[New York Magazine, 20 April 2009]
As told to Richard Morgan
I met a Wall Street guy when I was living in Munich who invited me to move to New York. He was a very difficult person, but he was the only person I knew in the city. We lived on 39th Street between Eighth and Ninth, which was depressing. Every day there were these terrible tourists, and every evening it would be even worse, with tranny hustlers and hookers.
I had arrived at JFK with a backpack and a little suitcase and $150. I immediately started escorting for $300 an hour and working at the Gaiety Theater. Porn was not my dream; I wanted to be the next Tom Cruise. But I was realistic and practical, and saw my competition in Hollywood, and decided that the opportunity for me was in porn. But it was also depressing, mostly because I was working with straight, rude, gay-for-pay performers. People didn’t want me as their escort because I was not buff enough, or because I had long hair and a thick Russian accent. I said MUD-un-nuh instead of Mah-DAWN-ah.
After three months, I rented the living room of a D.J. from the Gaiety and saved $17,000 to pay six months up-front on my own one-bedroom on Barrow Street. The neighborhood felt like a nice suburb of London, and that is when I started to fall in love with New York—even though I just had a mattress on the floor and a rotary phone to call my family in Russia. I wore poor-person clothes like Abercrombie & Fitch, which was very sad, very beige. (Eventually, when I started to get some money, I bought Valentino, because I did not know any better.) I got bad haircuts and shopped in bad supermarkets. I learned to cook from marked-down cookbooks I bought at a Barnes & Noble, but I preferred the Burger King. I remember looking in the mirror once in 1997 and not seeing even one ab.
–Michael Lucas, Porn star, arrived 1997
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