Michelle Austin and Dicky Johnson: Trans Adventurers

Dicky Johnson and Michelle Austin
Dicky Johnson and Michelle Austin

Michelle Austin has been getting a lot of media attention recently. From the Feminist Porn Awards and AVN nominations this year, to her latest release Trans Men Adventures 2, Austin has been on a roll creatively, and romantically. Her new partner and collaborator is up-and-comer Dicky Johnson. Together they are creating a body of work that is both erotic and provocative. Austin dishes on her favorite stars she’s worked with, her feelings about terminology in porn and the trans community, her new projects, and focus for the future.

HotMoviesForHer: Michelle, congratulations on Trans Men Adventures being nominated for a 2015 AVN award. You star in and directed the new release Trans Men Adventures 2. How long have you been producing your own content?

Michelle Austin: Going on five years. I started producing my own content because when I first started I was considered BBW. I still am considered BBW, but I’ve lost a lot of weight since then. But, in the trans porn world you don’t get a lot of work. So, my option was to produce my own stuff and put it out there. That’s how I started. I released Voluptuous Diva I, and then I’ve had four [films] since. And the Trans Men Adventures came around from an idea of working with James Darling. So, we kind of teamed up and did that whole thing, but I just felt like…even though it’s my idea, after a while I didn’t want it to be labeled into the queer [category] because I felt like I’m not queer, and I know a lot of FtMs that aren’t queer, so I didn’t feel like it was the right place for me. But, yeah I’ve been producing a lot and this year I will be producing a lot more stuff. Not just my stuff anymore. I’m producing other people’s content and releasing it through my label.

HMFH: Tell us about your label.

Michelle: Kennston Productions is my production company, which now me and him [Dicky] do together. I started it. It was me and my then husband at the time. He’s passed away since then. We started it, and he filmed all my stuff. I always knew that eventually I was going to stop performing, and just direct and produce because that’s what I like doing. It’s just, this is my fifth year in front of the camera, and I’m kinda burnt out. I was explaining that to Dicky. He’s just now getting into it, so it’s a little different for him, and I felt the same way. But, I was producing my own solo site, my own content. I do everything behind the scenes. It’s not just me going in front of the camera and performing. It’s me doing that and performing. It’s me updating it, editing it, releasing it, and promoting it. So, it’s a little different. I eventually just want to be able to focus on my models, and his career versus mine.

Photo: Andi
Photo: Andi

HMFH: Dicky, your first solo scene was shot for Buck Angel in Sexing the Transman XXX 3. Did that experience propel you to do more adult work? What made you take the leap into porn?

Dicky Johnson: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was a girl. I had seen some of Buck’s stuff, and of course I thought it was amazing. I was immediately attracted to him and I loved everything he was doing. So, I emailed him because he was casting. He got back to me and booked me. I thought, “Wow, I’m really doing this shit at this point in my life?” Then I started thinking really long and hard about what I just did. People find you. But, you know, it’s something I wanted to do since my 20s, but I just never did it.

HMFH: Dicky, when did you know that you were going to transition from female to male?

Dicky: Looks wise I figured it out as soon as me and [my ex] broke up, so that was the looks part. The actual identifying in the right spot of a man was after [Michelle]. Pretty plain and simple. She said, “You don’t look like no fucking girl to me.” That was that.

Michelle: I think that when I met him, and if you look there is an interview of him, if you look at that interview of him…

Dicky: I was still pushing that in-between queerish thing. Don’t really know what label or want to be one.

HMFH: Is there an interview specifically?

Michelle: The Trans Men Adventures 2 DVD has all these interviews that we did with the models.

Dicky: It’s funny because what I’m saying on there to what I think now is different. There’s really only one point in particular that is different now than before. Before I was more genderqueer or gender neutral or fluid. Whatever you want to call it. I was OK if you called me “she” or “he.” It didn’t matter. But, I think people who already knew me were stuck on “she,” of course.

Michelle: That’s any family, or friends too.

Dicky: No, some friends changed to “he.” But I have come to terms with the fact that I am a man. Anybody new or anyone I haven’t met before, it’s “he.” I don’t go by my female name anymore. So, that’s really the only thing that’s different from the interviews. The interviews are pretty lighthearted.

Michelle: It’s pretty much real. But, I think that what worked for him too, is that we just started talking as friends after shooting. I think that hearing about my transition, my journey, my family’s acceptance of me and all this stuff really helped him. And then, listening to him tell me stories about his childhood and all this stuff. I was like, “You are trans. You know this, right?”

Dicky: (Laughs) She said, “You were a boy, always! You did nothing feminine your whole life!”

Michelle: It was kinda the opposite of me. I was the boy wanting to do all the girl stuff. He actually was a boy doing all the girl stuff, which is interesting. I joke with him about this, and he says, “I didn’t even have that, or like that.”I said I wanted a Barbie, and he didn’t even want one.

Dicky: I didn’t even have a Barbie. I hated them. I didn’t even want a G.I. Joe because it’s still a doll. I need a hammer!

HMFH: Dicky, you are in two scenes in Trans Men Adventures 2. How did you two begin working together?

Michelle: Dicky had just shot with a trans girl, Kelly Clare. She knew I was casting Transmen 2 and that I wanted to cast new talent. She said that she knew a guy and that he was really cool and looking for work. She gave me his info and then I think that he and I started talking on Twitter, messaging back and forth. I was coming to New York City, so he met me up there to shoot. And we talked for maybe an hour or two and then we shot. It’s funny because I think the other things that he’s been in where it’s  just Buck and Kelly, so there were no story lines.

Dicky: I still hate that, by the way. I really don’t like a storyline, but I think I’ve gotten over the weirdness of it. That weird, fake acting thing “I’m your plumber” thing kills me.

Michelle: Well, the whole point of Trans Men Adventures 2 was to make fun of straight porn from the 80’s and before. That’s the whole idea is to poke fun at the straight porn and the stupid plumber/handyman getting seduced.

Dicky: Yes, but it’s hard to do that with someone you don’t know. I could act that way privately, but someone you just met, to be like “You need your pipes cleaned?” is hard. (laughs) I’m still laughing at that and it’s been a long time ago. I would just laugh the whole time. I get half a sentence out and crack up.

Michelle: So, we’re not working off scripts, we’re working off improv. I’m kinda giving him an idea of what to say, and where the direction is going, but he’s from Philly and I’m from the South so he’s not gonna say it like me. This DVD is great because we have a whole bunch of outtakes in the bonus materials. Everyone who was on set was trans, so we had a lot of camaraderie and we just had a lot of fun. We shot the last two scenes in LA with Chance Armstrong, and it wasn’t just Chance in the room with me, it was like five people eating, taking pictures, and posting their sandwiches in the frame of us having sex on social media.

Dicky: The sandwich covering the sexual part of the photo, and we’d be waving in the background. Very unprofessional stuff (haha).

Michelle: We have a lot of fun.

HMFH: Michelle, what made you decide to get into the adult industry?

Michelle: When I was 20, I had just transitioned and a photographer from Grooby Productions approached me. I had already been on the Lady Like cover. I was getting a lot of attention, and one of the producers out in Chicago asked me “Would you shoot porn?” You know, I thought about it. At the time I had a real job. I worked in a salon, and I didn’t want to have that sex image as a trans person. I always said I would never do it because it “tarnishes your image.” I don’t know why I didn’t do it back then because I was very sexual back then, but I didn’t. I’m really glad I didn’t and I tell girls this all the time. You have to find yourself first. If you’ve just transitioned, and then you put yourself inside porn, it’s just a really hard world for someone. Transitioning is like going through puberty again, so you’re going through all these emotions and dealing with all these things, and then on top of it you’re in front of a camera and all these people, and then to hear what they have to say about you…it’s really hard. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re the prettiest girl, there’s gonna be people out there that don’t like you. You don’t have the biggest dick, you don’t have the biggest ass, or the biggest tits. It’s whatever they want to say, and someone is not going to like you. So, when I turned 30 and they asked me again I was in a place where I could say yes. I was escorting at the time, and I thought that it might help my escorting business.

I like being in front of the camera. I modeled as a boy. I like taking pictures. I modeled for a lot of erotic photographers, and their work was in galleries, but I never did porn. So, I thought that the time was right.

Right after that shoot, in November 2010, Morgan Bailey asked me to host the Tranny Awards. She and I had done drag back in Chicago and she knew I was good on the mic. So, I did, I hosted the Tranny Awards that next February, in a bar in North Hollywood. And it was so much fun. It changed my whole perception of porn. I met all these porn stars, and I felt like I was part of a sisterhood.

Right after this I told Steven from Grooby, I said that I wanted to do my own solo site. I wanted to do something where there were big girls. And he agreed with it. It is a market to tap into, a niche within a niche. So, I did it. I thought I would get shot on a lot more sites, because people always said, “You’re so pretty,” but then when you get into porn it doesn’t matter how pretty you are. It’s how skinny you are or how big your dick is. It doesn’t matter how pretty you are; if you’re not what they’re looking for you’re not gonna get hired. I just decided to run with it and make it my own.

Photo: Andi
Photo: Andi

HMFH: Michelle, you are the 2013 Transgender Erotica Award Winner for Voluptuous Diva. How has being on camera affected your look? Has being on camera affected your body image?

Michelle: Sometimes I look in the mirror and say that I wish I could fix things, but when I was even a lot heavier I still thought I was beautiful and I still accepted my body. I think that’s the key­–you have to come to terms with who you are right then and there. We always want to fix things about ourselves, but you can work on fixing those things and still love yourself where you’re at right then. I think that if you have that confidence and you get in front of the camera and you get out and do it, or just living your life that way helps. I get people who tell me that I have done something by being myself and doing this work, and that I have helped them to say that they can do it too. I mean, not doing porn, but being themselves and being comfortable in their own skin. So, I’m glad that I’ve done this. I love who I am. I always have, and I think that’s the key. Love who you are and the skin that you are in at that point.

HMFH: Michelle, how would you categorize your body of work?

Michelle: I can’t believe I’ve already been working for 5 years, but when I came into this business I was the fat tranny or they called me BBW, but I didn’t think that was the case. Even when I went to the BBW conventions I was [smaller] than those girls, even when I was heavier. But, the girls there just told me to embrace it. And that’s what I had to do, embrace it. People still say I’m BBW and it doesn’t bother me. My body of work? What I want people to take away was that I was true to myself. I never let anybody tell me what to do. My career was because of me. Not because the industry or some producer told me to do it. I ran my whole career. That’s why I feel like I am blessed in the way that I am. I’m not on 1000 sites, and I’m not shot a lot, but 90% of what is on the internet of me is owned by me. It’s mine, and it will forever be mine.

 HMFH: Have you ever been categorized as something other than how you define yourself?

Michelle: I don’t have a problem with labels.

Dicky: The DVDs that we have out right now, the Trans Men Adventures movies are a specific niche. That is straight-acting porn. That’s not all of our work. We do have another website where we are focusing on trans men solo scenes, or trans men with trans women. There’s more to come, so I am hesitant to say exactly what our niche is. My private site is going to have some straight, some gay and some queer content. It’s kind of a little bit of everything. There’s no prejudice there. We are very open.

Michelle: I think what we are talking about though is where the majority of my career lies. And I’m straight. I’ve always been straight. I’ve always worked with men. I’ve done cis women and I’ve done trans women, but in all reality I’ve done mostly cis men until Trans Men Adventures came around. If you look at what we’re doing, we are doing straight porn. If you look at genitalia, we are doing straight porn. If you look at how people define themselves in our movies, then we are doing straight porn. It’s a man and a woman. It’s a pussy and a dick. So, however you look at it, it’s straight porn. But, because we are trans we have to put ‘straight trans porn’ on the label. But, there is nothing else out there that is straight trans porn, so the [genre] is new because people don’t know how to categorize it and we’re often put into “queer”, but I’m fighting that. This is not queer.

I think a lot of trans people want to see porn with people that look like them, that act like them.

The problem with queer is that you’re just putting everyone in here, and being like “you can be whatever you want.” But the thing is, you can’t. You have to live in society as something. So, for example, you saying you’re not a he or a she. But, you dress really femme, you’re always wearing lipstick and dresses, and you’re a cis gendered female? That’s not gender queer. There are some people who really are gender fluid and can carry that androgyny. Danni Daniels and Jiz Lee are great examples of that, but for me I know I’m not genderqueer. I know who I am. I know exactly what I do, so that’s why I don’t label [my content] genderqueer.

HMFH: Could that terminology be geographic specific?

Michelle: Yes, the only truly gender queer people I have met are in San Francisco or Brooklyn or Toronto. Those are the places that identify with that term. Everywhere else people talk about being trans or straight, or gay, etc… But, those places have really embraced that term. I don’t know what the market for that is. Not labeling things is confusing for the consumer. We’ve been, and a lot of trans performers have been down this road with queer performers. Many of them think we’re horrible because we say things like “Man with a pussy” Or “Mangina” or “Chicks with dicks”, but that’s who I am. I am a chick, and I have a dick. He is a man and he has a pussy. You can’t change that.

Dicky: When it comes to advertising you have to label what you’re selling. People will get upset if your pants drop and then you’re not what the consumer was looking for. You have to do that for porn, not at home. Be whatever you want at home, but for porn you need to be more specific.

Michelle: I think the issue is that they want to lose the words “she-male” and “tranny.” That’s great, but in normal life you’re not walking up to people saying “Hi tranny!” “Hi she-male!” I’ve been using the word tranny since I was 17 years old. I love the word tranny. I used to have a talk show called Tranny Talk. It was a very popular show. I’ve never heard a straight person ever say tranny in their life unless they have a bunch of gay friends. My gay friends say that, but within our own group. They say that shemale and tranny are words used to attack us. But, I’ve been attacked, and I’ve seen my friends attacked and they aren’t calling you that when they’re beating you up. You know what they’re calling you? They call you “it,” “he/she,” or “fag.” Majority of the time they’re calling you a fag.

Dicky: That’s the only thing that comes to their mind.

Michelle: You’re still a dude, and it doesn’t matter if you look like a girl. You got a dick, you’re a dude. So, you’re a fag. So that’s why I get offended when people say that tranny is a word used to hurt people. No, it’s a word YOU don’t want people to use. The majority of the people who use the word tranny are people inside the community. A lot of us girls call each other that. It’s something we like. It’s endearing. And people want to take it away from us. So, now you can’t use it because you’re offending people. We need to worry about laws that keep us from going into bathrooms or keep us from getting justice when we get attacked. Not a word.

Dicky: Even some FtMs are using the term “tranny boi.”

Michelle: I got kicked off of Facebook for using the word tranny.’ A three day ban.

Dicky: And, it was about herself.

Photo: Andi
Photo: Andi

HMFH: It is often difficult to find information on trans performers. Why do you think this has been an issue for bloggers and other adult websites?

Michelle: I think places where you can find that kind of information may often put trans performers into the wrong categories, which is a disservice to the person looking for your work.

Dicky: Like putting me in the female section or her in the male section. I mean, who are they gonna put me next to? Jenna Jameson? That’s fucking crazy.

Michelle: Trans is a big niche, and it’s growing and changing. I think that may be why information is hard to find.

Dicky: Because it’s still growing.

Michelle: There are a lot of trans performers who come and go too. So for a company to put out information about a performer is difficult. Because how much content does this person have and how long are they going to be around? Also, I don’t know if trans performers are being asked to provide information to those companies. Like, if those companies are seeking that out.

HMFH: Dicky, you were awarded Best FtM Performer at the Transgender Erotica Awards. How has this award, and the experience of being nominated, helped you to form a clear path for your career? What goals do you have for the future?

Dicky: I was nominated and I was shocked.

Michelle: It was a fluke. (Laughs).

Dicky: (Laughing) It probably was.

Michelle: It’s a great category, but the issue is that many of the people who are nominated maybe only have one or two scenes and then they are out. Which is why Buck [Angel] and James [Darling] were runaways, is because they have a ton of content. But, now I think things are changing. I think with Dicky doing stuff, my company releasing a solo site, and we are releasing two FtM sites this year, I think it will change the way people look at FtM porn.

Dicky: I went to those awards purposely; no matter if I was going to be broke or not because I knew I needed my face seen. So that others could see who I was, see my look, and see if they may want to book me for future stuff. I was approached by people to shoot and that was really cool.

Michelle: I think a lot of people can see his pictures and think he looks nice. But, seeing him in person, and listening to his voice…It’s like you’re standing with a dude, but he’s got a pussy.

Dicky: A lot of people were shocked. They thought I was cis. I knew that at least showing my face there would help me in some way. I had to get up on stage and present an award and…

Michelle: It’s hard for him, but it’s easy for me.

HMFH: What do you wish you were asked in interviews, and what do you hate being asked in interviews?

Michelle: I think that trans people are always asked about when or why they transitioned. It doesn’t bother me because I don’t mind telling my story. But, it might bother them. So, asking somebody about their transition might bother them. It doesn’t bother me. I like being an open book, and I don’t think anybody has ever asked me anything that I didn’t want to answer.

HMFH: Who are some performers that you would like to work with, and who has been your favorite so far?

Michelle: Bailey Jay, I’d love to work with her.

Dicky: Yes, both of us.

Michelle: I’ve never reached out to her because I thought she was too big and that she would never want to work with me because I do all my own stuff, and I’m the fat girl of porn. I still think about those things sometimes, but you know I won’t ever be the Mia Isabella. But, I think that just in the last year I realize that I have become somebody, and there are people who want to work with me and they do contact me.

But, the best performer I have worked with would be…If we’re gonna talk sex and chemistry on film I would have to say Christian.

HM: Christian XXX?

Michelle: Yes. My best work has been with him. He makes whoever he is working with or performing with look good on camera, and he puts you in the right positions. Plus, he fucks the shit out of you. And, it’s not fake. It’s the real deal. When you’re watching a scene with him you’re really getting… nothing’s faked. And, it’s really a professionally fast scene. You’re not on set that long and that’s what I like about it.

But, FtMs? I would say this guy right next to me. I got my feet wet a little bit before him. I tell people that I had never been with vagina. I never had that kind of sex, I’d never touched one until I did a scene with Courtney Trouble. I learned how to eat pussy from her in a film. Because before that, anytime that I worked with a cis female they always strapped on and fucked me. Then when I did the Trans Men Adventures and did this whole journey, I was like “Oh, I like it.” I met him, and it was like…I’m not saying the chemistry was there because it was kind of awkward, and it was awkward for him because it was so new.

Dicky: When you’re shooting with two people and you’re shocked as it is, you don’t really have to focus on anything, they’re just gonna take care of most of it. But, when it’s a one-on-one focus, yeah, it was a challenge. I had never been with a trans woman on a solo basis.

Michelle: Having sex with him versus the four boys on film before him felt different. It was different. He was the first person that really knew how to give me a blow job–like a gay guy. (Laughs).

Dicky: Like a gay guy?

Michelle: Yes! Why I am saying this is because when the cis girls would go down on me they didn’t know how to suck dick. Then when the FtM boys did it was the same situation. I think he was pleasantly surprised about me going down on him, but by the time he came around I kinda had a grasp on what I was doing. He actually taught me a lot afterwards. My skills are even better in Trans Men Adventures 2.

Dicky: I can fix any problem.

HMFH: Michelle, have you had any interesting or amusing interactions with fans? Have there been any weird scenarios or funny encounters?

Michelle: I had a few stalkers in Vegas. I didn’t drive when I lived there. One day I was standing at the bus stop after shopping and I got a weird text from a strange number that said “Hey, I just saw you get on the bus. Do you need a ride?” I was freaking out thinking somebody was following my bus trying to find out where I lived. Usually, I don’t dress up that much when I’m not on, so people don’t recognize me that much. But, it happens sometimes. You know that a guy knows who you are by the way he looks at you. When someone looks at you, you know that they know. It’s just a look. For the most part people are harmless and fun. I always wanted to be a celebrity when I was a kid, so this is my way of being a celebrity, I guess.

Photo: Andi
Photo: Andi

HMFH: What can your fans do to be good fans to you?

Both in unison: Buy our stuff!

Michelle: I know a lot of people who may say they are fans, but if they were really my fans I would have a lot of money right now, even if they just bought one scene. I don’t think people realize this. People want to know why they can’t find stuff on me that is more than two minutes long. It’s because I work really hard to make sure that it’s not out there. You gotta buy it. What’s great about my career is that I am not so big that my content is out there for free, like some other people. If they are a true fan, they are gonna buy your work, even if it’s just a scene or DVD. That’s a fan because you’re spending money on us. And people like us who make their own content we are not getting paid to shoot our scenes.

Dicky: Everyone is under some impression about how big and glamorous porn can be, and they think we make a ton of money. They think its non-stop, $1000 a shoot. People think, “Well you have 80 scenes, so you should have at least $80,000.” It’s more like $1000 out of 80 scenes.

Michelle: People don’t realize the money that we have to put back into the business. We’re not to the point yet where we are making lots of money. So, any little money a fan can spend on us helps.

HMFH: Michelle, you add a special ingredient to the pizza at the end of Trans Men Adventures 2. Did anyone eat the rest of that pie?

Dicky: I looked at that and said, “Who the fuck is gonna eat that?”

Michelle: Nobody did.

Watch Michelle Austin and Dicky Johnson together in Trans Men Adventures 2 now on HotMoviesforHer.com!



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