When I was informed by the powers-that-be at Fridae that I would be interviewing Van Darkholme, I had to be revived with splashes of cold water.
Towering at 1.83m and weighing in at a muscled 79.4kg, the subject of my interview is not only my wet-dream-come-true but a man of many talents: masseur, bondage master, porn star, director, producer, artist, and of course, webmaster to his popular website vanhotman.com.
So you can imagine my trepidation (and subsequent hysteria) regarding my upcoming tete-a-tete with sex-on-legs and uber Asian studmuffin - Mr. Van Darkholme himself.
Fortunately, I was not without my resources.
Half a bottle of horse tranquilizers and countless yoga mind-calming exercises later, I was finally able to pull myself together enough to engage Van in a stimulating oral exchange.
Fridae (coyly): What made you decide on your interesting career choice?
Van: I used to crunch numbers all day long in a small cubicle. It was sheer hell for me as I was just not cut out for the corporate world. I wanted out. Initially, being a masseur was a means to pay the rent. But when I discovered that I had the power to evoke certain feelings and emotions through massage, my career gradually evolved to include bondage. One thing then led to another and here I am today.
Fridae: Which of your many divergent careers do you find most demanding and/or most rewarding and why?
Van: I would have to say that being a Bondage Master is the most demanding - both physically and mentally. The art of bondage involves a complex and physical "dance" between master and slave. Often, the process creates a deep intense paternal bond and a sense of acceptance some slaves never experienced in their lives. In the end, it's also very rewarding because master and slave would have created and shared a very intimate connection.
Fridae (feeling frisky): In the course of your work, what is the strangest request you have ever received from a client?
Van: To say that a particular request is "strange" would be to pass judgment and I'm the last person in the world who should judge anyone else. However, my most memorable request involved a gorgeous heterosexual slave who insisted that he had never ever had sex with a man nor had any wish to do so. Yet barely halfway through the session, he was begging to be tied up and man-handled.
Fridae: How has your choice of career affected your personal life?
Fridae: In relation to that, what made you decide on establishing an adult-content website and how has that changed your life?
Van: I guess I was motivated by the fact that I'll be known world wide (laughs). As for how that changed my life, well, I could be having a drink with a friend when a fan would come barging in screaming "Oh my god! I saw your video!" Most of the time, I don't mind if someone just came up to me and said hello. As a matter of fact, I enjoy that … even if I'm with company.
Fridae: Talking about videos, could you tell us more about Muscle Bound Productions and what that's all about?
Van: Muscle Bound Productions was born from my personal need to cast a different light on the often misunderstood subject of fetishism. At the moment, there are only two types of fetish videos: the grungy sort featuring grungy guys in a garage or dirty playroom or the big studio productions featuring regular pornstars clad in leather and engaging in vanilla kink. Muscle Bound Productions is different because I like to think that we aim to get to the soul of what fetishism is all about and at the same time have great cumshots.
Fridae: And what about Muscle Bound Productions' White Rope video? What was your role in it?
Van: White Rope was the first video that I wrote, directed and produced. In this business, I found out that people have certain preconceived notions about bondage. I'm just trying to educate people about the art of bondage. I suppose I just have a penchant for picking up things that society discards and getting them to look at it again from a different angle. That's the secret of my art.
Fridae: Could you give us a rundown of your porn bibliography?
Van: My first video was Titan's 3 Easy Pieces. After that, Titan wanted me to star in their Fallen Angels series but the deal fell through. I made two more videos with Cam-Am and they're Lord of the Lockroom and House of Detention.
Fridae (makes a mental note to order all 3 videos): So what is the adult video business really like for you?
My people in the adult video business have tried to make me tone down my act. They would say stuff like "Van, you could make heaps of money with your looks. Just cut out that bondage crap. It turns a lot of people off." Or they would say things like "Here are a couple of pornstar websites. See how they just put on a cute act and show lots of dick. And look at yours - don't bore them with your weird writing and drama." The only voice I listen to is the voice within me. I may not reach out to a million people but if I can somehow inspire a bit of passion in someone's life, then that to me is worth a million dollars any day.
Fridae: Given that you are dealing with the sexual fantasy trade, would you mind sharing your favourite fantasy?
Fridae (casts a quick look in mirror to re-confirm own boy-next-door image then asks weakly): How do you handle the fact that you're probably the Fantasy Made Flesh for many lusty gay men?
Van: Being a "fantasy" figure is an easy task. Being "real" with someone for a long time - now that's the real challenge. And I really respect that.
Fridae (in a never-to-be-repeated bold moment): You're an incredibly sexy and sexual individual. What do you think makes a person sexy?
Van: Modesty, a good sense of humor and a youthful curiosity.
Fridae (blushing): As an Asian gay man, do you see yourself as a role model for gay men of Asian descent? If so, are you worried there might be negative repercussions?
Van: I don't think that it's healthy for a person to have just one role model in his life. Then he'll probably be trying to become a carbon copy of his role model. I think that one should have several role models from whom one can draw inspiration from. And if I'm indeed a role model for the Asian gay community, I would be proud to be a part of that source of inspiration.
Fridae (recovering none too soon): What is the feedback from the Asian gay community thus far regarding your various endeavors?
Van: I do get tons of email from Asian guys thanking me for putting the message out there that, yes, there are Asian men - not just Asian boys out there - and yes, Asian men are be butch too.
Fridae: Finally, what advice do you have to give to your fans who aspire to be the next Asian Sex God?
Van: Well, I don't consider myself an Asian Sex God (laughs) but I guess for someone who aspires to be one, my advice would be: Don't be predictable and keep them guessing. Don't be afraid to make an ass of yourself.
Fridae: Thank you for agreeing to this interview Van.
Van: My pleasure.
Fridae (off-the-record): Now about that request for an autographed thong I made earlier...
Van Darkholme will be making a special appearance in Singapore on Aug 8 at Fridae's Nation party.