Porn: America Moore, Chloe Cherry, Bianca Censori, Maison Margiela


Screenshot of Baz Luhrmann’s movie for the Maison Margiela Artisanal Collection.

America has a perfect round ass. We watch her mount a McMansion staircase from a low angle, the framing as deliberate as it is haphazard. The camera is handheld. America has been ironing; the green polo shirt she was pressing, however, looks like it was made from the kind of polyester blend that’s spared wrinkles no matter how badly you treat it. She carries the green shirt in one hand. With the other she grips the metal railing for balance. Her stilettos click loudly on the terra-cotta tile. Each step is measured. In the background, a sparse but funky beat.

The home in which America Moore performs is Mediterranean, or maybe Tuscan. The walls are a luscious cream with butterscotch undertones. Iron balusters with rounded knuckles adorn a winding staircase spanning at least three floors. The statement windows flanking the staircase are tall, narrow, and arched. The camera struggles to compensate for the sunlight beaming through them, resulting in blown-out portions of the image. America disappears momentarily behind a support beam that’s been drywalled over and painted the same tea-stained-paper shade as the walls. There’s a potted fern at the edge of the frame.

The action between America and her costar remains contained to the staircase, though we catch glimpses of a living room suite beyond the fern. Two cream sofas with wooden feet are arranged opposite each other, creating a conversational setup. Between them is an oval coffee table placed on a rectangular area rug that’s an ebony shade of brown. In some frames, in which just a corner of the rug is visible, it could be mistaken for soil strewn on the tile floor. It’s difficult to discern the material of the coffee table, as one of the decorative objects resting on it produces a glare that obscures most details. Perhaps it’s polished mahogany. The configuration of furniture positioned to face the table includes a Biedermeieresque upholstered stool the performers also avoid, though it is perhaps the piece that would best accommodate a scene. We know America doesn’t live here. Most likely someone has rented the house for the shoot.

—Whitney Mallett 

As in the teen TV drama Euphoria, whatever plot there is in porn is insubstantial. Personally, I always let the pool boy say his lines to the bored housewife because I enjoy this artifice in the same way I do the lead-up to a real kiss: no matter what’s said, I know what’s going to happen. Chloe Cherry does, too. Every day at 11:11 and whenever Cherry finds a penny on the ground, she repeats a mantra of gratitude: “I am wealthy, I am healthy, I am thriving, I am rich, I am famous, I am loved.”

Cherry was born not with that SEO-friendly nom de plume but under the Christian name Elise, in the famously Amish region of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Souvenir shops in Lancaster are stocked with bonneted, faceless dolls, which the Amish give to little girls because, per tradition, “all are alike in the eyes of God.” This is the material culture against which the contrarian Cherry chose to exaggerate her already giant facial features: eyes, teeth, cheeks, lips.

Cherry starred in an adult parody of Euphoria before joining the actual show as the streetwise, dope-sick sex-trafficking victim that brought her from Pornhub to HBO. She says this had nothing to do with her casting. This frictionless self-invention through porn reminds me that women are magical, sex work is work, and life is a gift. The camera adores Cherry not because she’s pretty and skinny but because she has an unbeatable attitude, and she’s better than any of her peers at showing it a good time. Perhaps work can love you back!

One gets the sense watching Cherry that she is at once laughing and fucking her way to the bank, her good humor evident in the impishly titled She Is Sunburned but Still Horny, a film she wrote and produced herself. When Cherry is cumming she often mimics ahegao, an expression of pleasure derived from Japanese hentai, crossing her eyes in a heavenward gaze and letting her long tongue drape from her mouth. It looks so good on her, even though it’s not the immediate physiological expression of an orgasm, but rather a reference to cartoons. Is all sex acting? No, but great sex is. Are the stakes of sex higher—is sex realer—when the camera intervenes? Definitely, yes. What’s a nympho to do in this world? Live her best life.

It should be said that Cherry makes some rookie errors on Euphoria, her TV debut. Her emotional range is restricted to one doe-eyed, vacant stare, an incredulous look whose function is to seduce. She’s incredibly good at making that face, and it’s fun on the show because Euphoria is a poor vessel for realism. A heroin addict who never nods off, Cherry as Faye cannot help but break the fourth wall: It’s me bitch, the chick from Naughty Book Worms Vol. 57. When we watch Cherry play a hooker on HBO, we are in fact watching her get off on how easily fame can come to hot girls who fear nothing. Which is also what she’s getting off on in, say, Two Cocks are Better Than One.

—Signe Swanson

The best thing to happen so far in 2024 is Kanye West’s January 6 Instagram birthday tribute to Bianca Censori: a (since-deleted) series of posts showing his “super bad iconic muse inspirational talented artist masters degree in architecture 140 IQ” wife in an array of outfits that occasioned the Page Six headline “She’s enslaved to him.” (Actually, most of Censori’s styling seems to be done by her longtime best friend, Gadir Rajab, and the article concedes that “not all think Censori is under West’s mind control, with some noting that she is an adult and can think for herself.”) The main styling concept for Censori seems to be, simply, “no pants this year,” but yes to gimp masks, full-body tights, and small strips of black tape. West himself has been favoring all-black outfits that say “POLIZEI.” People are so mad! A couple of weeks later, West posted a paparazzi photo of Censori getting into a car, wearing a camisole that said “WET” (since revealed as a Yeezy product—twenty dollars). The paparazzi pic is a genre with which we’ve mostly lost touch; instead, we see celebrities on Instagram, the medium with which West’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, is synonymous. But all of Censori’s best outfits—memorably, the purple pillow held strategically over her midsection on one outing in Italy; or the stuffed animal she clutched to similar ends at a party in Dubai—would be aesthetically and sexually impotent were they presented to us within her home. Their impact comes from the fact that she actually wore that, in public! Never mind that West, of course, turned out to be the one directing the photographers waiting outside that tanning salon. At a time when our image culture is saturated by the uberpornographic yet wholly unsexy selfies of the Kardashian-Jenners, “real” moments of direct-to-consumer domesticity staged in their mansions, Censori’s papped pictures shows us that the erotic actually requires exteriority.

I thought of Censori and West while watching footage of John Galliano’s 2024 Margiela couture show, a thirties-inspired spectacle presented on the last day of Paris Couture Week this January. If the collection itself, which hinged on the ultratight corsets also favored by the couple, was a thesis on clothing-as-fetish-object, the runway show, like “WET,” was an homage to streetwalking. The evening began with a black-and-white film interlacing a series of soft-core vignettes (bondage via corsetry, a street chase following a passion-fueled jewelry robbery), out of which the first model seemed to literally stumble, appearing before the audience, breathless, as the film’s thief-protagonist. The models who followed walked jerkily, as though filmed in the low frame rate of an old silent movie. This was a runway fantasy situated not in the past, but within film itself. Galliano’s primary inspiration was Brassaï’s voyeuristic photography of Parisian nightlife; in the show’s faux-speakeasy setting, the insistently anachronistic glare of the audience’s own cameras rendered every onlooker a street photographer. Surrounded by iPhone screens, the models’ prosthetically cinched waistlines recalled not so much the century past as the surgically enhanced hourglasses of the Kardashians. It was these moments—in which the contemporary was made to appear in the past, and vice versa—that gave a real edge to what might have otherwise have felt like a cute historical cosplay. Like West, Galliano tells us that fashion requires a crowd. It does not take place at home. Although his show was billed as “a walk through the underbelly of Paris, offline,” it reads as a canny commentary on the present articulated through outmoded technologies, as well as a reframing of the “social” medium as explicitly “public.” Both the Margiela collection and West-Censori’s styling project were meant to be sexy, which they are. But they’re exciting because they seem to signal, finally, a cultural shift: not only out of the 2016-era suppression of sex but back into the world, back into mediation, and away from false interiorities and intimacies of all kinds. At least, that’s my fantasy. 

—Olivia Kan-Sperling, assistant editor





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