I used to have a best friend in Seattle, Jimmy Durano, who was already in the adult film industry. We worked out at the same gym and it was his idea to audition for Titan. He was my way in, my connection.
What was filming your first scene like?
Oh geez, that one. I was scared to death! I showed up in Palm Springs, California – it was Francois Sagat’s directorial debut. I was overwhelmed, it was in a great beautiful house, Titan owned – among my scene partners was Spencer Reed, who was super popular at that time. I was blown away by the production. I was freaked out, I basically tried to leave. I said, “thanks for the opportunity, I don’t think this was me.” Brian Mills, who was the head of the Titan at the time and lead photographer, took me aside and had a long talk with me and convinced me to do it. My first scene was actually with Jimmy Durano, who I had been friends with, so it was a comfortable setting. I ended up staying and the scene went great, I felt comfortable after I got going and that night they offered me a contract because the scene went better than expected. But it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies at the beginning. I was freaked out! I had made the decision to just be happy with the flight to Palm Springs and my adult career was going to end right there and I was ready to leave. They talked me into staying and I’m so thankful they did. So first experience – a lot of anxiety, excitement, and fear – a little bit of everything.
You have become a powerhouse behind the camera as much as in front of. What inspired you to become a big part of the business aspect of the industry as well as in front?
I am fascinated by the creative process, movie making in general is fascinating to me. Having been lucky enough to have the career in the industry as a model, I learned a lot along the way and have met a lot of great photographers and videographers and kept asking questions. I found out that photography was a passion of mine, I really loved it. I was so thankful that I could be in an industry where I could have a job producing content, doing something I really do actually love and like. I already have a great relationship with a lot of the models and the business people. I feel really lucky to have the opportunity. I don’t think you can just break into the industry without a connection. I had a lot of people help me and still do…I ask more questions than anyone in the world. What made me want to get behind the camera was the love of the adult industry and wanting to create quality content. I understand what it’s like to be a model and I think that’s a key – the models do a great job for me. I’ve been on the other side so when I ask them to do things they don’t think I’m just making it up – there’s a respect level there, they are more inclined to do things for me – there’s a connection there. I feel very blessed – I love all of the parts and pieces. I wouldn’t have to come to this passion and creative process without being in the adult industry.
What was your growing up like, what is your coming out story?
I grew up in Houston, then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was a great place to grow up. I grew up riding bulls – amateur rodeo and college rodeo. We had five horses at one time, and we had four wheelers, and skiing and snowboarding was right up the mountain. It was a great place to be young. That was a whole different life for me – the rodeo life. Owning horses, all of that, which is in my heart – feels like yesterday. Outside looking in seems like it’s in a whole different world.
Growing up was great, great family. I didn’t run into issues until years later with drugs and alcohol. That was part of my coming out. I started out with drugs and alcohol really young and had a fight with that for a really long time. Thank God I’ve been clean and sober for 11 years. That was a giant part of my coming out, unfortunately ruined a lot of it, but its ok – it’s part of my story. Drugs and alcohol were easily accessible when I was really young, around 13, and I hung out with older guys so I was introduced to a lot of that. My life took a tragic turn. My life was rodeos, travelling, horses, four wheelers, I grew up playing baseball – I had a bright future in baseball. So, when the thoughts that would randomly come into my head about liking guys or being attracted to boys, I would laugh it off. Honestly, I thought it was because I was doing drugs. I honestly didn’t know what to make of the thoughts when I went to rodeos and noticed other guys or would think other guys were really attractive. I was terrified of the camp situation of going into a public shower, at age 16 in a group shower, the feeling that I was going to get hard in front of them and what would that mean. I still didn’t know that I was gay. I left the shower that day thinking I could not do that – and I still didn’t know what that word gay was. I was a straight guy with girlfriends I had no idea what it was. I thought the drugs did real damage, I thought it was because I was getting high that I had these thoughts. The years went by 18, 19 and the thoughts kept progressing. Eventually I started to experiment but it was with drinking – I was able to buffer it. I would drink with friends and have encounters – I would know what was going on but would play it off like I was drunk. I would blow it off as a blackout experience, but I never forgot them. Reliving it, talking about it now, 20 years I still remember like it was yesterday. Once I was comfortable with my sexuality, I up and left my life. I came out to my sister and parents. – and they were shocked! The outside didn’t match the inside. WHAT? They were totally supportive and great, I had the best parents, but it was a shock to them. But I up and left the rodeo world and left my whole life – no one said anything negative to me but, for some reason, I just felt differently with them. I moved on to a whole different world working construction, moving to Seattle to frame houses – now out and gay. Moving to place like Seattle that was open and cool, I was free to live my live. Good times and higher culture – I ran to Seattle, still using drugs. That was my coming out story. Kind of dramatic – lol. There’s a lot of story here.
Congratulations on 11 years of sobriety. What was your breaking point?
To me, the most important part of my life is sobriety. Drugs and alcohol did not work out for me. It led me down a very dark path, I was in institutions and prisons. Everyday sober is a blessing and is a great experience. I never thought I was going to pull it together and get sober. I thought during my addiction years I was doomed, I felt like it was the cards that were dealt me. I felt like there was no way out, I was trapped in this prison world. I created my own prison on the outside and I’ve been to actual prison and it’s actually worse to live in your own prison, walking around the streets in your own hell. The prison in your own mind can actually be worse than an actual prison. The breaking point for me was – I had been going to jail multiple times – over 20 times – for things drug related – possession, stolen property, dumb stuff. I had had it with life, it was not working out for me. I was laying on a cold floor in a jail cell, and I heard a guy in the cell next to me talking about a place called rehab. Honestly, up until that point, I had never heard of such a thing. The man next to me explained to me what it was – rehab was a place that helped people. And in that same conversation he also told me – “do you understand you don’t ever have to use drugs if you don’t want to?” I had never thought of that! I was like “that is a great idea.” I had never known that was an option. It was in that moment that I asked for actual help and somebody helped. I wrote a letter to state of Washington asking them for help – telling them I was a drug addict and couldn’t do this again. They sent a counselor and came and interviewed me and said I was a great candidate. I was released right into rehab – there was a couple of bumps in the road in terms of relapse but, for me, that was the defining moment. It was a complete hell up unto that point and then it was a complete blessing. The bumps in the road were part of the recovery process. Life was still hard, it wasn’t rainbows and butterflies, but I had a chance at life. That’s the absolute truth.
You have created The Next Steps Program, bringing healthcare and mental health services to the adult industry and sex workers in the Coachella Valley. Why is this so important?
I would say that all industries have their own issues. I would say within in our industry, we are trying to create a safe place, to be an access point to care for our people. Members of the adult industry are a forgotten community and sometimes there are younger guys in the industry who don’t have tht relationship with their parents and aren’t honest about what they do for work. These are the people who fall through the cracks, so there needs to be a system that has to be sex positive thinking about these individual sex workers, people who don’t have insurance who can’t talk about their escorting jobs – these are the people we need to help. As far as drugs in the community – I have been on many sets and never once have I seen drugs or alcohol on a set. I am very proud that my whole career has been done clean and sober. I want to show young people that they can have a great career, they can do all of this without drugs and alcohol, I can be the example. When I got into the industry, I assumed everybody was high because that was my life before. You can’t have a full-time career and be a full-time addict – it’s not a reality, but no one is telling young people that. No one is saying – listen to have this career, you have to stay in the gym, stay healthy, plan your schedule, create relationships with directors and studios – you have to call them – it’s a full-time job. No one lets you know that. I love having great conversations with other performers in different parts of the world about addiction and alcoholism – they see what I am doing clean and sober and it gives them the strength to do it as well. We will be talking addiction in the middle of a sex party in Berlin and I’m thinking, this is the best thing in the world because this is a high-risk environment that needs to hear it. This is why I am doing this. This is why. This is the point. The Next Step Program – is the most important thing I’ve done in the adult industry. And, to me, it gives meaning to everything. We have had a lot of suicides over the past couple of years, we’ve had mental health issues, drug addiction – and the healthcare system didn’t have a solution for members in the adult inudstry. So, what can I do? So I go into Desert Aids Project in Coachella – I come with the issues – I said we need a healthcare system for adult workers that focuses on primary care, mental health, drug addiction, PREP – we need to be able to have an access point, a call line with sex positive counselors so people don’t feel shame, stigma/guilt free therapists to direct people to help. There is all kinds of help out in the world but we’re not getting it where we need to bridge the gap. As a producer, I would like to be the access point. The issue is that when performers come to the set, the producer wants to film as fast as possible, get the scene out on the website and make some money and never talk to the performer again. We need to slow it down, we need to check in with the models – do you need anything, what’s going on with you, are you feeling suicidal – direct them to a hotline number to give them healthcare – even if they don’t have steady income. AHF spent their millions bashing our community for no reason when they could have created a healthcare system and literally paid for the healthcare of each of these individuals – that would have been helpful. What they did was hurtful and made it much more dangerous for all of us. Desert Aids Project was 100% on board, put a team together right then and there and we started working at with Chris Brown, the COO. Point is it took 6 months to get it going and now we have Free Speech Coalition on board. The program is already live and the hotline is open and helping people. Desert Aids Project is the first government funded agency in history to create a health care system for sex workers. It’s time to get rid of the stigma and value our community as a group of worthy individuals who deserve this care. We are creating the template here – by the way this is for the gay and straight community– it’s going to be nationwide and everyone is welcome.
No doubt technology and access to free clips has affected the profits of gay films – how does a porn company make money nowadays?
I love this question. First of all, my own studio and a lot of the other studios are very supportive of Only Fans and Just for Fans and all the clips sites. People used to say to porn is dead, there’s no money in porn! Now, with all these new ways to monetize with user submitted platforms – it’s great. The argument was no one is buying porn because it’s all free, I beg to differ. Its’ what they're buying and how they're buying it, right? I have personally made a lot of money on Only Fans and Just for Fans and, as far as me as a studio, I work with the user submitted platforms. For example, at TrentonDucati.com we give a content sharing idea to where I film it and let the models use it on their own platforms for them to make money. I edit and re edit it and use it on big sites, so we both win. But we have to adapt to the current trend. We make my money by adapting and accepting that the universe is providing all these great new ways to make money from porn. I think it’s awesome. Now the conversation has shifted; models used to say, even me, I hope the studio calls me because I need to pay rent, what if they don't call me? It’s not like that any more. Here’s what the models are saying now: hey should I upload on X Y and Z or just Z? Um, hey if you are in town do you want to film a few scenes with me and we can share it and then you put in yours and then on mine? It’s a whole new conversation, a whole new process, it’s a creative process that’s exploding right now. For me, I am so excited to be a part of the porn industry because of the innovations. Right now, people can’t push “record” fast enough. So yes, people are still paying for porn, it’s just how and what they are paying for that has changed. And, honestly, my company's DVD sales have increased over the past years. The new platforms have regroomed the customer to pay. It's not like you are going to get online and see free, quality content anymore. That has come and gone. The free stuff was robbing directly from the models and studios. The future looks good, people are spending on these platforms. This industry is the oldest industry and reason is because we are creative.
Is it hard to establish dating and friendship relationships while working in the industry? Do people you meet expect for you to be the persona you display on camera?
That’s a tough question. Yes, people when they meet me (and other guys have the same thing), people think they are meeting Trenton – Trenton is a stage persona. I am not most of those things. I can hide behind that persona, I can be anything at any time. I can wear a mask of confidence, a mask of masculinity. Trenton is a buffer for me, a safety net for me. I can enter into any situation, stage show, sex party, anything and be perfectly at ease and calm. The real me, is absolutely the opposite of that. Nothing like that. Meeting people as Trenton Ducati – the friendship, the relationship is totally different. Right now I’m dating, he understands this whole industry and our relationship has nothing to do with porn in general. He doesn’t do porn. I have great friends in the industry that I’ll have for the rest of my life, and I have great friends that aren’t in the industry. Is it hard to create friendships? Honestly for me, I talk to everybody. Is it hard to live a regular life while in porn? I would have to say, sometimes people expect me to be a lot different than I am. Right away they think I’m some sort of sex object or think its ok to grab me, grab my ass, like in a porn movie – that’s not the reality, that’s your fantasy, which I appreciate but in reality, I’m not doing any of those things. I totally get it, it’s the fantasy we create. I try to play both sides of it and respect that. We create fantasies for people, there’s a line to keep healthy boundaries so people don’t’ think its ok to interact with you like that.
Your next big event, Porn Disco, is a three-day event of live performances, meet and greets, and parties with stars of the adult industry. What is your creative process in designing an event like this?
I wanted to create a very fun and exciting Boogie Nights feel, the idea of what Studio 54 would be one step further. What would it be like, because of the day we are in now with an HIV crisis, people just breaking out into sex in front of you just doesn’t happen. So what if we went back a little bit, in an environment that wasn’t just full of leather daddies and big rough men. What if it was beautiful boys with a disco feel with free love and fun. The theme is more sensual and makeout, with go-go boxes intermixed with the crowd, encouraging other people to be dance and be free and maybe celebrate sex instead of stigmatize sex. Make it fun again, have great music and focus and allow people to create their own fantasies. More free flow and fluid to completely be opposite of any of the sexual themed parties that are more dark, we are more light and fun and costumes, or no clothes, no pressure -whatever you want to do is cool.
Celebrity Crush: Zac Efron
Something you do in your free time that would surprise us: Volleyball
Guilty pleasure binge food: Chocolate
Biggest pet peeve: Odor
Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: Trenton Ducati
Author: Alexander J Rodriguez
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