Nikki Silver Is the Queen of Hairy Feminist Porn

"I try not to be what you might call a hairy supremacist. I don't want to shame anyone for shaving or doing any of these things."

|
Dec 5 2014, 8:36pm

Photo courtesy Nikki Silver/Naughty Naturals.

​Nikki Silver, known in feminist porn circles to be the most prominent hairy porn filmmaker, is cozied up at her desk in San Francisco. The morning sunlight streams in through the gauzy curtains, fragmenting the room and making her look ​like a dream​. I'm in Toronto, but we smoke a bowl simultaneously over Skype, and the feminist pornographer explains her life's work through the magick portal.

VICE: So you were supposed to come to Toronto in the spring for the Feminist Porn Awards, but they didn't let you into Canada. What happened?
Nikki Silver: Five years ago I tried to go to BC, and I had the tiniest little dime bag with weed dust in it that I just forgot was in my bag. They were really suspicious of me and my friends—we were just travelling and didn't have any plans. So they searched all my stuff and they found it. They didn't arrest me, but they detained me. When I tried to cross, it came up immediately. They were like, "Have you ever had any problems getting into Canada," so I said no, and they were like, "You lied to us!" I also have a few misdemeanor charges for theft and protesting and stuff. Only one of them came up: for stealing a book.

I'm so sorry on behalf of my country. I wish you could have made it! But tell me a bit about your philosophy and your hairy porn site, Naughty Natural.
Well I'm 27 now, and pretty much since I was 18 I've been doing different kinds of adult modeling or adult work in various facets—like escorting or whatever. I never liked shaving, so I started looking for gigs where I didn't have to shave. I started sort of resenting the big companies. I felt like I was mistreated. So I started looking at amateur sites and started producing things with my partner at the time, and friends or whatever. Just shooting people fucking, whatever I could find.

At the time I was living a transient lifestyle. I basically operated a porn production studio out of my car. I was sort of the traveling porn lady... it was pretty funny. And it was with communities of radical queer people and people who didn't want a regular job. So we'd just be broke and shooting things; it was never anything super high-paying. And that just sort of progressed. A few friends moved out to San Francisco, and I was like, "Oh, that sounds good, I haven't been out there." So I moved here and everything just took off.

So tell me, what are some of your most recent projects?
I've been shooting a lot of kinky shoots with other female models with me as the top, which has been fun and is a more accurate representation of my sexuality than the more vanilla shoots I've done. [In one recent shoot,] we do a spell to get more body hair so we can wear skimpy clothes in the winter. For part of the spell, we need orgasms. So I tie the model up and make them cum in a variety of different positions and finally put them in a chair with restraints and a hole for a Hitachi magic wand and they cum there, and we finish our spell. I also recently did a boy/girl shoot with my real-life partner with some bondage.

Nice. So what was it that made you move out of the more mainstream realm and into your own producing?
[With one of the bigger sites], the photographer was non-consensually touching my friend during the shoot. She told me that later, and we spread the word for other people shooting with this guy. I told my friend she should talk to the company about firing him, you know? She did. And they were like, "We didn't see anything bad," or "We couldn't find the video," or whatever. They knew I was friends with this person, so they just sort of decided I'm the feminazi of hairy porn, and to hate me.

I was just like, "You're a misogynist, and this is not something I'm interested in." [So I moved to San Francisco], and all this different shooting stuff took off, and most of what took off was the hairy girl stuff, which is what I am.

I've seen some of your stuff. I can sense a lot of intimacy in the shoots, like there's a true connection. How do you create that?
That's the hardest thing. I try to shoot with partners, or friends that have some kind of sexual dynamic. Maybe they don't have a regular sexual relationship, but they've had sex. It's fun, matching two people up who think each other are hot, and seeing what happens. We'll all sit down beforehand and have tea and say, what do you guys wanna do today? There's other stuff too, like communication and creating a good environment. Typically it's just me there alone, for a solo or girl-girl. And if I have someone else there, I try to make it's sure it's someone people are super comfortable with. I try to have women or trans people, and just someone who's not going to be interrupting the comfy environment.

So what's the market like for hairy porn?
What I've gathered is a few different things. There are a few different kinds of hairy consumers. They're either older, so their first images of sex or sexual experiences were unshaven women. Maybe not armpit hair or leg, but like, full bush. So they're just kind of like, the first time I was with a woman there was a bush, so that's what my animal brain connects to. And it can be a subculture like burners—do you know what I mean? Burning Man? Or, yeah, just hippies.


​Photo courtesy Quinn Cassidy.

Why do you think the mainstream porn industry is still so obsessed with the shaping and the sort of mechanical, medical ridding of female body hair?
In terms of why dominant society and porn is so clean shaven I think it's a variety of factors. I don't want to talk shit, necessarily, on the mainstream porn industry, but it is a capitalist industry like any other. And there is a crazy obsession with youth, you know? I think shaving maybe started for a variety of reasons. I understand it in some ways. You have to push through it, you're moving hair apart...Things look bigger, labia look bigger. But having hair is a signifier of being sexually mature, and a signifier of, you know, being an adult woman. Or person, really.

Some women who are really into grooming, with the nails and the makeup and who are completely shaven everywhere, will bristle at the term "natural" as applied to hairy girls, as though its use insinuates they're not natural. What would you say to that line of thinking?
I try not to be what you might call a hairy supremacist. I don't want to shame anyone for shaving or doing any of these things, because I think it's really possible to just personally like it. The thing I take issue with is the cultural homogeny. I'm not saying if you don't shave, you're not natural. But if you don't shave, that is more natural. Let's just be real. And then a lot of people just have to [shave] to get booked for stuff. So maybe there's an aspect to which they really like it, but there's a bigger aspect, honestly. There isn't actually a ton of work for hairy models. That's why a lot of people escort, a lot of people cam, a lot of people do different, additional stuff. I have found, by producing, you increase the longevity of your career, basically.

Photo courtesy Nikki Silver/Naughty Naturals.

You have such an intense business mind.
Well, I'm a Jew from New York, number one. And number two, my parents run a small business. They came home and said this is how much money we made today, and this is how we made it. They basically had business meetings at the dinner table. It's just kind of integrated into my mindset. Even when I was hardly working ever, I would still save money. And I really enjoy the promotion of other people—I see potential everywhere.

When I shoot, I'm like, "You can market yourself like this, or do this." I would say that I've been Mommy Ho to a lot of people. I've kind of mentored them in regard to becoming sex workers. I do that through porn, and through showing them how to do things more safely and more comfortably. There are many different ways by which people can maximize their profit making potential, and I really enjoy helping people do that, and doing that for myself, as well.

Despite working with so many queer folk, you don't label your work as queer porn.
Yeah, it depends on how you define it. This is like the biggest indie queer porn scene in the world, I think, most of it is being produced here. And so the meaning is not only that the performers are queer or the producer is queer, but that the whole kind of ethos of the project and the filming are also queer. Queer porn is like anyone can shoot with anyone, doing anything. And that's not what I do. I'm a very niche site.

Yeah, I noticed that the girls you shoot are conventionally beautiful in a Western sense. They're thin, the big boobs...so that's part of it?
Yup. When I broke away from shooting for these big mega sites, I was like, I'm not going to make any money at this if I don't shoot what I know how to shoot, and what I know how to sell. I like diversity to an extent, but [the site is] still fairly narrow compared to what I might call diversity in the broader world. People who shoot queer porn are like, 'We would shoot anybody.' Literally.

It doesn't mean how big you are, how small, how old, how young, whether there are tattoos all over you or not, you know. Which I think is awesome, and I totally support 100 percent. But I don't know how to make that sell.

So what's next?
I'm planning to work on a feature in the spring that will be based off a 70s porno (I don't want to reveal too much) and features myself as an opium smoking, cat petting, bisexual, pussy-licking witch.

​@sarratch

More VICE
Vice Channels