In three short years, bearded Texas beefcake Shay Michaels has turned himself from real estate director to major studio porn star. Robert O’Connor finds out what’s next on the list for the 200lb man mountain.
Howdy, Shay! What’s the average shooting day on the set of a porn film like?
The average day on set has changed a lot since I first started to film. When I first hit the scene it was common for the large studios, including TitanMen and Raging Stallion, to have two-day shoots for a single scene. One day was used for stills and the other for filming, and in some cases two days were needed for filming. A typical day was between six and eight hours long. Given the drop in revenues due to piracy, most of the large studios have gone to a single day shoot, which is much more attractive for a model.
You have a pretty hot and beefy fiancé; is he cool with sharing you with your co-stars?
I am so fortunate to have a wonderful man in my life, who actually wants to marry me and create a full life together. I would lie if I said being a porn model was not at all hard on our relationship. My fiancé has worked in the porn industry but always behind the camera. We talk a lot about what I do, as I am completely transparent with him. I want monogamy with him, but have to have sex with other men for my livelihood – so it’s definitely a challenge. I will be retiring within the next two years to pursue monogamy with my future husband.
You took time out from work to deal with drug and alcohol addiction issues, why do you think so many guys in gay porn suffer with this? Did you ever worry you might go the way of the late Erik Rhodes?
First of all I wanted to say how shocked I was when I found out that Erik had overdosed. He was such an iconic figure in gay porn and such a beautiful man. Of course I was worried about overdosing, as I had overdosed twice in my final run. I would get sober soon over my second overdose. I’ll be up front that I was using well before I got into porn, but being in porn certainly added fuel to my addiction. Being a porn star meant that I was invited to sex parties, to big circuit events, and hit up online by hot guys wanting me to come over and party with them. Porn enhanced my access to drugs. It’s weird how a lot of porn models are sober or straight-edged, but don’t really talk about it. No one wants to be an outsider or considered boring, so talk of sobriety in the porn world is kept pretty quiet.
Do you think the use of steroids and other supplements to enhance your body for porn leads to using harder drugs or is that a different scenario altogether?
No, I certainly do not think that steroid use leads to harder drugs.
You have a lot of very loyal fans who awaited your return. Which porn stars do you anticipate new movies from?
I do not follow porn that closely but I know that Nick Capra is back filming a lot. It seems like Adam Russo is everywhere, and there is a lot of Twitter talk about Fabio Stallone being one to watch.
You’ve switched to bareback porn after three years of performing only condom-protected roles. What brought about this choice?
When I first hit the scene, condom porn was the only accepted porn for a model who wanted to get lots of work. If a model engaged in bareback porn, most large studios would not use him. I can remember when Mark Dylan had done a bareback scene, and a hot one at that, and was forced to make a public apology for his conduct in order to continue getting condom scenes – to me that is completely absurd. There is a belief in some studios that they provide a public service to young gay men about safe sex. In my opinion young gay men do not take sexual advice from porn. What is so absurd is that while filming for condom studios, models are frequently fucking raw in between takes, so that just ads to the whole double standard. For me, I saw how the industry was moving further and further in bareback porn as you saw the rise of Treasure Island, Raw Fuck Club, Dark Alley, and many others. Now even Lucas has jumped into bareback porn. Also with the advent of Truvada as PrEP, bareback sex is becoming much less risky, and therefore you are seeing more and more studio and men in general engaging in raw sex.
You’ve been a bit of a naughty boy, getting in trouble with the law in the past. What do you think about your fellow porn star Mike Dozer’s legal predicament?
I think the whole thing is very sad and unfortunate. I do not know all the details about his situation so it’s hard for me to have a solid opinion about what happened or what the likely outcome will be. Like everyone else I am waiting to learn more about the case. I wish him all the best.
Is it still possible to make a living from porn as a day job? What can a porn star do to supplement his income if it’s a dry month?
Living off of porn alone is very hard as scene rates continue to fall. A lot of established models make most of their money escorting. The porn acts as marketing material, which a model can then capitalise on and make a solid income with escorting.
What are your top tips for achieving a jacked muscle bear body like yours?
Oh Lord, there is to much to much to tell you, but I will hit on a few key things. Consistency is an absolute must if you want to achieve results. I lift weights five days a week and am consistent with getting my ass to the gym. I owe a large portion of my body to proper nutrition. A standard for bodybuilders is to consume 1.5 grams of protein each day for every pound you weigh. I also lift one muscle group per day, so I can focus on totally exhausting that muscle group.
You’ve worked with a lot of guys and at your share of studios. What’s left for you to achieve in the porn industry?
Ummm, I have yet to fist a guy on film, so maybe that.
What does life after porn look like to you right now?
You can’t exactly go and work in a normal job, can you? I am college educated and hold a degree in business development from a prominent business college, so I can make the transition back to a desk job, I suppose. In a former life I was a real estate director before the ‘Great Recession’. At this point of my life I want to be involved in either personal training or physical therapy. Now that it am sober I am finally able to start working on my transition from porn.
Does your family know what you get up to at work, and if so, what do they think?
Yes, they do. My mother thinks I have thrown my life away, which I completely disagree with. At the present moment I am estranged from my family for various reasons.
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