Conner Habib Pens 'What's in a (Porn) Name' for BuzzFeed
CYBERSPACE — Gay porn star Conner Habib (born Andre Khalil) published his third article on BuzzFeed yesterday “What’s In a (Porn) Name,” about the tribulations of a segmented existence.
After being confronted with a “real” Conner Habib via email, who told the performer that his grandmother nearly had a heart attack when she Google-searched his name, Habib/Khalil composed a semi-comical philosophical essay about the birth of his new porn identity and the complications that arose because of it.
“’What is your real name?’ is a question every porn performer is asked, and asked often,” he begins. “Conner isn’t my birth name and I was used to giving a snappy answer to that question. I’m sure I gave one to the other Conner, something like, ‘It depends on what I’m wearing.’
Habib’s name is the combination of two dominant aspects of his “non-porn” persona. Conner was the name of one of two Irish boys he saw play-humping when he was 15 and Habib is the Arabic word for “sweetheart” or “beloved;” Habib is half-Irish, haly-Syrian.
While Habib writes that he didn’t really think about the metaphysical repercussions of choosing a porn name at first, he was forced to reconsider the matter when publishing essays or presenting different sides of himself to the public.
The professor-turned-adult-star decided to publish an essay about the philosophy of time he published it under his porn name because he “assumed — and was proven correct — that more people would be willing to engage with philosophical topics if they came from an unexpected source.”
Habib says that eventually the chasm between his two names lessened. When it came time to choose a name to attach to an essay about his mentor and friend, he used both, though anxious about the repercussions.
He writes, “There’s the old idea that when you’re done with porn, you discard name and identity and you’re born again. Putting the fact that many of us don’t want to be born again aside, choosing something ‘after’ porn has become more difficult. The internet has made birth names more searchable and created a permanence of visibility, not just for porn performers who have started recently, but also for ones who had for a time faded into obscurity on dissolving reels of VHS tape. Now their porn pasts have been resurrected. There is no ‘after’ porn.
“Because sex is so compartmentalized — it’s often considered separate from the rest of life and hidden away — porn performers, who have sex publicly, are in a unique position to consider and talk about integrating private and public aspects of life.”
He concludes with the ago-old adage that wished he had known “then” what he knows now. If he had, he muses, he might have not chosen a porn name at all.
Habib has worked with major gay adult studios, including Falcon, Raging Stallions and Hot House Entertainment.