This article originally ran in the January 2017 issue of AVN. Click here to see the digital edition.

Dominic Pacifico knows the power of patience. While he initially entered porn with a solo in 1998, it wasn’t until some seven years later that he took the full plunge in front of the camera and was soon a Raging Stallion exclusive.

“I jumped in a little more aggressively, and I also did production assistance and set design for the company for a long time,” he recalls. “And then from there I branched out, working with every major studio over the next decade after that.”

His patience has paid off again. After soft-launching DominicPacifico.com in 2013 (with the hard launch a year later), Pacifico soon found himself unhappy with the way things were run. The site was dormant for a while, but after getting his domain back the performer relaunched it independently in July using a hosting company (Adult Site Runner) to maintain it. He rebuilt it with the same content and added new scenes, but this time “a bit more stylized and a bit more cinematic.” He will outsource his affiliate program to GunzBlazing starting in January, when the site will also shift from general gay content to all fetish.

“I enjoy producing that type of content and it seems to be a better representation of Dominic Pacifico’s persona in front of the screen as well, so it just made sense to me,” he says. “It’s not going to be a hotel room or a cheesy set where we build some boxes with padding on them and they fist each other. There’s going to be more realness to it, but in some aspects it’s going to be more artistic.”

Pacifico will be directing and producing all the content, and is excited to explore themes like puppy play, master/dom, spanking, foot worship, tickling and more. “I have tried them in my real life as well as performed them,” he laughs. “It seems more fun to me than just cookie-cutter sex.”

Pacifico—who is based in Las Vegas—looks forward to casting a wide range of performers. Partner Casey Everett will be a regular in front of the camera, but the director’s time in front of the camera will be limited.

“I’ll do it when it’s a special occasion, but after all this time … I’ve put a lot of content with myself on the site already, and that I think was one of the biggest downfalls for the porn star-based websites. Yes, they have the fan base, but they’re in almost every scene. After a while, I think they just bored their audience. I want to use my name as a brand name, not just to cast.”

That decreased workload will give Pacifico more time to harness his other talents.

“I did go to school many years ago for audio production and multimedia, so I learned how to work in the studio and produce content. At the time, I just didn’t have the opportunities for directing, and I was more focused on my music and DJing,” he says. “Now that I’m running my own business, all of the years of experience and knowledge accumulated … you couldn’t pay for that, so I’m putting it to good use.”

With increased confidence behind the camera, Pacifico notes he has developed his own sense of style. Combined with his experience as a performer, he possesses a unique skill set.

“I know what I want, I feel extremely comfortable on set, and I’m not producing it to compare to any other studio or director, or to be competitive in any way. I’m doing it because this is what I like to do,” he says. “That’s coming across with what I’m doing because the models say, ‘Wow, it’s so easy to work with you, that was the hottest scene I’ve done in a really long time.’”

He’s found other responsibilities more challenging: “As far as being a producer, gosh, it’s extremely competitive. Most of the major companies have merged, they’re these big conglomerate monsters, and it doesn’t leave room for the little guy … it makes it very hard for someone like me. I’m one of the mom-and-pops of porn at this point,” Pacifico says, noting how difficult it is to battle piracy. “I have to work 10 times harder to hold my fan base—and luckily, there is a fan base … they’re paying because they’re buying into me as a brand.”

Pacifico had to put his other passion on hold, although he looks forward to gigs at HustlaBall in Vegas and the Whistler Pride festival in January, as well HustlaBall Tel Aviv in March.

“When I relaunched this business, I put the DJing aside for the past several months. Running a porn site and trying to build a member base can be very time consuming, and I wanted to make sure I give it 110 percent,” he says. “There’s a lot of marketing and promoting that needs to be done, as well as rebuilding an affiliate program from the ground. I have to start a member base from zero; it’s pretty aggressive.”

He also recently let go of the DJ Pornstar name, and now uses DJ Dominic Pacifico. “It all became one and the same anyway, so I decided to just make life a lot easier for myself,” he laughs. “The new DJ name has really caught on in a different way. And I’ve been able to re-establish myself with the same clubs and promoters, and a lot of people said, ‘We always loved you and your music, we didn’t mind the name, but the new name is so much better in a corporate sponsorship level. Some sponsors would not sponsor the night of your event because of your name. And now that it’s changed, we can keep working with you, but we can put more into it.’ And I thought, great! Done!”

Pacifico also continues to be a content provider with other studios, and he just signed a contract with a company to produce the Pacifico Products line—including a signature mold of his (and Everett’s) manhood, with a collection of smaller items to complement them.

Once the workload settles down with the website, Pacifico hopes to DJ part time more often. “Not to make a living anymore, but actually just do it for fun. That will be a huge game changer for me in the nightlife, when I’m coming at it from a different approach—and that’s 100 percent artistically, not as a DJ trying to make a living. It’s just as competitive as porn, and I don’t want to go back into it in any competitive way.”

It’s a path he is used to creating for himself.

“What set me apart as a performer is that I didn’t follow that lead, I didn’t quickly conform. A lot of these porn stars, they came and went. They had a good five-year run, they blew up physically or they blew up with their career—and then it faded to black really quick. Luckily for me, I just kind of listened to certain suggestions and I stayed under the radar. I didn’t quite become No. 1 or A-list—I was kind of teetering somewhere in I don’t know what category—but it allowed me to have a very, very long-lasting and lucrative career. Not a lot of porn stars can say that.”