It was hard for me to believe it had been so long, especially since she doesn’t look a day older now than she did then, but the first time I wrote about May Ling Su was over seven years ago. That brief article I did on the lovely “Internet exhibitionist,” was actually for another site and I shared it here.
Keeping in loose touch with May Ling through Facebook over the last several years, I knew she was somewhat of a nomad. She’s lived on both coasts of the US as well as her native Philippines, since I first met her. Currently living in Maine, she still has several unique websites that she personally operates. Super Spy Chick and Strip Karaoke being two of the more humorous and milder examples.
In addition to her work in front of the camera, May Ling has recently lent her voice to the audio book version of Anthony Pacheco’s Armageddon’s Princess. Also making a name for herself as a photographer, she’s had works displayed in galleries in the US and Europe. She tells me that her Maine location and the winter months have made it difficult for her to find models, but she plans on meeting with some this spring and for those interested, “fierce and fearless” is the type she says she’s looking to shoot.
CHRIS CHARLES: The first piece I wrote on you was way back in January of 2007. I know you move around quite a bit. How many places have you lived since then?
MAY LING SU: Let’s see ….2007 I was in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, 2008 I was on the Atlantic coast in Maine, 2009 I was back in the San Francisco Bay Area, this time right on the Pacific coast in Half Moon Bay. I was there for a while. Then in 2012 I went to the Philippines for a few months, then went back to California, in a farm in Lodi. Since 2013 I’ve been back on the Atlantic coast in Maine. It’s really just three places; California, Maine, Philippines, but I go back and forth.
CHRIS: I see. Any places you haven’t lived that you’d like to?
MAY LING: I love being near the ocean, as you may have noticed. I’ve never been to Europe. I’d like to go someday.
CHRIS: Back in 2007, I summed you up as an “Internet exhibitionist.” If you had list your occupation on a form now, what would it be?
MAY LING: On my Twitter @MayLingSu, I wrote myself up as performer/producer of erotica and porn. I think that covers making photos, videos, audio books, blogs, music and writing.
CHRIS: You moved to New York City when you first came to the US from the Philippines. What was your first show biz role after coming to the US?
MAY LING: About a week after I arrived in New York City, this was the mid-90s, I was having dinner in the Upper West Side. A woman approached me, asked if I was an actress and gave me her card. She was a casting director. She said she was casting a Woody Allen movie and she wanted me to audition for it. I was like, what? A Woody Allen movie audition my first week in New York? This is what dreams are made of, you know. It turned out to be a Mia Farrow movie about Woody Allen. Not the same thing.
Anyway, I didn’t go because the theater school I was attending at that time did not allow us to audition until after we graduated. But it always stuck as the role I could have had. Whether that would have been good for me or catastrophic, who knows? What do you think? Me as Soon-Yi?
CHRIS: Mmm, if that was the role you’d have been auditioning for, I really don’t see it, because she’s Korean and you’re Filipino. So, what were some of the “regular jobs” you held before your Internet porn career took off.
MAY LING: I was a social worker in a nursing home. I worked at a coffee shop. I was a waitress for one day before I got fired because I sucked at it. Waiting tables is a tough job! Since then I always tip big because I know how hard it is. I worked retail selling maternity clothes. I worked in the theatre as a performer, director, and any backstage job that’s needed. Then I became a web designer and the Internet changed my life.
CHRIS: If you’d have been born 10 years earlier, do you think you still would have gone into porn in your early-to-mid 20s, since porn would have been in the pre-Internet, VHS era at that time?
MAY LING: Not at all. Part of my bravado is the fact that I’m in my own space and have control of all the aspects of my porn, from production to distribution through my members website maycam.com. The VHS-era, though it was less expensive than the film era before it, was still not as accessible as the internet. You still need a big production studio and distribution channels back then. It’s so easy to make porn now. Everyone’s doing it.
CHRIS: In 2004, you appeared in the Timothy Greenfield-Sanders book XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits and his HBO documentary Thinking XXX. In both of those, you were in the company of some much more seasoned performers in the adult industry. Icons like Sharon Mitchell, Nina Hartley, and Ginger Lynn. You were a pretty new face in the business at that time and hadn’t really had any pre-Internet exposure. How did it come about that you were chosen to be included in those projects?
MAY LING: My photo, “The Moon and I,” was on exhibit at an art gallery in New York City. The curator of the art show, Grady Turner, showed my work to Jordan Schapps, who was working with Timothy Greenfield-Sanders on the book. Timothy wasn’t really convinced at first, but he booked me for a shoot, making no promises that I would actually make it to the book. I think when we met in person and did the photo shoot, that’s when he decided I would be one of the 30.
CHRIS: Do you ever get approached by people who recognize you from your adult work?
MAY LING: No. Although I’ve had people Tweet or e-mail me saying they spotted me, I’ve never been approached in person. Which I’m glad about. That would really be awkward. CHRIS: You’ve done a lot of outdoor shoots in various locations. Even had any unexpected and/or unwelcome experiences while on a shoot?
MAY LING: No. It’s all been good.
CHRIS: You’ve been taking a Birthday Nude since 1999. Do you always take that photo on your birthday?
MAY LING: Yes, it’s become a tradition for me to take a nude photo on my birthday and post it on my blog About a month ahead I start thinking about it.
CHRIS: Has your family always been supportive of your career?
MAY LING: I really polarized them. Some were supportive but some were really freaked out, gave me the silent treatment while gossiping about me behind my back. My dad wanted me to quit, but that’s not his choice to make. My mom didn’t really have any say, but she was supportive. If I gave too much thought to what people think of me I’d never get anything done.
MAY LING: Yes, I’m looking for models to photograph. It’s been difficult, with me moving a lot. Now that I’m in Maine, it’s even more difficult to find models. The winter put a lot of plans to meet people on hold. I’m looking to get back on track this spring.
CHRIS: Do you have any upcoming exhibits? MAY LING: Not right now. Lately I have been working on narrating and producing audio books. My first audio book is Armageddon’s Princess, written by Anthony Pacheco. It’s a very sexy sci-fi murder mystery. You can download it from iTunes, Amazon, or Audible. It’s the first of a trilogy, so you can expect more audio books coming from me in the future. I’ve also had a lot of offers from erotica authors to produce their audio books.
CHRIS: You also sing, write, and record songs as I recall?
MAY LING: Write, yes. Record, soon. I’ll be revamping my music site StripKaraoke.com and will be posting new stuff. Now that my recording studio is all set up here at home for producing audio books, I can easily squeeze in a song or two in between. Audio books are a really huge time commitment. For instance, the finished recording of Armageddon’s Princess is 13 hours long.
CHRIS: Do you have any hobbies or interests that you don’t include on your bios?
MAY LING: I’m an awesome cook. I geek out on kitchen appliances and am very particular about food. It’s got to be organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, antibiotic-free, unpasteurized, locally grown if possible. I’m a food label-reading freak. I give my body only the best. I’m very domestic. I knit, crochet, sew, garden. For someone who moves around a lot, home really means a lot to me.
CHRIS: Well, thanks so much for answering some questions I’ve wanted to ask you for a long time now, May Ling. In closing, any mentions or shout-outs to anyone?
MAY LING: I’ve been invited to contribute a short essay for a book called Agam, featuring the photography of Jose Enrique Soriano. It’s a project by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities in the Philippines. Please watch for it at ejeepney.org and support the cause. Thank you!
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English, traveling, and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the quarterly magazine, Effective.
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