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HOW FETISH STARS HAVE BEEN ESCAPING LOCKDOWN

International Porn Star Maxence Angel on exile in Brazil and Mexico’ story by Esteban G.F. The pandemic has hit every country over the last year and each nation has handled it differently with greater and lesser success. If you are in the entertainment industry like hospitality, clubs, bars, events it has meant cancellations and extended closures during various elongated lockdowns and changes made by authorities as each territories rates of infection fluctuate. The fetish world and cruising/anonymous sex world came to a stop so did the gay porn industry…so what did the stars do who are all self-employed to get through the crisis when the majority had no access to Government grants and bail outs etc. As the rules/rates changed around the globe being one-man operations they just jumped on a plane and headed to a country with lesser restrictions, rightly or wrongly where they could work. Most models these days make 3 separate incomes 1 from Studio employed work, 2 from filming their own content for their JustForFans/Only Fans sites and 3 Escorting. So, when number 1 evaporates its head to the sun and ramp up numbers 2 and 3 to wait out the crisis. One of the biggest European stars Drew Dixon headed for the States where he has stayed for as long as his Visa will allow as even though America has had a bad pandemic it’s size and ease of moving around has meant an easier work and fun time for a model than the tighter restrictions Western Europe would allow. French superstar Maxence Angel took time out from his civilian roll for a tech company in Monaco and headed to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil for one Visa length period then up to gay holiday destination for much of North America, Puerto Vallarta for a further 6 months….this is his story of a porn star in pandemic exile.

MAXENCE ANGEL is a regular in movies in both Europe and North America and has done a thousand live sex show appearances at all major fetish events from Darklands to The Hustlaball, from Maspalomas Fetish Week to Folsom winning awards along the way most recently a Ravens Eden Award in February for a scene he shot in Las Vegas….he has multiple nominations at the upcoming GRABBY World Gay Porn Awards. 

How long have you been based in Puerto Vallarta?
“I’ve been in Puerto Vallarta since January and i am staying here until July.”

So, you weren’t there when the restrictions began. Where were you back then?
“Last year I was in Manchester. I went to a friends in Scotland, in a remote area, abeautiful island and that was actually really nice but work was impossible. Eventually, I had to come back toManchester and because of all the restrictions I lost my tech job and due to theeconomy etc I couldn’t do any more escorting either. I was unable to do any more porn work or fansite scenes as social distancing, masks and other rules made it impossible. So, I returned to my home country of France to be with my family and get a job there as at that time France was having a easier ride through the pandemic than the UK but that eventually changed. In September there was a weird climate in Southern France because every day they were like announcing ‘OK, we’re going to close the bars, today but you can go to the beach, then one day something else opened and another thing closed. That was in October when France decided to enter a second lockdown and I was like ‘No, no, not again. I can’t deal with that very bad impact on my mental health and finances. So, at the very last minute I basically booked a flight to Brazil and I went to Sao Paulo and then onto Rio for about two months.”

How did the beginning of the lockdown make you feel and how have those feelings changed from then on?
“Oh, I mean, the first lockdown it just made me feel depressed… and it made me for the first time in my life think about suicide so I was like ‘I need to take care about my physical but also my mental health’. COVID-19 is very similar to most diseases, you get it, maybe you might get it again, maybe you won’t but the effects this time are on everyone. I wanted to do my bit but i could not work and there seemed no end in sight and then you saw a chink of light that was positive with some restrictions lifted but everything soon went backwards again.”

Why did you choose Mexico as the place to work in for the biggest part of the pandemic?
“Because I mean, there are a lot of countries you could go just to try but Mexico is great and i always wanted to come here. I have heard lots about Puerto Vallarta and always wanted to visit and it has been fully open since January and obviously I love to be in a city that’s very gay so it just ticks all the boxes. It as a tourist destination for North American gay visitors which means there is a constant influx of new guys which is good for escorting and filming my fansite content. Also because it is in the tropics everything is outdoors orientated so much less risky for Covid transmission apparently”.

What has life been like in Puerto Vallarta, Is it what you expected?
“I just expected it to be like any other city where there would be a gay district and new faces all the time. It works well everything is right next to each other and that’s why gays like it, I think plus it is very beautiful, affordable, fantastic climate and oh so wonderfully queer and colourful.”

Mexico has the 4th highest death rate in the World from Covid behind 3 much bigger Countries namely USA, India and Brazil. Obviously, their relaxed view to the disease is ok for your business and sex life but do you think they have handled it better than the Western European countries you were in like the UK and France and why do you think they are being so carefree about the basics of masks, space, handwashing etc when they have and continue to be hit so hard by the pandemic?
I feel Mexico as a country that cares a lot more than Brazil about the pandemic. Depending on which state/city they had more or less severe restrictions. For instance, when I arrived Mexico City it had all its non-essential shops closed until March and restaurants only reopened with limited capacity. Everywhere in Mexico you have temperature checks and you’re given hand sanitiser. Face masks are mandatory for indoors business (fairly respected outside for nightclubs & bars). They experienced a peak in death rates in October and January/February but now it’s lowering. In Puerto Vallarta they reopened everything on February 12th as the numbers were getting better but I believe they’ll close again if the hospitals were close to saturation.Mexico has a very good vaccine rollout record. In Puerto Vallarta they distributed their allocation to the over 60s residents in 3 days! Obviously, their problem is they aren’t getting enough vaccines similar to the EU… not their vaccine distribution program. I think the UK or France decided to get the lowest covid no matter the costs to mental health, economy, poverty, education. Other countries cannot afford that so well and try to keep covid to manageable levels until they have vaccines.

What’s your favorite City of your exile tour?
“I don’t know. I’m glad I stayed a few days in Sao Paulo but I wouldn’t spend like more than ten days there, I really loved Rio de Janeiro, it’s beautiful and people are nice. I love Puerto Vallarta but also…, I really like what I’ve seen of Mexico City, it’s massive, it’s just insanely big.”

What attractions have you visited there?
“Not many as i have been working hard to pay my rent and travel bills etc. I’ve been to the Zócalo, a big place. I didn’t realize it was actually that big.”

How did you spend New Year’s Eve?
“I was there in Brazil. I went to a Southern location called Cabo Frío so my New Year’s Eve was on the beach because it was like 24 degrees at midnight as it’s the peak of the Summer in Brazil in December. So, it was a really good experience. I l had a number of beers, vodka, whatever alcohol me and my friends could find on the beach people where we just rented a table and there was some music and that was it.”

What events were you at on Easter weekend?
“Quite a few, during the Easter weekend were open. I started with a great afterparty in a private villa so it was awesome. Saturday night I could not sleep but I went right to a morning afterparty, it was basically in the jungle. It was in effect a very sleazy playroom in the middle of the picturesque national park with all the wildlife noises.”

Are you into the nightclub scene?
“Yeah, I go almost every week here in PV as the party scene has been full on right throughout 2021 so far. The exception was that Easter weekend where i did private events, the villas were amazing, people basically were fucking in the pool on the loungers and everywhere. Nobody’s is using masks nor social distancing here or anything in the nightlife arena.  I had Covid some time ago back in Europe and it was not severe for me luckily so I am pretty relaxed but it is strange how many of the locals are so carefree about it…i guess the need to make money for their families here carries a greater responsibility than the fear of the pandemic. I would not recommend to anyone who’s over 60 or with underlying health conditions to go. When I’m going into shops, I always put a mask on out of respect as i can still pass it on but many are getting very loose about it.”

When visiting clubs, saunas bars or having quick hook ups are there any pandemic checks or questions, like booking before, queries on the door etc or is it all back to everyone just do what you like and we will accept the rates of infection and death protecting the economy and jobs whilst we wait for the vaccines to have an effect?
When visiting saunas/sex clubs in Brazil some staff were wearing masks but not all. In Mexico you’d have to have a mask and your temperature checked to get inside. You are not supposed to remove the masks but most people do. Yes, I think in countries where the state isn’t supporting the workforce financially enough the people’s wallet takes over. It seems people will be more willing to accept whatever the pandemic brings if their economy is maintained in countries like Mexico and Brazil. However, I want to say people aren’t that irresponsible. Most people I talked to at parties in Puerto Vallarta either had the disease (like me) or the vaccine prior to their trip.

Are you worried about the pandemic?
“I really wish we will deploy the vaccines everywhere equally and yeah, I mean it is worrying but I’m very optimistic and things have to move on at some point. We’ve got vaccines they work and they will prevent people from dying and will prevent people from going to the hospital so we need people to get vaccinated, as many as we can and as fast as we can.”

What are the differences you see between PV and Rio?
“Obviously Puerto Vallarta is like smaller, it’s a lot more expensive than Rio which is because of the American visitors weekly. I’ve been in acouple of gay bars in Rio and the guys were hot but there were language barriers. I don’t speak Portuguese so for me things are a lot easier inMexico than in Brazil where so many speak English an just love foreskin and uncut cocks.”

How were they handling the pandemic in Brazil, on the street, gay bars, clubs and events and the general attitude? Were guys happy to have unsocially distanced sex and were they aware/educated of how bad the rates were in that country….did the people on the ground really care about the pandemic?
Sao Paulo had more people wearing masks and stricter protocols for shops / restaurants (often temperature checks and face shields on top of face masks for waiters). In Sao Paulo people wear masks a lot more in the street than Rio. Apparently, sex clubs, saunas and night clubs were closed in Sao Paulo while they were open in Rio. I’ve not had problems meeting guys on Grindr, saunas, cruising bars, twitter, Instagram or cruising the nude beaches! When I was there in November and December cases were actually declining and only started to go up later. I think people had in general covid fatigue and wanted the economy to get back on its feet. The pandemic really started to get bad around Christmas in Brazil and I left early January.

Are you still hooking up?
“Oh yeah, totally. I still do it. I would say mostly not really from apps, one-on-one hook-ups, but it’s mostly when I go to a party or a club. Rightly or wrongly, everyone is doing it here in PV, Grindr is like crazy busy”

What’s the most exciting experience you have had in Mexico?
“I’ve had great experiences. I think it was Semana Santa that was the best and finding, meeting so many great new friends there. Semana Santa was the biggest set of gay parties I’ve seen in Puerto Vallarta so far and it was incredible. I am looking forward to Vallarta Pride next month which seems to be going forward without any restrictions.”

What are the things that you have discovered about yourself throughout this year of social distancing?
“Oh, I discovered one thing, I value my freedom above seeing my family, seeing my friends and above my money so I value my freedom at a very high price.”

What are your goals for the next year?
“One of the short-term goals would be to win one of the Grabby Europe Awards I am nominated for, that would be amazing. But the ultimate goal I think realistically would be to live comfortably as being a sex worker rather than doing my old vocation of IT for part of my income.”

Master

Written by Paul Stag

Paul is an international porn star and a long time editor for Alphatribe magazine.

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