LOS ANGELES — Michael Vegas is an empath. And like all true empaths, he feels the souls of others so deeply, that he must master the strings they plunge into him with a puppeteer’s finesse, lest they drain his authentic purity with vampiric hungering, or attack him with their existential dread.
After all, in a world of walking, talking illusions, with hearts and minds so utterly possessed by jaggedly fragile quilts of patchwork delusions, horrific pain and maniacal hope, a man devoted to transcendent apotheosis is both the ultimate punisher and savior of mankind.
Only by punishing the lies, can he save the truth. And he does so not by the woefully limited confines of conscious intent, but by virtue of his grimly radiant spirit, which heals with equal parts shadow and flame.
To channel demigodhood like Vegas, beyond the false shards of religious glass and raving prophets, is to burn with such incandescent passions, that the very fabric of reality is set ablaze. And all who witness this fearsome majesty, either rise up to become more excellent, or conspire with mediocrity to destroy a superior avatar.
To be in the same room as Vegas, is to watch a charismatic chimera unfold with the mercurial hues of an infinitely dynamic lotus, seraphic wings swirling in a mandala as rife with cosmic tentacles as raven feathers.
He is a shaman. He is a priest. He is an artist. He is a bon vivant. He is innocence. He is corruption. He is all nine seducers, all 48 laws of power, transmuted in the prismatic heart of a seeker.
That so multifaceted a man has taken the adult entertainment industry by storm this past year, with countless appearances in all manner of scripted romance, comedy and frenzied fucking, is a great boon to this carnival of carnal carnivores.
And thus, to illustrate Vegas with as many brushstrokes as he paints his Soul Thief Vision photography, XBIZ sat across from the human chameleon, bathed in that virulent charm. Only through white-knuckled Machiavellian awareness, was his winsome influence held at bay, yet any other would surely fall prey to so devilish a rake, so bright a star as this dandified magister. Only a sorcerer can resist. And that duel of energetic weaponry was most thrilling to behold, for rarely do mortals achieve such might.
XBIZ: Take us back to the start of your career. How did you get into the biz?
Michael Vegas: Around 2010, I was at this point in my life where I just needed to find positive female attention without attachment. And, I kept coming across these relationships where it’s like, “Girls, I love you … I wanna go have regular sex with you, but I don’t want you to fall in love and have this horrible hatred towards me later!” I’m an empath! I was like, “There have to be people that want to have sex and are also like-minded in this manner!” So, I said, “Okay, let’s go to the business of sex. Let’s check out doing adult industry stuff, because that seems like the kind of people who would be into sex without attachment.”
XBIZ: Indeed! And what were you doing before adult?
Vegas: Before doing adult, I was in nursing school! Doing my clinical rotations. At that point in my life, I’d gone through the Fire Academy for firefighters, before I physically wrecked myself in an accident that forced me to have a whole life path change — so, there I was, back in school again. Whereas there's no turmoil in my life surrounding adult, when I was in the nursing environment … you’re dealing with burnt out nurses and I was frequently given the cranky patients, because I’m an empath and I can feel them. I was like, “I get it! You’re uncomfortable, let me do everything I can to make you feel better at this moment in your life.” But doing that just becomes so taxing. It was so much giving of myself that I had to go do something that, y’know ... offered self healing! So, I came and got myself some sexual healing!
XBIZ: Haha. Were you with an agency at the beginning?
Vegas: I had met Mia Lelani and she introduced me to a few girls in the business, and I knew how to make friends. I know how to get where I want to be. But, then I made friends for real. I knew this was the place I wanted to be. So, I came and I started establishing myself as a human being safe enough to be around these people. Once I realized that this was going well, I tried to figure out how you got a company to hire you as a new male performer. If you get an agent, it “legitimizes” you … whether or not you can do the job, that’s another question. That’s basically step 1.
I called up Lisa Ann’s talent management agency, and I told them that I was supposed to be talking to Ethan, who was working over there at the time … I had never spoken to him, never even met him! That bypassed all of the phone screening and I was like, “Hey, Ethan! I got your number from this girl and I know I can do this job. Have a meeting with me.” That, combined with the fact that I’m a smooth talker and handsome, got my foot in the door.
One of the first shoots I did was for Jim Lane, and Porno Dan was there helping … it was one of the hardcore partying scenes that they shot at UCLA. I ended up trying to be like this “porno person” ideal I had built up in my head at this point in my life. I get to this frat house, having packed all my shit and I really had no idea what I was getting into.
It was like, “Alright. We’re gonna start!” And Jim Lane is doing this crazy Jim Lane schtick. “We’re gonna start," he says, "and you’re going to be in the shower, and you’re going to wash yourself and jerk off!” I’m like, “Okay! Weird start, but let’s go for it!” I mean … what did I know? It was great, but whatever shampoo … or whatever I washed with gave me a chemical burn on my dick! Ugh! It was a horrible start. After that was over, I had to walk through the house, which was in the middle of some crazy frat party, go into some weird basement where there’s like 40 dudes and one girl on her knees! I think it was Amy Brooke, who was on her knees. And it was like, “You’re basically gonna come in and fuck this girl in the mouth, then you’re gonna cum on her!” I was like, “Okay! It’s my job, I’m going to do this.” I was always the person who would have sex in the middle of the party anyways, and I’m an exhibitionist and a voyeur … I knew I would do the job well.
The weirdest thing about that scene was this guy, who was like over her shoulder, yelling at me, “Yeah! Suck that dick! Fuck her in the face!” This dude was right in there! I kept thinking to myself, “Who is this guy?! He’s clearly not involved in the scene!” So the way that I wrapped that whole thing up was that, to get that dude away, I intentionally missed the first little ejaculation and came on him. Then, came on her face. He jumps back, yelling, “Ah! Cum on my leg!”
So, that was my first gig that I got from the talent agency. Then, I moved to LA Direct and Derek really helped build my career over there. It was ideal. New kid on the block, Derek has all this power that he can wield. It was like, “Okay. I got one of the biggest adult talent agencies in the game right now backing me.” That gave me legitimacy. Derek helped boost my career a lot. It was fantastic. We went our separate ways for business reasons and then I moved over to 101 Talent. Did that for like two years, and y’know, their agency style and my talent style didn’t work out. Professionally, we parted ways … and then I ended up at OC and OC’s given me enough freedom to do my career and feel like I have control of what’s going on. They’ve just really taken care of me over there. It feels like a nice family over there. I don’t see myself ever going with any other agency. I’ve been with them maybe three or four years.
XBIZ: So, what would you say was your first big feature in your career?
Vegas: I feel like what really started giving me confidence in myself as an actor, and what really felt like big movie-making was when I started working for Stormy Daniels. This was maybe a year or two into my career. It was nice. She had the confidence in my acting ability. Working for her has been so great. She has always had that confidence in my ability to play any character she throws my way … so, thanks Stormy!
In Stormy’s “Heart Strings,” I played this country singer who had to run away from his life, because the pressure just became too much. It was really fun. I got to do like a lip sync performance in a theatre on a stage in front of people. I’m not a singer, you know! I never get to go on a stage and perform or play an instrument! That felt almost bigger than life starting to do that stuff. That was super cool.
XBIZ: What’s unique about her directing style vs. some of the other feature directors you’ve shot with?
Vegas: It’s just the way she runs everything. She directs, and she knows what she wants to see. She doesn’t over-direct, she hires people that she has confidence in their ability, because the acting in her movie is so important. She wants to make sure that the story is there before the sex. There’s sex in every movie, you know?
XBIZ: And what are some of the studios, aside from Wicked, that you’ve shot the most with?
Vegas: Digital Playground has been really great to me. I recently shot “How I Fucked Your Mother,” which is a parody. It seems like it’s been awhile since “How I Fucked Your Mother” came out, but it got great responses. I got to play the iconic character of Barney, which is getting to embrace just being a fucking cockass to people. It’s so fun. I’ve been vampires for Digital Playground. I’ve been cowboys, all sorts of things!
WoodRocket’s really good to me too. I go to play Dr. Brown from “Back to the Future.” I had to dye my hair and everything. Cock Brown was my name. April O’Neil played Marty. That was a super fun shit show. Got to play Uncle Blowie in the “Full House” parody. I had sex with the “Olsen twins.” I feel like I get hired for my acting a lot. It’s taken me to some really fun places, you know?
XBIZ: Very true! And, obviously, you caught our attention this year, not just because you’ve been in a lot of titles, but also because you’ve been in high-profile movies, plus your acting skills. You bring up the fact that you’re an empath a lot, and that it contributes to your acting. How long have you been an empath? How has your intuition evolved?
Vegas: My whole life, but I didn’t realize what was going on with me until five years ago. And, even up until this year, I hadn’t really realized how strong it is. You don’t realize it, because you just start to feel a certain way and you think, “Oh man. I just kind of feel shitty today. I can’t get this feeling off me.” A lot of the time, though, it’s not even me, because I’m pretty much inherently happy. I’ve figured out how to make myself happy. It's someone's energy from nearby, throwing off my mojo! I mean, I’ll go through bouts of depression, but I can bring myself up no problem.
But you start feeling all these things, and I realized I had shut down as a kid. Fortunately, one of the things that helped me out of this was that I started smoking marijuana for my back pain after a motorcycle accident, which had changed my firefighter path. And once I started adult, it was a job that allowed me to smoke marijuana. So, I smoked marijuana, and would be way too stoned out of my mind to even write a sentence on paper. But I needed to tune out the pain at the time. Eventually, just like you learn how to drink, I learned how to use weed. Now, I’m a super big marijuana advocate.
And while I’d initially used it as medicine for my chronic back pain, the glorious thing that came along with smoking marijuana, was my ability to be close to people again, and share emotional feelings for these people but still remain protective. This has gotten much better. I wasn’t so susceptible to everything, you know? Then, I started this reading journey in 2012. Books like “The 48 Laws of Power,” “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “The Power of Now.” Just a whole variety of things, like body language books. I had felt so hurt by people that I needed to learn the rules of the game to figure out how to protect myself. I don’t want to keep feeling like this, because of other people!
That has really, tremendously helped my acting, just really learning how to watch people and their motivations and their actions. Everybody’s a character in your life. You can start figuring out their motivations, but you meet a million people and you take in parts of them. You can be any one of them. You reshape your own character, you know? So you take that into your acting repertoire too.
In my performances, I feel like I’ve gotten so many couples-themed features, because I’m not there to just stick my dick in somebody. I’m there to experience this thing that we’re doing. It allows this actual connection, most of the time, to show up in the chemistry. It shows up because of what you feel with the other person. I think it has made me, y’know, better … I get very good reviews from the people I’ve worked with! So, much of it comes from being able to feel what they feel, and not just empath stuff. You look at body language and learn how to read microexpressions. Then, you can start reading subtext in the things that people say. You’re able to play this magical game with people, and play games with their minds so you can anticipate what they are wanting and thinking. It’s all seduction.
XBIZ: There are many kinds of seducers. Which archetype would you classify yourself as?
Vegas: There’s a few! I’m part Star. I’m part Dandy. I can’t remember what all of them are, but I try to be able to adopt any one of them based on the company that I’m in. Who knows what anyone wants to see at any certain time? It’s all about creating ease in my life. When you build rapport with people, there’s this ease that you need to create. And when you have familiarity with the characteristics, then you can harden or soften to make someone feel a certain way. It just gets easier to communicate with people when you can prevent communication breakdown.
XBIZ: And which archetypes do you perform best with in scenes?
Vegas: You know, I’ve been one of those people that appreciates everybody for who they are. Probably from the usage of a bunch of psychedelics, I came to this understanding of my life that it’s all fucking made up. Everybody is pretending to be the best version of their character. If you’re a fucking asshole, that’s cool. I just know you’re a fucking asshole. If you’re a crybaby, a tough guy, a siren, a star or a hopeless romantic … whatever it is! I just like appreciating people’s bodies. Different women and different art. There is always something about each one that I will try and latch onto, for the enjoyment of it. That way I don’t have to suffer through all the qualities about someone I don’t like. I’m a switch in my personal life. I think I’m a switch on camera too. But, it’s just variety. The spice of life. Just finding out who you wanna be, and what you wanna do.
XBIZ: What sorts of kinky acts do you enjoy?
Vegas: I’ve done BDSM stuff. I’ve worked for Kink.com as a top, and most recently I did Upper Floor at their new location in San Fran. It was really fun. I was like the dick of honor, I guess. They were throwing a party for all these people, and it was like, “Here’s these two girls getting BDSM’d, come put your penis in them and do whatever you want because they’re yours!” That’s a super fun power exchange. But, of course, I can’t do anything I want, because there are rules and boundaries to respect! Even the most extreme settings, it’s consensual!
Submissive stuff … I’ve done like hotwifing where I watch somebody have sex with my “wife.” I don’t have sex with anybody. It’s great. I get to be a voyeur. If it wouldn’t weird them out, I would have caressed them while they’re doing it because, like … how cool! As an empath, you know, sitting there and watching people have sex … it’s like, ahh! Satisfying.
XBIZ: Who are your closest industry colleagues that inspire you?
Vegas: Siouxsie Q. I actually recently started dating her. I’m in a poly relationship with Siouxsie Q. I play Pig Daddy to her. Like, disgusting gross sex. Pervs. There’s Barbie Daddy. I’m Pig Daddy. Then Barbie Daddy has a performance partner of Betty Bondage. Then Betty Bondage has a “they.”
Basically, when I started talking to Siouxsie Q, she helped me come to terms with who resides within, I guess. There is this part of Siouxsie Q that is Siouxsie Q. There is a part of Michael Vegas that is Michael Vegas. You really are that person. You really are these pieces, and it becomes much easier when you can realize that and embrace it. Embrace your jagged edges and then you can polish them instead of tripping over them. Use them to your advantage.
Ash Hollywood is my roommate now, but she has retired from the biz mostly. Name’s still alive. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone who understands the business, but is also out of the business. Jacky St. James has always been a nice confidante. She’s so sweet. So wonderful. But, you know, I really keep to myself mostly. I’m gonna sound like a pretentious dick, but people just live in such victim mentalities all the time. It’s not even the daily outrage, it’s like resigning to their life situation and being miserable with what they have vs. really taking the time and effort to get out of it and reshape your perceptions and do something with your life.
We get so addicted to our own feelings. We get addicted to this comfortable perfect place. The fear of getting out of something comfortable, even though it’s painful, is so much greater than our drive to actually do something about it. But, the other thing, is there are other people in the industry that are also the same way. We just don’t come out of our caves very often!
XBIZ: Let’s shift focus to this year. What were some of the biggest titles you worked on?
Vegas: It has been such a year that I can’t even remember what happened! My trip to England to do the “How I Fucked Your Mother” was incredible. The travel experience was great. I was in, I think, nearly every shot of the movie. It was just acting, acting, acting. Getting to play old Barney, young Barney and current Barney. That was something nice to explore, the mindset of the same character in three different ages.
XBIZ: Another project of yours that really took off this year was the Soul Thief Vision. Tell us about your photography endeavor!
Vegas: That started when I was able to afford a camera, thanks to this business! Thank you very much, porn, I love ya! My father was an underwater cinematographer and photographer for many years. He did production stuff. I learned how to frame photos. I was allowed to play with cameras growing up. So, I kind of learned how to work a camera enough that I would feel comfortable picking up a camera and playing with it. That started in 2010. Then, in 2012, I started getting more serious about it.
I actually created it as “The Soul Thief” at first, but it turned out my ex sold the website domain and I had to rebrand. We got into a fight, but you know, I was to blame too. I only wanted to slightly rebrand it. It’s about stealing a soul through the lens. It’s about the art, and this is what I see. When I’m walking around, I can’t help but be like … “Man! I wish I had my camera. I want to take a picture.” It’s just my medium for art mostly, because I can’t always make my hand do what I want to see on paper.
I resisted Instagram for so long because of their square format of photos. It was like, “Why would I ruin what I’m posting?” This was when food selfies were huge, too. Instagram was drivel. I couldn’t look at this social media jerkoff session with everybody! It was like, “Put some artistic merit into this! I can’t look at this all day.”
I just passed it off for a long time, but then I, unfortunately, fell a little behind the curve in realizing the value of social media. You know, social media could be used for branding purposes and drawing traffic and things like that. I shoot on four or five different cameras, and just upload them. I wasn’t watermarking them or anything. I wasn’t trying to go for an aesthetic.
As of this last year, I finally bought the equipment to do what I know how to do. I just didn’t pursue it further, because it was like … I would do art, but always remind myself that if I had spent a few dollars more, it would be the reality of what I was envisioning. It’s like receiving a really good handjob that you’re never gonna cum from. It’s like, “Fuck me!”
Now, I want somebody to hire me as their photographer! I want to shoot photos for you. I love using my camera. I love photographing models. It’s really fun to interact with people from the other side of the lens to see if I can get them to feel what I want them to feel. Like, feel what I want them to feel through my body language and words. It’s very satisfying.
XBIZ: What are your ambitions for this year, beyond photography?
Vegas: I just want to keep working and doing it like I have been doing. I have more friends in the industry now than ever before. I feel like I have more support and backing on things. I feel I’ve been getting so much recognition and my fan base has been growing. I love working for Brazzers and Wicked. I wanna go everywhere. I wanna do everything. I love this business. I love the place that I’ve come to. I just want to keep progressing. I never wanna stand still. Stagnation is death.