Photos by Luke Gilford

The Multitasking MILF Who Is Taking the Term ‘Physical Therapy’ in New Directions

Cherie DeVille does porn and PT (just not at the same time)

I met Cherie DeVille — the award-nominated MILF — at the HoloGirls VR booth at the Adult Entertainment Expo last month. Fans lined up to chat with DeVille, 37, while clips from her HoloGirls videos played in the background, and attendees were encouraged to take a seat before slipping on the brand’s VR headsets for the first time. Holding court on a slight podium, DeVille, blonde and glowing, has emerged as one of the production company’s breakout performers, thriving within the VR environment created by HoloGirls, one of the many adult companies now vying to capitalize on the emerging trend. During solo scenes, which she tells me are some of her favorite to shoot, DeVille rides the face of whoever is wearing the HoloGirls VR headset in an incredibly intimate way.

This is the sort of connection DeVille loves—relishing in how close VR makes her feel to her fans. A practicing physical therapist with her own small business, DeVille began doing porn in her 30s because of her sheer zeal for touching, helping and entertaining people. Now, she enjoys a rich career running her own physical-therapy practice in between shooting porn from the convenience of L.A.’s San Fernando Valley.

Listen to my conversation with Cherie here.

You’ve been in the adult industry five years, but how long have you been working as a physical therapist?
I’ve been licensed for 16 years. I practiced for a little while, then went back and got my doctorate.

Then you started doing porn? Were you nervous that the adult industry would impact your physical therapy work?
Well, before I did my first scene — besides telling all my friends and family what I was thinking of doing so they wouldn’t have to, like, randomly find out online and have their eyeballs burned — I contacted a lawyer to make sure I couldn’t lose my physical therapy license.

And you found out doing porn wouldn’t be able to compromise your physical therapy license?
Of course, any individual company can fire me for any reason, and a lot of companies have morality clauses. But ever since I started doing porn, to avoid the potential embarrassment of myself or my employer, I now have my own business. My boss, me, is probably not going to fire me for being such a slut.

So you began your own independent physical therapy practice after you began your career in porn? Or had you already anticipated starting your own independent business?
Yeah, I’d always worked for other people before, but now I only work twice a week as a physical therapist so I can shoot the rest of the time.

Given your two career choices, I think it’s safe to assume you’re really good at touching people. Does your work as a physical therapist ever inform your porn career? Or vice versa?
I feel like, yes, both jobs are similar in the physical sense, but for me their biggest similarity is emotional. Both porn and physical therapy help people, both give and bring joy. But one is completely unsexual and the other is completely sexual. They’re just different ways of helping people. I always wondered why a lot of retired sex workers go into physical therapy or nursing, but I think that’s what it is. We really like helping people. We like giving.

Do you often hear that kind of feedback from your fans? That you’re giving them something or awakening a special part of their lives?
The most inspiring thing that’s happened to me at the AVNs this year is having one of my female fans write me a really beautiful letter. It was about her coming out as a lesbian and how some members of her family rejected her for that, so she turned to certain actresses in porn to feel normal. She looked at my lesbian porn to feel accepted and said it really helped her get through that time in her life. That made me cry.

She delivered the letter to you during the actual convention?
Yeah, she wrote the letter and gave it to me here. It’s just really touching.

We’re standing at the HoloGirls virtual reality porn booth. How has exploring VR changed the way you interact with your fans or other performers?
It’s insane. The first time I tried [watching VR porn] I was like: it’s so amazing I was like I don’t even know if I like this. Because I think if I were like 12 or 13, that would be the end of me. I would never leave my room. Between virtual reality video games and virtual reality porn, I just need a straw with some protein in it and I’m like done.

As a performer, has there been a particular way you’ve been visualized in virtual reality that’s been the coolest or most exciting?
I think my most fun scene for HoloGirls was actually a solo. The camera was under me, as if somebody was lying on their back underneath me, and I’m basically giving a striptease lapdance and [receiving] oral sex. That’s so different than anything that can be done in regular porn. The solo I did pretending to have someone eat me out is like, another level of intimacy to share with my fans. To me, that’s very cool.

That kind of performance must feel really personal.
Yeah, because when someone has the goggles on, you really feel like I’m performing for you. It’s an intimate, personal moment.

Outside of porn, I’m pretty sure nobody would label you a “MILF.” Do you consider yourself a MILF in real life? Or is MILF a role you play?Basically once you’re 35 or over in porn, you get labeled MILF. It’s the industry’s word for like, categorizing mature women. Even though it stands for “Mom I’d Like To Fuck,” it doesn’t have as much to do with having children as much as it does just being a mature lady.

What’s your favorite part of being a mature lady in porn?
In general, my favorite part is there’s thousands and thousands of teens and twentysomethings [doing porn] and then there’s like 10 MILFs. So the work is endless.

As someone who started doing porn in your thirties, is it easier to create a brand for yourself in the MILF genre than it would have been if you started your porn career earlier?
The only advantage of coming in as a MILF has to do with personal branding. I’ve never been anything else, so it makes my business and my branding a little easier because I don’t have to revamp every few years. Imagine I’m an 18-year-old and my niche is all the teen mommy-daddy stuff. Then as I mature I have to find a new spot for myself. Some women have like four great years [doing porn], then a couple years where it’s not as good, and then they’ll eventually mature into the next genre and it’s great again.

Porn performers often experience a lot of shaming, but as you’re saying, I think there’s often a level of sex positivity and healthiness found within the adult industry that you don’t really find in mainstream hookup and rape culture.
Yeah, it’s amazing. You know all these talented people sexually, they know what they’re doing and they’re beautiful. It’s just truly a blessing to keep getting hired. Everyone always asks ‘How long will you stay in porn?’ I’m like, ‘Until people don’t want to see me in porn anymore. I’m sucking it all up while I can.’

Tierney Finster is a writer-actress-model-activist from the San Fernando Valley and MEL’s senior sex and love editor.

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