Sean Michaels: A XXX Legend
In 1988, Sean Michaels started a long and prosperous career in the adult industry. While he never intended to be a porn star, he not only excelled at performance, he helped to bring in an era of integrity and charm to an industry that has often been criticized for celebrating some of the less-pleasant parts of our society. Sean Michaels is a director, producer, and mentor to many in the industry. With well-respected friends and costars, Michaels has created some of the most unique and sensual pictures in the business, and with almost three decades under his belt, Sean Michaels is still on top of his game.
Michaels is originally from New York, but in 1987 he moved to Los Angeles. He was going to school for nursing when he began moonlighting doing photography work. During the late 1980s, Michaels was offered the opportunity to model for some erotic pictures. While he had never done anything as risque as nude modeling, he already knew how to pose for the camera, as he had been in print, runway, and mainstream modeling work for a few years. He knew when he accepted the job that he would be diving head-first into an entirely different part of his personality. The first few shoots were only still photography. While these were classy nudes with penetration, Michaels began to meet more and more people connected to the adult industry. In the late 1980s, Michaels made the move to video and starred with Rachel Ryan, whom he performed with in Some Like it Hot, released in 1990, and Hollywood Hineys No. 1, released in 1993. In addition to filming with Ryan, who was a huge star at the time, he worked for top studios of the day, like Cal Vista, and Bruce 7 Productions, in addition to monoliths in the industry, like Hustler and Marc Dorcel. He won his first AVN award in 1993 for Best Anal Sex Scene in Arabian Nights. Michaels has worked with all the top stars too. Early in his career he was partnered with some of the biggest female talent in the business, like Jasper and Lynn Lemay.
In addition to performing with top talent, he also became long-time friends with Nina Hartley and her husband at the time. In fact, Nina Hartley recalls the first time she met Michaels in an interview at the end of The Black Pack, in which she tells the interviewer about the young Sean Michaels, the overriding racism in the adult industry, and how because of Michaels' darker complexion, he was often offered roles focusing on racist stereotypes. Contrary to what might have been offered to him, Michaels did not accept these roles. He continued to take leading roles without performing to type. Michaels has stated that his intention with his films is to show his love for women and to perform as a man having sex with beautiful women, not an interracial stereotype. This focus has remained true throughout his career.
Michaels has always considered himself a creator and storyteller and he felt like it was only natural that he became more involved in the decision-making and visionary process behind his films. He had been inspired to direct after attending the Lee Strasberg Institute (a film and acting school), and in 1991, Michaels began directing films in addition to creating Sean Michaels International in order to have full creative control of his content and distribution. Michaels lists some of his mainstream film inspirations as Sidney Poitier, Spike Lee, and Alfred Hitchcock, and adult industry pioneer, John Leslie was a huge influence to him in directorial style as well. Some of Michaels' first directorial projects, like In Loving Color (a spoof of the mid-90s comedy show series), were incredibly well-received, while his Up Your Ass series would become some of the most popular anal-themed films of the time.
Recognized for his tireless work and pioneer status, he was honored by Adult Video News and selected for their prestigious AVN Hall Of Fame award in 1995. In 2000, he was awarded Hall Of Fame status from XRCO.
In 2009, Michaels teamed up with John Stagliano and his team at XXX powerhouse, Evil Angel. Sean credits Evil Angel for helping him grow his brand as well as allowing him his own creative freedom. The most popular series from his Evil Angel - Sean Michaels line was Evil Cuckold, which was an interracial cheating series.
In addition to his lengthy list of successes in film, Michaels was one of the first male performers to have a sex toy created from his likeness, The Sean Michaels Dildo, which is still available for purchase. Sean Michaels also developed Sean Michaels University with the goal of training those interested in getting into the adult industry.
Decades later, Sean Michaels' career has outlasted the majority of other stars in the industry. Michaels is one of very few classic stars that maintains such consistent work performing in the challenging climate of today's adult industry, as he frequently appears in new releases from popular, contemporary studios. Because of his sterling reputation and ability to deliver in his performances, Michaels continues to be a scene partner that newer starlets choose to work with, some even for their very first scenes in the industry. In 2017 alone, Michaels' scenes in Interracial Booty Vol. 2 and Too Big For Teens 22 are some of the highest-rated scenes in those films.
Simply put, Sean Michaels' incredible longevity as a performer in the adult industry is obscured only by his ability to routinely seek out and accomplish new career challenges to add to his enduring legacy. Sean Michaels was, is, and will continue to be one of the most consummate legends in the history of the adult industry.
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