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May 11, 2018

Everyone Loves Adam Ramzi. Find Out Why ...

A version of this interview ran in the May 2018 issue of AVN magzine. Click here for the digital edition. Musician. Pornographer. Actor. Artist. Writer. Therapist. Those are just some of the passions Adam Ramzi lives. Spend one minute talking to this true Renaissance man, and you’ll immediately be struck by his warmth, engagement, intelligence and charisma—all emanating from the handsome and hairy visage that has hypnotized a legion of industry fans, co-stars and directors for five years. And those eyes … are you kidding? “Do you remember Teen Wolf? That’s what I called him, and that’s what went into my mind. He’s got these like almond eyes that are just … ugh … they just do it for me. We have a scene together and we also did an OnlyFans thing, and he called me an anal wizard,” laughs performer Jason Vario. “I’ve been called a lot of things, but not that. He’s amazingly sexy and a very sweet guy.” “The eyes are incredible,” adds TitanMen director Jasun Mark. “I’ve just sat down and had lunch with him and lost my train of thought just staring at him, you know? I’m trying to think of the proper words; he is that guy.” “That” guy is the kind of man that makes co-stars and directors smile when they speak of him. Ask many A-list industry talent—both in front of and behind the camera—who they love working with, and chances are high that Ramzi will be at the top of their list (“I adore Adam,” beams Wesley Woods). The love affair is mutual. “I’ve always been a fan of porn. I remember having a cable box, where it was either real squiggly and I could kind of see through it; or at home I would use a fancy cable box in which I could actually see everything,” Ramzi recalls, one of many indelible images from his youth. “I remember exactly the first time I ever jacked off. I remember the first time that the Spice Channel decided to show dick after 10 p.m. These were all weirdly kind of big turning points for my development, and so once I became a sexually active adult, I never thought about porn as much because I was still becoming who I was, I guess. I feel like a lot of other actors get their start in their early 20s, but I didn’t start in the porn industry until I was 30. For me, it was a really good, unique time to get started because I was just beginning to get into the further depths of who I was sexually on the inside.” Ramzi grew up in suburban Los Angeles and spent the majority of his 20s working different jobs (“And here’s a random little side bit: When I was 18, I actually had a congressional internship over a summer and gave tours of Congress”), from waiting tables to working an office job at 20th Century Fox—all to fund his life as a musician. “I played bass in a rock band that actually did really well and toured with a lot of really big names. But then once I realized that it was limiting because I wasn’t involved with the songwriting part of things, I decided to kind of go back to the drawing board and see what I wanted to do next.” That’s when he enrolled in grad school for LGBT psychology—and it was during that time that Ramzi was contacted by Chris Ward, the head of Raging Stallion Studios at the time. “He looked at my stuff and he liked what I was about, and thought I was perfect for their brand. I at first shrugged it off. I was like, ‘No, that doesn’t make any sense for what I’m doing—I’m on track to become a psychotherapist, I’m still in school, and putting yourself out here like that is a really big commitment.’ But the more I thought about it, the more I kind of in my head roped it into my studies. I thought, maybe this could be a really interesting step in the process of becoming a therapist—especially someone who is going to be working primarily with gay men. And already, issues around sex were coming up so much in my program that I thought, ‘Wow, this might be a really neat experiment.’ So I said, ‘Let me do one and see how I feel about it.’ And cut to five years later, I’m still doing it.” Ramzi’s first film was The Hole 2, released in the summer of 2013—with him front and center on the box cover. “Five years ago, I was still kind of a wide-eyed child in the industry, apparently. One of the grips at Raging Stallion finally admitted to me at one point that there was a joke going around the office that I keep falling in love with my co-stars. That I think is very much a first-year thing. I would say now, I definitely respect the ‘work’ element of it more than I did before. I understand that what we’re doing is playing up whatever chemistry we’re able to establish with one another as scene partners and translating it via a camera lens. I understand a little bit more now about how it’s work first and foremost; if I can make it fun, then I’m doing an even better job.” Ramzi quickly went on to appear in the likes of Open Road 1, Timberwolves, Cock Fight and more. “My first year, I was offered to be an exclusive with Raging Stallion. I turned it down, mostly because I wasn’t really sure at the time if I wanted that kind of exposure. But I still worked with only them, because I was very comfortable with their format, I knew a lot of what I was getting into, and they treated me really well. They paired me with some great performers, and my first year of doing it I was very fortunate to work with people that I got along with really well—they were sexy, and it was mostly a really seamless experience.” But his first experience working with someone he didn’t have chemistry with proved to be a big moment of growth for him as a performer. “Funny enough, Steve Cruz was directing that scene and he actually came up to me during one of the breaks and said, ‘Honey this is your best work.’ And I kind of remember thinking, ‘That doesn’t make any sense.’ When I spoke to the grip about it and what Steve said, the grip was like, ‘Well that makes a lot of sense.’ Sometimes, depending on what studio you’re working for and how they edit, when there’s no chemistry the performance really shows up. In your head, you’re not worrying about impressing this person that you’re excited to be having sex with; you’re just kind of focusing on technique, grunting and thrusting, which to you feels really weird, but a lot of the time—especially if you’re good at it—looks great on camera.” Ramzi notes that for the most part, he has had at least some connection with his co-stars over the years—which many would agree speaks to his demeanor and honesty. “Through all the good and bad, I have definitely come to a place where I can say confidentially that I feel like I’m pretty good at it. I don’t have a super-duper fit body, I don’t have a huge dick, so I don’t feel like those are the things that keep getting me hired. It’s more that I think I have a good personality, I’m a good performer and I try my best to bring some kind of joy on set. So it’s nice to be in a place now where I feel like I’m kind of toward the part of my career where I’m trying to shift it into something different. I feel like I’ve done well with it so far.” Cruz is one of many who has directed Ramzi multiple times—and is always happy to have him back. That’s why he tapped the performer to headline It’s Coming, last year’s fright fest that earned both of them GayVN Award nominations. “Adam is a special performer because he puts so much of his real self into the performance. He doesn't go through the motions; he's a true experiencer. It means I put more thought into the personality of casting, playing a kind of matchmaker—but it also means I'm getting an out-of-this-world scene. It's refreshing to film someone with so many layers and so much dimension and depth. In a way, he makes my process very human and tactile, and as frequently as I work, I need that. And he's so beautiful. So beautiful! He's the total package,” Cruz says. “We have a lot in common. I'd say we're part of the same tribe, if that makes sense. We both have the soul of an artist, we're both sensitive. I feel instantly at home in his presence no matter how much time passes. Always kind, always honest and calming. I almost forget we met through our work. I'm sure we'll remain friends long after we retire from this crazy business. He's one of the good ones.” The feeling is mutual: “Steve has been a huge, huge influence for me. We have worked many times, and it’s kind of funny—we have kind of established a groove with each other, because I would say we’ve done at least 10 scenes together. I would work with him again anytime.” And Ramzi would also work with a long list of growing friends he has made in the industry, many of which he hasn’t yet performed with. “There’s something really nice about talking shop with people who understand what it’s like, and to be able to share stories and tell jokes. Some of the scenes that I’ve done have been some of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve ever had. My first scene with Tommy Defendi was a really positive experience, and my second scene with him was a really negative experience—and it wasn’t because he and I didn’t get along. The experience of that day was a grueling one, so to have someone with you who’s like a buddy makes such a difference. It’s stuff like that where you make memories that last forever. “Colton Grey is totally like family to me; in a very different way, so is Boomer Banks. And mr. Pam was a huge part of my development as a performer as well. She was kind of like my home-turf director for a while, because I lived in San Francisco for three years. She lived right around the corner from my best friends, so she and I got to experience each other not just in porn scenarios, but also nightlife and daily life—so it’s been really life changing in such an unexpected way. There’s definitely an aspect of community in the porn industry if you know where to find it.” Over the years, mr. Pam has directed Ramzi in numerous NakedSword films like Fame Game, On the Lookout and Fuck Me I’m Famous. “I actually remember the first time I filmed him, I was intimidated because he’s so gorgeous. He’s just drop-dead gorgeous. He’s just my type—I love that darker, Middle Eastern look. Plus, he’s so sweet and kind—and smart. He just finished school and he’s starting to be a therapist; he worked with a queer therapy group here in San Francisco and now he’s in L.A., and he’s just beautiful inside and out. It does make me laugh, because I think he’s probably like the hottest therapist ever, so I wish him luck with the counseling and being so hot,” she giggles. “Visually, I love to see that pretty face buried in an asshole. I love that every time. He loves eating ass—he just gets his beard all wet and he’s just smelling it. He’s definitely genuine. He’s not on auto-pilot, which some guys tend to go to if they’ve done a lot of porn. We hand-pick his scene partners to make sure there’s chemistry, but he’s very authentic and natural and he’s very sexual in his personal life as well. He just brings that to the set, and it’s just totally a joy. I love him.” It’s a feeling shared by other top directors in the business. “In addition to his natural talent, he’s also a really reliable guy, which in porn is worth three times your weight in gold,” shares Titan’s Mark, who has filmed Ramzi in 13 projects and counting. “We always know that when we ask him to show up for a day, he will show up in great physical shape, he will show up in great mental shape, he will help the new guy get relaxed on camera and help them deliver a really good performance. He can act, so he can help tell the story, which is terrific. He’s really smart, and he’s fun to hang out with. When we’re not shooting, he’s there taking part in all of our conversations while we’re sitting around the dinner table, and we talk about politics, pop culture, movies, books, Burning Man and everything. He’s just a great guy to have around.” Those sentiments are echoed by Jake Jaxson of CockyBoys, a studio that even devoted the release First Came Adam to him. “I’ll put it this way: When Adam first shows up and I start talking to him, I became sort of a bumbling, babbling idiot. He just looks at you, and it’s not like he’s trying to put some sort of mind trip on you, he’s just focused. He’s present to you, and I’m just like, ‘Uh…umm…’ I’ll literately say ‘Do I sound like a complete idiot?’ out loud. I’m like aghast. Everybody I work with, I have got to feel something for them. This work is not just a means to an end. There’s scene work that’s sort of the bread and butter of what we do, but when I do my feature projects, they take so long and they’re all very, very personal. At a certain point, you have to feel like you like the people that you’re working with, and he’s one of ’em.” Ramzi landed a coveted role in All Saints, the long-awaited follow-up to the 2016 CockyBoys mini-series Answered Prayers. The first episode debuted in February. “The reality is, he’s a great person,” Jaxson continues. “He is a pleasant, enjoyable, connected, empathetic, caring guy. He cares about his work, and for me, working with anyone who is like that is a dream. This is what they do; it’s not a way to make a little extra money or be famous. He starts first as a performer. He believes that sex work and what we do as pornographers has meaning and purpose, and as a result, he’s a delight to work with. He’s a professional. He wants to be as good as he can be, and he gives as good as he gets. He’s completely mutually respectful, and I absolutely love working with him. For All Saints, when I started working with him I was like, ‘I’m gonna need to shoot you probably over three or four months, and we’re gonna do one or two sex scenes in it—but for every sex scene you do, I’ll probably do a week-and-a-half of acting.’ And that’s not normal. But he jumped at it.” For Ramzi, it was a no-brainer. “When I get approached to kind of play up the artistry of the medium, I am pretty much on board instantly. If there’s an element of drama or depth, I get so excited to dive in a little deeper, and I’m honored that directors like Jake Jaxson and Steve Cruz trust me to be able to handle things like that.” Ramzi says he loves working for all of the different studios, the projects allowing him to stretch himself creatively. “I have a performance background. I’ve been on stage before in a number of capacities, and on camera. I’m not shy to perform. I’ve heard about a lot of people’s first-time experiences and how awful they can be, and I remember my first-time experience and how fortunate I am that it was so positive. But despite that, and especially after some time in the industry, I also recognize when it’s difficult work.” Ramzi notes that when he meets a scene partner, he tries to establish some kind of rapport immediately—whether it’s just about their bodies and how they connect physically, or about just having a nice day together. “Regardless of mutual attraction or not, I often hope that a scene partner and I can find something we can connect on, something we laugh about, something we share. For example, my nipples are sensitive, so if I have a scene partner whose nipples are sensitive too, I can play up the fact that we both share that and it makes for a fun day. “Usually, the times that are the toughest for me on set are when I’m trying to engage with my scene partner and there’s just nothing there. That’s when I hate the work. The funny thing is, in the last few months, I’ve had two such experiences on set. One of them, we didn’t connect at all off camera, but when the director called ‘Action!’ he knew exactly what to do, and I knew exactly what to do. We got through the scene quickly, and I was so grateful that he at least gave me that. “The other scene was with someone who had literally no idea what to do on camera. It was the kind of train wreck where everyone on set was even looking at me while the camera was rolling like, ‘Dude, are you gonna make it?!’ Halfway through the set—and this doesn’t happen often—the director had to kill the scene. You have to have some kind of sexual instinct for this shit to work, and it’s not just about how big your dick is, it’s not about how beautiful your body is.” Through the years, Ramzi has also encountered a few industry people off camera he’d just as soon forget—but he values how those interactions have shaped him. “If anything, they’ve served as a kind of reminder to be the best version of myself that I can be. I’ve met a couple people in the industry who are so unkind—dark energy, and full of themselves. I think if I was still in my 20s, I might let their mistreatment kind of affect me; whereas now, as a 36-year-old man, I can look at them and just be like, ‘Wow, that is not even close to anything that I want to associate myself with’ and just shrug it off and focus on the people who mean something to me. There are a lot of people in the industry who are wonderful human beings, who never seem to let their egos get the best of them.” Like Jason Vario, who worked with Ramzi in the GayVN Award-nominated scene from Titan’s Sling. “Adam is very, very cute—and just a genuine, authentic, very sweet guy. Just very creative and thoughtful. We’ve become pretty close. We met through Titan, and it’s funny…normally—well, I don’t know how it is with every other studio—but they don’t typically put scene partners together if you have to share a room. You don’t want them fucking or whatever. But we were. We always deliberately got together and were encouraged to like ‘practice’ because it was never a problem; we had such a good connection that it only intensified on camera, it didn’t spoil anything. Adam has a very unique way of looking at things—very creative. He does his performance art stuff, and is just a very unique individual that I really enjoy talking to and being around.”’ And he’s been able to juggle his industry work with other projects both in front of and behind the camera. In addition to music video appearances (most recently for “At Least The Sky Is Blue” by SSION featuring Ariel Pink), shooting and other acting gigs (while a scene he shot for Amazon’s series Transparent didn’t make the final cut, can be seen in the opening credits of every episode of season 4), Ramzi is also getting back into writing through his lifestyle column “Play Gentle” on WhereGentlemenGo.com: “I write more as someone in the field of psychology rather than someone in the porn field, so it’s nice to kind of show those chops off again.” He also recently danced in three numbers at Fischerspooner’s L.A. concert alongside Will Wikle and Kyle Kakes. “It was kind of nice to move back to Los Angeles from San Francisco and plug right back into the nightlife world. I sometimes host parties, I sometimes go-go dance at parties, and I like doing all of it. I like to help facilitate a positive energy at events that I get hired at, and I think that’s why I get hired again and again. A big reason I moved back to Los Angeles was to be near my family, and there’s a lot of creative opportunities here that I didn’t have in San Francisco that have kept me here.” He’s also working on setting up the next phase of his life by getting all of his MFG (Marriage and Family Therapy) hours. “That is sort of what I was on track doing in grad school, and because I’ve moved on from working in clinics to working in a private practice, it’s a little harder to get that practice off the ground. So things are a little slower than I’d like, but I’m still slowly chipping away at it. People can feel free to get in touch with me if they need therapy in the Los Angeles area,” he laughs. “I’m very affordable!”

 
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