Back Stories – Johnny Anglais

This past February, it was determined by the University of Cambridge that “pornography” does indeed provide a good public service. (!!!) Let me explain…

On Thursday, February 17, 2011, The Cambridge* Union Society hosted a debate that explored this statement/question: “This house believes pornography does a good public service.”

(*as in the University of Cambridge in England – dang!!)

Two three-member teams hashed out arguments for and against the statement/question; and although there’re varying accounts of exactly what happened at the debates, suffice it to say that “porn won” – according to The Cambridge Union Society, adult content does indeed provide a good public service. (detailed summary and several expository links here)

Each team, both for and against, was made up of some very interesting folks. One member of “Team Proposition” (those in support of the aforementioned statement/question) was sex performer/vilified former teacher, Johnny Anglais. Johnny’s Union-sanctioned bio states:

JOHNNY ANGLAIS (aka Jonny Cockfill) is a hardcore porn star. He also used to teach Politics and PSHE at an Essex secondary school, but was forced to quit his teaching role after the students found out about his second job. Following his resignation he said he had ‘no regrets’ and is ‘proud’ of his work as a stripper and porn actor.”

Upon reading this bio, I was immediately intrigued. Who was this guy Johnny, what had he gone through, and what was happening in his career and life now? And – really – what was the debate like??

Well, as luck would have it, I recently got the opportunity to ask Johnny all these questions and more – read on!!So, call me silly, but I must know – “Jonny Cockfill” or “Johnny Anglais”?

“I have become known by two names.  Most famously, ‘Johnny Anglais,’ although ‘Jonny Cockfill’ is actually my porn name.

Haha ok… I’ll just leave it at Jo(h)nny then!! Sooo how did you first get involved in adult entertainment?

Actually my very first scene was for a softcore shoot I did while in Canada on a year off. I was out of work and responded to an ad in the newspaper.

It was several years later, while working for a consultancy firm in the financial district of London, that a production company saw my ad relating to naked butlering work that I was doing at the time. They asked me to come and try out for their porn website.  I did, and the rest is history.

(naked butlering!! oh my god…)

…and then you became a teacher? Why the career change?

It was never really a ‘career change’ per se. Up until becoming a teacher, I flitted between different jobs, never fully really knowing what it was I wanted to do. I went from working in a restaurant, to a bank, to a travel firm, to a consultancy firm, to a local government office, to a bit of freelance writing/editing, and only ever doing porn now and then on the side. More for fun, if anything.

Both my parents, however, were teachers. And although they told me to do anything but teach, I eventually realized that teaching would be a pretty good natural calling for me. I had always enjoyed working with young people and had been a good training provider in several of my previous jobs.

Funnily enough, one of the things that finally pushed me into teaching was, after having done a porn shoot, hanging out with the couple who produce the videos. At the time, their family included two boys, aged ten and twelve. The parents commented on my ability to relate to and talk with their sons and asked if I’d ever thought about working with children.

Oh I see!! So much press makes it out like you were really deep in as a performer, but it was more part-time and ‘for fun’ as you say.

So you became a teacher, but then started working as an exotic dancer? That’s kinda the temporal inverse of the path many seem to take… How did that happen?

I was curious to know if I would be any good at it. Having done the naked butlering…

(again with the talk of naked butlering!! Distraaacting…)

…I had always toyed with the idea of stripping.  Incidentally, I think ‘dancing’ is perhaps a little misleading. It’s more just ‘moving to rhythm’!

For me, it was an outlet.  Teaching was enjoyable, and it was rewarding knowing that you are changing lives; but it doesn’t make you feel sexy.  Stripping enabled me to express my creative side and my use my performance skills (having had a history of performance, particularly in the theatre), as well as giving me added reason to stay in shape… and not to mention the ego-boost from having screaming fans telling you how much they love you and how hot you are!

But then something happened… I’ve heard that, in a nutshell, students found out about your past work as an adult performer (not the stripping), and you lost your job…?

You know, I still don’t know the exact details. As I understand it, students actually saw me in a trailer for an adult channel.  I wasn’t doing anything sexual in the trailer, but it was enough to get suspicions roused.

For around two weeks, I had students coming up to me and asking me if it was true. Of course, I denied it.  I said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous, I’m a teacher!’  But they didn’t believe me.  They’re not blind or stupid!

It was a strange time.  I would have boys telling me I was a ‘legend.’  Funnily enough, I actually got more out of some of the worst behaved students in the actual lessons.  It was as if they had a new found respect for me.

Then, one morning, I was driving into school when a close colleague called me and said that all my lessons were being taken by a cover teacher.  Well, I knew that was it.  So I told school I wasn’t coming in so as not to embarrass them.  I confessed to everything and told them to make their decision.

It pains me that you say ‘confessed’ Johnny, as if you had done something wrong… How did you feel about all this while it was happening?

A mixture of feelings really.  Relief that it was all finally open, that I didn’t need to lead these separate lives and hide aspects of my self and unsure, obviously, about the future.

The strongest emotion though was of sadness at not having been able to say a proper good bye to all the students whom I loved working with and for.

Ahhh man I’m so sorry… How do you feel about it now?

I still regret the manner in which I left, but I don’t regret having done any of the work.  Plus, rightly or wrongly, it has opened so many new doors for me and allowed me to do so many things I could only have dreamt of before.

I loved teaching, and I am so grateful to have had the experience of working with such amazing young minds. I also love doing the porn and stripping and am not ashamed of having done both alongside being a teacher.  Humans are mutli-faceted beings.  We can be amazing, articulate and inspiring educators on one hand while also being red-blooded sex beasts on the other.  One does not negate the other.

But I am not naïve enough to not realize that those in power and many in society don’t agree with that.  I just regret that many people can’t be a little more open-minded to a human being’s capacity to encapsulate all aspects of life and their right to choose to be as ‘colourful’ in their private life as they desire.

I think that if we actually un-earthed the private lives of many teachers and other professionals, we would discover some pretty shocking and fascinating skeletons that would raise far more eyebrows than a simple romp on camera does.  But as long as it is legal, consensual, and done in a respectful manner, what right does anyone or anything have to penalize someone for it?

This speaks to so many different issues including, as you say, persons’ relatively public and private lives and the idea that humans have the capacity to be many things… not even to mention the fact that underage persons were watching advertisements for adult content!! What the heck??!! methinks their parents did not lose their jobs though – bah!!

So, in the wake of all this, how did you get involved with the Cambridge porn debate that was held this past February?

No idea.  I asked the same question to the President of the Union at the time.  She reckons she came across my story in the newspaper and then researched to find my email address to invite me along.  Voila!

Haha, just like that!! Sooo… what was the experience like? What was the opposition like? What did you take away from the experience overall?

It was a great experience.  The anticipation is always the most nerve-wracking aspect, rather than actually being up there and delivering your argument.  I am used to performing to an audience, but actually being myself and in front of what is supposed to be amongst the most elite of our society was somewhat daunting.

But it was brilliant. I got my point across, didn’t bombard them with facts and figures, and mostly drew from own experience. It seems to have worked.

I don’t want to get overly personal about the opposition… One member of their team was a bitter old battle-axe whose face was permanently on down-turn; she refused to have a formal dinner with us. The second was a child psychologist who seemed to wonder why on earth he was there. His argument is somewhat mute when you consider that porn is not intended to be consumed by minors.

The final speaker, an ex-porn-‘star’-in-around-30-movies-and-prostitute-for-6-years-turned-ordained-christian-minister-by-an-unaccredited-institution-to-a-christian-sect-that-she–created, came across as rather intoxicated and ill prepared… Her best quote? “Porn kills more people than even the music industry!”

The latter two speakers were actually rather nice people though, and both took the time to congratulate me on my speech afterwards.

Wow. I’ve read the transcript of your speech – it was really great!! That had to be such a high… So, what exactly are you up to now?

Many, many things… I still strip.  I recently came back from a trip to Albania being one of the first male strippers ever there, touring Holland with the London Knights and am in the process of joining The Dreamboys.

I still shoot porn now and then, mostly for Television X but I also have my own members’ website.

I seem to have become something of a spokesperson for the British porn industry recently, having been invited by the Cambridge University Union and BBC television to debate and defend its right to exist.

I also do bits of acting.  I just finished a weeks shooting for a new film called ‘The Knot.’  I play a stripper called ‘Steelo.’  It stars Mena Suvari (American Beauty and American Pie), Noel Clarke, Matthew McNulty, and Talulah Riley and will be in cinemas over here on Valentine’s Day next year. I was in Romania a few weeks ago shooting an episode for a new HBO/Cinemax series called ‘Girls Guide to Depravity,’ airing in October. I also do bits of singing and writing.

On top of that, I have also become a foster parent to a former student who I helped rescue from Pakistan after he was forced into a Madrassa and was subsequently abused, physically and sexually.  Together we are working on forming a charity/action group for young people in a similar situation.

Wow!! What a series of twists your life has taken!! So, where do you see yourself in five years?

Gosh, I don’t plan so far ahead anymore.  I have to see where life takes me and not be so prescriptive.  It’s a far more realistic approach, and it avoids disappointment.

I would like to be able to pursue more acting, particularly film roles.  I also want to be producing more of my own porn.  But I’m not stupid – I know many in the mainstream world will look down on the latter.  But so far it has worked to my advantage.  We shall see what we shall see.  I will keep you posted.”

Post away, Johnny… post away.

Johnny’s experiences point to the apparently inevitable vilification and pigeonholing of adult entertainers in general and former adult entertainers in particular (although it does seem that we hear about women former performers more frequently, which speaks to additional issues related to sex work and gender).

No matter what, it doesn’t seem like one can ever “outrun” a porn performer past, even if it was just an occasional “for fun” occupation like it was for Johnny… or an occasional circumstantial occupation like it was for Tera Myers/Tericka Dye/”Rikki Anderson.”

I find it very interesting that the Cambridge Union-sanctioned bio seemed to highlight (read: over-emphasize) Johnny’s work as a porn performer…

JOHNNY ANGLAIS (aka Jonny Cockfill) is a hardcore porn star. He also used to teach Politics and PSHE at an Essex secondary school, but was forced to quit his teaching role after the students found out about his second job. Following his resignation he said he had ‘no regrets’ and is ‘proud’ of his work as a stripper and porn actor.”

…when 1) the students actually found out about his former (at the time) job and 2) it sounds to me like he had less expeience working as a porn performer and far more experience being a relatively private erotic entertainer (…aaand we’re back to that whole naked butlering thing again).

Now obviously The Union would want to focus on Johnny’s experiences in porn performance in anticipation of the specific debate they were hosting; however, this over-emphasis may also point to porn performance as the pan-ultimate in stigmatizing sex work. In other words: a person could work as an exotic dancer for years, but all it takes to trump that entire occupational history is a handful of adult scenes. Or maybe all it takes is one.

Rather than allowing himself to be ostracized for his choices, I find it interesting that Johnny is still in the public eye (whereas others like Tera/Tericka are not… this may also speak to additional issues related to sex work and gender). He is not apologetic about any of the work he has done, be it dance or fuck or teach or deliver glasses of champagne wearing only…

(dang it – AGAIN!! arrrgghh!!)

You can visit Johnny online at JonnyCockfillxxx.com (hard, for-pay site) and JohnnyAnglais.com (hott and sexy, “get-to-know-me” site featuring some great video journal-type material).

If you have any questions for Johnny or would like to “enquire” (hott English!!) about making a booking, you may email him at either johnnyanglais@gmail.com or jonnycockfill@gmail.com. He is also available for the tweeting and the facebooking.

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From performers to post-production, office workers to executives, PVVOnline Back Stories explore the lives of people who work in all aspects of the adult industry. For more industry insiders’ Back Stories, go here.

Images courtesy of Johnny Anglais.

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