Inside the GayVN Awards With Trophy Boy Ray Dexter

The gay porn awards ceremony went virtual this year, but the experience was all the more memorable for it.

December 16, 2020: I woke up to a missed call, a voicemail, a text message, and an email from Timothy at AVN Media Network about a photoshoot. Sure, sounds great! I said. Requests and invites like that come in all the time—though something from AVN is always exciting. But at the photoshoot I was told that I was one of the guys selected to be a GayVN Awards Trophy Boy. 

I happily accepted of course, and then promptly called up my best friend and award-winning porn star, Max Konnor, to find out what I’d just agreed to! The way Max explained it, a Trophy Boy is well, a boy who carries the trophies during the show. He also told me that generally a Trophy Boy is someone new to the business, chosen because the industry wants to introduce these fresh, hot, and up-and-coming faces. I am definitely not new to the industry, but I’ll take it!

As we all know, the pandemic is still ongoing, so the 2021 GayVN Award Show moved from Las Vegas to online this year. A virtual ceremony doesn’t have the same feeling as walking down the red carpet, mingling and networking among the glitz and glamour, but at least the event remained live, with the Trophy Boys—Eli Bennet, Damien Ellis, Jay Seabrook, and Jake Waters—plus Nic Sahara, Kira Noir, Lily Larimar, and hosts Alec Mapa and Sherry Vine presenting from the AVN Studios in Chatsworth, CA.

Nic Sahara and Ray Dexter

A virtual awards show would theoretically be easier than holding it in-person, but never underestimate the power and frustration of technical difficulties! That being said, the in-studio portion couldn’t have felt safer for those of us presenting. We were tested for COVID twice, had to show proof of negative results, and a CCO (COVID Compliance Officer) was on hand  to ensure everyone followed the rules (temperature checks, wearing masks/face shields at all times when not on stage, social distancing, etc).

That might seem like a lot of headache for a porn awards show, but just as the Emmys figured out a way to move forward, so too did the GayVNs. These awards bring recognition to those who have worked hard to achieve and earn the accolades, as well as shining a light for viewers on some of the hottest studios and movies from the last year. And with the GayVN Awards, there’s a fan-voted slate of categories, as well, which provides another chance to feel like part of the community.

For me, the best part was getting to meet everyone working behind-the-scenes, as well as the other Trophy Boys. We all come from different walks of life and places in our careers, but we all came together on the same level for this one night. In a sense, this was preparation for our future award shows. As my Porn Daddy, Nic Sahara, told us, we should make it our goal to be the one walking up onto that stage next year as a winner.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about being a Trophy Boy, but as soon I met the other boys, I immediately felt comfortable. For me particularly, it was awesome to see these fresh faces and listen to their journeys in porn. As someone who isn’t brand new, getting that perspective from someone who is reminded me of when I was getting my start and how excited I was. Hopefully, one day we will all be working together again. Without masks!

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