Katina Cazalet pretty much IS SL Porn to many. To say she is really popular doesn't quite do her justice because it's not just the number of pics and films she's been in, or the number of blog articles she's written that matters. Her impact to the industry runs much deeper and is much harder to measure. It can be seen in the work of photographers and directors she's helped out (including this one). The advice she's given. It's in the time she's come to the set with a costume idea that drives the film in a new and better direction. It's in that ass - award winning I might add. 😇
For me, it's much more simple. The impact she's made in my life really has nothing to do with porn. She's been a trusted friend...someone who willingly (I think) listens to my complaining or my ridiculously goofy ideas. More than once she's talked me off the 'ledge', so to speak. She has encouraged me to get better, to work harder, to continue on when I felt like quitting.
The interview that follows is not an all inclusive history of Katina's career in porn. I will leave that for someone else - it would be interesting to learn how many films she's been in, or how many pictures she's posed for. But as I said, her lasting impression is not in the tally of these but in the influence she has and in the friendships she has made. I cannot imagine the world of SL Pornography without her, and my lives, both SL and RL, are richer for being her friend.
It is my true honor to publish this interview of one of the only real legends in SL Pornography, Katina Cazalet. 💋
Pictorial by Sunday Whitewood
Isa: Kat - can you tell me your story of how you came to SL and how did you get involved with SL porn?
Katina: One evening, early 2007 I was watching a TV show, think about it as some sort of Italian version of the Daily Show: comedy with a hefty dose of political and social commentary. One of their reporters made a character in SL and was showing it some. I don't remember the details after all these years, keep in mind that at the time SL had so much hype behind it that RL brands owned sims and a political party in Italy opened a hub here - it probably was what started the whole pseudo-humorous investigation. I had heard about it before, but the concept of a MMORPG without a challenge, with casinos, w̶h̶o̶r̶e̶s̶ escorts, virtual goods with no game-play to benefit etc, all sounded silly. But hey, the million of YouTube review and play-through videos reveal that SHOWING a 'game' and talking while playing it can be an effective motivator. I installed Second Life the same night.
I shuffled a few First-Last name combinations trying to find one I would not hate, and the best I could come up with was 'Catalina Capalini', which sounded silly but come on, I wanted to see. She didn't make past noob island, I got bored way soon.
So I forgot all about it for a couple of months, when suddenly something kinda bad happened in RL job-wise and yeah...I suddenly had more time on my hands. I am terrible at organizing my HD just as much as I am horrible at sorting my inventory in SL, so when I was deleting things from the desktop (it currently has 7'221 elements...just to give you an idea) I found the SL icon again and thought to give it another try. This time I must have spent at least 20 minutes or more trying to make a 'Katrina', and I got, I thought, the perfect one. Only, I kinda fucked up and I was a Katina...Yeah well, whatever, I was not gonna play this game for a long time, right? And 10 years later I am still here.
As for how I got into porn, well, my story is like many others'. I was walking across Bukkake Bliss Island (actual location name, sadly gone now) when a giant golden cock appeared in the sky with the Latin words "In hoc Dildo vinces, tu cunne!!!". It was not easy to decipher the prophecy but then it all became clear.
Well, okay, the REAL story: I told it before but I actually get the dates always wrong. I had a little, no, a big heartache about SL around 2010 and I was feeling jaded and barely logged in, and when I would, I didn't know what to do and most of my friends were either gone from SL or hanging out at places I didn't have interest into. One friend though, one of the most recent ones, just got involved in porn. She had always great stories to tell me about it on top of being incredibly supportive without a hint of an 'ulterior motive' (too bad cuz she was so hot, but sometimes it's for the better, you know?). And she was blogging that porn stuff, her own and others'! So when I would be in one of my "eh, no SL" phases, I still had her blog to browse and find new things I wanted so much to talk to her about, etc. So my interest was slowly but surely rekindled, and that's also why I have so much passion about blogging porn.
Ah, that friend needless to say, was Serenity Kristan.
Isa: You've been around Sl pornography for awhile now - has there been a trend to its development? What are some of the highlights of this development and where do you see the industry going? Are there any pitfalls to be avoided?
Katina: I don't claim to be a historian of SL pornography, in a way I missed its golden age. I use this term jokingly because I honestly think that there hasn't been a better day for porn in SL than the one we are living in now. When the foundation for the Sexiest Pornstars group and blog was laid, many movies were made and shared. As the community grew, the photography aspect became more prominent. The loss of a website like Jasmine Skyward's Slporntube meant also the loss of a big part of the history of this movement, but I don't think it will ever be possible to build a social media for video sharing that is broad and universal, simply because it lacks the critical mass and grassroots participation Flickr has: everyone can take a snapshot, edit quick if they want, upload, share, get comments and star, which makes them want to 'star the other back'....so, be part of 'something'. We'll never have something like unless with the new VR stuff in Sansar they make super easy to get the right angles and movements. Who knows.
With this train of thought I touched the main points you asked, just let me repeat: we are living currently in the best era for porn in SL. The avatars look the best they ever looked, so no more need to edit the heck out of pics and those un-fixable rough edges in movies. The average computer is better, free editing software is available and even embedded in the viewer, and slowly but surely, experienced is accumulated and passed on more. Now we have Bento, so hopefully there will also be a resurgence of interest in animation, which is the aspect that had the least amount of evolution.
The pitfalls are pretty much universal: nothing gets done by itself, no matter how refined or expensive are the tools at your disposal, and there is never going to be overwhelming praise for anything you do. In fact most people you meet won't even have an idea of who you are, if you do, it just shows you are living in your own bubble too much. So, do what you do for passion, do just what you like to do, seek the company and contact of those you feel affinity with and don't expect anything in return for it. Anything that steers away from that this mentality, IMO, is going to just cause you disappointment one way or another. Not that I have a recipe for success or happiness: in fact you could say I AM in a pitfall and have been for years now, creatively.
Isa: I've asked this question of others but am really curious to hear what you have to say: is pornography 'art' and where would you establish the boundary between erotica and pornography?
Katina: I am tempted to go the philosophical way and pull all sort of fancy quotes outta my ass (well Google, actually), but I'll go for a rather simplistic answer instead. "I don't know". The main problem is, when people discuss 'art' and compare it to 'pornography', they almost always make a judgement of value.
Sometimes it's about aesthetic value, I feel that way too. Generally in case of work that is truly remarkable and you appreciate a lot, that's when the need to nobilitate it calling it 'erotica' kicks in, because 'porn' sounds like trivializing it.
Sometimes the discrimination is about the subject portrayed. I live largely in the porn scene bubble, where there is no stigma about sex and the representation of sex, genitals, the way an avatar looks. But for some, if the subject depicted is too 'sexualized' then it *must* be porn. To me, it is a bit of an outdated idea, but at the same time, a lot about it is linked to what still is prevalent in mainstream culture, where sex is often shown in a rather sanitized manner and with no closeups. So I chalk up that sort of rejection to the need to stay popular and keep some supposed artistic integrity that lets you hang out with the cool kids.
The question coming from you has an added interest to it for me, because you are the only one in the business who admits having orgasms while making the movies and even puts it as signature. One of the lines traditionally drawn between porn and art is that, well, porn is meant for physical gratification of the viewer. I don't know how many 'fap' to SL porn and how many share it with that in mind - if they don't, does that qualify their expression as artistic in intent by default?-, but there is so much more than that. See? I am trying to nobilitate it already. I just don't ask myself too many questions and see who wants to work with 'porn people' and who doesn't. In the end, it's all that matters.
Isa: Kat, you've helped so many people in so many ways. Not everyone is as willing as you to help out less experienced models, directors and even just the curious. What is your motivation for this?
Katina: First of all, thank you, and in general I do find the community quite helpful. In fact, what I can do for others as a non-producer absolutely pales in comparison to what people like you can do and have done. Every week doing the Digest I witness dozens of people who make the kinky dream of others come true in picture or movie form, and it's amazing. Not just that but they often do way more than what is shown on screen, and I'd really like some production efforts to be understood and recognized more.
I don't have a real explanation on why I 'help'. They say "Those who can't do, teach", right? In RL too, I was the kind of underachiever who dropped out from college and yet would prep others for exams and would give private lessons - not the porn kind! It's part of my nature, I guess.
I see myself as someone who has received from porn more than what she has given, and I do feel a sense of gratification from putting to good use my only asset, which is (mostly second-hand) experience and a decent attention span. Because I think what makes most people happy besides the occasional prop I rezz or advice I give, is getting any feedback at all.
Isa: Tell me what you like best about SL porn. What drives your involvement?
Katina: This links to my answer about how I got into porn, and will echo what we just said about my motivations, just from a slight different angle. I came in this 'business' motivated by what Serenity would do with her blogging. That's why blogging is such a big part of my life and why I love the world of the 'pornstars' so much. It gave me purpose and made me interested in SL again. It's the world I am in, I can't imagine SL without it. Of course something about it resonated with me, otherwise I would have not chatted Sere up about it, and I would have quit once she drastically cut back the involvement with the scene. I always liked sex, I always liked photos, both spontaneous and 'staged'. I like the idea of telling a story, especially when there's humor in it. All elements that got me hooked early on and still make me enjoy porn 'the SL way'.
The fact that there is a 'scene' based on that, really made me feel there was something interesting to follow and be a part of. I am against the concept of having a 'career' in porn when it leads to treating 'the business' seriously and have expectations and pressure, but at the same time, I love the living story of the porn-star personas. I love to watch someone enter 'the industry', show what they are about and interact with others. I love when people can feel like stars, when they make exciting work, when they involve others. I try to take in as much as I can of what happens. I feel bad for not helping models and actors like me that way, so at least I try and show that I care about what they do and what they do is noticed, enjoyed and somewhat meaningful, for someone at least. Because for me it is, and I love being a spectator of it and sometimes instrumental to people's creations.
Ah, and it's also a nice way to meet people and fuck 'em!
Isa: What motivates you?
Katina: I am not a very motivated person. I am always WAY too much of a 'last minute' person - I gather material every day for the Beaver and the FF blog post, and yet I am always scrambling with a lot of work to do the day they are gonna be published. And I have a complete lack of motivation when it comes to doing my own photos, which is kinda funny since we all stress the importance of producing your own work. Sure I blog, but other active bloggers are also photographers and even directors, Racheal Rexen being the first name that pops to mind (you, Emily, Alexa, etc).
When I look back at what I have been doing these past months, I'd say that modeling and acting has as motivation simply the pleasure to be part of something. I like the 'challenge' to come up with looks or find ways to help, that's why I end up working a lot with certain people like Dillon, Carly, Nica, just for fun. For blogging, my motivation is mostly the fact that it's something I have done in the past, others mostly don't do, and reflects me being someone who follows the scene a lot and talk about it. As you know, I do the two posts for Dog Star because basically, you asked me to. I loved the idea to do something 'together' and help, and it brought me back to the days when I started doing the Sexiest gallery post for Sere on the Pornstars blog. A very personal motivation, but all in all, porn is my life and the space I live in.
Isa: What do you see as the biggest challenges in SL pornography and are there any solutions?
Katina: SL pornographers meet a lot of challenges. Some are plain annoyances, such as casting troubles. No solution for that, and funnily it mirrors the problem you hear the most complaining about, aka the lack of opportunities for models/actors. No real solution for that besides building your contacts and not obsess over it. Hard to do that when you are short on time and need to get things done, of course. This kind of challenges anyway ends up shaping your own style. Some will opt for studio shoots, others for 'in the moment' pics, some will plan the poses and sets one way, some another, some will use themselves or alts for prepping or for the shoot itself, some not at all. So it's all challenge but also part of the fun.
The true challenge, besides whatever the future has in store for SL as a whole and how Sansar will shape up to be, is for SL porn as the whole movement. I read recently in a blog during a discussion : "I mean let's face it, what is porn worth, which hardly anyone looks at?". That will always be the biggest challenge, and I am not sure it's one that many truly want or care to pick up. I am happy about blogging stuff and receiving the occasional feedback, which is inevitably from people who are 'insiders'. SL pornography is not a business. It is not a real industry. I know some make money out of it indirectly as marketing tool, but there are probably tons of more effective ones, you are being smart channeling that but it was not the main point. Getting your work to be seen and appreciated is often the biggest challenge, and quite frankly, most of us put work out there without true willingness to promote, completely content with the creative phase and not interested about the rest.
Most people don't even use in a proper way groups in-world or Flickr, and those require just few clicks. There may be solutions, but I see it for instance what happens when I help organizing events and such. Often, the artist is the first person to not really care about that aspect, almost being embarrassed by the attention. Some play coy, most are happy once they see the results, but it's not a game-changer for them. And I respect that - then again I am the first not making a buck from this so I have the completely wrong mentality to tackle that aspect, especially if I have to compromise and water down, as porn is a though sell for conventional in-world channels. So yeah, the aspect of promotion, especially promotion that goes past the little porn world bubble, that is a challenge. But it is not one I see many people in the 'industry' willing to tackle, myself included.
Isa: What advice do you have for people who are just starting out or are maybe frustrated as you say by the lack of roles/opportunities?
Katina: If you made it this far in this text heavy interview on a blog page about a supporting character in the Second Life porn community, congratulations. You already are a bigger student of the game than most. There must be some passion in you about it all, and that will be your best ally, ultimately your only one. Without it there's no reason for you to do anything. Anyone in group can give you technical advice, you can look like a million bucks, but the work most people have to do is work on their motivations and expectations. Join The Sexiest pornstars group (on Flickr too, Flickr is a must), look at what people talk about, don't just wait for public casting calls or ask indiscriminately if "hey, anyone needs a model". That can work sometimes - people are in fact very eager to help - but it's more effective and ultimately rewarding for you if you comment on work posted that you genuinely like, and perhaps contact the artist inquiring for opportunities. Going to parties and other social gatherings and events can help, if you have time for that. You are dealing with other human beings who have their passions, agendas and a limited time they elect to spend this way, so be always discreet, humble and never pushy in any request.
The only opportunities you are guaranteed to have are the work you do, sometimes the work you pay for - most people you see in our group don't treat it as a business so don't bank on it, investing in outfits and resources to pool with others is smarter and more appreciated. All the people you see appear most often in the porn scene are content producers, spend money -earned in world or not-, devote time to it. If you feel bad for not 'getting anywhere', just remember that SL is big, and the real world is immense. Treat porn like a hobby and a creative outlet and be casual about it observing it and enjoying it. You will become part of it better and in a more relaxed way.
Isa: Is there a question that you wished I'd asked but haven't? If so, what is it and how would you respond?
Katina: I so wish you asked me which is the favorite person I ever worked with. It's the one question I have the most fun see people dodge, to avoid disappointing anyone they did not mention. And I would not. Right now I'd respond Dillon and Carly, mostly because they tend to see most of my outfits and ideas as 'awesome' and therefore are good for my ego. Even if they tend to film right during the party hours and/or when I've got some sex time lined up, damn them! But yeah, I consider myself privileged in that sense, I routinely work with wonderful people and I do hope I let them know every time how appreciated what they do really is. From me for sure, but I am just one of those who speak openly.
Isa: Thank you for taking the time to do this!
Katina: Thank you for doing it!