Manhattan Digest, Rocco Steele


In the varieties of interviews that I have done for Manhattan Digest (and other sites) I try to always get a human element in each person or persons that I interview.  Sure, I can talk to them about what they are known for mainly (music, television, movies, etc) but the basis behind any good article or interview is the hope that the reader comes away with something more than what is on the surface.  I got that and then some when I sat down with the humble, brilliant and beautiful Rocco Steele.

Rocco, who currently lives in New York City, is becoming a rising star in the adult world and has developed quite the fan following in a short period of time, something that many stars in any arena can take years to do so.  His good looks on top of his good performances have left his fans wanting more and he has delivered ten fold in everything that he has done so far.  So it came as no surprise to me that when I met up with him this past weekend after his flight back from London & Barcelona, that his passion that he displays on camera also showed when I interviewed him about his life and career leading up to where he is now.  Something that I found a big turn on about Rocco Steele is that he really made this a no holds barred interview.  From his troubled past with alcohol & drugs that has led to his sobriety for fifteen years, to his upfront and honest take about barebacking not only in the industry but in gay society as a whole, Rocco truly made this interview something that I hope many people can leave even more interested than they did before they read this.  Take a look.

So Rocco, tell me how you got your start in this industry.

I started escorting two years ago. A couple of studios approached me once they saw my ad, and I just wasn’t ready at that point. Back then I was working a corporate job and the time wasn’t right for obvious reasons. So when I left my corporate job a few months ago I decided to start my own business. I thought this would be a perfect time to enter the industry. Because I’m starting a business, I have a set goal in terms of timeline for this. I won’t be able to be doing this for a very long time. I’m using this as a means to an end, but at the same time I really enjoy it and want to have fun while doing it. So all in all it was about timing and the timing itself just happened to be right.

There are a lot of guys who can get sucked into this kind of “porn culture” with the partying, drinking, drugs and whatnot. Do you think it’s easy to navigate this world and get out the same way you came in?

It will be for me because I consider myself fairly well- grounded. I have a strong, spiritual background and a very strong support network, especially in New York City. Also, I’ve been clean and sober for over 15 years, so that helps a lot and my work in recovery gives me the tools to bring a lot of integrity to the table. I realize that with any given shoot, it’s not about me…it’s about showing up and giving the studio the best end-product I can – bringing my A-game, taking direction, etc. My recovery also allows me to stay level-headed and focused on my own goals and objectives – specifically, to do this for a certain period of time, while I am starting my business. So for me, it’s easy to navigate and stay away from the distractions of partying, drugs, etc.

Manhattan Digest, Rocco Steele
Credit to: Edwin Pabon Photography

Something that is big in not only porn culture but gay culture in fact is the phenomenon of the “daddy”, which you seem to embody in a lot of the scenes you do. What are your thoughts on it, in particular younger guys my age always seeing older men as that type?

I think its definitely here to stay. There were always daddies, it just doesn’t seem like there was an obsession like there is now. I came from the generation of gays (in the 90’s) where we all wanted to be super buff, in contrast to the 70’s and 80’s, where gay men were fit but not as muscular and big. The 90’s were different in that sense, where it was all about getting big. My generation of gays are now growing up and are in their 40s and 50s and we are maintaining those bodies. I think this is appealing to the younger generation of gays…big strong daddies with big muscles…but that’s just my theory.

Tell me about your first scene, what was it like? Were you nervous, excited?

He doesn’t realize this but Ray Dragon was pivotal in getting me there. He was somebody I had been talking to on and off for the past 18 months or so about entering porn. I knew that when and if I was ready, I would do my first scene for Ray. I would approach him every so often with questions about it and he would answer them for me and tell me to let him know when I was ready. When I decided to finally do it a few months ago, I reached out to Ray again. He was so great and took the time and talked to me on the phone. Because I had been so hesitant for awhile, He wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. That was something I really appreciated about Ray – he was very professional , compassionate and understanding of my personal decision making process.

My first scene was a solo scene for Ray Dragon. I took a train to his studio in Beacon, New York. I wasn’t stressed or anxious because I knew it was for Ray and he already put me at ease and managed my expectations. When I got there, he set up the scene and again walked me through everything. The set was an army tent. It was really a sexy set, and with the army attire, it was so easy to get into it and do what I had to do. Before I knew it, the scene was over.

Prior to the scene, I said to myself, “Let’s see how this goes. If it’s horrifying and a disaster, I won’t do it again”. But it was a really fun and an amazing experience and I knew on the train ride home it was what I wanted to continue doing.

Barebacking in the industry is becoming huge, even the mainstream ones are bending how they used to do things and allowing it into some of their scenes. What is your take on this?

I do bareback porn and I do condom porn, and it mirrors my life. When I meet and ultimately have sex with a negative guy, I am responsible and we are safe and use condoms. If the guy is on PrEp and tells me he wants bareback, we decide to do that as two consenting adults. I have read a lot of the recent research out about transmission of HIV when one partner is negative and the other is undetectable. Although risk factor is extremely low, there is still a risk so I need to be responsible in my life to prevent further transmission.

The same is how I like to approach my views on bareback in porn. I think there are studios that present it more responsibly than others. I think we have a responsibility even in bareback porn to educate how it can be done responsibly and I try to align myself with those studios who present it that way. I will never be that guy who vocally supports bareback porn over safe sex but it exists, so let’s be responsible about it.

Is there anyone you are dying to work with in the industry?

I’m kind of obsessed with Marcus Isaacs, I don’t know why. I do love that I am staying open to directors choosing partners for me because it makes it exciting – but for some reason I keep going back to Marcus, when I see his scenes and pictures- that’s my type. I mean, If I have a type , it’s him.

Manhattan Digest, Rocco Steele
Credit to: David Avila

What other stuff do you have going on outside the industry, can you discuss your other businesses?

Well I’m a self-taught photographer, and have been doing this for the past six years. Back then, I sold all my furniture to buy my first camera. I just started shooting head shots for friends and friends of friends which then lead to shooting models. I have worked with a couple of modeling agencies, who send me some models to test. I mainly help models build their portfolios but because my interest is in portraiture, I also like to capture more artistic “magical” moments while I shoot them for my own book.

I’m also starting an e-commerce business as well. I’m sure you can understand that I am not able to discuss the details. It’s been such an amazing journey, creating a company and a brand. I will have a website and will use social media as a means to market and drive traffic to the site. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time – working with factories in China for production. I hope to have production completed in the Fall and launch the website in the winter. It’s very organic and home-spun as I do all my own graphic design and my own photography. I designed my own logo and will shoot my own models. It’s thrilling to me because when I was in the corporate world, I was a small part in the decision making process, giving input but I never really felt like I was able to influence where the company is going. Now that this is my own thing, I have that control and it is fucking awesome.

One question I didn’t ask is, what do you ultimately want your fans to know about you?

Look – I could use this as an opportunity to say something really sexy and provocative, but what is most important is that I want people to know that I am just a nice normal guy. I care about people and I try to live my live with honesty and integrity. I am grateful to be on this journey. It’s not something I would have ever imagined for myself but I’m really enjoying it now that I’m on it. I am grateful to every fan and follower who supports me and my work. If this ends tomorrow, I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had up to this point.

Want to know more about Rocco Steele?  Check him out on his Twitter page!