In a comfortably cozy apartment on New York’s Upper East Side lives a quadruple threat: up-and-coming twunk porn star, boy pageant aficionado, aspiring superstar and the U.S. Marine Corps’ first openly gay rifleman. He sings! He dances! He shoots! He cums! His name is Leo Sweetwood, and as we talk late Sunday night, I find it hard not to root for all his big city dreams to come true. Or at least, for him to find success in one of his three different pursuits. At the moment, though, my money’s still on him being a long-lasting porn star. He’s got a great dick not big enough that the novelty will wear off eventually and more importantly, he cums a lot. After starting as a top, then taking a year off to become a reservist in the Marine Corps, Sweetwood came back as a bottom in scenes for everyone from Bound in Public to Man Royale. Now he’s moving back towards topping, with scenes lined up at Cockyboys and other studios. As the night grew dark, Sweetwood and I sat for 45 minutes and talked about everything from boy pageants to boyfriends to teaching military men a thing or two about gay people.
Adam: You have brought me up to an area of Manhattan that’s terrified me for years.
Leo: The Upper East Side? Really?I was trying to figure it out on the way over, why. It’s perfectly nice in a way. There’s all sorts of food, and it’s close to the Whitney, but I think what it is is that when I was just coming out of college and I was looking for a place to live this area was the only area where you could find cheap rents, on the edge by the water here. I had this Beaches mentality, and thought going above 14th Street was a death sentence, so I never liked the idea I’d have to live up here.
Really? Wow. I like the Upper East Side because it’s nice and quiet. A lot of my friends live in Hell’s Kitchen, but then my friend Killian James, who’s now my roommate, said he lived on the Upper East Side, and I came to see the area and I found there’s a lot of amenities that I wouldn’t find anywhere else. The gym is one avenue over, and then my tanning’s a couple blocks down and then the place I go grocery shopping is one block over. Everything that I need is nearby. If I need to go to Hell’s Kitchen to hang with my friends, all I need to do is take a ten-dollar taxi or take the 6 to the E and I’m there. It’s far enough away so I can have my own space, but close enough if my friends say, “Hey we’re gonna go out in 30 minutes, can you be here?”, I can be there in 15.
So those three things gym, tanning, friends is that your routine?
It’s kind of the Jersey Shore thing GTL. I like tanning because I like being one color. I don’t want to look like an Oompa Loompa but I want to have a nice base.
You do have a nice base.
I like the golden look, at least for me. So that’s one of the things in my regimen, that I like to do. Once you’re done tanning you just feel “aaahhh.”
So how much time do you spend in the gym?
I have to go to the gym at least a minimum of three to five times a week. I can’t go as much as Killian does. He’s literally addicted to the gym. He gets more endorphins out of it than I do. He loves the gym for that reason. It’s one of his big stress reliefs. He’s probably in the gym, if not every day, then at least twice a day. So he makes me feel like a fat ass.Looking at you now, you’re not overly muscled. It doesn’t feel like you’re too shredded. But you’re more defined now when you started out. I just busted a nut to your first scene earlier, the Jocks one for Falcon with Micah Brandt.
I was so twinky then.
Right. How did you come to the decision move in the more muscled direction? I was talking about this with Levi Karter last week. Don’t you put yourself in danger as a young twink performer by pushing it too far with the workouts?
I like the in-between where I don’t want to be classified as a twink but I don’t want to be classified as a muscle bear. I think Davy Wavy came out with the name twunk. I like the in-between where I can get cast as both and it’s easier for me to maintain that type of body than trying to be shredded 24/7 and I can’t have a carb unless it’s the first Monday of the month. I would like to be able to be cast with twinks, but I want to be the bigger twink. I also want to be the little guy in Raging Stallion scenes with the Landon Conrads and the big muscle bears. I want to be able to cross into both worlds.
Are you looking for longevity in the industry?
Yes. I know everyone has their expiration date in the industry and I would like to prolong mine, and so if I can I’d like to stay in the industry an extra two-three years beyond when my expiration date is. But I’d like to be in it as long as I could. I don’t care if you’re Justin Bieber or Timberlake, eventually no ones’ gonna care who the fuck you are if you can’t change or reorganize your image.
Your name first came up when I was interviewing Rafael Alencar and he said you ran into him on the street.
Yeah, I ran into him the first time, because the first time I ever made my Rentboy account was at The Hookies. It was surreal to see all the porn stars and people I looked up to in the industry. I met Rafael and he was really kind. I also met Mr. Pam and Boomer Banks. I got to meet all these amazing people I looked up to. So that day I was walking to my friend’s house and I saw him and I was like, “Hey Rafael.” We took a picture and started talking.
Have you kept in touch?
Yeah. I would say we’re acquaintances but we haven’t really gone to lunch. We’ll go to events and talk and mingle. He’s a great guy. I have nothing bad to say about him. He’s one of the veterans of the industry and I really want to learn a lot from him. I’d like to go to lunch with him and pick his brain and find out what he’s done correctly and what he’s done wrong, and learn from his failures. He’s a really busy guy though, and I wouldn’t want to be a pest to anyone in the industry. Cause there’s a lot of pests and I don’t want that label.
Do you have a boyfriend? Is there room for a relationship in your life?
I’m not really looking for one right now. It would be great if it happened but it’s hard with the escorting. It’s hard to find someone that accepts you for what you do. If you can separate sex, love and everything in between it’s a great gift that you can give to someone. But a lot of people can’t differentiate between the two. If you’re having sex with someone they think it’s love. In the end of the night, I’m in the person that I genuinely care about’s bed. If I have sex with somebody else it doesn’t mean that I have love, compassion, kindness, and a sense of intimacy that I have with this other person. I ‘ve been focusing a lot on my career. You have to in the porn industry. I’m with Fabscout. Howard’s my agent. I’m not exclusive with them, but sometimes Howard does last minute things. He’s like, “I need you to be on a flight in two days. Can you do that?” and if I’m dating someone I might have an anniversary, or you’ve made plans with someone’s parents. A lot of times people can’t handle that. We’re dealing with a lot of people that don’t have this industry. I have an alternative lifestyle. I have to work around my client’s schedules and that doesn’t give me a lot of time to plan with someone else in an intimate setting.
Have you had challenges before with people?
I get a lot of love and intimacy from my friends so there’s no need to have one person lock me into a relationship. I like the way Boomer states it. “Just love, whatever it is, love. Get your intimacy, your love, your kindness, your comfortability, your respect, from your friends. That’s the initial place you can find your love.” Especially in the gay industry a lot of our families reject us. We’re lucky because we get to pick our families.
Right but it’s like that with gay people at large, not just people who work in porn.
That’s the thing I love about the gay community. We live an alternative lifestyle that fits our comfortability. In the porn and escorting industry, now it’s not a secret anymore. You could say, “I work as an escort.” And it’s like saying, “I work at a bank.” It’s not that scandalous anymore.
They both involve large involve large sums of money, and both jobs require you to be greedy whores. Just kidding!
Yes! Ha! Money hungry.
Did you need to make your own family because your family doesn’t support what you do?
I actually had a really good childhood. I didn’t have an abusive father or a bad mom. But they were very corporate and that wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted. I wanted to do something in the entertainment industry. Porn was one of the things that always intrigued me. I want to do porn as long I can but when I’m not I’d like to explore different avenues. The way Katie Morgan did. She did her porn and then did a series called Having Sex, and then she ended up in Seth Rogen’s movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno. I’d like to do something like that where people know I have a porn background, but also know I can act. “He can sing, and dance. He’s an entertainer.” That’s where I think people get caught up – “Oh he just does porn?” At the end of the day porn is not just sex, we’re entertainers, acting 99 percent of the time in our scenes.
I’ll play devil’s advocate. Most people know that it’s very hard to make the crossover from porn to mainstream. When you started doing it, did you consciously think it was a realistic path from one to the other or was it a matter of necessity and then the entertainment goals came later?
In middle school I had a time capsule and it just got sent to me a month or two ago and it actually had a note from a friend who said that I talked about doing porn. That was in middle school. I think it’s always been there. I always wanted to do porn. I’ve wanted to do this for a while and I know I can branch out. Steve Harvey said, “Be so good you can’t be ignored.” You can ignore me all you want, but if I provide all you want at the end of the day a script, a dancer, an extra for Broadway, I’m gonna do my best to get that part because I have something to prove, since you think I can’t do it.
Do you go on auditions?
I’m starting to actually! I have a little dance background because I do boy pageants, and especially in New York, I have more opportunities here. I go to the Broadway Dance Center and take two to three classes a week. That’s what’s going to set me apart from other people. Growing up in San Antonio we don’t have those opportunities. Being here and being 22 and have these opportunities, if you don’t take advantage of them, there’s no way you’re going to stand out in any audition. That’s why I moved to New York, and that’s why I’m taking advantage of every opportunity I can.
What on earth are boy pageants?
Do you know Miss USA and Miss America? It’s basically that for guys. There’s three top pageants. Continental. E.O.Y: Entertainer of the Year, and US of A, so those three pageants have a Miss competition for drag queens and pre-op transsexuals, and the mister is for guys impersonating guys. There’s a little section called “Mister” which is for drag kings. It’s a national thing. It’s been going on since maybe the sixties or seventies.
When you said boy pageants I thought it was something you did as a kid. How did you get into this?
In each drag house there’s a mother, like in Paris is Burning. In Texas there’s the House of Andrews, notorious for Tandee Andrews, Erica Andrews and Roxxy Andrews who was on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I belong to the Matthews House. My drag mother is Tersa Matthews. She won Miss Texas US of A and Miss Texas Continental, and what I like about her is she doesn’t care. She doesn’t give a fuck about really anything except trying to make people laugh. Her entertainment comes from comedy. She can lip-synch a song and she can dance the house down, but she’s amazing as an entertainer and that’s what I want to eventually be.
But you want to do this as a boy, not in drag?
Yes. She had a son, Jordan Matthews, and his thing is dancing and stuff like that. He had a son, Javi Matthews, who is my dad. He does ballet, and tries to do more sentimental songs. He is known for doing this Black Swan routine to one of Adam Lambert’s song. He tries to make the crowd cry.
What’s your act?
I prefer to sing. When I have to lip-synch, I’ll paint a mug. I have a “gay devil mix.” So I’ll be with all red hands and wearing a black soon, horns, and a devil face. I do this funny mix. I’m known for that. I’m known more for comedy.
Have you won any competitions?
I was Mr. Texas Continental and this year I gave it up to my dad, and he is now the current reigning Mr. Texas Continental. I’m going back to Continental this year for the national title because I was the runner up for All-Star Continental in Florida.
What’s your act this year?
I’ll be singing. It’s an original song. I sang it for my final night and I’ll be singing, probably the same song.
So this is kind of a two-pronged path for you. Boy un-drag queen and porn star.
Yep. Leo Sweetwood and another name which I compete under.
What is your favorite musical?
I’ve actually only seen two. I’m very uncultured in New York. I’m trying to get more cultured. I’ve only seen Matilda and Wicked. I loved Wicked and I saw it with one of my friends and I made the stupid comment, “Are they singing live?” I didn’t know because they were just belting it out and it was so perfect and it sounded like a CD or something like that. My friend was like, “Yes, you’re retarded.” Coming from San Antonio, we don’t get to experience all the Broadway shows.
It’s all-new to you. Do you have a lot of moments where you say things and your friends go “Oh honey, you have a lot to learn?”
Well especially in New York. I understand I’m uncultured.
I’m not throwing shade at all. Just asking.
Oh, I understand it. It’s like taking someone from the South and showing them a whole new life and that’s what I love about New York. That’s why I moved here. I’m wanting to learn everything I can. I don’t mind if you think I’m stupid or something like that. I’m still learning and I know I’m learning. Those Broadway productions are the same thing that goes into the pageants. So I can use what I know from one in the other.
I think that’s great, honestly.
If anyone in the industry has a critique I would love to hear it as long as it comes from a loving place, its fine. If you’re insulting me in a mean way, we’re going to have a mean issue. Like Howard, he’s very blunt, but I understand the way he is and I respect it. A lot of people in New York are very blunt and if you don’t have a tough skin it comes off as insulting. But if you take what they’re saying with a grain of salt and realize these people aren’t trying to hurt you or insult you, they’re trying to help you better yourselves because a lot of them see potential in other people.
Tell me about how your escorting is going? It’s only been a few months.
I feel like I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to provide intimacy, comfort, kindness, compassion and most of all love to all of the clients I see. Most of people have an obscure view of escorting. They think it’s dirty and raunchy and underground. That’s not what escorting is. Escorting is about being with someone for the pleasure and it all comes down to love and that’s what a lot of people don’t get. In New York you have a lot of older businessmen who work 80 hours a week and they just want someone to come and 90 percent of the time it’s not sex. They just want to have someone there. My clients want to just have dinner and go see a show.
This is the fabled thing that I never believe really happens.
A lot of people don’t really know how to attract what you put out. Whatever you put out in the world you’re gonna get out ten times. My roommate, he has a different clientele, and then my other friend Eli has a different clientele. So it’s all about what you’re best suited for. I feel my best attribute is, that I provide “The Boyfriend Experience” for lack of a better term.
When did you know you had a big dick?
When I got my first blowjob, the guy said, “Oh my god, you’re huge.” But when I got into porn I realized, “Oh my god, I’m average.” I’ve seen Boomer Banks and Landon Conrad, I mean you look at them and you’re like, “Oh my god.” I’m comfortable with my size unless I’m in a scene, anything after 9 inches I’ll hand a peanut because I can’t do anything with it. I feel like my size is good, and I’m comfortable with the length and girth and all that.
You were a top at first and then became more of a bottom.
Well my first scene was with Falcon, with Micah Brandt, before I left for the Marine Corps in 2012, and I think they initially thought I was bigger, muscle-wise, and when I got there I looked twinkier. We had a good scene and I got great feedback about it, which I was happy about, but then when I came back from the Marine Corps, I got typecast as a bottom and now I’m slowly getting cast as a top, because they know I can perform as a top. It’s easy for me to stay hard, to cum, and I naturally cum a lot. So I think a lot of companies are coming to me now asking, “Can you top in this scene?” because they need a good cumshot. Anyway, I really like performing as a top, and in real life I am a top. I can still find comfort in being a bottom and I play a good bottom in porn.
What prompted your decision to join the Marine Corps?
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed in 2011. September 2011 and I always wanted to do a military branch but I wouldn’t have done it unless I could be 100% myself. In San Antonio the Air Force is really big. My real dad was in the Air Force, so I was always pulled towards there. So I went to the Marine Corps and asked if they had a reservist program. Because I didn’t want to do it for four years. And they said we do have positions in the reservist because right now we’re closing down and the war’s over and we’re not really doing any more active listings, so we have an opening for an infantry rifleman. I was like that sounds fun. And they broke down what I would be doing. I left for boot camp in May 2012. During boot camp I actually didn’t realize but I was actually the first openly gay infantry rifleman in the US. Marine Corps. They didn’t ask me if I was gay, because Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed and they didn’t know how to handle the situation. So during boot camp I had to talk to a lot of officers to make sure my stay was okay and I wasn’t being treated any differently. A lot of the people in my unit had never met a gay person, so I had to teach a lot of them. I didn’t mind it. It was very repetitive but I knew I was doing more good than I would if I said, “Shut the fuck up, I don’t want to tell you.”
What did they ask?
“How do you know you want to be gay?” The biggest misconception is gays want to be women. They thought I wanted to be a drag queen or a transsexual.
You’re like, “No I’m a boy impersonating a boy, Mister Texas Continental.”
Right! They were like, “You’re not attracted to women?” I was like, “No I think women are gorgeous I just don’t want to have sex with them.” I was like, “When you see an Abercrombie and Fitch guy you think he’s good looking right?” They were like, “Yeah.” “But you don’t want to have sex with him right?” “No.” But I still had some conflict in the military with regards to my Christianity. I wanted to talk to chaplains, and one was trying to get me to go Exodus, which is the conversion therapy, and I was like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” He was like, “We see your parades have go-go boys dancing on floats?” I was like, “You have the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders dancing on your floats, whats the difference?” He tried to break apart the differences. I’ve read the Bible and I know the seven verses in the Bible that depict homosexuality, and he was trying to read those back to me, and I was like, “You’re missing the Leviticus laws, how can you apply this to me, but you’re not applying all these others that say you can’t wear different types of clothing made of the same material, and you can’t eat shellfish?” And he didn’t know how to answer that. We were there for three hours and dealing with it. I think I gave him a different perspective and I’m glad that I could give an officer something like that, especially as a recruit in basic boot camp. Once everyone in my unit realized I didn’t want to fuck them they were cool with me. They would joke and make me rate their hotness. “Why does he get a higher score than I do?” It’s funny, once you pass the fear of not knowing, a lot of people fear what they don’t know, once you get past all that people start learning and exploring and accepting. That’s what I feel like you should do, especially in the gay community. Go teach someone.
Well you’ve certainly taught me a lot these past forty-five minutes. Thank you, Leo.
Watch Leo in a recent Bound In Public scene below.
Adam Baran is a filmmaker, blogger, former online editor of Butt Magazine and co-curator of Queer/Art/Film. His short film JACKPOT, about a porn-hunting gay teen, won Best Short Film at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and was recently featured on The Huffington Post, Queerty, and Towleroad, among others. He is a features programmer at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival and NewFest in New York. In his spare time, he complains about things to his friends. “Fisting for Compliments”, his weekly musings about the intersection of sex, art, porn, and history, will appear every Monday on TheSword. You can contact him at Adam@TheSword.com and follow him on Twitter at @ABaran999. Check out his previous columns in the Fisting For Compliments Archive.