Spencer On Fire: Performer of the Year Discusses Career, Private Life
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On a cold Saturday in February, Spencer Reed arrives at a crowded Starbucks in northwest Washington. As he climbs the stairs and makes his way to a table, he draws the curious eyes of onlookers--not because they know his profession, but simply because his striking presence is impossible to ignore. Whether it’s the assured stride, muscular build or deep voice, he exudes a quiet confidence that — despite his onscreen persona — would never be described as cocky.
Just imagine the stares if those strangers knew about Reed’s week. Three days ago, he woke up to some of the best news of his career — the Gay Performer of the Year award from XBIZ. Even diehard fans of other performers would be hard-pressed to argue the honor, which comes after a busy year that saw him notch top-quality work for a variety of well-respected studios. If ever there was someone deserving of the industry’s highest honor, it’s the hard-working, hard-bodied, D.C.-area native.
By all accounts, Reed should be napping right now in his free time away from the cameras and the gym (his second home). But ever the professional, he is all smiles — even as he’s about to embark on another busy week. Off to San Francisco the next morning for a Colt shoot, he returns for one night mid-week before a morning flight to Los Angeles for perhaps the second-greatest honor an adult performer can ask for: having his pride immortalized for all eternity (his replica dildo for Lucas Entertainment releases in July). As if there was any doubt, that’s what’s called “making it” in the industry.
“It’s been crazy,” Reed says of his hectic schedule. “This past year I’ve shot on average five scenes a month …I was just shooting non-stop, traveling back and forth. It takes a lot of energy, but I kind of enjoy staying on my feet and on the road and keeping up. It encourages me in other areas of my life, like with fitness — I’ve really come to take a passion for it through all this. When I first got into the business, I went to the gym and worked out just to stay in shape, but this has driven to me to really take an interest in bodybuilding. It’s almost like a hobby; I consider myself like an amateur bodybuilder. I don’t compete or anything, but I definitely spend about half my life in the gym.”
It all started in 2007 when Reed was recruited by Randy Blue, Chi Chi LaRue and Sean Cody, who sent him messages through MySpace to see if he was interested in modeling. “I was hesitant, but after a little while I decided to go with it. I had done a lot of go-go dancing and stuff like that; I like the whole exhibitionism thing,” he says. “Oddly enough, since I was younger —about 13 or 14 when I started watched straight porn — I’ve always thought about being a porn star. I was like, ‘I could do that!’”
Reed was initiated into the industry with a solo scene for Randy Blue, opting for a prestigious Web company over a large DVD studio in an effort to ease himself into the business.
“It was very intimate, a closed set in a house up on the hills in Hollywood. It was just very relaxed, no pressure. They treated me very well, so I had a great experience with it from the very beginning — and Randy really made me feel very comfortable with everything. And right away, it just took off. Blogs were all over my first solo, and I was like, ‘Wow!’ I got a lot of exposure right away, which was cool.”
After a four-month contract with the popular website, Reed branched out with projects at Suite 703 (the only studio where Reed filmed an on-camera bottoming) and Cocky Boys before a brief hiatus. He returned to work with Next Door Studios. “Right about that time they really took off, and they shot me in like five scenes in a week. So all of a sudden I just burst back out as soon as I came back into it. That really put me back out there again, and from that I really just got a ton of work.”
That included “Dripping Wet 2” for Falcon in 2009, a film Reed also credits with giving his career a big boost. He soon made the cover of Men magazine, a “really amazing experience. I got to shoot with Mark Henderson, who is by far one of my favorite photographers. It was a huge honor. When I was approached by them about being in the magazine, I never expected that I was going to be on the cover.”
The Dark Side
Admissions like that — spoken with a sincere tone and expression confirming their truth — say a lot about Reed as a person. For those who have never met the man behind the surprisingly personable performer, a few traits quickly make themselves known: He is genuinely humble, appreciative and gracious without an ounce of affectation or ego. Maybe that’s why he needed a little help initially coming out of his shell as a performer on camera, something he accomplished with director Van Darkholme at Kink.com.
“Spencer is very quiet and he’s very smart. He doesn’t say much, but when he does, people listen. I can only bring out a model’s best if he has trust in me. Spencer saw my work and he trusted me. There is a mutual respect, and each scene we do is a collaborative effort,” notes Darkholme. “I just love the mixture of his handsome boy-next-door looks versus the mohawk and the tattoos. Spencer is this gentle giant, and yet he has this wicked side to him. He has this sparkle in his eye and the sweetest smile while he flogs the living daylights out of you.”
The director also confirms other endearing traits about the star: He works hard, he cares about his craft and he doesn’t complain. “Spencer performs with such great conviction. He gives it his all and you know it’s from the gut. He takes pride in his work—that’s why we are talking about him today.”
Those traits helped Reed learn and grow at Kink.com (including scenes for Naked Kombat and Bound Gods), especially considering he was new to BDSM when he first met Darkholme. “He liked leather but he wasn’t so sure of the reason behind it. By doing scenes for Bound Gods over the years, he has an understanding and an appreciation of it. You can actually see his progression over the years on the site. He has corporal and verbal skills now, and he’s very focused. For performers, the desire has to be there. Spencer is successful in all the niches because he’s turned on by all of them and it shows. He loves sex, and he’s also doing great vanilla work. He’s really interested in BDSM, and of course the BDSM world is very interested in him. It’s that simple.”
The trust between the two worked to everyone’s benefit, including the fans: “I wanted to do a scene where he’s tied up like a Thanksgiving turkey with his ass in the air,” recalls Darkholme. “We were laughing while setting it up. I assured him that our members will eat it up…and they did. He’s game for anything. The man is fearless, and I really admire him for that.”
“They really developed me into a persona and helped me pick up a lot of my skills,” says Reed of his Kink.com experiences. “I really would give a lot of credit to my performance to Van. He’s taught me a lot just about being on camera, like verbal skills and how to carry myself. He really increased my comfort on camera, and other studios saw that work and were like, ‘Wow, he really is a driving top and can move a scene in the right direction.’”
Raging Stallion and Mustang came calling soon afterward, relationships that have flourished. “I love working with Spencer,” notes Raging Stallion director Tony Dimarco. “He’s a great guy and has great presence when he walks into a room, let alone being in front of the camera. He has an amazing body and is a great performer. It was always a pleasure to work with him, and especially on “Brutal.” What people don’t know about him is that he’s like a big puppy dog with a wicked sense of humor. I was glad to hear he won Performer of the Year. He certainly deserves it.”
Reed was also snagged up by Lucas Entertainment, another fruitful relationship (“They’ve really done a lot to promote me. It’s really cool just to work with them, and I really appreciate their style; they’re very artistic about the movies they do”). In addition to his upcoming dildo, Reed’s connection with the studio led to one of his most memorable scenes: The one from the award-winning “Men in Stockings,” where he ripped through nylon before ripping through real-life boyfriend Phillip Aubrey. “Spencer is an extremely aggressive and powerful top. He knows how to consistently deliver a stellar performance, and he has great presence on screen and off,” notes Lucas. “Spencer is one of our favorite guys to work with; he is easy to get along with, very professional and he knows exactly what he is doing.”
But Reed is perhaps best known for his recent work with Titan, a stint he calls the biggest thing in his career. It started when he was cast for “Slick Dogs,” the studio’s fetish-themed smash that debuted during last year’s IML.
“I’ve never been on a set that’s like that; they really are innovative with their filming and how the directors work together with the cameramen and everything, and just how much energy they put into everything. It’s just amazing,” says Reed, the awe apparent in his voice. “When I got on set with them, I really felt like they were like so appreciative of me, and I really wanted to give them everything I could. I love working with them, and they continuously cast me in their movies.”
That included work in Titan’s fetish-themed Rough line, where Reed got to work with one of his most respected peers. “I got to work with Tony Buff a couple times, and he’s definitely someone I look up to in the industry as a performer. He’s pretty amazing, and he’s a great teacher, too. He’s taught me a lot about BDSM, and through Titan I’ve also gotten to travel around and do a lot of appearances and autograph signings…I got experience and a lot of really great things through Titan, and I also got to shoot in some really amazing locations.”
And the feeling is mutual for director Brian Mills: “Spencer has been an important player in several of Titan’s productions over the past year. When I first met Spencer, I found him to be a rather imposing guy. I mean, he’s a lot bigger than me — bigger than most guys, actually — and I felt a little intimidated by his size. Soon after Spencer worked with us for the first time, he told me how happy he was to be working with Titan and that he really appreciated how we treat our performers.” Pressed to share something people may not know about the performer, Mills offers this tasty nugget: “He can eat about four chicken breasts in less than 10 minutes. I’m serious. This guy inhales meat!”
His Own Way
Perhaps the most impressive fact about Reed’s success is that he’s done it all as an independent performer, never signing as an exclusive with one studio. It’s a unique path that the biggest stars usually don’t opt for. Instead, he has carved his own way — much like performer Tyler Saint, one of the few fellow loners who has achieved the same level of success. Both were able to do so with a solid work ethic and an ability to keep things fresh through a variety of niches and fetishes.
Reed notes that he initially didn’t want to sign with anyone (the option most assuredly would have been available). But later in his career when he thought he might want to try it, he assumed it would be more difficult given his name was now established.
“I do a lot of different genres, I play a lot of different roles from vanilla to full-on BDSM. I really like working with the different studious and different images and attracting a different fan base — and that’s why I have such a large fan base, because I make sure that I can reach out to everyone that’s out there. I try to keep that. I was avoiding signing with anyone, but for a while I did want to kind of just get a contract with one studio. But as things were talked about, it just seemed like it would really limit me…I like working a lot, it’s what I do. It’s been my main source of income this year, so it’s like I want to work as much as possible. And that was really a concern with signing as an exclusive.”
It hasn’t hampered his work or his reputation at all; the studios called before, and they’ll call again. “We continue to cast him because he is a great performer and always gives 100 percent,” says Stephan Sirard, president of Next Door Entertainment. “And of course, he sells. He knows how to work the camera. He is very comfortable in front of the camera and easy to work with —and he has grown in several aspects, maturity-wise and physically. He is a quiet guy to start, so he tends to be reserved. He’s able to perform with absolutely anyone. He never complains and is always pleasant to be around. He’s just an easy guy to have on the set.”
The Next Phase
Sitting just inches away from Reed at Starbucks is boyfriend Phillip Aubrey (opting for jeans instead of stockings this time). The two share constant glances that prompt quick (and very cute) smiles, their energetic affection for each other clear from the onset. While it’s easy to be taken with Aubrey’s beautiful blond hair, it’s his eyes and smile — which strikes like lightening, leaving all in its path prisoners to his charm — that keep you engaged (it’s easy to see why the two have fallen for each other). They are genuine, and it shows.
“Given that he has such a tough male bravado, he really is very gooey on the inside,” shares Aubrey, who met Reed on a good-old fashioned dinner date (the two were introduced by friends) far away from the camera. “He’s so sweet. He is a big softie when it comes down to it, which is so endearing. He’s also an amazing cook…and quite a gentleman.”
The two also admit to a healthy sex life behind closed doors: “Half the sex we have should be on camera. There’s certain times where we have it three times a day, and if it’s not three times a day we feel a little deprived. We switch it up — sometimes it’s right to the point, sometimes it’s actual lovemaking, you know? Sometimes it’s dirty, and sometimes it isn’t. We kind of push each other’s buttons with that all the time,” Reed says. “I’ve always liked to explore a lot of things in bed. I had never done any BDSM or gotten into any heavy fetish-type things until I tried it on camera, but there’s certain things I’ve definitely come to like that we’ve tried or do at home. We like watersports, we like bondage, we don’t really get into the heavy S&M stuff or anything like that at home. We tend to be more passionate most of the time. I really like the passionate, intimate stuff.”
But don’t be fooled: Reed relishes his alpha nature. “That’s my comfort role. I like to be the dominant, aggressive one. Sometimes I’ll let my guard and my walls down — but it’s not really my role, so to speak. The dominant aggressive side that you see on camera would be pretty accurate.” (That observation elicits an instant smile from Aubrey, who agrees without hesitation.)
The duo’s connection has led both to the next stage of their careers — in late 2010, they quietly announced that they would only be performing together. So far, the move hasn’t slowed them down, with shoots for Next Door Studios, Kink.com and Colt keeping them busy.
“We have a fan-base on Facebook and Twitter; I get messages all the time on my blog from people who love seeing the two of us together,” Reed says. “I know that it kind of limits me, and I do get concerned that people may get bored just seeing the two of us together. But there are plenty of things to keep that fresh, and I’m always thinking about that. There are plenty of things that I’ve personally held back on camera…and working with him, it would be cool to switch it up now and then and keep things interesting.”
It will also help Reed slow down his schedule: “It’s been an amazing experience, traveling so much and getting to meet so many people. I almost consider San Francisco my home away from home; most of my friends live in California. It’s really cool to be able to do all of that, but it is tiring. And after a year like that, I’m at a point where I’m like, ‘Okay, I can’t do five scenes a month for another year.’ It’s just crazy.”
Instead, Reed will embrace his surroundings. While he loves traveling and loves California, he also loves home. “When you’re so involved in this industry and live in a place like San Francisco or L.A., everybody knows you,” he says, acknowledging that people still recognize him here — although it is probably a little less intense. “Just last night, we were working out, and later I checked my e-mail and I got a random message from some guy saying, ‘I saw you at the gym!’ And that’s cool; I love meeting fans anywhere, any time. I would just hate to have to be in the porn star persona 24/7, you know? I don’t want to be ‘Spencer Reed’ all day, all night. That’s probably more challenging out in California.”
It also helps that Reed’s family is in the D.C. area, where he grew up. And in a pleasant surprise, they are fully supportive.
“I’m very, very close to my family. They know everything I do, and they’re very proud of everything I do. They’re proud of me winning this award, which is really cool,” Reed says with a laugh (Aubrey quickly chimes in about a celebration lunch Reed was just treated to by his happy clan). “It’s so amazing to have the support and backing of your parents when you’re doing something like this. I feel good about the accomplishments I’ve made and what I’ve done in this industry , and being able to sit down with your mom or dad and tell them about the positive things that you’re doing — with whatever you’re doing well — and have them congratulate you or be proud of you, it’s really amazing. I really respect my parents a lot for being able to like, I guess, overlook the stereotype of what most parents would generally think of their kid doing porn. They really are great, great people to have in my life, and they’ve always been there to support me, no matter what I’ve done.”
Suddenly, Spencer Reed’s long list of great qualities makes perfect sense.