On this day designated to love I want to speak to you about two emotions I have come to know very well in my life, and I believe are responsible for every decision or action we have ever made or failed to make in our lives: Love and it's opposite Fear!
About 20 years ago now (during my college days in Florida) I was first approached at a Miami club by a photographer asking me if I would take part, as a model, in an Ocean Drive Magazine fashion editorial shoot. Surprised and flattered at the same time over the offer I said, "Yes" before knowing the particulars of the shoot. He later explained that I and all male models would be naked lifelike statues, serving as the perfect backdrop to the Grecian inspired Couture gowns worn by the female models. While it may have been a fashion shoot, appearing naked in print is a definite “No” even for men in my strict Dominican upbringing, so you can imagine why fear consumed my whole body. However, at 20 my desire and love for adventure and trying anything new was far greater opening My Pandora's Box, which eventually has led me here (to view my bio go to: LD Casting Card). I would like to say that at 20 I was wise beyond my years choosing to go through with the shoot, but in truth it was lack of self control that said, “Fuck it, they will never find out!”
A little over a year ago I made the decision to return to this industry after nearly 5 years of absence and with a more mature face than this guy to the right, me at age 21. The reality is that I am nearly 40 and returning to this youth dominated industry did more than flair up my fears.
So Why return at all? I asked myself that same question and can honestly say simply because I love it and feel proud of every project I ever participated in. Saying this in the past was another fear of mine but today having become the man that I am, I am comfortable enough to proudly say that I, Leo Donato aka Jeffrey Feliz-Ybes am apart of this very controversial and taboo industry and love every minute of it.
And despite this admission to myself fear continued rears it's ugly face, mascarading as impatience, and the usual suspect, insecurities all with one purpose to get me to quit and I almost did. Were it not for the overwhelmingly true and honest words said to me by Mr. Pam - “The fact that you have been in some films is success, you got paid to fuck on camera.. YAY! . . . Concentrate on the adventures you have had in porn, both in front and behind the camera and be proud of your accomplishments. If more scenes come along, great - if not, no worries. Be proud of what you have done and move along to something bigger & better!” These words quited my whole being and shortly there after I was cast in my return scene with DawgPoundUSA, and concluded the year with two more scenes in addition to the handful of print shoots. To Mr. Pam I say I will consider that more icing on my cake!
Today a year since my return I am reflective and I am aware that I may or may not achieve the heights that I wanted to when I decided to return to this industry and I may not even film another scene, but I am glad for having made this decision and sticking with it. Irrational and crazy was my decision in returning to it, navigating blindly, full of incercurities while completely uncertain of which direction I should take, somehow today I feel I that wherever this place is that I am in, it's exactly where I am supposed to be and wanted to get to.
I share my vulnerabilities with you all especially on this emotionally charge day, because I would like all of you to look at all of us infront of the lens and see our real face. A face that no matter how perfectly flawless it may appear, or sexy, or hot, or desirable we are not exempt from living life governed by these two emotions, fear or love. That being said, on this day of love I could not go on without saying THANK YOU to you ALL, because of you, your support and embrace, I have been able to choose love over fear.
So I ask to the most derserving group of all, "Will you all be My Valentine?"
Now enjoy these images taken by photographer Mike Ramsey, inspired by my first naked/fashion shoot.