XCritic Interview: Mercedes Carrera
Puerto Rican beauty Mercedes Carrera brings a well-rounded résumé to the adult industry along with a deep passion and respect for the business. The brown-eyed brunette got her start in front of the camera at the outset of her teen years as a print model for prominent mainstream brands and later majored in science and technology before entering the engineering field.
Currently, Mercedes is working on a military-based passion project titled Operation MILF, where veterans of the United States Armed Forces are invited to tender submissions for the opportunity to perform in an online scene with the beautiful starlet.
Mercedes kindly spoke with XCritic on the evening of April 3 to discuss Operation MILF, her recent decision to become a free agent performer and more.
You can follow Mercedes on Twitter under the handle @TheMercedesXXX and check out her FreeOnes page here. Booking inquiries may be directed to [email protected].
(Special thanks to Daemon Cins and Don Juan DeMarko)
Thanks for making some time for me, I appreciate it.
Can you tell us about the project you were working on today?
I have a website called Operation MILF. It’s like a Fuck-A-Fan thing for military veterans. I am also making some additional content; I’ve partnered with another up-and-coming site so I’ll be able to sell things when the site goes live. Really, a lot of my spare time now is spent preparing for that.
You recently decided to depart your talent agency in favor of self-booking. Can you talk about what was behind that decision?
Sure. Well, I had been with my agency for about three-and-a-half years - pretty much since I started in the industry. I was no longer under contract to them.
I’ve worked a lot. I’ve been very, very fortunate and the industry has been very good to me. And I know a lot of people. It was mostly just to streamline my process because now that I’ll have this site that I’ll be working on, I just wanted to have more control over my scheduling.
Going back to the beginning, can you tell us how you initially became interested - and later involved - in the adult industry?
Sure. I didn’t start until I was, I think, 30. (Laughs) I’m 35 now. It was kind of a long process. I was a commercial print model when I was in high school and into college. So, I did a lot of commercials and stuff like that. Growing up in L.A., that’s not totally uncommon - I was scouted when I was a teenager.
I went to university for engineering and worked in engineering for about six years. I still had friends in the audiovisual world, and I actually had a boss at one of the tech companies who was loosely involved in the adult industry in the technical, backend website stuff. So, that was actually my first exposure to porn - it was on the technical side. I had a lot of connections on that side. Somebody had said, “Why don’t you perform? It‘s a lucrative business; you might be good at it.” So, I tried it and took to it like a fish to water.
So, that was that. I didn’t intend for this to be a full-time job - I actually did one shoot. If you are a mainstream actor or model, it’s not uncommon to only work a couple of times a month. So, I kind of thought I’d do this on the side and keep doing my AV production work. The industry had different plans for me, because I started working really extensively. The first month, I think I worked 20-25 days straight.
So, it’s kind of been like that ever since. It has ebbs and flows because that’s the world and you have to dial back - you can’t work at that pace.
That’s about it. (Laughs) I kind of just ended up here. I was very fortunate. I think the first year, year-and-a-half I was in the industry, AVN chose me for their ads. I’ve had a really good career. Everyone thinks I’ve been in a lot longer than I have been. (Laughs) It’s probably my age.
Is that something you are thankful for - to have entered the business at a later age than many performers? Do you feel that worked to your advantage?
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I think in general, having life experience in anything is usually helpful. I think the young performers get a bad rap because they are young. Young people are not necessarily known for being mature. How could they be? They are young. And I think it’s a little unfair because people want to give the young performers a hard time. In any industry - whether it’s music or any other kind of performance art - 18 to 25-year-olds usually are not going to be the most disciplined group unless they are really being managed that way.
I think the adult industry … you can do better in it over a longer haul. But there are some young women who have it together. It just depends. I think for me, I was fortunate because I had a lot of behind-the-scenes experience with video and editing and stuff like that. So, it helps me. As a performer, I think like an editor or a director, so it makes my experience on set a little more seamless, probably.
Right. That makes a lot of sense. As you mentioned, many people believe you have been in the industry for longer than you have, and you have accomplished a lot. With that said, are there any specific goals or aspirations you have in mind for your career looking down the road?
Oh, yeah. I really feel fortunate to be in the era of the Internet because it’s possible for a performer to continue performing for years. Some of the best advice I ever received when I started in the industry was from Christian XXX. He said, “Porn is marathon, not a sprint.” So, I’ve kind of taken things in that pace and not allowed myself to rush into too many things and waited until the time was right.
At the same time, I’ve chosen to do some things that are probably a little unorthodox. I work with the trans performers - who I love. I love working with trans performers. So, I really want to continue to push the envelope with what’s possible in terms of bending gender expectations and stuff like that, and doing it in a way without a lot of fanfare. It’s kind of like when I did my first I.R. scene - and I hate that term because I’m Puerto Rican, so I’m actually bi-racial on my mother’s side. I refuse to take more money for it - just a normal rate. I wanted to work with Prince Yahshua and there was an opportunity to do so, so I just did it that way. No big fanfare.
I’ve done a lot of stuff in my personal life that I haven’t done on film yet, like gangbangs and DPs and a lot of stuff. So, I want to start to bring that out more. But I’m taking my time.
Right now, I’m really focusing on this military project and the website launch. I’ve done about five or six scenes so far that are edited with military veterans. These are guys that I find are cool guys. So, I want to start doing that more regularly, too.
You alluded earlier to your pre-adult industry work and you really do have quite an interesting and impressive résumé. You modelled for Macy’s, Target and other mainstream brands in addition to being an engineer.
Yeah. Mainstream, I did Target, Macy’s, Skechers, I was in Cosmopolitan. So, I had a lot of good exposure there.
I worked (in engineering) for about five years. It was kind of a timing thing. I started my engineering rotation in 2002-2003 as an intern, which was an interesting time to be in aerospace. I ended up in a strategic program and I was on a big program that got shut down. The reason was because after 9/11, the world terror and that ramped up, so they kind of pulled all their money out of strategic programs. I was working for a 20-year program, I believe. Essentially, it was going to be an optical communications satellite system and those things take 20-25 years to develop. It was a huge program and a lot of money, so when you get into war, those budgets usually get pulled and reallocated to tacticals - things like drones and what have you.
When that program got shut down, I didn’t get fired, but it was a horrible time to be in strategical aerospace. Everybody was jumping ship trying to get into something like radar or something that was going to be more tactical. I just started to burn out, to be honest. It was very intense work, so I decided to take the opportunity to go over to telecommunications because that was kind of a burgeoning market at the time. Then, 2008 happened and the bottom fell out of the global market. The Japanese firm I was with lost a lot of money.
In L.A., there’s always entertainment work and I knew a lot of people in that world. So, it was kind of circumstantial. I think résumés like that always sound more impressive on paper than they are in real life. People think, “You’re so smart.” I don’t know about that. I think I got into engineering at the wrong time - if it had been the 70s, I probably would have stayed.
Having been in the industry now for a few years, is there maybe one misconception about it from people outside the adult business that bothers you particularly or that you wish you could dispel?
Unfortunately, a lot of times people don’t realize - not necessarily consumers of porn, but just the outside world - they don’t necessarily realize how diverse the performer market is and also how much technical ability is required to run a brand in today’s market.
People are still going from the 70s or 80s model of thinking this is just a big party. But it’s work. Our call time is 8:00 a.m., we show up mostly on time, people aren’t doing drugs on set. It’s not really a party environment - it’s not Boogie Nights. And the girls who have sustainability are usually pretty smart - and men. There are just a lot more girls in the industry than men. But it’s definitely an industry that if you manage it correctly, you can do very, very well.
Sure. Can you tell us where you were raised and how you would describe yourself growing up?
I was born and raised in and around Los Angeles, California. My father was in the military, so I grew up in a family that was very tied to the military and government defense.
I was kind of a tomboy in a lot of ways. I learned to build things. I grew up in a working class home - just kind of the standard in California at that time.
What are some of your interests and hobbies?
Oh, I have a ton of hobbies. I love to read, I have a very large library on many topics, most of which are non-fiction. I’m not a big fiction reader.
I play the piano. I like to cook. One thing I love about the adult industry is that it gives me a great opportunity to many things outside of performing.
How about favorites - favorite movies, T.V. shows and musical artists?
I don’t watch a lot of T.V. It’s not a pastime that I find a lot of value in. My favorite movie is probably The Gladiator. I like historical dramas.
Music-wise, I like everything: classical to opera to rap to hip hop to jazz. You name it, I like it. I’m not really into one particular music scene. I do play the piano; I play mostly classical music.
Is there one thing about yourself that you feel may surprise a lot of people?
I think my background is surprising to people who don’t know about me. I feel fortunate for social media because I feel like the followers and friends I have on social media know me pretty well. (Laughs) They surprise me sometimes with the things that they send me. They know me so well, they know exactly what I like. It’s kind of fun. I have a lot of tech/science people that are following my Twitter, so it’s kind of neat.
Are there any other current or upcoming projects that you would like to mention?
The main thing is really the Operation MILF stuff. That’s kind of the big thing. I’ve gotten thousands of submissions from military guys, so that should keep me busy for a while. So, fans, stay tuned to OperationMILF.com and to my Twitter, @TheMercedesXXX, to stay up on whatever I’m doing.
I was reading about the Operation MILF project and it does seem like a really cool thing to do.
Yeah. I love the military because I grew up with them. It’s so great because guys are sending me all kinds of messages when they get back from deployment - “Hey, I spent a lot of time with you.” I think that’s so cool, that I’m kind of by proxy getting to spend time with these guys who are really lonely. The war zones there are just awful because these are countries that don’t allow alcohol, they don’t have whorehouses. (Laughs) So, what are you going to do? And porn is now contraband because of the way the military runs. It used to be that they would let them put up girlie pictures or whatever, but because the barracks are all co-ed now, they can’t do that. So, it’s amazing how much of my porn has been watched on a phone in a latrine somewhere. (Laughs) It’s fucking crazy. And it’s such a neat thing for me to imagine. We have a lot of responsibility as performers because we’re kind of the reprieve for people who need us at that time. To me, it’s real honor and it’s kind of the least I can do.
In closing, is there anything else you wish to say to readers?
I really appreciate everyone who follows my work and supports Operation MILF, my custom videos and all of that. Just thank you to the industry and to the fans for allowing me to have this really cool career because my life is way more interesting than I ever thought it would be, thanks to everybody. So, I’m really grateful.
Again, I want to thank you for taking some time out to chat with me, it was lovely to speak with you. I wish you the very best as you move forward with your career.
Thank you so much, Cass, I appreciate it. Take care.