FilmDrunk

14 Points, With Sovereign Syre, Academic Cum Porn Star (The Adult Film Minute)

THE ADULT FILM MINUTE: Once per month, except for occasionally when it’s more frequent than that, Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals will be telling us a little bit about what’s going on in adult entertainment and why it should matter to you.

Life often takes us in directions we’d never anticipate – the biology major finances mobile home sales (real person), the computer customer service rep works on the bomb squad (another real person). And sometimes, the over-amped academic is a porn star.

Sovereign Syre is that over-amped academic-cum-porn star. She became an adult performer in 2011 after having spent two years living and working in New York City as an art model. She was scouted by a woman director, whom she shot for exclusively in girl-girl only productions for one year. According to Syre, “It was definitely a charmed introduction into the adult industry.”

Today, Syre has expanded her repertoire beyond ladies-only scenes and has become somewhat of a muse to another woman director, Dana Vespoli. She’s the star of Vespoli’s cerebral f*ck, Hollywood Babylon, along with several other mind-bending ventures, as well as conventional porno. (Last two links obvs NSFW)

I asked her to tell me some unexpected and/or interesting things about herself. This is what she said:

  1. Jobs I’ve held before porn include: tarot card reader, ESL tutor, English 1 TA (which was a weird situation as I was the same age as most of my students. I had a hard time establishing any kind of authority), makeup artist, photo retoucher, atmosphere model [someone who is paid to be pretty and interested in the high rollers present at whatever party has hired you], freelance writer.
  2. I taught myself to play guitar, bass, and piano. I’ve rebuilt the engine of a car and taught myself to use photoshop well enough to work as a professional retoucher. I can put cornrows in anyone’s hair.
  3. I don’t have a reliable type. Men I’ve dated include: MMA fighter, Air Force pilot, TV journalist, newspaper editor, computer hacker, visual artist, drug dealer, landscape architect, photographer, stand-up comic.
  4. I was raised a staunch atheist. I tried to be a Buddhist when I was 13, but it didn’t stick. I am fascinated with horoscopes, the I-Ching, and Catholic mysticism though.
  5. I went to a performing arts high school to be a ballerina and an actress, but I developed a social anxiety/panic disorder, so switched over to playwriting.
  6. I didn’t lose my virginity (with a guy) until I was 22. Like a war, I like to say that I lost my virginity “in living memory.”
  7. I was a very competitive academic achiever in high school. I earned the Golden State Seal in Chemistry, lettered in academics, and completed enough AP coursework to skip the first semester of college. I graduated early by taking summer school and challenging a couple courses.
  8. The first thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was powerful, then I narrowed it down to a paleontologist. But by the time I graduated from high school, I had decided I wanted to be a showgirl. I was accepted to UNLV, but my mom found out my plan and — because I was only 16 — made me stay home and go to community college until I was 18.
  9. In college, I double-majored in Sociology and English Literature and was the president of the sociology club.
  10. I write poetry. After undergrad, I was going to attend graduate school for sociology, but I got a grant to go to the MFA program at Fresno State, so I went there instead. The last two Poet Laureates of the United States, Phil Levine and Juan Felipe Herrera, both created the program I studied in – so though you may not of heard of it, as a poet, (Ron Burgundy voice) it’s kind of a big deal.
  11. I don’t have any tattoos or implants.
  12. My adoptive father is Native American. When I was choosing a name to model under, I picked “Sovereign” in reference to tribal sovereignty as a way of acknowledging him.
  13. I can jot down a complete list of the men I’ve slept with (including on camera) in about three minutes (I just timed myself). I still talk to nearly all of them.
  14. I don’t own a television.

In a world that still feels compelled to present porn performers almost exclusively as easily manipulated, mindless “girls” with limited options, Syre offers an interesting counter-narrative.

You can find her at ILoveSov.com and on Twitter at @SovereignSyre.

Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals is a sociologist specializing in gender, sexualities, work and organizations, media and technology, and popular culture. Her book Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society, and Adult Entertainment comes out this July. Team #pinkbanana

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