Tuesday, November 12

When East met West LA: From UCLA student to porn actor, beyond


Eric East, a stage name for the UCLA alumnus, started out as a go-go dancer in a Beijing nightclub at age 18. He only began working in pornography when he moved to Los Angeles from Shanghai for school five years ago. (Miriam Bribiesca/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Eric East, a stage name for the UCLA alumnus, started out as a go-go dancer in a Beijing nightclub at age 18. He only began working in pornography when he moved to Los Angeles from Shanghai for school five years ago. (Miriam Bribiesca/Daily Bruin senior staff)


Eric East’s parents still don’t know he is the first Chinese-born gay porn star.

East, a stage name for the UCLA alumnus, started out as a go-go dancer in a Beijing nightclub at age 18. He only began working in pornography when he moved to Los Angeles from Shanghai for school five years ago. While he was still in college, East said he balanced his career with his classes by studying for his bachelor’s degree in chemistry during the week and performing on weekends.

For East, the experience of performing sex in front of a camera for the first time was very intimidating. However, he said he got used to it after several shoots. His chemistry with his male co-stars has improved over time as they became friends during many shoots together. He said pornography now gives him a sense of confidence.

Contrary to popular belief, East said remembering his lines is the most difficult part of filming.

“There is some acting, but for the sex part, it’s mainly your instinct,” East said.

However, most porn sites are blocked in China and Chinese culture frowns on public discussions about adult films, East said. Thus East said he thought it would be difficult to get a foothold in the industry until he arrived in the United States.

Because of the thousands of years of traditional values behind the culture, East said he believes it will take a long time for China to match the U.S. in terms of tolerance of gay porn.

Even though he sees attitudes in China loosening around him, East said most Chinese people are still too conservative to follow his path and join the industry.

“Underground or in peoples’ households, (Chinese people) always watch (porn) and talk about it privately, but won’t talk about it publicly in news, social media or anything like that,” East said.

 

East does not think his parents know yet that he works in pornography or that he is gay. He said he understands why they might be opposed to his career choice and would prefer he went into law or medicine.

“We just don’t talk about that kind of stuff at home,” East said. “Because, you know, it’s Chinese culture. They either avoid it or don’t know about it at all.”

Despite the stigma surrounding adult films in China, East grew up idolizing porn stars. He was a particular fan of Peter Le, founder of Peter Fever, a gay porn company that now oversees the production of East’s films. The pair has collaborated on more than 20 movies.

“(Le) is very muscular and he’s Asian like me,” East said. “He symbolizes the most sexy Asian man.”

Le said despite the fact most porn sites are blocked in China, East is more popular there than in America. When East returns to his native Shanghai, Le said he spends a lot of time signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.

Le said East is good at learning his lines and acting out his parts. He enjoys working with East due to his professionalism on set.

“He’s just like the perfect porn star because he knows what to do,” Le said.

Recently, East said he has been exploring career options other than porn, including modeling, and dancing in clubs. Together with his friend Rome Garcia, a videographer and photographer, East created a workout video titled “Go East.” East said making the fitness videos helped him become more confident in his body image because he thought he was too skinny before.

Garcia said he thinks East would benefit from pursuing a career other than adult film because of the high turnover rate of actors in the industry.

“The expiration date in porn is very short,” Garcia said. “There’s always younger guys and newer faces every time you go online and check porn.”

East said he has some worries about future employers discriminating against him because of his adult film career, but he does not regret his choices.

“Imagine you’re dying. What would you regret? I would regret what I’ve not done, not what I’ve done wrong,” East said. “The wrong is already done, you can’t reverse it, but something you haven’t done in life is definitely a big regret, so if you wanna do something, just do it.”

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Thorne is the prime director. He was previously the assistant A&E editor for the Theater | Film | Television beat.


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  • MinWoo

    I hope Donald Trump becomes President so America will stop pandering to this sick garbage!!!!