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States Pop Quiz #16: Stoya

The alt porn star stages a subversive Pop Quiz takeover – we're talking greasy food joints, being home-schooled and why there's no point feeling guilty about pleasure

As part of our States of Independence summer takeover, 50 American indie icons have volunteered to take the Dazed Pop Quiz; a quick-fire Q&A about what they love and loathe about life in the USA. Check back here every day for more from the series. 

Hands up who's obsessed with Stoya? That makes you, Dazed and about half the American viewing "public." The poster girl for a generation who's ready to embrace its fetishistic side, Stoya's role in rejigging attitudes towards the pornographic industry extends beyond being a heroine of the alternative porn movie scene. Beyond that, her roles as journalist, panellist and friend to artists like Molly Crabapple means she straddles both incendiary and endorsed sides of the industry with ease. Made in L.A. but at home in the city that's embraced her – New York – Stoya is kicking off State of Sex week with her guest-edit of Dazed. 

Which living American do you most admire and why?

Stoya: Molly Crabapple immediately springs to mind. She’s an incredibly talented artist, writes about heavy political stuff in ways that I find easily understandable, and could probably win an obstacle course race in stilettos. She’s just above and beyond amazing. Amazing plus.

Which living American do you most despise and why?

Stoya: Despise is a pretty strong word, but I could definitely do without whoever it is that owns the car across the street and just lets their super sensitive alarm beep and beep and beep. 

Whose face should be on the $100 bill?

Stoya: I’m good with the current poster politico. Ben Franklin was pretty integral to a bunch of stuff we seem to take for granted now. If we’re going to start mucking about with different faces on forms of payment I’d put Mary Harris Jones on debit cards. Sure, she wasn't born in the USA, but the fact that she immigrated somehow makes her a little more American.

What three words define the States today?

Stoya: Not quite united.

Who gave you your first break? Do you still talk?

Stoya: Jonny Balls would probably be the first, and I just attended his wedding late last year. 

When + where you the most happiest?

Stoya: Exiting trains. I enjoy it slightly more before 10am and after 7pm, but only slightly.

What high school clique were you in? Do you stay in touch?

Stoya: I was mostly home-schooled, so this question is not applicable.

What food reminds you of home?

Stoya: Hush puppies. They’re fried balls of seasoned cornmeal and are extra delicious with butter. 

What smell do you associate with the city of your birth?

Stoya: Mildly decomposed ocean.

What is your favorite quote about America?

Stoya: Clayton Cubitt’s photographs of two women in stars and stripes bikinis at night, from his The Daily Siege project with [Cubitt also directed Stoya in his "Hysterical Literature" YouTube series, below].

What's the best road trip you've ever been on?

Stoya: Through rural Canada. It’s gorgeous and desolate.

Where did you first fall in love?

Stoya: On a street in the evening.

What would make you leave America forever?

Stoya: I suppose if it was completely destroyed or if child-bearing became required. It would take something absolutely absurd though.

What noise reminds you of the States?

Stoya: The specific sound of our emergency response vehicle sirens.

Most overrated US tourist attraction

Stoya: Times Square.

Most underrated US tourist attraction

Stoya: Greasy Mom & Pop burger joints.

Favorite slang phrase?

Stoya: “Everything.”

What is your ultimate American guilty pleasure?

Stoya: I take no guilt in my pleasures.

What law would you change or invent?

Stoya: I’d get rid of the old ones I deem silly; laws requiring permits for high heels, laws against hiding dirt under rugs, laws allowing fines for flirting.

Where in the States would you ride out the apocalypse?

Stoya: Wherever I happened to be, unless the apocalypse came with at least six days of advance warning.

When was your last run-in with the cops? What happened?

Stoya: The other day I saw a highway patrolman with something bright yellow and weaponish clipped to his belt. I thought about asking what it was. On second thought, this probably doesn’t count as a run-in.

If you could change one thing about the US, what would it be?

Stoya: I’d require all laws be written in plain english which can be understood by the average citizen.

Which fictional American do you most identify with? 

Stoya: Gypsy Rose Lee. The constructed character, not the person who lived it.

If you lost it all tomorrow, what would you do the day after?

Stoya: Stow away to Japan.

What will America look like in 2050?

Stoya: Greasy and torn under a camouflaging layer of neon and extremist opinions stated as fact.

Does the American Dream still exist?

Stoya: I think yes, as much as it ever did. Fortunately dreams are free of any requirement of existence.