CHAMPION’s star Syd Blakovich talks about her experience in the ring and on the set of Pink & White Production’s latest feature film in an interview with Good Vibrations’ Online Magazine
CHAMPION: LOVE HURTS
An interview with Syd Blakovich, star of Pink & White Production’s explicit love story CHAMPION
Good Vibrations just picked up the highly anticipated film CHAMPION from award-winning director Shine Louise Houston. You can read cast and crew bios, see more images (NSFW) and find out more about the film on its website Champion-Movie.com, and order it at Good Vibrations!
The film’s lead, Syd Blakovich, is a local talent making big waves in the industry. We’re lucky to have gotten a moment of the busy star’s time to have this interview and get a glimpse into the world of queer porn and competitive female fighting.
GV: CHAMPION is a feature film with about a female amateur MMA fighter. For folks who aren’t familiar with MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), what is it exactly you do in the ring? And how do you train?
Syd: Mixed Martial Arts is also popularly referred to as “Cage Fighting” or “UFC Style Fighting.” It used to be pretty much anything goes, where the fighters would start standing and can use striking (punching, kicking, elbows, knees) as well as ground fighting (wrestling, jiu jitsu, and submission wrestling which includes joint locks and manipulations and chokes). Over the years rules have been added (no head butts, groin strikes, eye gouging and small joint locks including fingers and toes). I train in Muay Thai Boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as some wrestling. MMA can be fought in a cage or a ring. In the US it is more or less done in a cage, in my international fights I have fought in rings. Cages cost a hell of a lot more money, and in the movie we do it in a ring, which Shine hand-built in one night. She is super crafty.
|Photos Courtesy of Champion-Movie.com, photographer Eleanor Digby|
GV: In the film, your character Jessie Eaton is faced with a lot of homophobia that she has to overcome. As a fighter in real life, is this similar to your experience? Do you have any antidotes for MMA fighters?
Syd: Oh man, you really forget what the world can be like when you live in a bubble like San Francisco. MMA has allowed me to travel domestically and internationally and it is crazy how just getting out of the city will really open your eyes to a very different culture. MMA is a hyper form of this performative neo-masculinity within the US and I find it absolutely fascinating.
I think due to the fact it involves two people of similar presented genders making physical and intimate contact, exchanging body fluid (blood and sweat), and is this public exhibition of this act there is this response to it… homophobia is such common place in the world of MMA and in my opinion a response to all these things in light that culturally we are using this form of entertainment to shape the American perceptions of the masculine identity.
I think that Americans find homosexuality a direct threat to their gender identity constructs because it so heavily relies on binaries, which it uses a lot of heteronormative standards to edify. There isn’t much room for variance in this type of construct. So short answer is yes, there is a lot of homophobia in MMA, but the great irony is that there is just as much sexism and female MMA fighters are virtually invisible anyways and a queer female MMA fighter, well you might as well be talking to people about flying unicorns.
During my first amateur MMA fight, I fought for a production that was put on by one of the first American MMA fighters who also is an outspoken, conservative religious person. I have a lot of respect for people’s religious beliefs and come from a pretty religious family whom I love. I was treated with such little respect not only as a female fighter, but even after they had verbally PROMISED that I would be invited back, as soon as they learned I was queer and about my work, they told me I would never be invited back. The homophobia and hypocrisy was insane. It makes me incredibly sad to see people use religion as a way to propagate hate and I find it absolutely disrespectful to the religion itself. That was in California. I have had other domestic fights, where I had wonderful experiences. Oklahoma was beautiful and everyone there was so nice.
GV: What did you like best about CHAMPION and working with Shine Louise Houston of Pink & White Productions?
Syd: I love working for Pink and White and Shine, because I get to make work for, by and with members of my community whom I love and respect. It is unlike anywhere else and I am so grateful to be a part of it all. I loved making CHAMPION , partially because it was fantastic to make a film that combines my two life’s passions: porn and fighting. I think it was also wonderful to make CHAMPION , because it is also a social commentary about some of the issues female athlete’s face, making this visible is really important. Yes, some might say that it is problematic to use porn as a platform for social awareness, but I firmly back Shine’s vision and belief that is is essential for queer, females of color to seize the power of image making, especially when it is about our bodies. I think her work has so much value as a cultural vehicle for awareness, visibility and education. Her films are the great queer Trojan Horse of the 21st century. They are subversive, sexy and socially necessary.
Syd: Check out CrashPadSeries.com, which is an on going membership site brought to you by Pink and White Productions as well as UltimateSurrender.com which is a fetish wrestling kink site for more of my work. To date, I must day that CHAMPION is my favorite video I have been in. Getting to play the lead was a great honor.
GV: Who are your role models, both in the ring and on the porn screen?
|Photos Courtesy of Champion-Movie.com, photographer Eleanor Digby|
Syd: My trainer Lana who has pretty much devoted her life to build up female professional fighting. I am also a big Roxanne Modafferi fan who is an amazing fighter and should get a lot more credit than she gets. Megumi Fuji, Megumi Yabushita, Tara La Rosa, Vanessa Porto…. there are so many female fighter out there who get little to no recognition because the world of female fighting is ruled by a bunch of dudes who rather have ring girls pillow fighting in the cage than real female fighters and a lot of talented women are over looked because of this. I think this is the plight of the female athlete. It is this weird unspoken bullshit… they want a model that can fight… in my opinion these are two separate occupations and should be treated as such. Yes, it can be pointed out that I do both, but I actually am on a break right now from fighting because I am focusing on my career and know that I can’t do both right now. It should also be pointed out that female fighter make little to no money, it’s a fucking joke. If you are lucky, you’ll get %10 of what your male counterparts earn, who for the most part don’t get paid that much either, so don’t quit your day job. It actually costs me more money to fight than it would for me not to and porn allows me to do this and not be broke.
As far as other adult stars I look up to, it would be those who are shaping the world of porn in some amazing ways. Madison Young who is a feminist pornstar and arts community builder, SIR Productions, Comstock Films and Trannywood Pictures who are expanding the cultural consciousness of porn with some great work, and of course all my lovers and friends I get to work with on screen and are a big part of this queer porno revolution.
GV: As a pornstar, what are some of your favorite toys to use on film?
GV: How do you see Good Vibrations’ involvement with the queer porn community?
Syd: Ha! Good Vibrations is like a second home for a lot of the queer porno community. Shine and I met while we were working there when it was a cooperative. Actually, I think most of our talent has or currently does work at GV. It’s like a prerequisite! I also believe Jackie Strano worked at GV before she started SIR with her partner Shar.
GV: How can fans and allies of queer porn support your work?
Syd: Buy queer porn! Pink and White’s videos include The Crash Pad, Superfreak, The Wild Search (the new name of the currently titled film In Search of the Wild Kingdom), CHAMPION , and Crash Pad Series Volume 1-3 and you can also get a membership to our website CrashPadSeries.com, but we also encourage people to support the work of our peers like NoFauxxx.com, Trannywood Pictures (Cubbyholes, Couch Surfers), and Madison Bound Productions DVDs from Bondage IT girl Madison Young because we are all part of one big community and when we support each other we are also supporting ourselves.