It’s fitting that I’m at a restaurant on Bond Street called The Smile, because sitting across from me is a boy who almost never stops smiling: Levi Karter, the wildly popular porn twink from Cockyboys. Levi’s smile seems to stem from a place of contentment with himself, with his identity, with his chosen profession, and with the makeshift family of friends he’s surrounded himself with including Cockyboys head Jake Jaxson, who has become a mentor to him. It helps that Levi’s extraordinarily adorable and that his Paraguayan good looks have helped distinguish him from other young porn stars at competing studios. His fan base is both rabid and like his fellow Cockyboys Jake Bass and Max Ryder crosses gender lines. He has almost more female teenybopper types as his followers as he does gay men. Last year, he collaborated with Jaxson on Fuck Yeah Levi Karter, a kind of gay porn version of Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation made out of thousands of hours of footage he’s shot of himself from an early age to today. The film explored his exploits as well as his conflicts with his disapproving mother. Over nearly an hour, I spoke to Levi about a range of subjects, from his identity crises to the porn stars he idolized to his feelings about escorting as a support to his business.
Adam: I’m recording, feel free to record yourself, I know you love to do that.
Levi: Actually my phone is now maxed out on memory because of how much I record stuff.
Where did your impulse to start recording everything come from?
I don’t know. I’ve always had like a hobby or a passion for taking pictures and setting up photo shoots around my house. Even when I was in grade school. Then when I was 18 and I was stripping so I’d have to take more pictures and I just started recording my friends and I hanging out. Usually goofing off, getting drunk or something. Just stuff to laugh at. I always loved to record myself like that.
What were your friends like growing up? Were you hanging out with gay people or mostly straight people?
Um, growing up I guess I always had a girlfriend up until freshman year of high school when I came out. I had a girlfriend as a cover. But almost all my friends were girls and my best friend since fifth grade turned out to be gay as well. It was no wonder we got along so well. I was in marching band so I was hanging out with band geeks. But I was one of those people who was friends with the cheerleaders, people who liked sports, I didn’t have a special group. I always had a best friend and a group but I would never be in a clique.
Did you know you were gay from an early age?
Yeah. I think so. I mean I came out when I was 14. I was kind of struggling with that during my 8th grade year. It was kind of a dark year but I worked everything out.
What was so dark about it?
It was kind of like me accepting myself as being gay as well as my adoption issues. My mom adopted me from Paraguay, and I was just asking all those questions, why, how, etc. There were a lot of unanswered questions and I didn’t know how to feel about it for a while.
It was sort of like identity questions on so many different levels. Who am I? Where do I come from? And what do I like sexually?
Yeah. Just a lot of not knowing.
When you were young did you look up to porn stars or people who were in the porno world and always want to be like that?
Actually I did. When I was 14 and first watching porn, the first porn I watched was a Youtube video, the extended trailer for Schoolboy Crush with Brent Corrigan and Brent Everett. I always idolized Brent Corrigan. I still idolize Brent Everett.
What specifically about Corrigan appealed to you beyond, I’m assuming, his very hot body?
I don’t know. He just had a personality and everything. I didn’t even realize he was one of the biggest porn stars, or anything about his scandals. He was just really cool and fun to watch. Later I really grew to like Brent Everett more. I found out we’re a similar height. He’s tan but he’s Canadian. He has more tattoos and is more like a dude. He took his porn career farther. He’s still doing web shows and all that. Brent Corrigan went more Hollywood. That’s not really where I want to go. I steered more towards Everett.
So you’re happy staying in the place that you are, and you don’t think you want to get into acting or more mainstream stuff?
No. This is who I am. I like it.
Do you want to be like Brent Everett who’s been in the business for a long time, or is there another career you dream of getting into?
I guess the whole Brent Everett thing is just like, I will always be in the industry doing something, but I don’t want to be a washed-up porn star. Someone who is just always there and all of a sudden your fans just forget about you. That’s why Jake Jaxson’s mentoring me, and he’s getting me into directing and producing and editing and all that stuff.
I really liked Meeting Jasper, where he gave you the video camera and just sent you and Jasper to a hotel room. That was great.
That was my first scene that I made all of it.
What other stuff have you directed?
Right now I’m working on a proposal for a scene. I’ve gotta figure out who, what, where, who’s topping, bottoming, etc. Jake will be there with me and we’ll both film.
Who is it going to be with?
I don’t know yet.
And you won’t be the star?
Yeah. I don’t want to be in the film. I just want to record other people.
Does Jake sit you down and show you work and make you look at angles and things like that? And does he encourage you to look at the work of other directors?
I mean I’ve gone on other sets. Jake told me to go watch other porn and look at the angles and action and all that stuff. I do like RFC Raw Fuck Club because I like the camera angles, and the way they move the camera. It makes me feel more like I’m there watching. Not just that someone’s recording someone. I guess it’s more a sex-tape feel. I like to record in that kind of way to make it look more realistic.
I feel like that’s one of the biggest things to happen to porn in the last 10-15 years. The fact that porn directors now are suddenly realizing, “Hey we have the stars, if we can marry the stars to the webcam and home video aesthetic and make it seem like two people are just passing the camera back and forth between them, we can one up the Xtubes and other sites.” It just extends the fantasy in a way.
It’s such a hit or miss though, because it could be really epic or it could be like, “Oh why is this just not free on Xtube?”
Let’s talk about your body. I know you started working out when you were really young. Do you have goals for your body? Because it’s pretty tight.
Thank you. I have this unfulfilled quest to be a solid 145-150.
Now you’re what?
So you want to put on a lot more muscle?
Yeah cause if I got to 150 and then go down a little bit if I fluctuate it’ll go down to 145. At the moment I’m really happy with my body because I’ve been keeping it up and partying a little less. I went a little too hard for Pride. I’ve been seeing a lot of people my size and bigger and they’re too short to be that big.
This is this whole twunk phenomenon.
I feel like the twunk thing can very quickly make your more twink-loving fans disappear. I wonder how you maintain that line, you know?
I don’t know. I just try not to eat bad stuff too much. It’s really hard.
How disciplined are you?
No, it’s not that. If anything I’m not eating enough.
To bulk up?
Yeah. I bulk up and go to the gym three or four times a week and then ruin what I did that week when I go-go at work. If I don’t go-go or work for a weekend then my body will look better.
Because the aerobic activity of go-go dancing breaks down the stuff you’re doing to your body?
No, because I get drunk and I already have a fast metabolism and the alcohol breaks down muscle fibers and so I’ll just be skinny again.
Do you have any stalkers or disturbing fans?
Not really. I’m sure I do but I haven’t met them.
Nobody’s gone out of their way to be aggressive or weird?
No. Just at the bars sometimes. That’s just drunk people.
That’s sort of a function of how people can’t control themselves around porn stars and think you’re just game to fuck 24-7.
Well I’m asking for it, I’m in my underwear. But the thing that gets hard is when people are like “Oh you’re Levi Karter” or they’re like you’re a go-go boy or you do porn people automatically jump into, you want sex. Even though that is your job, it’s not something I’m looking at 24/7. I’m just looking for friends.
Let’s say we’re at a bar, and you’re trying to encourage someone not to make an outrageous move on you. What are your conversation topics?
Usually, what are you drinking? Can I have a sip? I’d probably ask if you’re on molly, cause I might be on it.
These are things you’re telling people and hope they don’t think you’re flirting.
Yeah I’m trying to keep it light.
Those are all things that sound like pick-up lines. Not necessarily like, “Have you seen any good movies lately?”
See, that feels like a pick up line to me.
Not “What are you drinking, can I have a sip?”
I feel like if you don’t ask too much about them you keep a distance. I always ask what do they do.
That’s a standard question.
Or I ask why do they not have a drink in their hands.
As a non-drinker that question drives me crazy. They always follow up with a thousand questions after I say I don’t drink.
Usually people at my bars say, “I’m gonna get one.” Usually if they don’t have a drink and they tipped me well I’ll come down off the bar and get the bartender’s attention so they can get one without waiting.
Let’s talk a little about Fuck Yeah Levi Karter. One of the things it explores is the tense relationship between you and your mom. Where are you at now?
I don’t know, I guess we kind of went through a rough patch and my mom now, we don’t discuss it, but we always end up discussing it every time I visit. We don’t really talk about it over the phone, it’s just like “Get your taxes done,” and stuff like that. We just don’t talk about it really but it’s been my mom and I growing up my whole life, and we’re best friends. Nothing’s gonna make us not talk to each other and be close at all. She says I could murder a person and she wouldn’t be happy but she’ll still love me and visit me and make sure I’m okay. She makes sure I still make rent, and I haven’t had to rely on her for support for a few months now. She’s slowly cutting me off because now I’m paying my phone bill and the rent and insurance.
That’s actually really loving because she’s making you self-sufficient. And you can make your own choices then. Do you see an end date to your scene work?
No. I never really look too far down the road for anything but maybe when it starts to get old. Maybe my passion or attitude will change. I’ll want to be behind the camera more than in front of camera. Even though I’ve only been doing this a year and a half, there are times when you’re like, wow this is a lot. I don’t see modeling for porn being something I’ll be doing until my forties and fifties at all.
What would somebody be really surprised to know you like sexually?
I like it really rough. Really hard.
Like getting fucked really hard or just being slapped around and tossed about?
That too I guess. Rag-doll style. And I like poppers off-camera. And I love threesomes.
I hate threesomes because I always feel someone’s always getting ignored.
How do you do a threesome right
Make sure everyone’s included or involved or something. I don’t know.
What’s the ideal situation for one? Sometimes the thing with couples –
I love couples.
You do? I prefer two separate people. I feel like with couples you’re in the middle and they’re both obsessed with you.
You just said it!
For me that’s not the thing I like, but that’s what you like. You want to be adored.
Yeah but it’s not necessarily being the center of attention. I don’t know really.
Maybe they’re just more grateful when they’re a couple.
And they’re on the same page about what they want.
It’s not like one person likes one of you more than the other.
Do you have any fetishes?
I don’t think so.
You haven’t explored any kinky stuff?
I guess. But… not really.
What has been the most painful dick you’ve taken?
Probably Hayden Lord. It was really, really thick. That one took a minute.
But you got it in?
Did it end up feeling good or did you have to grin and bear it?
Oh, no, it felt great. It just was hard to get it in.
Are you still pretty tight naturally?
You haven’t been loosened up to the point of being an easy bottom?
No. The problem is I go on Grindr and I flirt and get pictures and I say we’re gonna meet up and never do and I’m just a big flake who stole your dick pic, so I advertise sluttiness but I never actually go do it.
You’re a tease on Grindr?
And at the bar I say, “I can’t do anything I’m in production” when I’m not at all.
But have you had boyfriends?
Yeah. I did have a boyfriend going into the porn business. I had a partner, Evan Parker from Helix Studios. He entered about a month and a half before I entered. I mean, we’re not together but we’re better off.
He’s been the only relationship or the longest relationship?
He’s been the only one in porn, but I’ve had a lot of, like, three- to five-month relationships. Short term. I’ve only had one boyfriend where I was on and off again for a year and a half.
Where do you think it comes from that you are sort of reserved or don’t do things with guys outside of porn?
I mean I always end up doing it but I just kind of even though there’s protection you’re still risking something and even if it’s something curable, it could be a career-changing mistake or something that’s going to put you out of production for ten days and fuck everything up if you have a scene coming up. It’s just better not to fuck anything up. I just have fuckbuddies instead. I have two right now.
Have you considered going on PrEP? I’m on it.
Yes, I just haven’t got to it yet. I’m waiting for my medical card. Do you like it?
I do like it.
Do you lose weight?
No. I have had no side effects.
I’m always scared of taking meds and losing weight.
You do have to get tested every three months.
I get tested every month anyway. I haven’t barebacked for a year.
When was that?
My last boyfriend. It’s funny people on Grindr are like ‘BB?” and I’m like, “No I want to but I can’t.”
Do you like barebacking? Condoms never bother me at all.
No, I don’t really care. I know it feels better just a little bit.
What’s been the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you on set?
I farted in Pierre Fitch’s face. We were posing for a picture and I was upside down and flexing everything and then it happened. My legs were on his hands and I was spread eagle with my ass facing his face. Also Bravo Delta did the SpongeBob laugh during a scene and I couldn’t get off afterwards. He sabotaged me. But other than that things are pretty chill.
When you have a scene coming up do you refrain from jerking off and sex so you can have a big cumshot?
I usually hold off one or two days but also if you stop for a week before you do it and that first little pop off is not the money shot, you kind of have to keep it going you know? Keep it in for a couple of days, but not, because if you don’t keep it
Like you can’t just turn it off for a week and have sex and expect the first time to be an explosion? You have just go lighter but still keep your dick working is that what you’re saying?
Yeah. I do that. And I don’t book myself for the weekend before and I hit the gym and I take creatine, casein and whey protein.
Do you have any interest in steroids?
Not at all.
A lot of people in the industry do escorting, is that something you’re interested in doing?
I’ve considered it but I haven’t done it. I don’t wanna step into that category. I don’t judge other people who do it but I don’t think it’s for me. I dance on the bar and get naked on camera and that’s enough. I don’t need to continue to go into that field.
It’s good that you know what you want. What about your friends now, the ones who you were making videos of when you were 16 do you keep in contact with them and what do they think about your career?
I don’t really keep contact with too many of them. I keep up one with one of my friends, Sidney. She was the cheerleading captain and one of my best friends in high school. She goes to Cincinnati University and we keep up with each other. I don’t really talk to too many people from Athens. I keep up with a few of the gay friends but just to say, hey what’s up. When I get to town I’ll see a few people but I don’t really keep up with anyone.
Does anyone talk to you about what you do?
Yeah. They know and talk to me sometimes. But they have their own stuff to do just like me. We’re all far away and they’re in school and have their own surroundings and friends. I’m in New York and traveling or working or doing something. We drifted, basically.
What’s some of the dumbest criticism you’ve gotten?
On my real account if I posted a couple pictures of me without my shirt off. Someone from my hometown will say, “Oh such talent I just don’t understand why you would put it towards this.” There’s no changing their minds because that’s what it is to them.
Do you have a fanbase in Paraguay?
Yes. I saw an article online somewhere about “Levi Karter the porn star from Paraguay.” Who knows how famous I really am, though.
That should be your next Cockyboys movie. “Levi Goes to Paraguay.”
Watch Levi in his most recent scene, with Connor Maguire.
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.