THE QUEERTY INTERVIEW

Francois Sagat Opens Up On Gay Porn Suicides And Why He Quit The Business

photo 2 (1)For a man with such a robust physique, gay porn phenomenon Francois Sagat chose a surprisingly understated way to announce his retirement from the adult film industry. There would be no going out with a bang. Last week he released a 16-seconds-long black-and-white video in which he turned to face the camera and uttered, “Hello, I’m François Sagat and from this day forward I’ve retired from porn.”

The 33-year-old Frenchman had already used his renown in the porn industry — he’s the face and, let’s face it, bottom of TitanMen — to branch out to a directing career, act in slightly more mainstream films (Bruce LaBruce’s L.A. Zombies), and serve as a muse for numerous artists, photographers and clothing designers. Having enjoyed his work as a fashion model, Sagat is about to launch his own clothing line, beginning with T-shirts that he designed himself. He recently spoke with Queerty about why he felt it was time to change careers, the suicide of other gay porn stars, and whether the bareback trend in the industry is irresponsible.

What was behind the decision to announce your retirement in the video?

Actually, I stopped doing porn two years ago, but I didn’t make a public statement then. The last one I did was Incubus, which I shot in 2011. Some fans were waiting for new movies and I was a bit embarrassed to tell them that there would be no more. So I made this video that I shot last April at Disneyland to confirm I wasn’t making anymore porn.

Are you sure you weren’t just having a moment at Disneyland while surrounded by all those families and happy children?

[Laughs] No, the decision was made a while ago. I was already moving into directing and taking advantage of other creative opportunities. Before Incubus, I hadn’t done a shoot since 2009. It just wasn’t something I was living for anymore. You know when you don’t want to do something. I like sex, of course, but at some point you just realize you don’t want to do something anymore. I’m almost 34. I don’t think I can make better movies than I’ve already made. A porn career is like modeling in that you see yourself aging year after year. I don’t want to see myself aging this way.

So there’s definitely a shelf life for adult film actors?

I see guys who are 40 years old who still look amazing and are having great sex on camera.

Do you think you’ll return to the industry down the road?

No, no. I think it’s better this way. If I had to do it all again, I would for sure. This is the way I’ve built my image. This is just part of the cycle of life.

You have devoted fans around the world. What kind of transition is necessary to walk away from that kind of attention?

I think there’s no real transition. People will always connect me with porn. It’s the way I’m known and it will always be part of me. I will always be the porn star. If I tried to hide it or reject it, it would be worse, I think. Transition is hard. Maybe I’ll lose some fans because they’ll no longer be interested in me. Maybe they still want to see me as a sexual object, which is fine. I completely understand it. Maybe I’ll gain new fans. [Laughs] It’s very pretentious to talk about fans when you’re just being yourself. I’ve had interesting people following me. I’ve been very lucky.