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In Her Groove: Alexis Tae Finds Balance as Versatile Performer

There has always been a particularly radiant quality to Alexis Tae, and now, cruising through her fourth year in the industry, she is more radiant than ever — on camera and in person. After years of on-the-job learning and calibrating her likes, her persona and her goals, this two-time nominee for XBIZ Female Performer of the Year has clearly found her groove.

It doesn’t hurt that Tae is athletic and svelte — she used to run competitively — but curiosity and motivation are the consistent traits that have led her from total sex work newbie to consistent bookings and, ultimately, a coveted slot among the Spiegler Girls. It took her a while, however, to find the balance that now infuses her with that extra glow.

At a Japanese restaurant in North Hollywood, she shares authentic ramen, assorted appetizers and her thoughts, beginning with her start in the industry in 2019. It was a full, busy year during which she embraced her unexpected status as an “anal queen” — only to have her initial trajectory truncated by the Great COVID Interruption of 2020. She spent the next two years turning crisis into opportunity by stepping up her content-making game, workaholic-style, finally emerging as a powerhouse hardcore performer shooting on a grueling self-imposed schedule.

Tae’s work ethic and willingness to “go there,” plus her striking looks and winning personality, helped her establish a strong presence in the industry. Having accomplished that, however, she realized it was time to reap the fruits of her sacrifices and start balancing work with a better quality of life.

“I was a fresh 21 when I started,” Tae explains. “I’d never done any other type of sex work. Actually, I’ve still never been to a strip club to this day. I’ve been to Jumbo’s Clown Room, but I’ve heard that doesn’t count as a strip club — I had a great time!”

Doing Her Own Research

Tae’s journey into porn began with boredom.

“I was just waitressing and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” she recalls. “I’m passionate about a lot of things, but I’m all over the place so it can get really hard to pinpoint one — but I knew I loved to perform. Friends had mentioned camming and I knew a couple of people that were doing that, so I answered a ‘Looking for Models’ ad on Craigslist.”

The ad led Tae to a cam studio in the middle of Pittsburgh, where she was given the pitch to become a cam girl.

“They were very nice,” she says. “But the cut they gave you was terrible and I was like, ‘Why don’t I do this by myself?’ I never did it — I still haven’t — but while I was researching how to cam by myself, I found a website that had a list of porn agents.”

At the time, Tae explains, she had not watched much adult content online. “I still don’t,” she reveals. “I’ve always been more of a fan of written erotica. I like to read.”

After emailing prospective agents, in November 2018 Tae started homing in on the possibility of becoming a performer.

“I did all my own research,” she notes. “I even looked up girls’ Twitters to see what they were saying and what it was like.”

Unsurprisingly to anyone who has seen a picture of Alexis Tae, several agents got back to her immediately.

“I was like, ‘Oh shit, that’s crazy…’” she now laughs. And so she was in.

She credits her first agent, John at East Coast Talent, with showing her the ropes.

“To this day, I think that was the perfect decision for me at the time,” she says. “I love Spiegler but I couldn’t have survived my first year at that level.”

Her first shoots, in January 2019, were a girl/girl and a solo — and she ended up surprising herself.

“It was really not awkward at all, which was weird because I was very shy! I’m still kind of shy, but back then I was very, very shy, especially with my body, and sexually I was still figuring things out. But the second the camera turned on, it was ‘Go!’”

Reflected in that choice of words are all those years of athletic training, now suddenly repurposed for her new career.

“I always compare the on-set experience to running, because you get all these nerves and you’re so scared before a race and then, literally, you hit your stride,” she explains. “Your body just does exactly what it’s been trained to do.”

Yet when the camera turned off, the jitters and impostor syndrome returned.

“I was so insecure and still very nervous,” Tae shares. “I didn’t want to fully commit to it just yet. I hate failure, so I don’t jump into something unless I know I’m not going to fail — and I didn’t know back then. I was still treading water. I thought, ‘Everyone else is so good.’”

Tae vividly remembers seeing her first scene pop up on Twitter when she was with friends.

“What a crazy moment that is,” she marvels. “You’re like, ‘Wow, it’s done. That’s me. I’m naked on the internet. The bandages are off.”

Learning the Ropes

The first year, Tae says, she “learned everything.”

Six months in, she did her first anal scene for True Anal and — much to her own surprise — an “anal queen” was born.

“I obviously loved it!” she laughs. “I’d never done it before and then I did it and I was like, ‘Holy shit. This is great.’ And then I saw the response online and I told myself, ‘OK, this is so cool — I’m going to keep doing it.’”

The first hurdle in her rise came in January 2020, when a new California labor law forced all performers to incorporate as businesses. She delayed the process by a couple of months and by the time she had things straightened out, COVID had shut down production.

This changed everything, though Tae considers herself fortunate that she experienced a full year of the pre-COVID industry, something that many of her current peers did not. She bootstrapped her operation during the shutdown.

“I did lots of content, every single day, five times a day all day, just busted it out,” she says. She even licensed her at-home content with Adult Time and learned the ins and outs of self-production, marketing and distribution, including the fundamental lesson: “POV anal sells, no matter where the hell it is, no matter what quality it is — it’s getting sold.”

After production resumed, Tae immersed herself in the brand-new world of “collabs.”

“At first I only collabed with two people, who were very close friends,” she says. “They taught me everything: how to do paperwork, how to have hard drives and backups, and how to organize my Dropbox folder. I learned how to edit, how to upload on every single website instead of just OnlyFans. This was all stuff that would have taken me years to learn, but I got all of this information in a few months and it really, really helped.”

A Market for Everything

Tae’s self-reliance was matched by the development of a fierce fan base that she actively cultivates. Her personal brand development worked in tandem with her studio offerings, though initially she also had to deal with old industry practices of labeling that can hinder some performers like herself.

“I feel like I have a bit of a different experience in the industry because I am mixed and I’m Black,” she explains. “Especially when I got in four and a half years ago, there were so few girls like me. I was in a ‘niche’ market already and then I started doing a lot of anal so I was even more niche.”

This uniqueness was a double-edged sword: while it caught the attention of fans who might be trying to fetishize her, it also made studios that leaned into strict categories based on looks or background less likely to book her.

Tae is candid about the realities of the industry.

“You have to categorize things,” she says. “That’s life. But we’ve seen change. Some of the titles that I saw when I got in blew my mind with how openly racist they could be. And every now and then, some shit will happen. Sometimes I still lose scenes because I’m Black. Like, if I’m supposed to do like a boy/girl/girl and the other girl is Black and she cancels, I’m losing the scene — because I can’t just shoot with a white girl, and they can’t just shoot me by myself.”

Newer companies, Tae notes, usually take over a year to start shooting Black women. “Doesn’t matter how popular you are, it doesn’t matter how well you sell. Realistically, everybody is stuck in their system. If you always show the internet 100 blonde girls, they’re going to jerk off to blonde girls. It’s just conditioning. But if you just shoot more Black women, then the audience will get accustomed to that.”

By way of example, Tae notes, when she started shooting in 2019 she was shocked by the casual racism in the comments. But now when she shoots for the same companies — with presumably the same fans — the comments are much “softer.”

“They’re just like, ‘We love you, Alexis!’ and I’m like…” She makes a confused face. “‘Cool?’ So it can change.”

Tae also questions the claim that “Black-on-Black” content does not sell. Her evidence: influencers and premium social media.

“The highest-paid content creators that I know are Black women, and Black guys make a ton of money too,” she says. “When I think of a wealthy content creator, I don’t think of a white girl. I think of Miss B Nasty, who’s self-made completely. She’s the best, but there’s 10, 20 more of her all over the internet. And it’s great. There’s a market for anything if you know how to sell it. And there’s room for so much more.”

Finding Balance

“So much more” also describes how Tae is tackling this year — though instead of the workaholism of the post-pandemic rush, that “more” includes some serious work-life equilibrium.

Tae also feels like the last few months have really rebranded her career in terms of her work persona.

“I was seen as a really heavy hardcore performer, and early on I did almost no girl/girl scenes. But this year, that changed — it’s so nice to finally get to do features and get to do acting, and I do almost all girl/girl right now. It’s freeing. I’m having such a lovely time, just being able to do all that.”

Tae does feel thankful that she got to experience her hardcore era already.

“I was so young and enthusiastic!” she reminisces. “I’m so happy I did all that because I loved it — every single time it felt authentic and pure. But now I’m also loving being with women and just being able to experience the softer side, the more relaxed side. It’s cool. I’m so much less stressed.”

She already has two girl/girl features in the can: a production about chefs for Dorcel and a James Avalon-helmed project for Adam & Eve.

“I got to work with Kenna James for the first time, and Kylie Rocket,” she enthuses. “We basically cucked Seth Gamble! It was hot — he had to sit there and take it. It was a really fun day. I love James Avalon. He’s the best. He cares — he literally loves being there. He’s so happy. He directs me like, ‘Yeah, I love it! Okay, do it like this.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll do it exactly like that.’ And I do. And it looks perfect. He’ll come up all excited and show me photos, and say ‘Let me take one on your phone!’ And I tell him, ‘Damn, you even got the Instagram style down, James.’”

Tae also enjoys working with Casey Calvert, Ricky Greenwood, Ricky Johnson, Jackie St. James and the Adult Time crews.

“That’s what my whole year has been filled with,” she notes, smiling, having dispatched her bowl of ramen. “I feel like it’s just all the companies that I love. It’s really cool to look at my schedule and be like, ‘Oh my God, everything I’ve done is significant. I’m proud of everything I’ve done this year.’ And it’s quality now, not quantity. Because I already did my quantity earlier in my career.”

Tae has saved up time to travel, to be with her cats and even to venture into dating.

What grounds her, she says, is how much she loves her job.

“I’m happy to think about going into other spaces other than just performing,” she concludes. “But I would like to be here for a long time. I went through it and I feel like I just came out on the other side, and I have such a beautiful love for porn again. I feel like I figured it out.”

All photos by Tamara Fox.


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