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April 10, 2019

Wesley’s World—Part 2: A Standup Guy

In the second of an in-depth, three-part series, performers and directors reflect on the GayVN Performer of the Year. Pictured above, Wesley Woods with Silvia Saige at the 2019 AVN Awards Nomination Party; photo by Jeff Koga. When his name was called as one of the Best Actor winners at the 2019 GayVN Awards in Las Vegas, Wesley Woods’ first thought wasn’t for himself. It was for co-star and fellow nominee Woody Fox, whom Woods brought up on stage to thank and share the award with. He continued to praise Fox backstage, his joy at winning tempered by disappointment for his friend. Unlike his turn in Falcon’s Zack & Jack Make a Porno, this wasn’t an act. Moment later, he was backstage again having won Performer of the Year. “I was not expecting this at all. I don’t even know what to say,” he told interviewer Christiana Cinn. She looked at him and offered an acute observation, one that speaks to who Woods truly is as a person: “Your honesty is very refreshing.” At that moment, Boomer Banks walked by—turning his attention to the duo and sarcastically asking, “How many times does she cry?” Woods let out a boisterous laugh (as he unashamedly admitted earlier that night, “I’m a crier!”), Cinn then playfully defending him: “As many times as she wants!” Banks is one of many performers who filmed with Woods last year (appearing in the first installment of the Mixtape series from Banks’ new BoomBoxxx label), and he wasn’t the only one congratulating the man of the moment. Minutes later, Adam Ramzi came up to Woods, arms extended for a tight hug. “I’m so happy for you,” he said as they embraced. The two filmed together nearly four years ago in one of Woods’ very first scenes (for Raging Stallion’s I’d Hit That!) and have had a close friendship ever since. Then there was a fellow standup comic—a complete stranger to Woods—who approached him with a congratulations, telling the performer how meaningful his speech on stage was to him (“You spoke from your heart”). In the span of just a few minutes, those snapshots backstage spoke volumes about the impact that Woods has had not just on the industry, but on his peers and fans. “Wesley Woods is like my porn child. He’s probably one of my best friends. He’s one of the best performers. He’s funny as hell and dirty as hell. He’s the hoe with a heart of gold, your friendly neighborhood hoe … he’s all of those things,” gushes director Chi Chi LaRue, who has directed the performer in multiple award-nominated productions (including the hit Scared Stiff). “He’s one of those rare people that you could put with anybody and you’re going to get a great scene, because everybody loves him. And he’s willing to go from mild to wild in seconds, and he can play your boyfriend or the filthy truck driver. And off camera, he is who he is. I love him for that.” LaRue co-directed Falcon’s Love & Lust in New Orleans, sharing the win for Best Director—Non-Feature with Tony Dimarco. The film also earned Woods a Best Duo Sex Scene nomination (for his steamy pairing with friend Tyler Roberts). Like many, Dimarco has developed a special bond with Woods—one that has grown stronger over the years. “I first noticed Wesley when he was working for other companies. I had seen his images online, and there was something about him that kept my attention. He was different from other actors, and the more I saw him, the more I was intrigued and wanted to work with him.” Dimarco finally got his chance when he cast the performer for the 2016 Hot House release On the Market, the first time the two met. “It was a role that required some acting, and he took to it like a fish to water—he was an awesome actor. Although you may have just met moments before, he has this ease about him that makes you feel like you’ve been friends for years.” The director soon cast Woods in his two-part Wild Weekend for Falcon. “Another great thing about Wesley is that he’s always himself. He’s very open, real and honest—even if it’s how he’s made mistakes in his life. He’s very self-effacing. On top of that, he’s charming, has exuberant energy and is extremely funny and engaging on and off set. When filming him, I usually have to keep the camera rolling because I never know what he’s going to say or do. Usually he does something that’s priceless and hysterical,” Dimarco says. “When you work on productions, especially bigger ones, you get to spend a lot of time with performers and get to know them more personally—who they are, what they are about, what they aspire to. Over the nearly three years that we’ve worked together, Wesley and I have become closer as co-workers and also as friends. His mom even follows me on Instagram. We’ve had many deep conversations, whether it’s about sex, career ambitions, relationships, family … it’s always interesting and insightful.” Fellow GayVN Performer of the Year nominee Max Konnor (who won the Best Duo Sex Scene award with Armond Rizzo) knows that feeling. He bonded with Woods before they performed together for Noir Male last summer—the first time they met in person. “I had seen him a lot on Twitter; we had had previous conversations before. Then when I met him on set, he was really cool. We were vibing with each other. We had this long conversation before we went to shoot, and we were just talking about his experience and his career as a comedian, how he got started into porn and everything like that. The chemistry on set was just amazing. He was very easy to work with, and it was very natural,” Konnor says, adding that they also connected over their shared Southern roots. “I think that was another reason we connected so well … two Southern boys just in their element.” Konnor also shares that Woods helped him get more comfortable with an act he wasn’t completely comfortable with yet. “It was like the second shoot I had done with Noir Male, and I was still getting used to the fact that the tops have to get their ass eaten out. He really made that a comfortable situation for me, because I know I was like, ‘Oh my God, I hope everything’s okay back there…’ He was like, ‘I made sure you looked good!’” Konnor laughs. “It was a very good shoot … it’s always more enjoyable when you know that the person who you’re doing the scene with really wants to work with you as well.” They continued their communication on social media, and were reunited for a promotional photo shoot for the GayVN Awards. Dimarco notes that Woods’ ability to establish that kind of connection with his colleagues on set extends to the viewers.  “His personality resonates on screen. You can tell he loves what he’s doing; he loves sex and is completely present in his performance. He’s also extremely funny and engaging, whether it’s on screen, on social media, in interviews or in person. He’s also always real and sincere,” the director shares. “I think that he genuinely cares and loves life, and embraces it to the fullest. We all make mistakes in our lives; many of us choose to hide things about ourselves, whether in life or on social media—only post the good stuff and shy away from the not-so-great stuff. Wesley completely owns it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. He takes it all in and learns from his mistakes and successes—and that allows him to be who he is. His attitude is, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to do what I want to do and be who I want to be, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine—but it won’t affect who I choose to be.’ I don’t think I’m revealing anything he hasn’t said already. I think he does really live his motto; he’s pretty much an open book with no apologies.” And he’s also fun, a trait that came in handy for the comedic romp Zack & Jack (which Dimarco co-directed with mr. Pam). “He is so open and present in his scenes. Recently, I told him after a scene we had just shot that, by watching his performance, I could almost feel what he was feeling because of how his body, face and voice emote that to the camera. Sex is a physical sensation, porn is a visual one—and the sign of a great performer is someone who can translate a physical sensation to a visual one. Since we are witnesses that are watching sex, we need to feel what the performers are doing. Wesley does that naturally and effortlessly to make us feel what he is feeling during sex. He’s also a fearless actor when doing B-roll dialogue or the acting portions of the scene. He will go and do almost anything you ask him to do and give it 1,000 percent without any fear of looking silly or stupid. As a director, I love that about him, because it shows me that he’s committed. He’s one of my favorite performers to work with. Despite all we have to do in a day—and porn sets can be stressful—when I work with Wesley, we always have a good time and he makes it fun.” Woody Fox agrees. The Zack to Woods’ Jack, Fox developed a chemistry with Woods just through their dialogue. “Wesley was super fun. When we first met, I turned up to the porn house—we were staying there a good week—and I go to my room. They were like, ‘You’re going to be sharing it with your co-star, which isn’t someone you’re having sex with—you play best friends in the film.’ And in my head, I was thinking this could either go really well or horribly wrong if he’s an asshole. And he ended up being super sweet and really fun. Me and Wesley, as you know, we’re both very theatrical and very cheeky when it comes to social media. So we thought it would be a fun idea to run around the set and take photos with like trees or rocks behind us, and then every week post something like, ‘I’m in New Zealand with my man!’ And we only really had met that week, so that was our funny scandalous story. And it got a lot of people angry because they were like, ‘What?! You haven’t been in a relationship for two months?!’” He continued to speak highly of Woods backstage at the awards, noting that they have become even better friends since the shoot. When Fox later announced on Twitter that he was leaving the industry at the end of May, he noted, “If you want me to fuck/get fucked by any of your fav stars please tell them.” Woods was the very first to chime in (“I’m waiting to fuck”). Fox isn’t the only big-name star who hasn’t performed in a sex scene with Woods on camera. But if fellow Texan Austin Wolf has anything to say about it, that will change. “We’ve been at event-type things together before like in Chicago or wherever we are, but we’ve never actually had a scene together, which we’re both a little sore about,” Wolf says. “He’s always one of my favorite people. You can’t be happier to show up to a gig—even an award show or a scene, for that matter—and see Wesley Woods’ face, just because you know it’s going to be a good day. We’re all gonna laugh, we’re all gonna have a good time. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He just wants to have a good time. He really does enjoy making people laugh, in a genuine way. It’s not like he’s trying to pull it out of you; he’s just a naturally gifted person that way, and I definitely can’t say that about very many people—especially in this industry.” Wolf was hopeful the two could shoot some fan content or a scene for Falcon at some point. “Anytime you’re successful, a lot of these boys just want to bring you down. Not Wesley. He’ll always want to bring you up. He’ll always want you to do greater.” Yin and YangMany industry performers would say the same of Woods, but none of them know him better than his partner in crime—Silvia Saige, who got about a year’s head start on him in the adult industry. The two share remarkable similarities in their careers that it’s almost uncanny—as if destiny brought them together. They met five years ago at an open mic night on the comedy circuit in Las Vegas when Saige was looking to book a show. “I was pretty new to Vegas myself, so I didn’t know a lot of comics. I was going around to different shows, listening and getting a feel for people. And I saw Wes sitting at the bar. And to be honest with you, he looked—well, you know, he’s a very good-looking guy. So I thought I was going to go hit on him,” Saige laughs. “And then he opened his mouth and glitter shot out, and I said to myself, ‘He is not interested in me.’” That turned out to be a blessing for both. “We hit it off just chatting. He didn’t end up doing standup that night, but I told him I would book him on my show—mainly because he kind of lied to me and told me that he had been doing comedy for a while,” Saige says. “So I put him on my show sight unseen. I went out the next night and recorded him doing a show, and he ended up doing my show at the Improv. And if you know anything about comedy, you know that the Improv is a very big stage to do—and something that took me three years to get. And it was Wesley’s very first show, and that was because he told me he was a comic.” The two became fast friends, and Woods quickly moved in. Literally.    “I had just kicked a roommate of mine out, so I needed someone there, and he wasn’t in a good living situation—he was staying with an ex-boyfriend—so he moved in with me just a few days in. We spent the next few years just kind of hopping around places and doing comedy shows, and then I got him into adult probably six months after meeting him. I had already been working in adult as well, and he was living with me but hated his job. So I suggested that he also do porn,” Saige says. “So he got into porn, and honestly his porn career just kind of shot up like crazy. I always considered myself a C-list porn star, and he shot up to A-list—which I don’t think either one of us knew what to do with. He was off to Barcelona, doing these amazing shoots and traveling all over. So we spent about two years doing that—traveling all over doing comedy and doing adult, and then we moved out here to L.A. where we both kind of walked around aimlessly for a while. We couldn’t get an apartment because both of us had horrible credit scores,” Saige recalls with a laugh. They lived in Airbnbs and hotels, “a whole year of just being gypsies in the night” before Woods met his (now ex) boyfriend, who he was with for a year before moving back in with Saige. “He and I are both very much people who believe that everything happens for a reason, and we were definitely brought into one another’s lives for good reason. We do bounce off of each other quite well; we always say he’s the porn star who does comedy, and I’m the comic who does porn. He has his pull in the adult world that I was never able to gain, and I have a great pull in the comedy world that—not that he wasn’t ever able to gain, but just because he worked so heavily in porn for such a long time that his comedy kind of suffered … but I think now for him and for me, we’re both coming a little more full circle. Now my adult career has gone up thanks to him, and his comedy has gone up thanks to me, so we are definitely the yin to one another’s yang. He’s the best relationship I’ve ever been in, but we don’t have sex,” she laughs. While she can’t vouch for his skills beneath the sheets, Saige says Woods has a gift on stage. “Wesley is just so naturally charismatic that that carries over for him in every aspect of his life, including comedy. You can’t meet him and not be instantly drawn to him, and he has that light on stage. He doesn’t have to sit and write jokes like most comics; he’ll just go up there and talk about his day. And because he does it with such energy and vibrance, he just has this thing that people are drawn to. It’s amazing.” The dual careers have served both performers well, in more ways than one. “I think for both of us, doing comedy and adult has allowed us to kind of let all the naysayers fall to our side, and we’ve developed really thick skin. Anyone who works in adult, we’re kind of shunned and looked upon as the bottom feeders of society, and there’s a lot of grief that comes with that—the grief that you put your family through and things like that. But I think with comedy, it has allowed us to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously—to really play with it and be honest. Comedy is about honesty, and it’s about the failures in life just as much as it’s about the successes. There’s a lot of pain in it.” Woods relishes a good laugh even with a small audience—including just himself. “I love scare cams—I love seeing people get scared, and I love doing that to people … I love it. My poor girlfriend Silvia, she has to endure a lot of it. There are times when at least four or five times a day, I try to scare her. Even if we’re just sitting on the couch and we’re in our little zone, I’ll just scream really loud. She hates it. That’s the shock value I like.” The performer credits his biological dad with planting that mischievous seed in him. “He’s probably where I get my pranks from. During visitation as kids, my younger brother and I would walk into a restaurant. Dad would open the door, let us walk in and yell out random things before closing the door behind us—and we’d be standing there with people staring at us. An example: He’d open the door, we’d walk in and he’d yell, ‘Here I am!’ It also really made me comfortable with uncomfortable stares.” It's a habit that Saige—his No. 1 target—has grown accustomed to. “Wesley is definitely a prankster. He very much enjoys scaring people. That’s his forte. Just random screaming at you and scaring the shit out of you. He loves anything that’s going to pull somebody away from looking at their phone. He’s definitely the center of attention and needs to be at all times,” says Saige, admitting she’s an easy target. “If he makes my heart stop just a little bit, he’s happy. He literally just wants me to drop whatever is in my hands and scream. But he doesn’t do it on a regular basis. So he’ll go—I’m not even kidding you—six months without doing any kind of prank, and then he’ll want to videotape something. I always say to him that he’s got this evil monkey sitting on his shoulder—and when he gets bored, that monkey just tells him to do whatever.” Saige accompanied Woods to the GayVN Awards both this year and last year, continuing to celebrate with him at the after party (they also celebrated the new year together with, among others, Roberts). Just listening to the two of them briefly interact, it’s obvious that they share a special connection. They also bring that bond to social media, where they frequently present “Sexy Funny Raw”—short segments where they banter, answer viewer questions and basically be themselves. “We’ve been doing that for a few years now. We were doing it weekly when our schedules were a little bit slower … it just depends on whether we’re both in town. It’s been great. We want it to be more than it is, and it’s just hard with the two of us and scheduling. But it’s definitely gotten such positive reviews from everyone who does watch it, and it’s almost that people kind of need it in their lives. It’s like a breakaway, a refreshment. It’s not anything serious for us; it’s just having fun and recoding a 15-minute conversation between the two of us. But I think it means a lot to enough people that we definitely want to keep it going.” They last did a broadcast in early December, where they promised to try and do more in 2019. The two have been guests together on the Sexual Disorientation podcast, and shot gay porn together (Woods naked, Saige clothed) in a scene for Noir Male, where Saige bursts in on her husband screwing around with Woods. They also appear together in LaRue’s upcoming Don’t Tell My Wife for Icon Male (which also reunites Woods with Ramzi). But that’s as far as the best friends have gone with each other—at least on camera. “I’ll share the most disgusting story that has ever happened with the two of us—and to tell you what kind of a great friend he is. With myself working in adult, when it’s that time of the month for female performers, we still have to shoot. So what we do in order to stop the flow of blood is take a makeup sponge and put it inside. But the only problem with this is that they can get stuck. And I’ve had that happen. And poor Wesley,” Saige laughs as she thinks back. “When we lived together, I went into his room, and I said, ‘I need you.’ And he said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘You have to get this out of me, or I can potentially die from it.’ And he could not have been more mortified of having to stick his fingers inside of me. He said, ‘What’s it going to feel like?’ And I said, ‘It’s going to feel like the one thing that doesn’t belong inside there!’ I’ve never had a man get in or out of my vagina quicker than he did to grab that sponge. Afterwards, he was screaming at me: ‘You bitch!’ And he’s like, ‘Now you know how much I love you.’ I was like, ‘That is exactly how I know how much you love me. You touched a vagina, and my vagina at that.’” It’s clear that for Woods, success isn’t measured by the number of porn awards he wins or standup gigs he books. It’s measured by the bonds he has formed with his friends and family. And in that regard, he may be the wealthiest man in the world. “We’ve been on a rollercoaster the past few years between his career and mine,” says Saige. “We share finances, and we really have since we met each other. When I’m up and he’s down, I give—and vice versa. I remember a time when we were in Vegas for shooting or comedy, whatever reason it happened to be. And he had a plane ticket to get back to L.A., because whatever company he had worked with had a ticket for him. But I didn’t have a way back. So instead of him getting on the plane, he and I hopped on a Greyhound so I wouldn’t have to go alone. It’s just little things like that. “I always say he’s the type of friend that if you shit your pants in public, he would shit his pants with you just to make you feel better. He would never leave you high and dry. He’s just an all-around genuine good person. I think that’s what draws me to him as well. We both come from very similar backgrounds—we’re both very close to our families, and we have a real respect for people. And that very much shines through with him. So as much as he wants the world to stare at him and revolve around him, he would stop the world for anybody.” In the conclusion of our three-part series, we get a rare glimpse at the man through the person that knows him best: his mother.

 
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