Queenie Clears It All Up

Queenie Clears It All Up

By Ivan GuzmanApr 11, 2024

Queenie wanted a clean slate. After becoming a New York nightlife staple as one half of the beloved music duo Sateen, the multi-disciplinary artist was craving a new start after her relationship with Ruby ended. “All the signs were pointing to porn,” she tells PAPER.

So she got an agent and moved to LA. She’s been in more than 200 adult film scenes, has won multiple awards and is even a Pornhub ambassador. “It’s honestly pretty wholesome,” she says. Through it all, she still sees it as just another extension of her artistry, a way to be on camera in the glamorous way that '70s film stars were. Still, it all comes back to music. Her latest single, “under my influence,” is a slinky throwback number that sounds both old and new. Like a siren, she sings, “Inhale me like I’m smoke/ Inject the words I spoke.” For Queenie, the world is an oyster. She’s trying to make it her own through art, love and creativity.

Below, Queenie discusses with PAPER the golden era of New York nightlife, wild porn stunts and the importance of sex work.

I remember seeing Sateen performing at Century 21 by the World Trade Center in 2018. Do you remember those parties?

Yes, at Century 21. Oh my god, pre-COVID really tore.

Tell me about your journey since then, moving to LA from New York. I feel like you did a full shift in terms of your career.

For sure. I feel like these 180s are in my nature. I don’t know why, it feels good to not necessarily rip it up and start again, but to conquer new things. When me and Ruby ended our romantic relationship, it had been a decade of having a romantic relationship intertwined with a business and public persona. I really wanted to do something to redefine myself or claim my individuality again. So all the signs were pointing to porn. We broke up but were still friends living together. Within a month, I got an agent and decided to just move out to LA. It's been a really wild couple of years. I've won awards. I've probably done over 200 scenes. I’ve lost count at this point. But it's been really liberating and amazing to discover a new medium. Because I consider myself an interdisciplinary artist. Porn is just a new thing. I'm excited to have all this intel now about the way it works so that I can mold my own work into something related to it.

I feel like you have to be in LA to do porn, it’s like Only Fans central. How do you keep up with that?

Honestly, I would say I'm a part of the mainstream end of porn more than I am on the content-creating scale. I mostly do studio stuff. I book it through an agent. The OnlyFans side of things has never been my particular forte. It's how a lot of girls make a lot of coin, which is amazing, but it's never been something that's been super lucrative for me. I'm a film nerd. And in a weird way, just being on camera in this way and getting to act and getting to learn the art of fucking on camera, which is definitely a different beast to having great sex in real life, is a ballet. So, that's been really interesting, but I don't consider myself a content creator. I don't even consider myself a porn star. I just see what I'm doing in the adult industry as an extension of my art.

What’s your history with porn?

I was super young. It was when I was in middle school going through puberty. I got my period when I was 11. I was an early developer. I remember being in chat rooms talking to strange men. There was "ASL." I'm old. So these were the beginnings of me getting horny. It was probably the early 2000s. I saw some kind of shower porn and ever since then, I've been obsessed with water sex. But to be honest, before I entered into this industry, I couldn't tell you five names of porn stars, male or female. I knew maybe two or three, one of them being Jenna Jameson. I completely came in blind being like, this will be fun, maybe I could be good at this. It'll just be something new to try and expand my life, my career. But it ended up being this thing where I realized I really love being in movies. I love acting. In the past year and a half, I've actually made three original songs for adult films. That's been cool, getting to incorporate my love of making music into the adult world. I've won an award for Best Music at AVN. On the horizon is just more Sateen stuff. We're gonna release a record, which is almost finished, and solo music.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time in New York City?

I feel like the real coming into my own was through the gay nightlife scene. Being in the Susanne Bartsch family, hosting a bunch of gay parties in different looks every night. That was really formative for me and so much fun. If I could go back to any era of my life, I would go back to my messy club kid era. It was such a creative renaissance of weird kids. We all just had an Elmer's glue stick gluing down eyebrows, a hot glue gun and a dream. I really feel like we were in the last era of club kids. I know that it's still a thing, but it felt like we were walking among club kid legends and icons, we all know who they are, and we were all intermingled in the same family. That was not only formative aesthetically, but also musically. Getting to be swirling to Honey Dijon’s DJ sets and getting to hear the best House and Disco DJs, I think it will never leave me. I think I’ll always make dance music because of this era.

I got to New York in 2015 for college and it was very much that club kid vibe with Sussi, etc.

Sussi was my child. He was hosting nightclub events when he was 16. We realized how young he was, and he was a fan of ours. We took him under our wing and we would influence each other. We were so messy and fun together, but yeah, we were his guardians. I felt like I was quite a bit older, which is so funny now, but I was 22 and he was 16. I was like, you need someone to protect you. I’m very maternal in that way. Sussi, Aquaria, Stawecki, all those kids. I always felt like I had some kind of maternal role towards them.

At what point do you think that era dissolved?

Hmm, 2018 or 2019. New York nightlife is funny. Susanne’s always gonna be there. She's been there since the early '80s, and she's still here. She’s always going to attract the youth. The creative, subversive youth are always going to be drawn to her, because she is mother. And it was interesting to see, there were certain eras of nightlife exiting as we were entering. And then as we were exiting, we could see the new kids come in. It's always this kind of saloon door of kids coming in and out doing different things. But I feel like the people I was meeting in 2015 and 2016, I see them now and everyone is absolutely slaying. I'm just very proud to be a part of that chapter of nightlife.

Nightlife comes in waves.

For sure. I think it’s about the drugs, too. What are the girls doing? How is it gonna make them act? If people are just doing coke, then they’re gonna be flowing. But if they’re doing K, they’re gonna be dissociating in a corner.

That’s true.

I don’t know. I never was much of a partier. I always felt like the most sober one. But I always had poppers in my little Vivienne Westwood purse.

It’s very G right now, too.

Yeah. Nightlife has this thing where it’s this very optimistic, beautiful explosion of creativity and fun and lightness, and then it gets dark. But then it gets light again. It’s just this wave. But I feel like it’s a part of me always, even though I barely go out now. I live in LA, and I’m basically sober. But it’s something that I’ll always care about and love.

Thinking about Susanne Bartsch with LadyLand or even RuPaul — these nightlife figures ultimately find their sort of mainstream thing to do. Do you envision that for yourself in the future?

Yeah. I see what I’m doing now in adult film as a chapter in a long career as a musician, performance artist and performer in general. I would really like to just keep doing new things. I’d love to be in films. I’d love to be on a stage in musicals. I don’t think there are limits to what I can do. It’s just all about opportunity. The funniest thing is that there’s such a stigma in the gay bubble of being in New York or LA where all your friends are queer, or even being a sex worker. Being the most public form of sex worker does limit your opportunities, so whatever opportunities I’m given, I’m always gonna take them. I think the most important thing throughout my career that I’ve learned is that I can do a lot of things myself. That’s kind of where I'm at now. I would love to write, direct and star in a show or film. I’d love to keep all the mediums there. But music is my biggest love. It’s so hard because music is such a pure thing, but the actual business of it taints it. It’s so hard and strange to be an independent musician.

No matter what, I’m just gonna keep creating and turning looks. That’s my plan for now. I have an AVN and an XBIZ award, and now I’m into awards. I was pondering this: has anyone ever EGOT-ed and also won an AVN? Is there an EGOTA? What would that look like? Who the fuck knows?

You can create it.

I’m sayin’. You never know.

Tell me about the new music. I’ve only heard “under my influence,” which is really good, but is there more coming?

The newest one is a feature with Eli Escobar. It’s called “Fix Our Love,” and it’s a really chill groove dance moment. I love Eli. He also comes from the nightclubs. That’s where we met, through Ladyfag parties. I'm a huge fan of his. It came out just now, but I would say it was a couple years ago that I recorded this vocal. I just sent it to him and I used my laptop mic for it and he was into it. It was completely via email. I'm super, super happy with how it turned out. I would love to work more with Eli. I think that's definitely going to happen. But I'm planning on recording my first solo EP next month, so I'm super stoked about that. Getting more music out in the world.

Being in this whole LA adult film industry, has there been anything that has shocked you? What’s the craziest thing you’ve heard of?

I think the most shocking thing is that everyone is so normal. There are girls that do really physically taxing sex acts. You know, I've heard of triple anal. I personally haven't even opened my butthole for mainstream porn. It's a card that I've withheld. It's almost like an Olympic sport, having sex on camera. Some people take it to really impressive extremes. And that's amazing. But I think most people expect porn stars to be these really nymphomaniac, will fuck you on the street corner if she doesn't even know you [people]. I've had people stop me in public, and they know what I do. They're like, "I've seen your work, what are you doing right now?" They really think that you're down to fuck anything and anyone, anywhere, anytime. I'm absolutely not. I'm not saying I'm normal. But I'm saying that most of the people I've encountered are the sweetest girls that you would’ve known in high school. You know what I mean? It's honestly pretty wholesome. Something that you wouldn't expect is how thorough they are about consent and about it being safe for everyone. It may be safer on a porn set than on a mainstream set.

Yeah, I mean Alec Baldwin is out here accidentally murdering people on set.

We certainly have our thorough protocols. But I also entered into this industry after a big shift. I’ve heard about how in the golden old days of porn, the female talents were sucking off the lighting guy in the corner. It was kind of like a big, giant orgy where people were drinking and doing coke. But porn now is like New York post-Giuliani. They really cleaned it up.

Well, it’s a business. It’s a fully capitalist thing, right? Nowadays you have to play the social media strategy game.

It's all about social media. It's all about building a fan base that is gonna make it so that when a site books you, and then they post the scene, people are going to join their subscriber base just to see your scene with them because they're a fan via social media. Social media is powerful. I mean, with Sateen, we never had management, a label, marketing, PR or even a producer. We had no one. It was just us. And that's how we were able to get our music out into the world. Just grassroots, directly from us to the people. I feel like it's the same right now across every genre of thing that you can create.

Speaking of porn, I saw that they just banned porn in Texas.

Honestly, it’s a witch hunt. There are so many lies and propaganda spread about porn. It’s so politicized for whatever reason, but I always felt like sex workers kept society a safer place. People are able to explore their kinks and fetishes, or just getting off in a safe way. I don't think it's something that you can become addicted to. I do think it can be something that helps people realize things, important things about their own sexuality. I just think it's such a joke that porn has become such a highly politicized and villainized thing, and that they're banning it is crazy to me. Without a doubt in my mind, it will make the places that are banning porn less safe for women. It is not gonna end up well. It's really scary the way it really feels like we're in TheHandmaid's Tale.

Creative direction: Jess Cuevas
Photography: Moni Haworth
Styling: Tatiana Waterford
Model: Queenie Sateen
Fashion: PH Apparel, Willy Chavarria