Fetish Fvckdolls, the latest from Chelsea Poe and TROUBLE Films, is a breath of fresh air around the office. It’s surprisingly rare to see transwomen bottoming in BDSM scenes, but Chelsea Poe and company use their brand of artistic, experimental pornography to bust down barriers and make the porn that needs to made, filling in the gaps left by mainstream studios. It’s also way fucking hot. Chelsea was kind enough to grant us an interview about Fetish Fvckdolls, trans and queer activism, and what’s next.
Chelsea Poe: I’m a queer, experimental, femme artist who has been making porn for the last 3 years.
JH: You came up in the punk scene and have been very vocal about how trans and queer performers need to be more DIY in their approach to making porn. What went into getting Fetish Fvckdolls made?
CP: The whole concept behind Fetish Fvckdolls was years of trans performers getting shut out at major BDSM companies and being told there’s no interest in trans BDSM. For real life submissive trans women like Stefani [Special], myself, and countless other trans women we figured if we didn’t make it, it wouldn’t exist. So the whole concept of this project was everyone coming together to try to create a trans BDSM film. Stefani produced her own scene, I did a collaboration with Foxhouse Films & then I directed and shot Kelly [Lox]’s scene with Ramses Rodstein.
JH: Did you run into any challenges getting this movie made?
CP: Since I started producing films with Fucking Mystic in 2013, you start to learn there will always be things that go wrong when producing films and the most important thing is just to push forward to release the best piece of art you can. Overall, there’s nothing I can remember going wrong or causing enough stress that I can really remember it now, so that’s probably a good thing.
JH: Why is it important for you to depict transwomen in submissive/slave roles?
CP: My actual real life role is a being a slave/submissive so it just kind of naturally came to me when I was coming up with ideas for future projects. Everything that I do on camera is a depiction of part of my sexuality, at least at this point in my career I kind of view performing like performance art where I want to share these experiences with a audience to kind of further what trans women are allowed to do in porn. Largely when I got into the industry the majority of gigs for trans women were solo shoots and I simply really enjoy extreme porn and think other trans women who do deserve to see trans women in those roles.
CP: I contacted Kelli & Stefani pretty early on about this project right after I shot with Foxhouse without a real plan of what this film was going to be. Courtney Trouble and I thought a trans masc on trans femme scene with Ramses and Kelli would be a super great fit, then Stefani performed with her real life Domme Mistress Kara.
CP: I actually don’t identify as a cuckqueen. I’m super into humiliation and giving up power when submitting so I can totally get off in a scene like that, but I don’t consider myself a cuckqueen. I think it was Foxhouse’s intent for having it to be a cuckqueen scene, but after getting squirted on nearly 30 times, I always felt looking back at it, it has some intense lesbian bukkake vibes like something you would see on German Goo Girls (a really intense German bukkake site).
JH: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this was your first time directing. What was the experience like? Do you think you’ll continue that pursuit?
CP: I actually co-directed Fucking Mystic then produced The Submissive Mixtape so coming into shooting and directing Kelli’s scene felt pretty natural, but that was the first scene I was behind the camera so I had a few moments of doubt, but I am really in love with Courtney Trouble’s edit of the scene.
JH: Who are your porno muses and role models?
CP: My biggest role models in porn are Sasha Grey, Stoya, Mandy Morbid, Jiz Lee, and Courtney Trouble. They’ve all been extremely unique performers who did what they wanted on their terms and actively used their role in the industry to improve condition and/or speak out. I feel like if I can contribute 1/4th of what they have in their careers, I can make a big difference in trans porn.
CP: Largely my queer sets are my punk friends and I trying to make a project together just to make something. When you’re on a mainstream set, there’s power dynamics, you might be asked to perform at the middle of the night because you’re receiving “x” amount of money and they simply don’t care about a collaboration or the model’s well being. There’s natural power dynamics that go into mainstream shoots, rather it’s about which girl on set is going to be on the cover, who is getting top billing, who is getting paid what, who is getting more lines, etc. I feel like after being on some really negative mainstream experiences in the last year, I’ve been more mindful as a director to really try to keep it feeling like a collaborative art project that isn’t about any one person’s vision.
JH: How has porn starring transwomen changed in the past few years? Do you think you’ve influenced the genre? What changes would you like to see in the future?
CP: Just what trans women can do now is night and day from when I got into the industry 3 years ago. I think I have been able to have a decent amount of influence because I do work with a indie company who largely lets me put out the content in the way I want to put it out so we have been able to take risks and prove you can think outside of the box with trans porn. I think the more and more performer/producers making their own content the better and more diverse trans porn will be in the future. I believe studio porn is slowly dying across the industry and performers making their own content is the future of porn.
JH: In the past year you’ve become something of a fixture over at TransSensual. Nica’s movies are very different from the alt-porn that you usually appear in. What has it been like making that kind of switch?
CP: I think being able to do TransSensual films in New England is a really good outlet in addition to what I’ve been producing on my own for TROUBLE Films. I’ve been able to work with a lot of amazing performers for TransSensual and it has given me a little bit more mainstream credibility than some roles I’ve really been able to sink my teeth into. I really hope to work for TransSensual again in the future because I really really enjoy the films they put out and the way they market them.
JH: Are there any non-porno things (art, music, movies, video games, books, etc.) inspire or influence you as a performer?
CP: I’m super into queercore bands, my friends are mostly artists, musicians, and filmmakers. I’m surrounded by radical politics living in Oakland, surrounded by Silicon Valley, and always kind of traveling is what I believe is influencing me the most right now. I believe these elements are always going to work their way into my films whether I try to or not. The coolest thing in the last 3 years of making films has been talking to people who make other media and trying to take what their ethic is and try to put it towards my films.
CP: I’ve basically been traveling and making films for the 2 years so I feel like I don’t have much downtime away from art, porn, or activism. Largely when I’m home in Oakland, I’m a homebody and pretty big on watching documentaries. Apart from that I’ve dabbled with golf and I have a noise band named Arondeus.
JH: What advice do you have for new queer and trans performers?
CP: My biggest advice industry wide is find a way to make content yourself so you never have to rely on someone else giving you work. Porn is a fickle industry and if you want a way to make money off yourself, the best way to do so is owning the footage. I think producing your own footage can help you as a performer as well because you have more invested into your performance than a few hundred dollars from a director.
JH: Are there any other performers that you haven’t gotten to work with yet who you’re hoping to perform with in the future?
JH: What makes you feel sexiest?
CP: I think subbing makes me feel the sexiest, like just that moment of giving up power is really sexy to me.
CP: I’m releasing a slave training film called The Training of Poe this month, I just wrapped my full length directorial debut that should be out before this year is up, and there may be a possible screening tour to go with it on the east coast/midwest.
JH: Any final words?
CP: I just want to say how great HotMovies has been towards TROUBLE Films and myself, really appreciate the support and everyone at HotMovies & HotMoviesForHer.
Watch Fetish Fvckdolls on HotMoviesForHer!