“I knew at the end of the day I wanted to be a man, but I just didn’t want to be myself. I don’t like authority or being under someone, so I thought of ways to get easy money.” After leaving high school in 2008, Branden moved to Florida with his adoptive mom and started dating Xavier.I felt like everything was a lie.” Branden’s never held down a conventional job. He started doing porn not long after the move, signing up for a cam site after a one-off XXX video he posted got a bunch of attention. He’s got 25 in total, arranged carefully on top of a wooden dresser in his Daytona Beach, Florida, bedroom. I say sure, and he starts ripping a piece of paper into small strips, placing them in a row on the dresser. Branden, 25, lives in a one-bedroom in a quiet gated complex 15 minutes from the Daytona shoreline.
“I thought I was going to blow up on You Tube, like him, because I thought I was funnier.” At school, he struggled with telling friends he was gay. “I went to high school in drag with one of my friends and it shocked everyone,” he says. And for several months after, he dressed as a woman every day.
Branden says he dressed “trade,” the nebulous slang term for a man who’s into guys but doesn’t advertise that fact. “Creating the characters stemmed from me finding out I was adopted, and trying to run away from that,” he says.
On my dad’s side it was just like, ‘Black and tall.’” “I went to an all-black school, and people would say, ‘Branden, you’re black,’ or ‘Branden, you’re adopted,’” he says. One hand is on his hip, and the other held high in the air, like a pint-sized homecoming queen waving from atop a parade float.
“I was like, ‘No, actually I’m white.’” He laughs about it now, but remembers the discovery as traumatic. I found out I was adopted, and then I found out I was black. “The wig was always a sign of funny for me,” he says. It’s really awkward, but they thought I was a ladies’ man.” He came out at 16, after his older sister found gay porn on the family computer.
“I read my adoption papers when I found out,” he says. That’s really awkward.” Once, he asked his mom why she hadn’t told him the truth. Branden says he was always interested in entertaining, and good at determining what worked.
“It said a lot about my mom, but not her name, nothing I could contact. In one old photo, where he can’t be older than 9, he wears an unkempt black wig.Colored contacts make his eyes a stormy, unnatural gray.Ulta doesn’t have the cologne he wants, so he picks out some body cream made with Dead Sea salt instead. “You sit there and you have your little moment.” The lady at the checkout counter asks if there’s a chip in his credit card. ” Branden asks her.“It’s supposed to be safer so people can’t steal your identity.”“Oh wow,” he says, giggling a little.As a teenager, Branden created the Miss Prada character.She uploaded campy pop songs to Sound Cloud and appeared in vulgar You Tube videos, sometimes professing her undying love to Chris Brown.Some of his hobbies include painting, giving himself facials, and hand-making dog toys out of socks and yarn.