Mickey Mod has been in the porn industry for almost seven years. I spoke with him at the Adult Video News Awards while he was tabling at a booth for the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee last month in Las Vegas. APAC is an organization started by performers to help advocate for and promote the needs and rights of people in the adult industry.

Ashes Wednesday
Ashes Wednesday | Ashes Wednesday

HR: What are some of the issues that APAC is focused on at the moment?

MM: In the past years we've had to deal with Measure B and most recently AB-1576, and these are measures on the county and California-state level that would require mandatory condom use in all pornography. And while we're not against condom use, we are against it being mandated without our input. No one, such as OSHA, has come to us and said, 'Hey, you work in this industry; these are your bodies: What would be the minimum standard of care for your bodies?' We have the PASS testing protocol, and we work really well with talent testing and a number of other facilities to establish a minimum standard of testing. These measures and the new legislation that they are trying to put on a state ballot level does not provide the standard of care that we would like to see. It just kind of throws out mandatory condom use as a coverall, and that's not what we want. We have a system that works and a system that we have all worked really hard to create and to use, and we think it should be in our own hands, and not in the hands of legislators who don't know the delicate nature of the business.

How has being in this industry made a positive impact in your life?

I think it has made a positive impact in my life on the way I communicate with people. Most of the work I have done has been in BDSM porn, and I think that with there being so much going on and it having a different dynamic that requires a certain level of trust, you learn how to communicate differently with people, and you learn how to recognize trust. We are working with each other's bodies and that requires a huge amount of trust.

As a performer of color, how is the industry working with or addressing racism in porn?

I feel that as a performer of color, and especially as a black performer, [doing] interracial porn, we kind of have some issues there that we don't address. And the common rationale is that, 'It's marketing; it's nothing personal.' And in porn, interracial means black people; it doesn't mean Asian or Latino. It's just assumed that if you're a performer of color, you'll do interracial. It's not an option that you're given; there's not a pay increase to be on a set where the shoot might have some racially sensitive content. I know a lot of people don't like talking about it because they're afraid to lose work…I said on Twitter that, 'Paying models more money to do an interracial scene is unethical and offensive, and it needs to stop.' Some of the comments I got in response to that were like, 'Well, interracial scenes are rougher, so they should give them more,' and I'm thinking, they don't have to be. Or 'Black guys have bigger dicks,' and I'm like, 'It's porn—all the dicks are big!' Or that some performers feel uncomfortable doing scenes, but I'm like, 'How do you think the people of color feel who have to do the scene?' I think there's a problem when a person of color is told that they can't be hired because that company doesn't do interracial scenes because it's not their market. And it's like, not everyone's scene with a person of color in it has to be an 'interracial scene.'

Skin Diamond has worked in the adult industry for five years. She became a performer after working as a model and then a stripper. One of her more recent films, a Dr. Who porn parody called Doctor Whore XXX, was nominated for best parody film at the 2015 AVN awards.

Gary/gcD600
Gary/gcD600 | Gary/gcD600

HR: What sort of changes would you like to see happen in the porn industry?

SD: I would love for the industry to support each other more because at the end of the day, it's a taboo in the mainstream world, so we have to stick together and keep each other safe. I would love to see an adult industry union happen. I think APAC [is] leading the way in that, but that's what the industry needs. We need health care. We need more money going in to keep us safe. We're putting our lives on the line, and it's a hard job, and it's taxing.

What health care issues or challenges are most important to address?

I think the testing protocol works, but there should almost be a porn 101 class that girls and guys can go to and learn the tricks of the trade. Like using Hibiclens to shower with afterwards to get rid of all the germs that have just been covered all over you. Some girls get in the industry, and they have no clue what they're doing. There's one famous story where this girl was handed an enema bottle, and she didn't know what to do, so she drank it. Things like that, nobody tells you.

I was reading your blog where you say you're a shy and kind of introverted person. How did you decide on working in the adult industry?

I'm a performer and an artist, and I've always been very open sexually to new ideas and trying new things. It was a natural progression.

What are some of the most common misconceptions people make about your work?

People tend to think that if you're in porn it means you're a sex addict, and I think that is definitely one of the biggest misconceptions. I mean yes, there are some sex addicts in porn, but I think for the most part people who are successful in porn are just kinky, sexually free people.

What are some of the most common misconceptions about women in porn?

I think the biggest one is that we all have daddy issues, but me and my dad get along pretty damn well.

How has being a woman of color in the porn industry impacted you and your work?

It's never really impacted me, but I've been really lucky…for whatever reason there is still a lot of racism in porn, and I find myself being in a lot of movies that aren't just black girls. There are a lot of girls that get stuck in that category of 'Caramel Beauties' or 'Black Anal Booty,' and I've been really lucky because it's annoying to see that happen to my friends. I'm hoping that I'm helping in some way kind of break down that barrier.

How has being in the industry had a positive impact on your life?

I've definitely learned a lot of new tricks! I think I appreciate different kinds of sex now. When I first got in, I was mostly interested in the most hardcore crazy sex because that was what I hadn't tried before. But these days, I do soft, sensual cuddling sex as well. I liked that before, but I appreciate it a lot more now when you do have that closeness with someone.