I recently interviewed pornstar Tori Black for the cover of Richardson magazine. I conducted the interview alongside another hero of mine, the cult artist and pornographer Bruce LaBruce. For the cover and accompanying spread, Tori was shot by the legendary Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki–all in all, a really good crowd! You can read the article below. I can honestly say, I think this is the most extreme interview I’ve done thus far. You will soon see why. (Also, you should check out Richardson’s newly launched clothing line. Photos on their site.)
Ladies and gentlemen, hailing from Seattle Washington, measuring five feet eight inches tall, weighing in at 125 pounds, two-time AVN Starlet of the year and mother of two, Richardson is proud to present the most beautiful girl in porn, Ms. Tori Black. Read about her emergence from the insanity of home life, her chaotic early days in the adult entertainment industry, and the true story of her coke-induced face-off with death at the hands of a human trafficker. And so, without further ado, here’s Tori…
Tori: I spent a lot of my youth fighting. When I was in high school I beat a girl with a baseball bat. She thought I fucked her boyfriend, but I didn’t even know who she was. I was like, “Who are you, who’s your boyfriend?” Then she stabbed me. So I put a baseball bat into her cheekbone and it imploded. Her eye almost popped out of her head. She went to the hospital and had to have plastic surgery. Afterwards she had scars all over her face; it was bad.
Karley: Did she stab you badly?
T: No, I didn’t even have stitches. But still, I’ve never forgiven myself for that; she was a kid, and she was stupid—you don’t go around stabbing people—but my part in it was totally unacceptable.
K: Maybe you’d like to tell us a little bit about you were like growing up.
T: Well, I think I must’ve been about twelve years old when I started experimenting with drugs. I was never addicted to any one drug or another, but I was addicted to getting high, to getting outside my body, outside my mind. Eventually my mom said, “Enough. I’m done with this.” My grandparents happen to be filthy rich, and so I got shipped off to boot camp. After boot camp, they recommended I go straight to boarding school, but my mom decided that I should be homeschooled instead, that way I could come home, but I wouldn’t have any contact with my old friends. So we moved about three-hours away from my old home. I was totally isolated. I was in the house by myself all day, everyday, while everybody else went to work and school.
K: So you weren’t actually being schooled at all?
T: No, I had internet school. But unless you love to learn, at age sixteen you’re not going to sit by yourself and study. So I started sneaking out and getting into a lot of trouble because I was failing school again. I ended up moving in with my grandparents back near where I used to live. All my old friends were around, so it was back to getting high and everything else, until my grandparents kicked me out. I went to live with my dad for about a day and then he kicked me out too. So then I was homeless, living with friends, going from couch to couch. I was on top of the world. I was dropping acid, taking literally any pill I could get my hands on, crunching, snorting, having sex with people I would’ve never had sex with. Eventually my parents sent me away to boarding school.
Bruce: You mentioned that it wasn’t a typical boarding school…
T: It was called Mission Mountain. It’s shut down now. It was a school for gifted girls with behavior problems. I was stuck with twenty-five psycho girls in the middle-of-nowhere, Montana. The school was for the crazy of the crazy, but also the smart of the smart, and when you put crazy and smart together, it’s not a good combination: the things they come up with, to do to each other, to do to themselves. It was like living in some weird horror movie.
K: Sounds like a good movie.
T: It was like a cult. They trained you as if you were going to live in the middle of nowhere for the rest of your life, as if the only people you were ever going to be around would be soldiers hand-selected from their therapy game. I felt like I’d been brainwashed. When I finally got out and went to college—and when I say college, I mean a 12,000-student university—I felt like an alien.
B: It was during college that you got into porn?
T: In college I was partying a lot, and essentially I found myself right back where I started before I went to boarding school. I wasn’t going to any of my classes because I couldn’t pay attention to anything. My mind was reeling; I’d become an insomniac. The only thing I was doing was going to keggers. I’d never felt crazier in my life than in that moment—trying to assess myself, the world around me, trying to figure out what the fuck I was supposed to do, who I was, what I was doing, what was right, what was wrong. I immediately started looking for a way out. I said, “You know what? I love to dance. I’m going to be a go-go dancer.” Then I saw an ad for porn: “Do you want to make $20,000 a month?” A week later I flew to Florida. Talk about flying by the seat of your pants. My whole life has kind of been like that.
B: Could you tell us how you came up with your name, Tori Black?
T: Well, to be honest, I was wasted one night in college and still trying to figure out if porn was what I wanted to do. I asked my friends, “Ok, if I was a porn star, what would my name be?” Of course I’m hanging out with black guys, of course, of course… and they say, “Your name should be Tori.” And I’m like, “Tori? Why?” And they’re like, “Because Tori’s a hot white girl name.”
K: Like Tori Spelling?
T: So I’m laughing and drinking, and I asked, “What’s my last name going to be?” From out of the back room, somebody who must’ve been eavesdropping screamed, “Black!” I died laughing. Even though I hang out with a lot of black guys, I’m not a “hood,” as some people would say, you know what I mean? I don’t talk with that kind of vocabulary, I don’t dress the same way; I listen to similar music, but I’m not trying to be black. Of course I’m not. So it was a sort of a big inside joke to call me Tori Black.
B: You’re known for working with a lot of black performers. Was that a deliberate career decision, or something that just happened?
T: Well, when I first started in the industry, they had me fill out this checklist of what I would and wouldn’t do: Do you do boy/girl? Do you do girl/girl? Do you do solo? Do you do interracial? When I reached the interracial box, I thought, there are a lot of different races out there, so if I don’t check this, does that mean I’ll only work with white people? So of course I checked the box. Then my agent said, “You don’t want to do that so soon or you’ll ruin your career.” I was dumbfounded: “I’m going to ruin my career? What the hell do you mean?” It just made me laugh; you’re sitting there jerking off to porn, but at the same time, you’re going to tell me I’m somehow immoral or unacceptable because I’m fucking a black guy?
B: But do you think starting your career with interracial porn had an effect, one way or another?
T: Yes. I started advocating for it. When I talked to new girls entering the business I told them not to listen to their agents because the whole thing is just ridiculous. If you look at some of the greats in the industry—Belladonna, Jenna Haze, ummm… not Jenna Jameson, she’s not a good example for a million reasons—but if you look at a lot of the big names, they all started their careers doing anal, interracial, everything. Jenna Haze’s first scene was anal and they told her she was going to ruin her career. Obviously that didn’t happen. Jenna’s retired now and people are still demanding more. So I think the reason people say I’m known for interracial porn is not because I did it anymore than any one else, but because I’ve been so outspoken about the taboo—about how stupid it is.
K: You described to me some kind of abduction by a coke dealer. Would you talk a little about that? It sounded extraordinary.
T: Well, I started doing porn in Miami. And what do you find in Miami except cocaine? I was doing coke all the time. I felt just like Scarface—like I was impervious, just completely bulletproof. After a couple months, I moved to L.A. to do porn and live in a model house. One of the other girls and I went to a party, and I was introduced to this coke dealer, an older black guy. He was like, “I don’t want to talk about your work because I think you’re better than that.” And me being me, I’m like, “Oh! What a perfect gentleman!” So one night, my girlfriend and I went over to his house. We ended up staying until four or something in the morning. My girlfriend had to work the next day, so she said, “Hey let’s go home now, I gotta get some sleep.” And I said, “I don’t have to work for another five days, what are you talking about? I’m not ready to go.” And then she left. But I never left. Well I did, but not for a while.
B: Was there a moment, after your friend left, when you suddenly realized that this was no longer fun?
T: Yeah. At some point I think I said, “Okay, I’m ready to go back now, it’s eight o’clock in the morning and I’m tired.” And the guy said, “No, you’re going to stay here for a while longer.” At first I started laughing. I was like, “Yeah, okay, whatever. You want to keep me forever?” But he wasn’t laughing. And so I said, “No. I’m really ready to go home now; I need to relax and shower.” That’s when he said: “You can shower here.” As soon as he said that—“you can shower here”—I knew something was wrong.
K: What happened?
I was trapped in a basement for five days. They took away my phone and my shoes.
There was a lot of beating and a lot of raping. I wouldn’t say it was just about sex; it was more about domination. At one point they had to tie me down because I was fighting so hard. I don’t even know how many guys came and went. They watched me in shifts. Someone would go sleep, and then someone else would come and force me to do drugs. They kept me awake for days. They didn’t want me to sober up because then I might’ve figured out how to get out of there. When you’re high out of your mind, you’re not thinking very clearly.
K: Did you fear for you life?
Yeah. One time they took me to this one guy’s house, and this guy was a celebrity. He didn’t rape me or anything, but I was looking at him the whole time, thinking, Oh my god this is a celebrity. What if he’s involved? If he’s involved, then they must have a lot of power. Who else do they know? You know?
K: Didn’t your friend wonder where you were, since you didn’t come back for five days?
T: Well she did show up, along with my ex-boyfriend. But the guy holding me hostage pulled out guns—he had so many guns—and all of his friends were hiding in the trees. It was late at night and you couldn’t see where they were hiding, but they were all pointing guns at my ex’s car. So when I came out into the street, I said, “No, no, no. I’m good. I’m having a good time, guys. I don’t know why you’re here, everything’s fine.” I’ve got bruises all over my face, my lips are bleeding, and of course my ex is looking at me like, “I know you’re not okay.”
K: Did they call the police?
T: They did after they left. When the cops showed up at the house, they said they were looking for a Michelle—“Is there a Michelle here?” And I said, “No, I don’t know who Michelle is. My name is Tori.”
K: You didn’t take the chance to escape?
T: I was so high. And I was terrified. They warned me, “You’re high out of your mind. Do you think they’re going to believe anything you say right now?” I don’t know how many different kinds of drugs I had in my system—crank, meth, whatever they were making me snort. I’d been up for days. I had no concept of where I was or what was going on. All I knew was that if I told the police and it didn’t work out, I was probably going to get killed.
K: How did you finally escape?
T: Eventually they decided to take me to San Francisco and told me that I needed to go collect my shit. I told them that I didn’t know where my “shit” was, that I’d been staying in a model house and needed to call my agent to see what happened to it. They agreed to let me call him, but said that he had to be on speakerphone and that if I said anything they were going to fuck me up. So when I called my agent and told him I needed to pick up my stuff, he said, “It’s in garbage bags. We’ve given your room to somebody else. If this is the way you’re going to behave, we can’t represent you.” So the guy brought me to my agent’s office to get my stuff; he brought along his dog too. My agent is very anal, very British; he said, “What’s that dog doing in my office?” The guy said, “This is California. It’s a dog friendly state. I can bring my dog wherever I want.” Then they started bickering about stupid shit. Eventually my agent said, “If you don’t get your dog out my office, I’m going to call the cops.” The guy was a felon, and so as soon as my agent called the cops, the guy just bolted. He didn’t have enough time to grab me. He said he was going to go to the bathroom and then he snuck out the back.
K: Did you explain to your agent what had happened?
T: Yes. But I was still very high. My whole body was shaking, my eyes were bloodshot, and I had bruises and cuts all over me. Of course he didn’t believe me. He was looking at me like, “You’re out of your mind, you’re a crack head. You would say anything at this moment because you have jack shit.” And I said, “You’re right. He stole my credit cards, he took my money; I don’t have anything.” And he was like, “Well, that’s your fault. I didn’t tell you to go to this guy’s house.” My agent showed no mercy in that moment. He just told me, “The doors are closing—get out.” So there I was, standing on the street with my garbage bags and a broken-ass cellphone. I called my ex to come and pick me up. We’d only been seeing each other for a few weeks by this point, but he let me move in with him.
B: Did they ever catch “the guy”?
T: Well, he started calling me and harassing me, and so I took all these voicemails to the police. They brought him in for questioning, but ended up having to release him because they didn’t have enough evidence. They found my blood in his apartment, but that wasn’t enough. “How do we know it wasn’t voluntary?” they asked. “How do we know it wasn’t just a nosebleed from all the cocaine you were doing?” The police told me that the only way to charge him with kidnapping and rape would be for me to get him to confess. There was no rape kit, and I’d admitted to having been high, so my testimony was already on shaky ground.
B: Did you think he was running a prostitution ring?
T: I think so. I found out later that he was wanted in New York for pimping and pandering. But at the time I was so naïve. I came from vanilla middle of nowhere where things like that don’t happen. I’d never seen things like that. Anyhow, he ended up getting arrested years later for something else. Now he’s in jail.
B: I’ve heard similar stories about the fashion industry. You have all these young girls, living in model houses; they’re cut off, they’re naïve, and some of them end up as prostitutes.
T: Now more than ever. And porn stars especially. I mean, if you look at the trend right now, Kevin Durant just mentioned me in his rap song. I don’t know if you know who he is—Kevin Durant’s a basketball player. The only reason I know who he is is because my fiancé loves basketball.
K: Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma Thunder…
K: …is rapping?
T: Yes. About me!
T: Lots of well-known people out there have propositioned me. I need to say that Kevin Durant has never approached me; the only reason I mention his name is because he put me out there in a song. Anyhow, I’m not going to say who’s out there looking for me, but there are people literally hunting me.
B: Athletes or…
T: Athletes, celebrities, entertainers…
B: They’re offering you money for sex?
T: Yes. I’ve been offered trips on private jets. I’ve been offered everything from $50,000 to $100,000.
B: You turned them all down?
T: Yup. Because I know that as soon as they can buy it, as soon as it’s for sale, then they own me, then I become obtainable, and that’s something I never want to be.
K: Do many porn stars make that transition to prostitution after their careers are finished?
T: No, no, no. Porn stars are prostitutes. I’d venture to say that eighty-five, ninety percent use porn as an advertisement for their hooking careers.
B: But it sounds like porn was never about that for you—never about the sex per se.
T: It had more to do with power. Like I could steal your soul out of your eyes. It was like: I want to be perfect in your eyes, to capture you, to control you, to make you do things you would never otherwise do. That was my high—my orgasm. I wanted to seduce everybody in the room. I wanted the sound guy, I wanted the lighting guy, I wanted the camera man, I wanted all my fans, even my agent, I even wanted my agent to wish he could goddamn experience me. I wanted that power, not to make them have sex with me, but I wanted everyone in the room to be in love with me, to become completely engulfed in this perfect creature I’d created called Tori Black.
B: Looking back on it now, why do think you ended up in porn?
T: I think it must’ve come from a lot of different places. It’s not like one day something happens and then the next you decide to become a porn star. It takes a certain kind of person to enter this industry. Even being confident about my sexuality, I would say that for me, having been abused from a very young age, that it completely changed my view of my body. I remember when my dad got drunk he had this weird thing where he would tell all his friends how pretty I was, how I was single, and that they should hit on me. Of course, all his friends were his age, and I was thirteen or fourteen.
K. Did you parents abuse you?
T: No. I was sexually abused by people outside my family. It started at age four actually, I think. What happens is that the abuse makes you look at yourself as a vehicle for someone else’s pleasure. Literally just that—a car. If you use that as a metaphor, somebody will go, “Look at that car in the window. I want that car.” They might spend a lot of money to get that car, but they’re going to take care of it the way they want to take care of it, not necessarily the way you need to be taken care of. In order to cope, I think I just decided that I was here for somebody else’s pleasure, that I existed to be whatever they wanted, to become their fantasy—the car they saw in the window.
B: Did porn allow you to regain some control over that?
T: That was part of it. It was more like: Fuck that. This is your life. You’re going to do what you want. You’re going to fuck how you want to fuck, and you’re going to do it in front of the whole world. I don’t give a shit how much you hate me. I don’t give a shit how low you think I am. This is me. This is my life.
B: I’m sure that there are a lot of women in porn who were abused as children. What’s interesting is how you manage that, how someone responds to that history of abuse.
T: Well, I think there are three ways that people go. Either they become asexual, completely cutting off their sexuality, or they go the opposite direction, becoming hypersexual, which is what happened to me, especially during my high school years. Other people find some sort of inner peace with the matter. But you’re always going to be affected; there’s no way getting around that. You know, when I was in boot camp, there was a fifteen-year-old boy who’d been involved with a gang. As part of the initiation, he’d raped a girl. At the time he’d thought it was okay; but, as the weeks went by, he’d see her around school and it ate him alive. Just talking about it, he could barely get the words out; his whole body shook, tears started streaming down his face. I was thirteen-years old, and I’d just been raped by somebody at my school, somebody who I knew and saw all the time, and sitting there with this guy who’d been through something similar, I had this moment, this epiphany: Oh my god, you’re a person too. It took some of my anger away. But I wanted to be angry; I wanted to hate him. I wanted to hate all of them so much for what they did to me. Even to this day, there are moments when I’m making love to my fiancé, and I’ll have a flashback, and there’s nothing I can do except to say, “Ummm, can you hang on for just a minute.” And then I just have to burst into tears. The only thing you can do is take care of that hurt inside of you. When I have these feelings, these flashbacks, I can’t hold them in. If I try to hold them in, that’s when I know I’m starting to abuse myself all over again, that’s when I’m thinking: he doesn’t want to see me cry; he’s enjoying himself right now and I don’t want to ruin this for him.
K: You’re pregnant with your second child now. How has having had children affected your career?
T: It’s really hard. For example, when I went to the AVN [Adult Video News] awards, I’d just found out that I was pregnant. I was sitting there signing autographs, listening to my fans say, “Oh my God Tori! I love the way you sucked this dick,” or, “Oh my God, you take cock in the ass so great,” and all the while I was saying to myself, “These Spanx are really tight; I really just want to let my belly out.” If I’m feeling pregnant, it’s hard to get myself into Tori Black mode.
K: You’re about to turn your back on hardcore porn. What’s next?
Well, being pregnant and doing porn—I won’t do that. But I can do solo work for the next four or five years and make triple the money I made taking two cocks at the same time. It’s a matter of being smart about it—smarter instead of harder. I’ve reached a point in my career where people in mainstream entertainment are approaching me and saying, “I want to do a reality show, I want to do this, I want to do that.” Of course there are still options for me in the adult industry, but I’m not going back to hardcore. If I want to do hardcore again in the future, that door is always going to be open. But am I ready to do that right now? Obviously not—I’m having a baby. It’s family time right now.