I approached Riley Reyes on the AVN Expo floor during her meet-and-greet hours with fans. Her shy smile was a welcoming beacon to me and everyone else walking by. When we started talking, though, I could immediately see her still waters run deep. As an activist who serves as the Vice President of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC), Riley’s adult career is centered around defending the rights and safety of her fellow performers. Her passion for cooperation is evident in the way she conducts her personal relationships, too. I got to hear heartwarming details about Riley’s life at home and discuss some sexy scene experiences, but as with all of my conversations, this one ended with us talking about the cartoons that make us ugly-cry.
ESME: So, was porn an industry you sought out, or did you happen upon it?
RILEY REYES: I went looking for it. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun.
E: Were you in a relationship when you started?
RR: Yes, I was in several relationships when I started because I’m polyamorous.
RR: And one of those relationships is still going!
RR: So, she and I have been together about five years, going on six.
E: Aww, that’s awesome. Congratulations.
RR: Thank you!
E: So, how does non-monogamy in your professional life shape your personal relationships?
RR: I was already sort of a non-monogamous, polyamorous person, so doing sex for work didn’t really change much in my personal landscape, besides that I’m tired a lot more and end up having a lot more sensual contact in my personal life. I go to way fewer sex parties.
E: I can understand that. You’ve been polyamorous a while, so what do you think are the best things about having multiple partners, and what are some of the challenges?
RR: The best thing about having multiple partners is that you literally have a village. You have people to fulfill different needs or share different interests with you, and you can all support one another in sort of a family unit. So if one person’s down, they have multiple folks to help pick them back up. And I think that’s really beautiful.
Riley Reyes: The biggest challenge is getting comfortable with the open communication required to navigate things like jealousy or people hitting a rough patch. You really have to talk about your feelings and where you’re at in order to go through harder times together.
E: Definitely. How would you describe your aesthetic and how you approach sex in your scenes?
RR: I think my aesthetic is one of raw sensuality. I’m trying to get something animalistic and vulnerable and real for the people who are watching, and I hope that comes through.
E: That’s cool! What’s a scene that you’ve done that you think showcases who you are or the reason you got into the industry?
RR: I feel like the scene that really embodies me is my DarkX anal scene with Mandingo. I was really pushing my limits to do anal with someone that big, and the way that Mason directs leaves a lot of room for personal pleasure. She asks you to have as many orgasms as possible.
RR: So I was really wild and free in that scene and I’m very proud of it.
E: Describe what a good day in your life would look like.
RR: I would be able to go in to the gym in the morning and train jiu jitsu, get a nice, full, healthy breakfast, and then have a quick shower and an afternoon call to do a shoot that is artistic and dirty at the same time. And then I would go home and watch cartoons in pajamas with my girlfriend and our cat.
E: Aww! What cartoons do you watch?
RR: Lately, I’ve been binging Big Mouth, but I also like a lot of anime.
E: Oh, I love Big Mouth. Have you seen any Steven Universe? That’s my personal favorite.
RR: We love Steven Universe! We love it. She told me the new episode is very good, so I can’t wait to see it after the show.
E: I’m not all the way caught up, but I’m told I’m going to cry a lot.
RR: Oh, yeah. Rebecca Sugar makes us all cry again.
E: Alright, good. What’s one thing you wish all fans knew about the industry or performers?
RR: I wish that people had more of an understanding of porn as just a regular job. We’re entertainers, just like actors, just like musicians, and we’re normal people with varied experiences. I just want people to see us as human.
E: Yeah. If you could fix an issue within the industry, what would it be?
RR: I would like the industry to have greater accountability. If people are regularly showing up on drugs or producers are regularly being called out for being exploitative, I would like to see those people no longer included in our community. I think it would really help make the entire industry better if folks were accountable and if we sort of, “clean house.”
E: Yeah, I love that! Thank you so much. It was really good to meet you.
RR: You too!
I really did love Riley’s answer to that last question. It demonstrates again how much she cares about creating positive experiences for her coworkers. Riley established the first peer-to-peer mentorship program in her industry, and her genuine positivity shines through on her Twitter where she shares her daily observations. She is a force for change among porn professionals and a multi-talented performer to boot! In big and small ways, Riley Reyes improves our adult film industry every day, and I was lucky to get to meet her.