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Max Konnor Just Launched an Agency for Porn Performers of Color

Max Konnor in a jumper that's open showing his body.

Max Konnor has had quite the career as a porn performer. For over a decade he has cycled through various aspects of the industry, filming first primarily for the “Black studios,” where he performed with almost exclusively Black and brown performers, before crossing over into “mainstream” performing with mostly white actors. He also now manages his own well-followed fan site pages on OnlyFans and JustForFans. And on top of all of that, he built a career as a fulltime commercial actor as well. Now the model, who became the first Black gay porn star on Twitter to get over 300,000 followers (Rhyheim Shabazz passed the same mark shortly after,) is ready for his next chapter: welcome Haus of Konnor. 

With three models under its name already, Haus of Konnor (H/K) is a talent management company “tailored to the representation of models of color within the industry,” according to a release. The company will “strive to ensure the most comprehensive development, support, and representation for models of color.” And it will understandably use Konnor’s credentials and long resume of experience to do so, as he is a multi-award winning talent, notably winning Best Duo this past January at the GayVNs. For the 2020 iteration of that event, which has also been dubbed the Oscars of Gay Porn, Konnor, who has been represented by FabScout and continue to be represented by them, is nominated in the Best Actor category.

"The key thing here is that we are not just an 'agency,'" Konnor tells Out. "We are a talent management company which means that I am taking these models under my wing, and I'm sharing with them my experiences and helping them navigate to be the best that they can be."

Out spoke with Konnor about his new venture, how he’s already begun to make change at award shows, and accusations that he, himself, places a premium on white partners on his fan-site pages.

Why did you want to start Haus of Konnor and was this always the plan?

I wanted to start Haus of Konnor because I was just noticing that a lot of models of color in the industry didn’t really have guidance as far as how the industry works on a larger scale, branding, and finding work outside of what is typical or acceptable for work for us to do. The white kids on the block, they get their first gig and then they have a crew of people that come and guide them and show them the ropes and look out for them. We don’t really have that. I felt that it was urgent and the right time to try to create something that could get us where we need to be.

It wasn’t always a goal of mine. I actually came up with the idea about a year ago. The Haus of Konnor has been about two years and I’ve tried to do different things with it. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it but I knew I wanted it to be a safe space for models, or a community for us. I wanted it to be a place not to be judged, that wouldn’t focus on quarrels, but a place where we could all be who we are, feed off of each other and eventually elevate each other. 

Can you talk to me about who you’re already working with?

Right now we have three exclusives: Derek Cline, Jabari Clutch, and Asher Lee. I have a bunch of other submissions but I’m taking my time to go through everything because it is a boutique talent management company. I am not just accepting every body that applies. I’m trying to pick models who I feel like have what it takes to make it. 

The release says that you all are prioritizing “models of color.” Are you referencing all models of color, specifically Black models, or will it be all models with an emphasis on models of color?

As of right now we are looking at all models of color. I’m trying to decide if I want to have one or two models that don’t necessarily fit that because in doing this I don’t want to become the problem that I’m trying to fight. There are so many avenues and so many arenas where we as models of color are shut down or shut out because of the color of our skin, and I don’t want this to be a thing where we say: OK it’s all models of color and anyone who is not that, get out. So I’m still toying around that, but right now we are exclusively models of color.

You’ve been in the industry for over a decade, and have really hit a lot of aspects of it. Is there something that you’ve seen that really stands out about the careers of models of color?

A lot of people are unaware of some of the smaller Black studios because they just aren’t represented that well. When you have these bigger companies that have money to spare on marketing or publicizing, the smaller studios get overlooked or washed out. I was noticing even with the GayVN awards last year, when me and Armond [Rizzo] won the Best Duo award and we’re looking down on this audience, and people were almost coming to tears. In a way, we had made history because no two people of color had ever won that award before, so it was a big thing. I think at that moment I realized that a lot of Black actors who worked for the Black studios weren’t being recognized for their work. I realized it was because they hadn’t been privy to information that other studios have.

I don’t know if you can tell but this year the GayVNs reached out to a lot of those Black companies and Black models. If you look at the nomination list, there’s a lot of models from the urban Black porn community that have been included. Just to be able to have that done this year alone, that makes me excited about what Haus of Konnor can do in the industry.

[Editor’s Note: Fuck Champ Robinson and Cutler’s Den were both among the nominees]

That GayVN Best Duo Award, you all won for a scene with Noir Male. That studio has undergone a lot of legitimate criticism as it pertains to its portrayal and casting of performers of color — one performer vowed to never work with them again after leveling similar criticisms. I would love to get your thoughts on the ongoing conversations about that.

I’m very happy and proud that Noir Male is a company that listened to what people are saying. It was pretty crazy when all of this stuff started happening. They listened and I’m really excited that they are accepting to feedback, they don’t just shut you down. The last two shoots for Noir Male that were filmed were specifically Black on Black scenes, and the studio has also gone bareback. I think the interracial content has been going more on the Icon Male site.

I do plan to send models from Haus of Konnor over to Noir Male but one of my big things is: if I send a model to a studio there’s agreement between me and that studio that nothing that has to do with that model’s race or nothing pertaining to the “BBC experience” is what that model is participating in. I’ve been on jobs where I’ve had no clue what I’ve been working on and then the movies come out and it’s like ‘Oh god!’

Valid or invalid, there’s been an ongoing conversation about your work, particularly on your fan sites. There have been repeated criticisms about the casting of your scene partners, with some saying that the majority are white are white-passing. I would love to get your thoughts on that conversation, given that you’re hoping to center inclusion here.

Here’s the thing, one of my goals with Haus of Konnor, is to make it so that porn is just another job. I want it to be where you don’t feel horrible if your friends find out or you don’t feel like you’re going to be disowned. I want it to naturally evolve into something where you wake up in the morning to go to office and I wake up in the morning and go to set.

As far as my content goes — and I know [this is true for] a lot of other Black models who live in New York or L.A., not in the South — there is a shortage of Black models. For people like me, I have so much to do, I don’t necessarily go out searching for models to shoot with because I always have a steady stream of people asking to work with me. And I just go through that stream and pick from there, and most of the time it’s not Black people who are reaching out.

I’ve been talking to some other performers and they’ve said we should have a panel so we can openly discuss these issues. I’ve had it before where I hit up a Black model and they tell me “I don’t think I’m your type,” and it’s like "Well if you weren’t, I wouldn’t hit you up." So with Haus of Konnor, the hope is to  make this a more acceptable job or venture for communities of color so hopefully people will feel like this is something they can do. Because right now there’s just not enough, or there’s people who say "I can record but you can’t get this tattoo or that birthmark." So it just makes it very difficult. 

But I would love to work with more Black models and I actually get frustrated because they are just not there.

Tags: sex, Porn

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