19 Apr I Have a Secret Crush on Max Cameron So Read This Article About Him
One of the weird perks of working for Rentboy.com is that you get to meet a huge assortment of strange and wonderful (and less than wonderful) people who do strange and wonderful things. I’m not really supposed to have any outward facing “yay!” or “UGH!” thoughts about these people cause that’s not great for business and not great for my relationship with people, and you know – just generally not great.
But I kinda can’t NOT fangirl about Max Cameron. I met him at Hustlaball last year and probably didn’t say like six words to him because he was one of a handful of people I was like “don’t interact with them too much or they’ll see your horrible personality and be jealous of your hair!” and I wanted him to not hate my horrible personality so I was just like “OMG you’re Max Cameron. That’s pretty cool!” and ran away.
But I’m super impressed by him, and I don’t ever think I’ve seen him in person or a photo of him, or a video of him (or anything) where he wasn’t smiling at some point, and I dunno. He just has the best attitude about shit and deserves all the accolades he gets. You literally never hear someone say “Oh Max? Yeah he’s a real box of factory reject dildos.” It’s always positive, always enthusiastic.
I was rooting for him to take home Mr. International at the Hookies, and this is a totally great write-up of Max and the Hookies experience overall. Check it out:
“YAY! I’M SANFRANCISCO’S BESTMALE HOOKER!”On the night of February 13, several nubile, barely dressed contestants were onstage at the Powerhouse bar in SoMa — tarted up, flexed up, and ready to throw down. Sister Roma, boa-swirling porn goddess, drag icon and member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and emcee for the evening, prowled the perimeter, whipping the crowd into a lusty lather. Soon, one of the anxious men on display would claim the lauded title Best Male Escort in San Francisco.
But first, he might have to deep-throat a foot-long dildo.
This was the local qualifying round of the Hookies, the online male-escort version of Miss Universe, during which a greased handful of hopefuls lock horns to win a trip to New York to compete for the Best International Male Escort crown on March 20. Sponsored by long-running on-demand escort site Rentboy.com, the ninth annual Hookies competition visits cities across the US, Canada, and Europe and rates contestants in categories like Best Bottom, Best Daddy, Best Porn Star, and Best Top (where applicable), before announcing an overall winner, chosen online by Rentboy users.
The New York–based Rentboy site has been around for almost 20 years and claims to have hosted more than 40,000 profiles of male escorts and masseurs available around the world. The Hookies, whose culminating ceremony is loaded with porn stars, drag queens, and gay celebrities, is obviously a PR stunt, but one with an important side effect: it helps give the male-escort profession a human face, even as it cartoonishly focuses on the escorts’ other parts.
With rents continuing to skyrocket in major cities, many men are hawking their companionship online to make ends meet, although some do it just for fun and adventure — or merely because they feel that it’s their true calling. At any given time on Rentboy, you can call up more than 100 willing companions based in San Francisco advertising a dizzying array of talents, from compassionate nuzzling and innocent social-event companionship to double-fisting to diaper play. Male-escort sites also provide some extra side income for nomadic travelers, visiting tourists, or porn performers in town for movie shoots, so you’re bound to encounter a few fresh out-of-town faces among Rentboy’s listing as well.
To be clear, prostitution is still illegal in the United States, except for the wee desert patch of Nevada. You can’t sell sex, even online. Most male escorts emphasize that their fees — which can reach up to $3,000 a night but mostly average around $250 per hour — are for mere companionship. You’re renting a person’s time. The tradition of gay male escorting, however, usually implies that a healthy dose of “et cetera” is included in the fee, and for most male-escort sites, what goes on between an escort and his client is strictly a private affair.
A representative of Rentboy told Huffington Post last year that the company had never encountered any legal problems and didn’t see any need to alter its format.
So why hire an escort rather than just hook up with a stranger online? Well, escorting (in any capacity) is a talent like any other, and these men claim to be the best — so there’s a quality-control factor at play. There are also certain risks of flakiness or incompatibility to consider with online hookups. But with a hired escort, you get to call the shots to satisfy your desires. For example, to become a Rentboy client, all you have to do is search for what you’re into, check your escort’s hourly rates, and see if you and your potential buddy click, either over the phone or online. Then you just view their availability for dates and times (or “heart” for later). It’s pretty much Airbnb for gay sex — er, companionship.
San Francisco has its own vibrant history of male escorting, from the pages upon pages of call-boy ads in the Bay Area Reporter and the Bay Guardian in the early 1970s to the casual pickups of the Polk Street hustler scene, which is still around yet dwindling due to the changing neighborhood. It’s always been a cutthroat business, however, especially after it moved from the street corners and back pages to online, where picking up a temporary partner became less a shot in the dark and more a streamlined shopping experience, complete with consumer ratings, price comparisons, niche markets, and discount outlets.
So being nominated for a Hookie is a nice, big boost in one’s career.
Ultimately, the local-escort-overachiever tiara went to a tight-bodied kinkster with a ready smile and a bulging intellect named Max Cameron.
“Having grown up in conservative Orange County — gasp! — I had these negative, preconceived notions about escorting and its ramifications,” Cameron told me after his win. “My impression was a total stereotype of a hooker: imagine Julia Roberts before she meets Richard Gere. When I began escorting, which took me about a year after starting a porn career, I quickly realized that is far from the reality.”
Young, sandy-haired, tattooed, and eager, Cameron is perhaps anything but a stereotype when it comes to his profession. He had a “super-normal, some could say privileged” suburban upbringing in Huntington Beach. He acted next to Angela Lansbury at age nine and toured Japan in a boys’ choir at 11. He started following his Orange County neighbors, the Offspring, around age 16 and wound up as a VJ for a major TV channel in Argentina at 21.
After returning to the States, Cameron started escorting because he found himself in a tight position financially and needed a solution. Nonetheless, he and most of his peers are proud of the work they do, even as they negotiate the legality of it all. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he says. “You just have to trust your gut. I always emphasize that you are paying to spend time with me, not for any sexual acts. Keep in mind that an escort can provide many things — companionship, a travel buddy, a feeling of intimacy, or even therapy for that matter. If, in the course of our time together, I consent to anything beyond companionship, that is my prerogative.”
A member of the SF Spikes soccer team, former volleyball coach, and avid skier and snowboarder, Cameron nonetheless found his most comfortable physical expression through his porn work (he’s involved with almost all the major studios and specializes in fisting flicks) and escorting services.
Escorting has also been a boon for him, taking him on weeklong trips to Hawaii as a travel companion and scoring him a few surprise celebrity clients. (“You’ll never get me to tell you who they were!”) He’s also used escorting to pay for his own vacations, picking up clients in the cities he’s visiting. In the last few months, his porn and escorting careers have taken him to New York, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, LA, San Diego, Boston, and even West Virginia.
As Cameron told me, almost all porn performers also escort; the two things go hand in hand. With the deluge of amateur and pirated porn, there’s no way to live off a porn career alone. Porn performers have had to diversify and synergize. Now a widely distributed porn scene becomes a way to advertise one’s escorting services (or life-size dildo or rapping career or line of artisanal lubes), which is where the real money is.
It’s not all wine and roses, though, despite the extra-income stream. Cameron related an escorting horror story that’s a bit too insane to tell here, but let’s just say it involved a lot of bodily fluids one wouldn’t normally encounter on an extended date.
And then there’s the pressure that escorting might put on personal relationships — in this case, competition in the biz from Cameron’s own boyfriend: a puppyish brunette who goes by the rather perfect name of Jackson Fillmore.
“Jackson just started escorting a short while ago, and he’s been killing it. In fact, that bitch has been stealing my business. I’m going to start charging him a fee!” Cameron says jokingly. He adds that when people book them together, it makes things much easier. “He’s my boyfriend, after all, so anything we do together is fun.”
In the end, Cameron says the key to being an escort is being approachable. “Friends of mine laugh when I list that I’m ‘college educated’ in my profiles or that I speak fluent Spanish and Italian, because I’m ‘just escorting.’ I think that’s a selling point, actually,” he says. “I think that it allows me to have a less vapid, meaningful conversation with clients.” He’s more than just a body, and people can relate to that.
As for the big Best International Male Escort competition in New York, Cameron doesn’t seem too worried about the competition. “Right now I’m just having a ball joking about it all,” he says. “Yay, I’m San Francisco’s best male hooker!”