The boundaries between the porn biz and the mainstream entertainment world keep getting fuzzier and fuzzier. Case in point: two former gay porn performers make their reality TV debuts this week.
Tonight (Wednesday, March 7) Bravo launches Million Dollar Listing New York, which follows three high-end Manhattan real estate brokers, including one Fredrik Eklund. A decade ago, Eklund made several gay porn flicks for Jet Set Men under the porn name Tag Eriksson. Eklund has never tried to conceal his porn past. He published a memoir about it in his native Sweden, and he discussed it in a 2010 New York Times profile.
For Mr. Eklund, the racy films offered an escape from the strictures of Old World Sweden. How others might judge him was not a concern. “Did I ever think it would affect my career negatively?” he said. “No. Did I think that I might fall in love with somebody one day who might have a problem with it? Yes.”
He was already known as a young entrepreneur and his profile in Sweden exploded in 2005, when he published an autobiographical novel about his adult film career titled “Bananflugornas Herre” or “Lord of the Fruit Flies,” a pun on his homosexuality. “It started as a diary,” he said. “It was never about the movies themselves, it was about the journey a young Swedish man goes through.”
Still, the book created a stir that propelled him into the Swedish tabloids, as the gay porn star son of a public figure. “The newspapers there follow his every move, so he’s very well known,” said his brother, Sigge, who recently moved to Los Angeles to work as a screenwriter. “The things I hear Swedes admire most about him are his optimism and self-confidence. He’s the anti-Bergman — Bergman was a very dark and angst-ridden man, whereas Fredrik is social and cheery — and that sells well in today’s Sweden.”
Then on Friday (March 9), season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter starts on FX. Among the 32 fighters living, training and competing together this season is one Dakota Cochrane. While putting himself through college, he shot some gay-for-pay porn for SeanCody.com, where he was known as “Danny”.
Tom Bacchus revealed the Dakota/Danny connection last summer. When Cochrane was announced as a TUF cast member, it became a trending topic (as the young people say) on MMA blogs and boards. Most fans seem amused but blasé about the matter. Middle Easy wrote a tolerant and humorous post entitled “Hey, we have no problem that a new TUF cast member is also a gay porn star”. MMA Fighting ran a supportive interview with Dakota Cochrane.
“It’s definitely a decision I regret,” he told MMA Fighting. “If I would have known what would happen I definitely wouldn’t have done it. But I had money issues and I needed help. I went there to do pictures, and they started throwing pretty high numbers in front of me. I didn’t really think. It was a big mistake.”
The 25-year-old Cochrane, who is not gay, says he earned around $80,000 overall from taping the videos, which he made while a college student at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, where he was an all-league track athlete as a pole vaulter and 4×100 meter relay runner.
Finally, when he admitted to his girlfriend Lacey Sechtem what he was doing, she asked him to stop, and the short-lived career was over.
And as Cage Potato points out, plenty of other MMA fighter have filmed their sexual exploits, whether as professionals or amateurs.